Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Punky Tunester

la crête: mohawk

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's . . . no wait, it's just a plane. But it's also SUPERMOLLY! Because she's INSIDE the plane! (Because unlike most super heroes, Supermolly doesn't have the gift of flight, or speed, or invisible planes. And she'd thank you to stop bugging her about it. It's a terrible inconvenience.)

But perhaps Supermolly is also in the plane because she officially bought her ticket home! So the ticking time bomb has been set to 31 days and some hours. Supermolly can't remember exactly right now. But it's probably okay. I mean when do ticking time bombs go down to the final seconds anyway? That never happens.

D-DAY: May 26th
Destination: Nashville
Via: Madrid & Dallas
Time: 20 hours
All: smiles :)

Also, in keeping with the superhero theme, I've recently discovered I have an alterego, Molly Fessler, and she's a card-carrying member of the underground punk scene of Nice, France.

Let me explain.

On Thursday night, our plans to wreak havoc on the quiz night crowd at MaNolans quickly derailed, crashing uncontrollably into an uncharacteristically clean alleyway basement punk show. (Adrien had a friend who was playing drums in one of the bands.)

I'll start off by saying I thought I knew what punk was, and I was mistaken.

Punk is loud.
Punk is thumpy.
Punk is wrought with angst and sweaty mosh-pits.

In order to get in, we had to get a membership card. My card was made out to Molly Fessler. It's good for a year.

Emily and I quickly noticed how out of place we were. My dress was just a little too flowery and my hair a little too braidy for this cave of black-jeaned, purple-haired ruffians who probably wouldn't ever use a word like "ruffian" (or the French equivalent).

I was also expecting it to be a LOT more crowded than it was. Maybe 25 people tops at the beginning. But then I thought about it for a minute. How big could the punk scene in Nice POSSIBLY be? And then I looked around again and was shocked that there were actually 25 people there.

The first band to play (and ultimately the only one I saw) was pretty much exactly what I should have expected. Long-haired guitarist, slightly heftier bassist, and a crazy drummer who took his shirt off halfway through.

The only part of the show that I found tolerable was the one song where they yodeled. I don't know if that's typical for punk music, but I do love a good yodel.

In the small area right in front of the band, there formed a mosh-pit, shove-y and violent, as mosh-pits are wont to be. But I had a hard time focusing on the mosh-pit, as almost all of my attention was drawn elsewhere.

The mohawk.
More than a foot tall.
It defied social norms and physics.
I felt inspired. By the mohawk. And the Shakespirit that visits when I've been alone for too long.

Shall I compare thee to a mohawk?
Thou art more lovely and more permanent
Rough winds do shake hair buds not yet mohawked
And hair gel's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the straightener doth press
And oft is his red complexion dimm'd
And every hair from hair sometime too stressed
By chance or having left too long untrimm'd
But thy eternal color shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that hair thou holdst
Nor shall Death Metal sag the precipice hair-sprayed
When in vertical lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, no breath will squash it
So long lives this, the mohawk in the mosh-pit.


Though the mohawk made a fighting case, we did end up ditching the punky tunesters after the first set (leaving Adrien to support his drumming friend alone).

Then me, Emily, and her two French friends went to a gelateria, ate there, then to a café, ordered drinks, and sat outside, playing it super French.

It was very pleasant.

All in all a nice way to round out a somewhat unorthodox evening.


Also, before going to the punk show, I met up at Emily's place for dinner and such. Our friend Agnes cut Em's bangs before we left.

Mustachioed friends are the best kind of friends.



I just bought a plane ticket to go to SALZBURG!!! In AUSTRIA!!!!

Thanks to the wise guidance of a certain older sister, I was notified that there is a certain guided tour of the set and scenery from a certain famous musical concerning a certain Von Trapp family.

You guys . . . for 3 whole days after my exams, the hills will be alive with ME.

Get it.

So that will be coming later.

Until then, I will be soaking up these B-E-A-utiful riviera rays. Hoping to get a base tan. Hoping to circumvent melanoma. It's a delicate balance. And a crap-ton of sunscreen.

It's the home stretch. Let's do this.

Amitiés :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Brief History of Time . . .

mon coeur: my heart

Wussup, internet people?

I have fanTAStic news! I applied back in February for the Resident Counselor position at Governor's School for International Studies (which I attended back in high school), and I just found out yesterday that I GOT THE JOB!!! It's 5 weeks at the University of Memphis!

I am so freaking excited! I figured this summer would be the best time for me to do it, because, after spending 9 months overseas, I will literally never be more prepared for the job than I am right now. It's international studies, guys. International.

So yeah! Super excited. I might even go so far as to say super duper excited.


So this was the last week of classes, which is also super awesome. And even though it's only Wednesday, I can say "was the last week of classes" because I don't have class on Thursday OR Friday! So it's the start of our Reading Week before the 3 week exam period to follow. For me, though, even though I took 7 classes, I only have 3 exams! (Since my other classes already did all the testing and essay writing and brain exploding this week.)

SO! Right now I'm a happier camper, a chipperer camper.


The past few days/week-ish, when I haven't been studying or writing essays or sleeping, I've spent some time hanging with my Canadians; lounging about, drinking balcony wine, and discussing theories of quantum physics and chaos theory mixed with a Sartre-influenced look at existentialism.

Most of the evenings end with joyous laughter and wonderful company, but one particular evening yielded something a little more substantial, a little more concrete, a lot more catchy.

Instead of telling you, why don't I just show you:

This song was totally improvised. The first time they sang it. Then about 17 tries later we got this little beauty.

So here's to Josh and Adrien. One day you'll be youtube famous, and I can say with an old-timey radio businessman voice "This is where you got your start, see. Gonna be big big stars one day! Gonna get your own picture show!"

That is my vision for the future.


Since I've been fairly busy with school, not much else has happened. But I recently came across several pictures from my phone and camera that didn't ever make it to the blogosphere. Fortunately for you, I feel they're worth sharing.

Fetch me my time turner!

We're about to get real nostalgic, y'all.

So when I first arrived in Nice, Helen and I explored a bit of the city, markets included. (Eat, Pray, Love)

I don't need to explain myself.

He doesn't call it posing. He calls it standing with STYLE.

Gringotts is in the building!
Or. . . Gringotts is the buiding.

Soon after arriving, classes started. Funny thing about the Fac. de Lettres, they don't have toilet seats. (Lost in Translation)

I feel like it's looking at me . . . angrily.

Remember that time I went crazy and killed an entire megalopolis of flies that had invaded my room uninvited? Though I risk you thinking this is gross, I just have to post this picture. (The Fly)

After the massacre . . .

Then there was the time I hiked all the way down a mountain in sandals cos I was looking for the bus stop. (Little Miss Sunshine)

This was the English group that passed me. So much gear.
I was well underprepared.

Later Helen and I made our way to Cannes, a thoroughly underwhelming city with fancy wall art and big dreams, but that about covers it. Here is a more savory taste of the movie-themed art we encountered. (Creature From the Black Lagoon)

I got a wonderful care package from my friends back home. This is Prince Charmander. He kept me company during the quieter times.

Then there was that time in the amphitheater when the gods of theatrical excellence poured their golden water of thespianism upon my tender head. Turns out there are so many pictures I didn't publish. (The Princess Diaries)

Pretty soonish after that Helen and I made our way to Grasse, the perfume capital of the world (I think). But I never got around to posting anything about it since I scooted off to the UK and lost all interest in smelling good things. So here are some pictures. It was pleasant. Rainy but pleasant.

At our hostel in Dublin, the stairs were really obnoxious. (The Holiday)

Saint Paul de Vence had creepy future toilets that clean themselves. (Contagion)

I also started cooking really awesomely, trying my hand at some typical French cuisine or literally anything over pasta.

La Salade Niçoise

Un Croque Monsieur (essentially)

Fancy pasta

Remember when my mom and Amy came to visit over Christmas? While sitting in a train station, we spotted a man who had recently gotten hair plugs taken from the back of his head and moved to the top. So naturally I took a picture. (Passport to Paris)

It's called crop rotation, guys. Don't judge. This is science.

The Geneva trashcans make a return appearance. (Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome)

"We're dirty and we don't wanna beee . . ."

Here's a secret: when I was having trouble finding people to travel with for spring break, in addition to asking around to see who else was traveling (which was probably the more reasonable of my actions) I also began crafting a PSA for myself. It was to be hosted by Sarah McLachlan, and it would feature Molly, the sad sad little exchange student suffering from bouts of cabin fever and loneliness. Though the PSA never reached completion, I did get about halfway finished before spring break plans were ultimately hatched with my Canadians. Let's just be happy it didn't come to this.

Now, you may be tempted to switch to another blog post,
and I know the majority of you will. Because who cares?
She's not your child, why should you care?

At the flower battle, we felt like veritable queens with our giant floral arrangements. Niks must have a distant royal bloodline, cos she took to it real fast. (Happiness is a warm run)

Mooore grapes, fair Nikita?

Our hostel in Lisbon was the cutest one yet. And their sense of humor was excellent. Very high brow. (Não falo português)

On the door of every locker

Some more from Cabo da Roca

Emily and I attempted to recreate a meal we had in Madrid. We were über successful. Round 2 is tomorrow night, y'all. (No hablo ethpañol)

One day, a wrong turn down an unfamiliar street yielded more than I was prepared to handle.

There's a snake on my boot!

These roller blading guys recently came out of hybernation, and they compete and do tricks on the promenade every single day. It's fun to watch while I'm running.

This morning when I came out of class, I noticed a door to my right. This door is not meant for thru-traffic, so there are signs all over it saying "Do not enter" "Don't open me" yadda yadda yadda. But there was one sign that caught my eye. It was super French.

The emergency stairs are reserved strictly for one purpose.
For smoking.

(And there are ALWAYS people out there smoking during breaks. So you know the sign is working.)


Well that was a fun little journey, wasn't it? I have a little over a month left here. And I'm starting to feel it.

Here's to making it count.

Amitiés :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zip Zap Zop

I need a bike to avoid insanity: J'ai besoin d'un vélo pour eviter la folie.

This past Saturday was a momentous occasion. It was, wands at the ready, officially the most fun I've had in Nice since I arrived. That's high praise, I know.

Okay so technically we weren't in Nice, but a 30 minute bus ride doesn't really count as traveling, so, for our purposes here, yes, the fun was had in Nice.

Let's take a look back, shall we?

For le mood

The day was April 7th. A Saturday morning. Early. I awoke, in a daze, unsure of my surroundings, as I had spent the night on Adrien's couch after a Canadian get-together the night before had stretched into the wee hours of the morning, inciting concern in my lovely Canadians' hearts and preventing them from thrusting a poor, defenseless, incredibly vulnerable American out into the merciless night where danger literally lurks in every shadowy alleyway lit only by a blinking "No Vacancy" sign and the heartbeat of a hooker's cigarette.

After we said our good mornings and good byes, I returned to my domicile. If only for a moment.

I received a text message that afternoon, "Zipline at 315. Come over asap." 8 minutes later, another message, "And when I mean asap, I mean in less than 20 minutes (last bus leaves then)."

What this message fails to mention is that I was, at that moment, sprawled haphazardly on my bed in my comfiest home clothes, no closer to the promenade than the train creeping out of the station, destination Ventimiglia.

I threw on my sportiest clothes. Then turned to leave. But my key. She was gone. I knew I hadn't much time. I began thrashing about my room. Panic stricken. Heaving the clutter left and right, flailing my arms, bed sheets, and foodstuffs.
7 minutes later, I was in the hall, door locked firmly behind me.

And I ran.

I ran all the way down to the promenade.


Okay, I'm film-noired out. You? Let us continue.

So we took the bus about 30-40 minutes outside the "city," but, after some confusion, we got off 2 stops too late. Some were annoyed. I just found it hilarious. So we formed a single-file line, and backtracked our path, hugging the barrier to avoid oncoming traffic. This song was rightfully stuck in my head.

As was this one.

But we finally got to our destination.

After a 2 kilometer bike ride down a dirt path, over the river and through the woods that reminded me nostalgically of Radnor Lake, through some giant mud puddles that reminded me of the Kilimanjaro Safari, we arrived.

The ropes course.

We dismounted our bikes and beheld the wondrous sight of rope ladders, cables, and carabiners, stretched across the canopy of trees looming overhead. It was glorious.

After a brief instructional demonstration, we were left to our own devices and began ascending one by one up the rope ladder, for a level-2 difficulty day of fun.

It was SO MUCH FUN. I can't even express it enough. I felt like a spider monkey, zipping through the trees, dangling from vines, swinging from platform to platform without a sense that we were a lot of meters above the ground.

And it was great because it actually required that I use every ounce of strength I could muster and then a little bit more. I was challenged, but in a good way. A fun way.

Chas, this is a great picture of you, and Imma let you finish,
but I don't know if you noticed us in the background.
We're literally hanging out on the side of the wall.

On one of the zip lines, the longest one that went over the river, Niks missed the landing platform and flew back down the line like a sad little pendulum. Nikita: the only one who had to get rescued by a professional.

Speaking of rescuing people, I totally saved someone's life.

There was one level where you had to go across a chasm using only vertical logs suspended by cables.

Danger, Will Robinson

Steph was in front of me. And her harness got tangled on the logs, and she couldn't move forward. So she tried returning to the platform, but her strength gave out. So you know what I did? I sprang into action, relocating my carabiner, and, crouching down, I literally lifted her to safety. Out of the air. I lifted her out of the air.

But I'm no hero. All in a day's work, my friends. All in a day's work.

When we were done, the exhaustion was palpable.

My muscles were Jello, my arms like spaghetti, and my extremities covered with bruises like a 2 week old banana. I looked like I had been physically assaulted. But I didn't care. I was in my happy place. And the bike ride back to the camp was so wonderful, I would have ridden all the way back to Nice if stealing other people's things wasn't a felony.

I think Adrien summed it up best, on the ride back: "You know in French movies when they bike through the countryside? That's what this feels like."

Yes, Adrien. It feels exactly like that.

Amitiés :)

UPDATE: Photos courtesy of Nikita.
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