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[personal profile] wellownedbkup
i'm tired, but not nearly enough to go to sleep. dammit. so that means you get my better late than never "what i did for my summer vacation" post. you know, the one i've been promising for the better half of two weeks. ugh. such a procrastinator is i.

so. IT WAS KILLER. THE END.

hahah.

no, but seriously. so i got to louisville's airport at 6 for an 8 am flight. which was delayed until 10. which made me have to reschedule my connecting flight from detroit to jfk. which, hey. i had all day, so no worries. but it was uncomfortable. plus, detroit's like one big long terminal. so i strolled from one end to the other via moving sidewalks (i walked on them, people) and it took me the three hours i had as a layover. huzzah.

never buy water at jfk. 6 bucks for a bottle is OUTRAGEOUS.

so i met a bunch of folks off my tour on the flight. like, half the tour. :D 16 of us: 2 sets of married people, 2 single guys... and 10 single girls. i made buddies with the fun ones (angela and debbie, who were 36 and 44 respectively) which served me well. then there was a ridiculously long flight to paris. we got there sunday morning and saw paris via bus. got out in a couple of places for pictures, including under the eiffel tower. got accosted by pickpockets who didn't understand that poor black people (most of us there) have a second sense for beggars. got to have a french conversation with the bus driver to explain about beggars, which was awesome because he didn't speak english, so good practice. sadly, got rained on while my coat and umbrella were in my suitcase. :(

but paris was pretty! monday we went to the bethel in normandy (sorry it was such a quick tour since it was my first bethel visit ever) and was thrilled at how pretty it was. tons of flowers. saw about 200 butterflies hanging out on one bush. was quickly rushed from there (lame) to see monet's house and gardens in giverny. his house is adorable!! pink, with green shutters. and the kitchen and dining room are theme colors and open out to the garden with french doors. his garden's wild, a lot noisier than i expected. water garden was similarly noisy, but that was from too many people. wish i coulda taken pics in his house, but that's that. it's beautiful. i'd live there.

dropped folks off at the louvre (feet hurt, was tired, didn't feel like running to see like 5 pieces). ended up napping, then going to dinner in st. michel (near notre dame) with some young maghrebins. mussels are yummy, fyi. had a blast, saw debbie get the feely hand of doom from an overly friendly manager of the restaurant.

next day, went up to second level of the eiffel tower (top was closed by the time i got my ticket for the 14th celebration). scary, but beautiful. met cool people. visited with some new jersey friends of carolina (another 30 yr old on the trip) and ate at the same french joint. but also saw the streetside vendors at the green boxes. man, they sell tons of stuff.

next day, ridiculously early, caught a flight to berlin. drove through germany. saw trees, saw road. was disappointed. went to sleep. woke up for lunch at some lakeside pub/restaurant in the middle of nowhere. was pretty. went back to sleep until i got to poznan and the hotel. went back to sleep after figuring out that i was broke, but not before buying nutella. yum.

bus tour of city was fast. saw monuments to famous poet, famous uprisings of the city, famous churches (not that i'd heard of them). saw the old town. was impressed by town hall's clock, where two goats butt heads 12 times at noon. wish i coulda seen it. 4 mythological fountains at 4 corners of old market square. very lovely. also saw some bar getting its adverts by being framed by a giant... bra. brassiere. got pic that framed a saint statue with the bra. was amused, and also punch drunk.

went immediately to convention's 1st day (half day) and found there was no english section. at all. none. so sat in the french section. was proud because i could understand what happened, and also could translate. (found that when i got more sleep, i understood less. maybe there's good in having all my french classes happen when i'm brain weary.) was impressed with the number of people there, and the love. met lots of nice brothers and sisters who were proud of me for learning french and understanding it. they must have low opinions of americans on the whole.

stayed in the french section all weekend, though i ventured into the czech/slovak section and the large polish section in the breaks. found out the last assembly that they'd had in poznan was in the late 40s. had been under ban for near 50 years, so was a very special occasion to have the international brotherhood there. while in the french section, met very cute guys. same in the polish section. next time i will have more cards with my info on it to give out so i get more contact with folks. :D

all told, there were 10 countries who sent delegates. the attendance was 20,000. i wept at the end because i've never seen that kind of love before. honestly, 10 minutes or more of acapella singing because no one wanted to leave. banners with "stay in jehovah's love" and "love from your (insert nationality here) brothers" in all the different languages walking through the sections. they clapped for 5 minutes when everything was over. americans don't do that!!!

went the next day to warsaw and the polish bethel. much bigger than the french bethel, but man. self guided tour meant i got to poke around more and see other things. like the laundry where someone had to show their creativity with towels folded into a crab or an elephant and a rose and a dress shirt. TOO CUTE FOR WORDS. also, the dorms are small. very, very small.

the garden took the cake though. never saw anything like it. had a waterfall in it. you wouldn't believe it was next to a busy road (maybe a highway... sounded like that much traffic). saw daylilies as big as my hand. also got drenched because my umbrella and jacket were on the bus. again. :( but met some pleasant sisters from holland, including a little old one who didn't speak any english, but kept asking after me since i was stranded under a tree during the heavy part of the rain. god it was beautiful, though. i could live there. definitely made me feel like i knew what paradise would be like.

saw warsaw on a bus the next day. again, tons of statues and monuments. strange how america has no traditions, no old architecture, no culture to hold up and say it's theirs. not really. got to walk a little bit in the royal castle where there was thousands of pieces of art. never saw so much gilding in my life!! (shoulda gone to versailles while in paris, but went to the eiffel tower instead) 5 throne rooms. but beautiful. also saw where they rebuilt lots in the 50s after the nazis were kicked out. sad that so much could be lost because of greed and war.

also saw the ghetto heroes war memorial, a memorial park for frederic chopin, marie curie's family home, and a monument to the warsaw uprising. saddest ever was a plaque dedicated to the jews who were killed by a firing squad on the street between marie curie's home and the warsaw uprising monument (about half a mile from where the warsaw ghetto was). i don't remember how many, but what was heartrending was that you could still see where the bullets struck the wall. for the majority of a block. it broke me.

before we left, went to the old town and went shopping. met an english guy named tobias who was befuddled by me. he's from eastbourne. i was all like, "yeah? i been there. it was cool. wrong time of year, but cool. my folks know folks there." and he was all *jaw drop* "really? i don't know anyone who's been to eastbourne." and i'm like "yeah. been there. in like... february." and he kept REPEATING HIMSELF. LIKE... "REALLY? ENGLISH PEOPLE HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN THERE." and i'm like, "yeah. been there. resort town. lots of hotels. nice spot. by the by, i'm morghan, you are?" man, if i'd known he'd be around, i'd've kept a card handy. sadly, he was off to croatia with some aussies while i was heading to nyc. D: but i love skewing with people's minds. eastbourne's small. i'm sure i'll pop up at his hall and he'll be like "you. the american who knew about eastbourne. good to see you." i may even mock him and be all like "really? you know about america? i didn't know english people knew about america. really?"

went to nyc the next day (ish. was on a plane for most of the day, flying from warsaw to paris, then paris to nyc). was exhausted and suddenly broke, so didn't get to do as much as i wanted. did get schmoozily talked to by an albanian construction worker who was fixing my aunt's bathroom. he was all "you live here? how old are you? you work or in school?" while i was clearly watching a justice league marathon and he totes should've been painting. i laugh at his failed attempts to get a rise out of me. :D (he was kinda cute, though. but married, so that's a big no-no.)

when i did get out, saw the natural history museum. spent a little time in harlem and went to a picnic at riverside park. met cool folks who've clearly been through more than i have in life (like, between the three of them, they hit rock bottom, lower than dirt and about as far away from being a JW as you can get before coming back and being shining, stellar examples of JWhood... while i... did nothing...) and made contacts. also briefly walked through times square, got drenched near port authority (dammit!! foiled again because i DIDN'T HAVE MY RAINCOAT OR UMBRELLA), bemoaned my lack of funds and inability to go see a broadway show, and saw kids playing classical music on the subway. it was awesome.

then i came home, found out why i was broke, and then saw that i would be broke for yet another month before i finally got a paycheck.

but it was worth that and my frankenmonster shoes to get to see places i've never been to before. i've never seen love or beauty like i saw there. the friends said that even though they knew we couldn't understand what was going on, they were happy because they finally got to see that we are an international group. that no matter where you go, the love's the same. i heard about two sisters who didn't speak each others' languages talking through scriptures. something about how i always thank god for you in my prayers. you know, even though they'd never met, the love was there. it definitely made me even more sure that louisville is stagnant and i need to get out of here to do more.

i also can't wait to do it again!! this time i shall save before i ever apply so that when the letter comes to say "thanks, you're invited to go", i'll be ready and be able to pay whatever bills i have, plus have fun money left over when i get back. holler.

all my pics are on facebook. links were in the last post. some commentary next to them there. not lots cause i can't remember anything at all. ever.

Date: 2009-08-19 08:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ad-meliora.livejournal.com
oh my gosh i'm way too tired to read all that now...i'll have to come back to it.
but what's your facebook? i wanna see pics!

Date: 2009-08-19 11:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wellowned.livejournal.com
facebook.com/discursive

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