I'm not READY!!!
This summer has been one for the ages! I've never done so much travelling in such a short amount of time, and frankly, I'm happy the summer's over. I just wish I didn't have to go back to work and all the badass kids I'm gonna have this year! All I need is another month to recuperate from all the relaxing I've been doing and I'm good to go, but alas, that's impossible. Shit.
(Did I just say "alas"?)
As a form of therapy, I think it's neccessary that I share my summer experiences with the masses, and maybe that will help me cope with the inevitable fact that soon I'll be surrounded by lots of snot nosed, smart mouthed, 4th graders who want and need my attention 7.5 hours out of the day, five days a week. In the spirit of Mr. Eyechan, (and welcome back to civilization young Sir) here's a pictoral version of my summer. Let's start from the beginning shall we.....
This here is Pudge, our newest addition to the family. Pudge and his brother were found under a tree in a school playground by Yours Truly one day in early June. Normally I don't pick up strays, but something inside me told me that I couldn't leave these cute pups to die in the summer heat. They were obviously hungry and thirsty so I went home, got some water and a few leftovers from the fridge and came back to do my best Animal Rescue 911 impression. I put them in the car to take them to PetSmart so they'll be adopted by some loving family, and how do they repay me for my compassion? They THROW UP in my CAR- three times EACH!!! In an instant, I went from being a good samaritan to wanting to leave their flea infested, stinky, car sick asses on the side of the highway in a crate. As you can see, I did the right thing instead and drove my doggy vomit riddled car to the adoption center and after getting them shots and a lengthy conversation with the "adoption lady" I decided to keep them and give them away on my own. After giving Pudge's brother away to a neighborhood kid, I decide to let the runty Pudge stay and bug the shit out of Alpha, our other dog. As you can see, Alpha's not too happy having to share her space.
Since November, I've been taking a class trying my best to learn the French language. I started out by taking a class with a teacher and bought a language program on cd. On a whim, I decided that I needed to immerse myself in some French culture over the summer to help with the process. My first choice was to go to France......then I saw the prices for plane tickets and scratched that idea QUICK. Who's got $1700 laying around the house these days? As an alternative, I chose to go to Montreal (pr: Mon-ray-al). I'd never been, and until I calculated the hurting Paris would put on my bank account, I had never considered going- but I'm glad I went. Montreal is actually a very cool place with all the beautiful architecture I love to see when I travel.
The strangest thing is that I met more French people (from France) than I did Canadians. Apparently, Canada is a hot (and CHEAP) tourist destination for the French. Who knew? Anyway, I was able to meet a lot of interesting people who were able to help me speak French just a little bit better.
As an inexpensive alternative to expensive hotels, I decided to stay in a youth hostel called Auberge Chez Jean-which cost me all of $20 a night. It has none of the comforts one expects from a hotel, (like privacy), but it provides the basics: A roof, a bed with clean sheets, bathroom, kitchen etc. Jean is the balding cat in the white shirt sitting at the desk. He's a bit of a strange bird and I think he's technically homeless, he just sleeps in whatever empty bed is available at the hostel. I mean, it's his place (Chez Jean) so he's not "homeless" but he doesn't have his own room. We actually heard a story that he crawled into bed with a traveller at 2 am because he had nowhere else to sleep, nothing sexual, he just needed a place to lay his head. Apparently he told her when she checked in that he'd have to share the bed with her and she thought he was joking.....Oops.
Vincent was my partner in crime and we travelled around the city together a few days, learning a lot about each other's cultures and personal lives. He lives in a small town close to Marseille and I was really surprised how easy it was for me to communicate with him in French, even if I didn't know how to say something specific (merci Flo!). He was completely understanding and would help me out a lot, even telling me the correct phrase in French. He's a very cool guy and I'm glad I got the chance to meet him and expose him to everything American- from big breakfast portions to cheddar cheese to "CP time". Oui Vincent, je croix aussi que las femmes la bas sont tres délicieuses!!! :)
Alexandros was a cat from Brighton, England who didn't even speak French, but came to Montreal for vacation ("holiday" as he called it) before he continued his studies in art design at his University. I asked him how long he was staying and he bluntly said, "Until my money runs out." That's the way to travel!!!
My timing was perfect as I arrived in Montreal right as the Montreal Jazzfest was kicking off. It's basically a month long festival with venues hosting local and international bands all throughout the city. There were these street performers everywhere, decked out in crazy vibrant costumes acting out different parts- juggler's, dancers, stilt walkers, mimes etc.
I even met a girl on the street, and in the span of 3 minutes, fell in love, got engaged and left her when I realized she was crazy.
I even got to meet up with a fellow (former) blogger known as No Fearing Change. She came to meet up with me for lunch (**cough** shop). We ate at this nice downtown restaurant and chatted for a couple hours about everything under the sun. I learned a lot about her and that she's pulled the plug on her blog b/c she's planning on moving forward to a prominent career position and doesn't want anything written in her blog to come back and haunt her - and the way media is these days, who can blame her? I've always thought that the blog "community" was real, despite the fact that we are all communicating via a virtual world. We share our thoughts, lives and experiences through words and pictures on the computer, but I had always wondered if it would translate to real world encounters, if we'd still have a lot to say if we met face to face. I imagine that it's easier for people to share their crazy notions from behind the safety of a computer screen, where it might be more difficult in the presence of a real person. Regardless, I found my encounter with NFC to be fun and interesting, just like I thought it would be. I'll definitely miss her blog, but now I can call her and talk in real time if needbe, and that's the coolest part.
Suicidal Road Trip
Drive from Atlanta to Birmingham, Alabama
Pick up neice Kalani and nephew Tre
Pick up Mom
Drive back to Atlanta
Drop off Mom, neice, nephew at ATL airport
Fly to Durham, NC with Naimah and Michelle
Drive with Naimah, Michelle, my sister Munirah and neice Chanelle to Saint Louis, MO
Meet up with Mom and Dad
Pick up Tre and Kalani
Drive back to Durham, NC
Fly to Birmingham, Al
Meet up with Michelle's family for her other daughter Jacqueline's showcase
Drive back to Atlanta
School for us teachers begins in a week, but one of my coworkers told me something that helps make the year go by a little faster- the school year basically coincides with the football season. After the Super Bowl we only have a few months and then it's summer again. All I can say is GO BRONCOS!!!!