Michael Hodge ‘13 – There are certain aspects of the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald that I understand now more than I did before. Everything in Paris and Nice has been so interesting, yet it all has a price. Usually, I cannot afford that price. Yet I only live once, and I will never be able to relive the experience that I am having. So I have usually gone for it, making rash purchases that I would not have made back home. As a result, looking at my current finances on the last day of the trip, I have realized that I have spent much more money than I intended. However, I regret none of the purchases that I have made because they usually had an experience attached to them that made them worth it. From splurging on langostines at one of the most interesting seafood restaurants that I have ever encountered to impulsively buying a Xoos shirt simply because I could, the experiences that I have had have been well worth the cost.
Losing my passport is definitely an expense that, although I do not necessarily regret it, provided a jolt of terror that added an air of horror to the first day of the trip. Yes, I managed to lose my passport immediately after arriving in Paris. As soon as I got off of the first metro that we rode on, everyone went through the turnstiles to proceed to the next destination; everyone but me. As I frantically searched my pockets for my metro pass (another casualty of exhaustion-induced spree of losing important items), I pulled out my passport to see if I had put my metro pass in there. There are many theories about what happened to my passport afterward, ranging from the believable the ridiculous, 99 percent being of my own design. The prevailing theory is that I dropped it in my search for my metro pass. It is also the most rational theory (considering the fact that several theories involve gypsies and black magic).
Only after losing my passport and battling a language barrier was I able to successfully rejoin the rest of my group. Although this experience completely terrified me (as Ethan can attest to), it made me appreciate the first few days of the trip more than I would have otherwise. As we viewed the first few sights of Paris, ranging from the market to the Pompidou, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself to enjoy every sight as much as possible. I also reminded myself to memorize some locations, because without a passport, I might get to enjoy the luxurious lifestyle of a Parisian hobo while never having to return to the United States.
Through my time here, I have gotten to see a different culture than my own. From their simple interactions to how early their nights end, I have appreciated what I have seen of France. Although some of the memories I will take from this trip had a cost attached to them, they were well worth it. Despite the brevity of the trip and the immensity of the language barrier, my experience in France has been overwhelmingly positive and I will never forget it.