Chez Moi Encore

I’m sitting here reflecting after my trip to France. Though I was there for a little over a week, the trip feels almost like a dream: too much activity shoved into too little time.

But it was a really fantastic trip, nonetheless.

I saw parts of Paris I hadn’t seen before. I really loved Montmartre, and I loved walking along the Seine at dusk.

IMG_0826

A bateau mouche on the Seine at dusk. 5 July, 2014

During this trip I also ascended the Eiffel Tower, which I didn’t do the first time I was in Paris. I wanted to climb the stairs, but unfortunately a minor knee injury kept that from occurring. So up the elevator I went.

IMG_0786

Getting close!

The views were quite lovely. I went all the way to the top, and I had a Marilyn Monroe moment on the upper level because the wind caught my skirt. I’m pretty sure I didn’t handle the situation as gracefully as she did, and I hope there are no photos circulating for that particular memory… Smile

IMG_0794

Old and new

After descending, slowly and via the stairs, I bought a coffee and caramel corn from a vendor (en français). The vendor complemented me on my French (en français). Smile I found a place to sit, and I journaled until the twinkly lights of the Eiffel Tower came on at 10:00 p.m. It wasn’t even dark yet!

As the lights twinkled on and on (five full minutes), I was overcome with a mélange of emotion. I felt grateful for being in France again. I felt the loss of my grandfather while remembering his Eiffel Tower recommendations for me when I first traveled to France in 2005. I felt extraordinary happiness to be back in Paris and to have the opportunity to go on this great adventure. I felt melancholy about some of the things that have happened since that first trip to France (e.g. the beginning of the end of my marriage, the end of my marriage, the loss of loved ones, etc…). I felt privileged to experience this alternative to 4th of July fireworks that was just as impressive to me (though a day late).

I found myself crying at the base of the Eiffel Tower, surrounded by people, yet unable to stop the flow of tears. I let them flow.

The next day I left Paris for Rennes and the conference I was attending. I sat next to a nice Canadian lady on the train, and we chatted for the 2.5 hour ride.

IMG_0968

Look at all of that room! 6 July, 2014

Soon after I arrived, me and my lab mates walked to the restaurant to meet some of the other conference-goers. We were greeted by a rainbow!

IMG_0834

Rainbow in Rennes with my lab mates. 6 July, 2014

The next days were filled with conference shenanigans: socials, talks, poster sessions… Fortunately, in France those take on a different flavor. These flavors were made up of a combination of tasty pastries, wine, pâté, and cheese. I gained 2 lbs on this trip, and I think most of it came from Rennes. So business was combined with tastiness at this meeting.

As far as business goes, my lab mates did a great job during their talks. Mine went well too. Success in France!

IMG_0838

The reason we were there: ICI 2014. Richard’s lab rules. 🙂 8 July, 2014

The last day I was in Rennes, we had a half day of talks followed by a tour to Saint-Malo and Mont Saint-Michel.

IMG_0849

Saint Malo 9 July, 2014

I was amazed by the color of the water at Saint-Malo. It looks like the Caribbean. It reminded me of my recent trip to Puerto Rico: a mix of history and natural beauty.

IMG_0876

Saint-Malo 9 July, 2014

We visited a nearby salt marsh and the local Spartina species (Spartina was the focus of the conference) before going all the way to Mont Saint-Michel. I found some cool shells, and I dropped my adviser’s 2.5-year-old daughter in the mud… Oops!

IMG_0895

Scientists in their natural habitat. Baie de Mont Saint-Michel 9 July, 2014

Mont Saint-Michel was beautiful. We only had 30-minutes to check it out, but it was still very nice.

IMG_0905

Me and Mont Saint-Michel 9 July, 2014

IMG_0920

Mont Saint-Michel et les belles roses. 9 July, 2014

IMG_0928

The shadow of Mont Saint-Michel on the salt marsh 9 July, 2014

The next day I spent the morning packing up to leave Rennes. I took the train back to Paris for one last night. I walked down the Champs-Élysées, and I found a place nearby for dinner. I had one last  galette (a thick, buckwheat crêpe – crispier than the one I had in Rennes), and a cup of chocolat chaud for dessert. The next morning I began my travels back to the States.

IMG_0973

Moi et L’Arc de Triomphe 10 July, 2014

I didn’t cry when I got back on that plane… I thought I might.

So now I’m home. I’m chilling with my pup and my cat. I gave my final exam to both sections of my class this morning. I’m still jet lagged. I have a scholarship application I should be working on, but I wanted to write about this first.

I want to go back.

IMG_0957

The full moon over La Vilaine in Rennes 9 July, 2014

À bientôt, France.

Comments Off on Chez Moi Encore

Filed under School, Travels

Comments are closed.