I'm home in London and I feel like I owe you all an update. So, here I go!
Last week's visit to Paris was amazing. I wasn't sure how I felt about it, especially with how sick I had been the week before. We were supposed to plan in advance what attractions and pieces of art we wanted to see. Being sick and apathetic, I planned my visit to the Louvre, but that was it. I didn't want to push myself too hard. I also knew that, if I wanted to see one thing in Paris, the Louvre was it, so that would be my priority.
We left the London Centre at 5:45 a.m. to catch the train to Paris. Not fun. I tried to sleep on the train in. It should have been easy, since I wasn't feeling well. Nope. I read Fellowship of the Ring all the way there. (On every other week-long trip I've had here, I've ended up kicking myself for not bringing it. I preempted that this time!) After checking into hotel at 10 a.m. local time, I looked for a group. See, in Paris, we had to travel in groups of at least three. As much as that cramps my style, I obeyed--being sick alone in an unfamiliar city where I don't speak the language just sounds stupid.
Luckily, I found a group that was headed to the Louvre. We walked over (about a 40-minute walk), then spent about three hours inside. It definitely wasn't enough to see the whole museum, but it was enough to let me see everything I'd wanted to see. I even had some time to sit and sketch.
Well, that got knocked out on the first day :) It's a good thing, too, because I relapsed the next day and spent half the day in bed in the hotel (but only after I'd gone to the Rodin Sculpture Garden and the Musee d'Orsay). My wonderful roommate, Arianna, let me borrow a wall adapter (I didn't have one for France), so I hung out with my computer.
Being sick in my hotel wasn't fun at the time, but I think it was invaluable to my experience in France. Forcing girls to travel in groups is an invitation to drama. In this case, it was about people getting included or not and arguing over what attractions to see. I didn't have much trouble with the latter because I'd seen everything I wanted to on the first day, but getting included was hard for me. I'm shy and quiet and tend to feel like a tag-along. (I suppose I could have it worse--I could be a loud and obnoxious tag-along.) I also like being alone. While I appreciated the groups who let me join them, I loved having alone time in my room before my roommate got home. I needed that time to be free of social pretense, where I could just do what I wanted and not feel like I had to behave myself in front of anyone.
I did have a wonderful week. I went to amazing museums like the Museum of Invention, a giant steampunk building with rooms full of artifacts showing the history of energy, industry, and science. I rode a rowboat down the pond in Versailles. I ate a crepe with lemon and sugar in the Tuileries. I got chased out of the Pompidou at closing time. (Okay, so that one wasn't much fun.)
But most importantly, this week really made me appreciate my friends and family back home. As much as I enjoyed Paris, it would have been much better had I been able to experience it with the people I love. I wish my friends would've geeked out with me at the Museum of Invention--my group was embarrassed to be seen with me. I wish I could've talked history with my brother in the Hall of Mirrors. And as incredible as the museums were, they would have been infinitely so had I been able to share the experience with my mom.
Everyone, I love you and I miss you! I'm looking forward to the adventures we'll have when I come home.