Constant Psi
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Constant Psi

a very belated rendition of week two+wine tasting with a german business man that wore crocs

yike-os. it’s been awhile since i’ve written… what can i say? i figured i’d get busy, especially as the work load started to pick up the second week of classes (SCRY. i’m getting my midterm tomorrow in alex’s class so that ought to be interesting…), but i promise i’ll be more proactive about making time to write here because it’s important. ultimately, i’m writing for me. i don’t want to forget a single thing about my time here — none of the sights, sounds, tastes, or feelings i’ve lived, so really me posting this stuff is basically the equivalent of creating a largely uncensored journal for the whole world to read. but i digress…

so where did i last leave off? ahhh yes. pansy, josh, and i came home hella late last sunday night (although josh was even later since he fell asleep and ended up in the airport by accident on the way back…), i showered, sprinted through martha’s reading about the cultural differences in doing business across countries, and then fell sound sound asleep. luckily, we start class on 9:30 on mondays to allow an extra half hour of recovery time.

idk if i’ve mentioned it yet but our classroom is located on the fifth floor of cité. so it’s so easy to roll out of bed and roll up two flights of stairs to get to class. i’ve heard from some of the people that did duke in paris that the classes were taught at the obscenely early time of 7:15 at a random location that was a 45 minute bus ride away from where their dorms and i died just thinking about how awful that would be… so yes, very grateful for the close proximity of the knowledge dissemination zone. only thing to complain about is how fricken hot the classroom gets, even though we close the metal shutters to block sun and have all fans going. i went to a high school without air conditioning and i experienced the hell that was summer school, but this classroom is somehow infinitely times worse… plus, this upcoming week is supposed to be over 90 everyday so we shall see who survives.

anyways, we had class like normal this past week. we had a couple of quizzes, which i somehow was able to BS my way through to the extent that martha and alex could tell i did the reading (which i did…) but still sometimes teachers ask really obscure questions that are just really unnecessary and make you feel sad about the fact that you did all the work but just can’t remember i single thing especially when you read it so long ago [side note: literally the entirety of CHEM022]. my monday morning started with me desperately trying to remember Hofstede’s model of cultural differences and ended with me learning a whole lot of theory of economics on how a state transitions from predatory → market economy with rule of law that honestly kind of blows my mind (but maybe it’s just because i’ve never taken econ before). like regulatory competition isn’t quite what it sounds like but market really is only option. and even though i can’t agree with everything martin wolf says (especially because i guess i have some different views of inequality), on the whole the book we’ve been reading has taught me a lot [side note: i really should be reading chapter 13 of said book right now instead of writing this but…].

we had planned to have a BBQ on monday for dinner, along with a volleyball game, but then it stormed so we ended up having to divvy up the food in our kitchens and cook together inside instead of grilling outside. pros: free food provided by duke (we get one meal a week!). also, was exposed to merguez for the first time, which is some sort of lamb sausage that is really cheap but also really delicious. jake went for a run right before we all congregated in the lobby and decided that it was time to reuse his vodka bottle as a water bottle which is an image i still have in my head. cons: no one knows how to tell when merguez is done so i definitely ate raw meat. the indoor basketball court was full so we couldn’t sub beach volleyball with basketball (got your 7th grade starting travel pointguard ready to go right here :3). and lauren and i had to clean the grossest dish disposal ever after doing the dishes.

on tuesday, i woke up early and went for a run with ryan along the river. he’s naval rotc so like lowkey he helped me finish the run… then we came back and made eggs and an assortment of other breakfast foods together. i legit ate so much food, which ended up being a good thing because we left like 20 minutes after class ended for our field trip to the International Labor Office/Organization (ILO — and yes the O stands for two things in english, but in french there are two different acronyms) so i didn’t have time to eat lunch. we took the bus past the UN Palais des Nations, which made me really excited for wednesday’s field trip to the UN High Commission for Refugees… but i’ll hold that train of thought for now. back to the ILO, which is in charge of international labor arbitration, like unfair protections or worker’s rights/child labor concerns and the like. it has zero political power, but is a pretty successful pressure organization. like it whipped nike into shape. fun fact: it’s the UN’s only tripartite agency (governments, employers, workers). the building is built to reflect this with two wings and a top kind-of-overhang thing. anyways, they had a really cool carpet that started with the year the ILO was founded (which was 1919 in the Treaty of Versailles).

*DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO* unfortunately, i was really dumb and had brought my camera all the way to the ILO but left the battery behind still charging in my dorm room, so i took pictures on madeline’s camera instead but then awkwardly she didn’t send me all of them and i’m missing all the dope carpet photos so here is one i found on google images. i hope this suffices.

we went on a tour of the building, and then got to talk to a Duke alum that works there. unfortunately, she spent the majority of the time talking about law school and her law career so she didn’t get to finish her presentation which was more about NGO work (really what i’m most interested in), but still i left more informed on what the ILO is/does which was obviously the end goal. also, i won the battle against succumbing to sleep during emily’s talk/while our tour guide droned on and on for like 20+ minutes in each location we stopped at which was awk and unwanted… others were not so lucky.

afterwards, because we all had spent so much money the previous weekend, pansy, josh, phil, aditjya, ryan and i made an amalgamation of many things that we threw into pasta together, which turned out to be actually pretty good. we had chicken, some leftover merguez, linguine, pepper, tomato, onion, potato, spinach, seasoning, and olive oil and we did our best to be creative with it. [side note: legit very proud that i only spent like 50 euros last week feeding myself. yay for cost effectiveness! also- pretty proud that i economized and turned every piece of furniture in my room into a drying rack so i could wash all my laundry in the sink, solve my four hanger problem, and not deal with paying for the ludicrous laundromat downstairs that has dryers that only turn on for six minutes at a time.]

phil and ryan also insisted we’d buy wine for our “high class” meal.

on wednesday, after class we went to the Palais des Nations to visit the UN High Commission for Refugees which was more interesting/moving to be than the visit to the ILO. before we walked to the actual office of the UNHCR from our bus stop, alex took us on a slight detour to see the three-legged chair sculpture in front of the UN (supposed to signify the loss of limb by land mine) and gave us a brief history lesson of the genocide that took place in sreblinca — the anniversary of which only occurred the day before.

basically, we just sat in a room with someone who works for UNHCR and discussed the scale of current refugee problems and what it meant to be a refugee vs. internally displaced vs. stateless person (interestingly enough, alex was born stateless). fun fact though: the current secretary-general of the UN, António Guterres, was the previous commissioner for UNHCR so that’s pretty cool.

after the talk, summer and i rushed across the way back to the actual palace of nations to catch the 4 pm tour of the UN which i was dead set on making. of course, this resulted in us getting somewhat turned around when we ended up at a restaurant school, then the musée ariana, but eventually we found where we could enter the facility, got cleared through security, and made it to the building that the tour started at. even though the tour was whack — as in the guide just sprinted us around places and didn’t really talk all that much and couldn’t actually tell me what was currently going on in the geneva branch of the UN (second largest behind new york)— i found the visit to be the coolest thing i’d done so far in geneva (i’d be willing to bet that going to CERN will top it though… hahaha). they’re kind of out of order, but here are some pictures:

i don’t have pictures of it because we weren’t allowed to take pictures, but for the last 20 minutes of the tour we got to “sit in”/listen in from a room that looked out over on the room where the meeting of delegates on the current consultation on the expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples which was seriously the highlight. first off, i really wish i could’ve taken pictures of the sala de los derechos humanos y de la alianza de civilizaciones because the ceiling was this incredible multicolored stalactite sculpture and it was actually kind of psychedelic which seems hilariously out of place. second off, a lot of the delegates were like on their phones or just in general roaming about which was interesting to witness. it was really really amazing to see though, and also it explained the tibetan peaceful protest that was ongoing outside by the three-legged chair sculpture.

after our UN visit, summer and i headed back to cité. i probably worked on the simulation for a bit with my team/did other reading/homework and then went to bed. thursday was classes as usual. afterwards, the people going on the alps trip to chamonix had a meeting for a bit with alex and martha in which they highly recommended we brought hiking boots (in retrospect, they were 100% necessary) and discussed general travel logistics for how we were to rent vans from the airport to drive there. then, daniela, matthew, tyjair, and i rushed off to the bus station to catch a bus to lyon, france for the afternoon/evening.

it was a pretty last minute plan. like i’d found the tickets online for less than 12 euros both way and i was like score! especially because the bus had air conditioning and wifi. i was a little shocked. honestly even the trains here aren’t like that and i was thinking about how this was the bet 12 euros i’d spent in my life on the way there as i read a couple of chapters of how globalization works. little did i know what was to ensue on the way back… but we’ll get to that.

anyways, we got to lyon around 5 pm and walked around looking for a map for a bit. daniela asked the information desk at the station, but they misunderstood us and gave us a subway map. then, since matt had impeccable service (i had service too but for some reason whenever i opened my maps app to route us places the keyboard wouldn’t show but would be there somehow, but it made it pretty hard to type #anotherelectronicgonerogue), we just decided to start walking to one of the many locations i’d found online in my research of this third-largest city in france (not paris. fyi matt’s google searches reveal how he thought paris was a country for a bit which he keeps trying to put off as just because he was still in sleep mode after a map but he said it like three times so we all know otherwise).

first, we headed to parc de la tete d’or/the botanical gardens. honestly, public parks are so so much better in europe than in the united states. like this garden had these beautiful greenhouses and even more wonderful cacti/succulent exhibit and also a random enclosure with deer — might have also been a zoo tbh but who actually knows. we got banana nutella popsicles and slushies inside and then headed to the nearest convenience/grocery store/dare i say hypermarket :3 (simulation jokes sorry) to buy some rum because we needed some alc and everything is cheaper in france.

really hyped though because daniela is just as obsessed with cactii/succulents as i am. she even has a matching cactii phone case so friendship for real.

then, we continued on our merry way toward the river to see more of the architecture of the city and find some food in vieux lyon. we stopped at the museum for fine arts, cathedral saint jean baptiste, and saw some roman ruins on the way to a highly-acclaimed restaurant that i had found in my research for the trip. lyon was a pretty cool place to roam around. it exudes the sort of romantce that i guess i associate with europe… it was pretty funny though because i was looking up, marveling at the architecture, and whole “romance” of being there like wohoo we are all young but not in love and in europe, when i proceeded to walk into a tree. not surprised in the slightest :3 also, not going to lie, we were all disappointed that we didn’t get to take a picture with a lion statue in lyon [insert dj khaled watering his plants and “LIIION” statue here]. the only one we found was behind a fence so we couldn’t get to it #freethelyonlion.

we found the restaurant, called bouchon des les lyonnais, which was right below the basilica. everything is cheaper in france, so we ordered a pretty hefty meal — at least for me, it was to celebrate having spent only 45.50 to feed myself for three-meals a day for the past four days. matt and i both went with the 25 euro three-course option (lamb shank for me!), daniela had some local dish with wine, and tyjair got duck. so service in france is unbelievably slow… i mean, they want you to enjoy yourself which makes sense, and honestly america really rushes you to just ate and run off to wherever else you are going, but seriously this was hella slow. also our waiter was kind of just ridiculous. like tyjair asks for duck and then he’s like how do you want it done, monsieur? and tyjair’s like well-done please and then the waiter screamed “NO. NEVER.” which reminded me of how my kind of aggressively arrogant physics teacher would scream NO whenever any unsuspecting person got a question wrong. kind of funny though. he also made random gagging noises at one point when talking to one of the tables behind us and we all dissolved into laughter. also, at some point during the meal i went looking for a bathroom and ended up in the apartment complex next door. my incompetence led me downstairs, through the bar, wine cellar, and up to someone’s house???? then back into the restaurant. legit the bathroom was like two steps up the stairs. but typical me.

after i’d finished my unforgettable onion loaf and salad → lamb shank with veggies and potatos → financier’s cake, i had wanted to try to head up to see the view from the basilica (which was quite a climb) or go to see the theater of the three gauls/other ruins, but we decided we should probably head back since our bus was at 10:15 and it took like 50 minutes to get there and it was already like 9:10. we pretty much made a beeline for the bus station, but we found a cool fountain along the way and decided to walk through it, even though it was probably like 90% unacceptable for us to do that.

so we get to the bus stop. and this is when things got interesting… we find our bus, board it, and wait. like for 45 minutes. like our bus driver, who really definitely gave off vibes like he was in the mob, took an obnoxiously long smoke break and didn’t even leave lyon until 11. then, like 90 minutes later, he pulled over again to smoke for like 30 minutes. okay. this was only supposed to be a two and a half hour trip… this communist driver extended it for over an hour with his nicotine addiction. and his buddy was on the bus too and they kept smoking together and i was like hello??? language of time. let’s get a move on. i have to be up hella early to drive to chamonix tomorrow morning. and then of course things proceeded to get worse. not 15 minutes after his rest stop smoke extravaganza, we were stopped at the border and were checked for passports — not once, but twice (still unclear how this could be real as the border legit is open. like i’ve ran and biked past border control and they don’t give a damn about papers). it was hilarious though because the first time we got pulled over and border control came on, somehow a ukelele above tyjair’s seat was dislodged and hit his head with a dull twang. given the stress and the imminence of sleep deprivation, it was nice to laugh in the face of everything that was going wrong. also this entire time, the bus was going back and forth between either blasting symphony music or techno. so the contrast was greatly appreciated as well.

after the second check, our bus was pulled over for 45 minutes. nothing happened. then more border control people came on, hardcore profiled, and took a middle eastern looking man and an indian/maybe pakistani man off the bus to like rough them down or whatever. like 30 minutes later, they were back on. so it was totally just a quota thing, but seriously most obnoxious thing that ever happened ever. one of the woman got off the bus and yelled at the driver who was, you guessed it, calmly smoking by the side of the bus for the entire two hours we were stopped at the border… tensions were running high. but we eventually made it back to geneva at like 2:30 am — we were supposed to get in at 12:45. we were so late that the buses weren’t even running, so we had to uber back to our dorm. thus ended our bus ride from hell.

the next day, on like 4 hours of sleep i rolled on through to the airport to the rental car place where we split up into two vans and then drove up into the alps to the town of chamonix, which is also in france. i really liked zermatt better, but it’s a really cute hiking town. and we stayed in a place called a gite, which was cabin-y and sort of like a no-frills hotel so that was fun. a bunch of british people in their mid-20s worked there, and they had the most majestic dog i’d ever seen, named loki.

gite accomodations

we got there pretty early since it’s about an hour drive. i was in the car with alex and a professor from the duke law school, anthony weiner, who was joining us for the occasion. lizzy and i were the smallest and were therefore obligated to fold ourselves into the backseat of the car which was even tinier than most cars in america because europeans really try to economize on size. anyways, we dropped off our stuff at the gite in argentière (a village like 15 minutes outside of chamonix proper), went to the supermarket to buy supplies for lunch and then took the bus to la flégère to take a cable car up into the mountains to start our hike. unfortunately, lizzy is terrified of heights, but there was no getting out of taking the cable car to the top (unless you wanted to walk like 3 hours up the mountain…) so we all surrounded her so she couldn’t see out the windows and i kept feeding her these delicious M&M biscuits i’d bought at the grocery store because fear not only diminishes any adult rationality, but also permanently demotes you to childhood status.

when you’re afraid of heights but have to get up the mountain somehow???

we made it to the top, and were greeted by a lovely view of the alps, partially obscured by clouds. we had a photo shoot for like 50 minutes because we had no clue where the hell alex or jonathan were, but then it turned up they somehow got to the top on the cable car after us and then went straight to lac blanc because they thought we’d already left. yay for miscommunication! still very unclear how they missed the presence of like 15 obnoxious americans taking photos everywhere at the top of the cable car… even some rando 90 year old french lady joined one of our pictures totally not by accident which was hilarious. also still confused how neither martha nor alex have working phones in europe? (or maybe it was just no service?) but martha made matt call alex and he never responded. but we eventually found him and jonathan so i guess it’s alright.

disclaimer: this hike to lac blanc was not for the faint of heart. it’s a pretty famous hike, apparently. after we left base, we legit climbed so much altitude. like i was breathing so hard and wow so out of shape. like i’m pretty sure kyle looked at his fitbit and it said we went up something like 200 flights of stairs over the course of two and a half miles of straight scrambling over rocks. yeah… we definitely needed hiking boots. also, we only got to spend like five minutes when we got to the lake because we had to make the last cable car back down at five or would be stuck with another two hours once we got to base. so we rushed back down, and then disappointingly were back well before five so that kind of sucked… it was still a really beautiful hike though. also, on the bright side, the extra time at base meant i got to enjoy a lovely beer from the local brewery. mont blanc has a special variety made in chamonix — i went with the rousse which won some international beer awards or something.

we came back down the mountain and then reversed course back to the gite to shower/nap/read some of the 200 pages we were assigned to read for the weekend before dinner. the cool thing about a gite is that it really is family-style. like the employees, who all were super tight and super good friends, made us dinner. i thought potato salad was really gross before coming here, but i really really liked what they made us. besides the regular salad (which legit had salad flavored salad dressing lmao what) and potato salad, they barbecued chicken and burgers. i’ve never had a better burger in my entire life. like it was spiced differently, but in a good way. there was some sort of fresh herb in the meat that made it truly spectacular. also, had my first san pellegrino!

welcome to chamonix!

after dinner, a couple of us decided that we’d go venture into downtown chamonix to scope out the scene. also, it was bastille day so we wanted to see the fireworks. kyle was pretty much gung-ho set on finding a place to go out, or at least going to the casino… but it ended up being a pretty chill evening. we just wandered around, had ice cream, and saw the fireworks which lasted all of like 3 minutes. the town is pretty cute, but much more touristy than zermatt. there was a chanel and lacoste store so it’s kind of built up… we walked around a bit until we hit a place that sold crocs and then were like round it up, time to go back. lmao. then we all got really confused because there was this one building with really really realistic paintings of humans on it and we were low key creeped out because we thought it was a mannequin hotel but it was probably just the lighting… anyways, we headed back around 11. awkwardly, the night bus — operated as chamonuit> check that pun! — like barely runs and is apparently separate from regular daytime transport. so we had to pay to get there and back even though we had free bus transport passes. and we also ended up waiting for a long long time to get a ride the 5 miles back to argentière (pay attention to this fact it will be important later on…).

“it calls”
exploring :3

we got back and then some of us stayed downstairs to continue doing the assigned reading (see — mom and dad, i am doing work here!). then we went to bed, and got up for breakfast at 9 followed by another hike. this time along the ridge underneath mont blanc. the funny thing is… this entire trip was supposed to be about going to the alps to see mont blanc, but not going to lie: i still have no idea which mountain it is. no clue where the hell it was even though i’m positive we saw it.

this time we took a train up to the top with plans of taking the cable car down. when we got to our destination, summer, ryan, kyle, lizzy, and i decided we’d go down to the ice cave to see the glacier. law school professor jonathan decided he would come with us while alex and martha got coffee since they’d already been-there-done-that.

we took a cable car down into the valley and then walked down an obscene amount of staircases toward the glacier. it was really interesting though, because the entire time we were going down we kept passing markers that showed where the glacier had been in years past. really was an eye opener to see how much the glacier had receded in the last twenty years… legit, though: climate change is real. like anyone who says otherwise is a fool. and once we got to the bottom, just being inside the glacier was something i’ll never forget.

ice ice baby (now stop collaborate and listen :3)

we only stayed in the glacier for around 20 minutes, then we came back up and started our hike with the goal of finding somewhere beautiful to eat lunch (which once again, we’d picked up supplies from the grocery store for). it was another beautiful hike. i honestly think i preferred saturday’s hike to friday’s. it was longer but a lot less strenuous. also, i got to talk one-on-one with jonathan about what he does at the law school and about what i thought i was trying to get out of my undergraduate experience at penn. he was actually very encouraging of my whole international relations+hard science double major. really emphasized that just because the intersection between those two disciplines doesn’t exist right now, doesn’t have any bearing on it’s potential to exist in the future.

could this be mont blanc? the world may never know…

a little while before we reached the top, we took a brief detour to stop at a gite on the mountain that alex had told us served the best tarts in the world. ryan and i decided we’d give it a go and got both of the two available tarts: framboise and myrtilles. let’s just say, i was not disappointed by either the food or the view.

when we got to the top, it was actually pretty cloudy/maybe it was fog? anyways, we couldn’t really see a whole lot so we didn’t spend that much time up there. we took the cable car down and then the train back to argentière. showered before a delicious dinner of some beef dish i’d never had before but was hella fancy and then salmon with hollandaise sauce. i honestly wasn’t hungry after devouring massive quantities of tart, but when you put good free food in front of me, i’m not going to turn it down (also, i will eat like a baguette and a half…).

after dinner, we all went upstairs to read until 9:30 when we decided we’d start our pregame for going out/seeing argentière’s fireworks display for bastille day. i made it pretty far before the guys came in and made me forfeit finishing the chapter i was on even though i was only two pages away from finishing it. we drank some more of the special chamonix brewery beer and then also apple juice with rum, which was actually pretty good. props to kyle for being our resident frat boy (but also still not letting it go that he thought ginger beer was beer — “no. you’re totally wrong. i’ve gotten drunk off of ginger beer before”). lizzy had also bought kind of knock off versions of smirnoff ice, one of which was flavored “red” which ended up being the joke of the night because legit no one had ever tasted anything so red.

after we were all in a good place, we meandered down the road to the argentière square to see fireworks. they had music going too and not going to lie, even though argentière is smaller than chamonix, their fireworks display kicked chamonix’s butt (or maybe it was just cause it was my first time being mildly intoxicated while watching fireworks). we also saw semi-drunk martha which was great.

then, kyle, lizzy, and i ran off and tried to figure out how the bus worked to get to chamonix to check out, among other things, the pirate bar that one of the workers at our gite had told us about. unfortunately, we walked all the way to the bus stop before we realized that chamonuit was not running since it was past 11. so kyle threw another one of his drunk tantrums where he lambasted french people for all sorts of stuff. then he tried to call a cab company — “i need a cab. TODAY.” — because there was no uber anywhere near the vicinity (honestly, not surprised at all… we were in the mountains), but the company couldn’t accomodate eight people so we were sort of stuck because idk it sounded like a bad idea to walk five miles along a dark country road at night? and were like what the hell do we do in argentière… which is when the night really began because everyone else we were with decided to head back but kyle, ryan, summer, lizzy, and i made our way to the slalom bar and then another weird night of going out in europe ensued in which the boys got way too drunk (ryan’s dancing was seriously on point though), the dj had the most massive pit stains i’d ever seen, and we all danced with ben (one of the workers at our gite). we also had these weird rasta shots that were actually really tasty which is not how shots are supposed to be so like what… mango rum? cherry grenadine? vodka? i’m not really sure. all i know is that summer, lizzy, and i headed back early around 1 but then summer and i stayed up talking until the guys got back because we knew we’d have to take care of them… which inevitably we did. kyle couldn’t even open the door, which was low key hilarious because jonathan told us the next morning that he woke up around 2 and heard someone struggling with the door yell “RYAN!” (also i had to wake kyle up the next day because he was seriously KO-ed but that’s totally on him for proving his masculinity by out-drinking ben or whatever just keep the pitchers of beer coming for one man only). ryan was just something else. we made him drink water and then he offered some to summer and proceed to douse her with it. then he tried to say goodnight and just did this hilarious super effeminate flick of the wrist gesture that i’m never going to let go ever…

anyways, the next day was sunday so we all packed up and put our stuff in the cars, said goodbye to loki checked out, and went on our way to chamonix to just meander a little bit more and find lunch. no one had signed up to go rafting or paraponting so we all sort of just chilled in town for a few hours. me and a couple other people were dead-set on having fondue since it’s a lot cheaper to buy in france. so after some window shopping (i found a really cute shirt but it was like 100 euros and i’m sorry that amount could feed me for two weeks so no.), we pulled over and had fondue and waffles. also, we were gifted with random potatoes and four baguettes so i was very happy and very stuffed with carbs. then, i bought my first bottle of wine from a grocery store and we drove home.

so unlike my first weekend, i got back pretty early in the afternoon, around 3, which was nice because i still had a lot of reading to finish as well as some other trip stuff to plan like for berlin this upcoming weekend (scrying though because first got to get through a hell of a lot of reading and two essays for our midterm).

monday was class like usual, but then we got to go to europe’s Proctor & Gamble headquarters and talk to Christoph Arnett who is apparently pretty high up. it was really weird to me that out of all the places i’ve been so far — ILO, UN, UNHCR — the strictest place with photos with P&G, like i was yelled at almost immediately for taking a picture in the lobby. anyways, here is said picture. not like there was much to see in this place of business anyways…

the real part of this field trip was the wine tasting we did at christoph’s house afterwards :3 all-inclusive hahaha… we got on a bus to a tram that took us through sunflower fields and vineyards to france, and then we got off and wandered for a bit in the wrong direction before martha finally realized what was up and took us to the right house. then, everyone (martha included — alex was busy defending his disseration somewhere) got wine drunk on like 12 different varieties of wine (from legit all over the world. spain, france, somewhere in south america i can’t remember…), ate quiche and tomatos, and had a photo shoot in this guy’s wine cellar/backyard.

i didn’t learn all that much about wine (mostly cause i’m not really a fan but also because i wasn’t really paying attention since drunk people kept talking to me and i was definitely the most sober one there because halfway through i started just taking sips out of everyone’s glasses instead of having a full glass of every variety to myself… yes. there’s a reason why martha designated me as “most responsible” and gave me the directions to get home…), but i did learn that josh is legit a wine connoisseur like he knew the answer to every single question that christoph asked which was really impressive. tyjair and i just kept joking around the entire time about the poster christoph had that was like “hints of cinnamon”, “hints of bramble”, “notes of cherry and raspberry”… and i was like “dull twang of ukelele” and “BUTTER”. also i was kind of dying because i realized christoph was wearing crocs like halfway through and i was like this wine tasting thing is such a bougie thing to do and crocs just really don’t fit that image.

after everyone was pleasantly intoxicated, we went outside and had real food/a barbecue in which once again i ate an unspecified sort of sausage that actually tasted okay. tyjair started singing photograph by ed sheeran and it was really good and then all of a sudden we were all in full-blown singalong mode which was really cute. i seriously absolutely love everyone i’ve spent time with here…

around nine, it was time to leave so that we could catch the bus back to citè. daniela randomly was carrying a flower, but besides that and a couple of wine corks that people took, we didn’t cause any damage. christoph had been a super good host, and even though we didn’t get to meet his wife or dog, it’s always nice to visit a real home when you are living in a dorm.

well, that’s pretty much it. you are now up to date! i’m currently sitting in the university of geneva’s library with jamie about to start working on the midterm essays that alex just assigned. unfortunately it’s like hella hot here with zero AC, but we have wifi which we had to choose as more important over AC because the first place we went to, manora — the cafe on the top floor of the apartment store manor — had AC but no wifi… so yes. it is a very technologically dependent age.

au revoir for now!




Just Another Day in the Life of a Surrogate Duke Student

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