Une Promenade à Souvenir
I would like to start off by sharing a horrifying childhood experience. When I was about seven years old, I was an expert on a bike. I mastered the training wheels and knew what it was like to ride a standard “big kid” bicycle around my neighborhood without a care in the world. I loved it! The wind through my hair, the sun beaming down on my princess/ Gymboree shirt, I was living the life! And then one day, when I got very excited to go on a bike ride and show off my skills to my cousins, I took a turn for the worst. It was since that day of a horrible bloody nose and scars that took months to heal that I decided I hated biking and would not venture on a bicycle again…
However, life is always full of surprises, and no one would have expected that I would spend my junior year in Strasbourg, a city where a bicycle is a rite of passage into society (and the central mode of transportation). That leads me to make my very own Sophie’s choice: to purchase a bicycle and overcome my childhood fear, or to not purchase a bicycle and miss out on physical excursions with my friends. Last week I chose option two while, Jess, Colleen, and Barbara all purchased bicycles with our wonderful advisor “mama” Malou. At first I thought I was making a wonderful decision and that Kelia and I were better off walking/ running/ riding the tram anyway! That was before each of them came back with a new means of transportation, ready to take a ride at any given moment of the day (jess even has a basket in hers which has always been my summer at the cape dream). So, after a week of sulking, Kelia and I decided that we would buy a bicycle! Saturday morning came around again and the two of us met Malou at the bike sale, spent two hours testing out new bikes and waiting in line, and at noon, the three of us walked away with two new bicycles…No, I did not chicken out, frustrated me just decided that pairing myself with a bicycle is like pairing fluff with jelly! Quel catastrophe! This time, the only problem was that Malou already booked a biking excursion with the five of us for Sunday and I was not about to be left behind! After a couple hours of convincing, I graciously accepted Malou’s offer to borrow her second bicycle for the day. Let me just say, it was a good decision.
Finally, Sunday arrived and the six of us greeted each other on a beautiful fall afternoon and finally rode our books through Strasbourg to a bike bridge where we crossed the border into Germany!! (Surprisingly it only took fifteen minutes from our meeting spot). I felt like Mandy Moore in “A walk to remember” as we straddled the border over the bridge and came to the realization “We’re in two places at once!” Then, we took our bikes along the river into German country and I just couldn’t resist the urge to sing the soundtrack to “Oklahoma” as we passed a plethora of corn fields! While the bike was just a wee bit uncomfortable (I need to get used to the wooden seat), it still wasn’t so bad! It was like a roller coaster only less dirty and there were no screaming kids behind me (apart from Kelia <3). To top it off, we stopped and ordered ice cream cones in which I got to practice my German! Danke! (This was after trying to order in French like a fool). At the end of the day, I was a happy camper and decided that even if I never ride a bike again, I can at least say I have ridden a grown-up bicycle!
As far as everything else I’ve been up to…I’ve eaten Indian food, Vietnamese food (delish), rhubarb, black currants, Alsacian sweet bread, bread, baguettes, and bread! But hey, at least I’m changing it up here and there! Classes are also going swell, and we’ve been busy up to our elbows in work…who knew that planning our October break could be so exhausting!? We also even found a great Café (Café Michel) where we’ve gone literally every day just to grab a pastry, tea, or just use their internet access…the owner and I are now on a first name basis. I will keep you all up to date on our hope to be finalized plans next week, as well as our exciting excursions I’m looking forward to! Can anyone say Holocaust and a symphonic orchestra? (I’ll explain later). A tout a l’heure!
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Krisina, I am amazed at all you can eat and not gain weight! It all sounds so wonderful. Biking is fun, even old ladies like me like to do it. Do you have to wear a helmet in France and German?