Sunday, September 09, 2007

Le Mont Saint Michel

I'm a huge fan of stumbleupon thanks to sister Susannah the new age nun and finder of all things cool on the internet. Weekend mornings my routine involves sipping my coffee while stumbling for about an hour before I get to the tasks at hand. It's a fun luxury which beats reading the daily murder report in the morning news.

Today I stumbled upon this:

When I was 13 we moved from Milwaukee to Morgantown WV. As an "outsider" I was put in classes with "learning deficient" students and was using textbooks I used in classes two years before. I think the third day of class I came home and told my parents if they didn't get me the hell out of Morgantown I would drop out and get a job as a cashier at Murphy's Mart. The next year I went to Mercersburg Academy - a boarding school in southcentral Pennsylvania but I still had to deal with a year at Morgantown Junior High which was pretty brutal.

I was tested and evaluated finally thanks to my folks and having had a year of French in Milwaukee I was put in a high school French class. Every day I would leave the Jr. High and walk the maybe mile to the high school to have my French class with older kids who I think might have been threatened by me. In the spring of that year the school offered a trip to England and France which was announced in class. My parents were teachers and there wasn't a lot of budget room for something like this but I told them about it and they made it happen. I still have no remembrance of the cost - not a whole lot but a whole lot for a family of five who were living on the salaries of two teachers. They sent me!

The wisest advice they gave me when I left was to NOT see England and France through the lens of the camera but to experience it with my own eyes. This advice has served me well since.

So I went. I went with much older kids (they were at least 3 years older than me - 15 or 16 to my 13).

We did London and then took the ferry from South Hampton to Le Havre (cool pre-Chunnel trip). We did the Loire Valley and saw all the Chateaux. I don't remember a lot of it now but I do remember almost every detail of Mont St. Michel. OK. I remember the walk up to the monastery and kiosks selling 35 mm film and Mt. St. Michel patches (I still have them in my sewing kit). I remember the restaurant where we were served fresh mussels cooked in pure butter. My older fellow travelers turned up their noses because it wasn't McDonalds and so I had them all for me (the mussels that is - so delicious I can still remember the taste)!

Truly I wasn't old enough to fully appreciate this trip but to this day I am thankful that my parents sacrificed to send me. Some day I will go back and I am sure I will see and appreciate the things that my subsequent education prepared me to appreciate.

I also had a laugh today. I stumbled upon a site that analyzed my blog in detail and it turns out it is most suited to readers who have at least one year of graduate school! Since I have two years and a masters degree (diploma hanging beside my toilet) I guess I am lowering myself. I think it is the copious use of "fuck." Or maybe the copious use of "copious."

Note to self: Use bigger words.

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