I've made it my quest since starting work here at the library, to catch up on all the things that Polly did with you before I was here. I read little brochures she made up, all of the blog before I took over, entries from contests, letters to teachers, and so forth.
I looked through the Murderous Melodrama, I tried my hand at a magazine bowl (at home, just for fun, and it failed, horribly, due to the wrong type of glue), and I used all of this to help in my brainstorming for new things that we can do together.
And I have read, read, read--so many of the books upstairs that you wouldn't believe. This is in addition to all the ones I'd read before. I love that kind of reading. You have a list, get started, and by the end you've finished the lot.
Not that I'm there yet...
So I decided to prioritize the reading list, and today I finished Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
Having been to most of the places Ginny visited (and a few more) I can tell you that she had a nice first trip. Going through Europe alone is not something I advise, ever, because the language barrier alone is depressing, especially in conjunction with the immense feeling of dread and terror one gets when you realize everything you own in Country X is in your bag, in your hand, and you may as well be a refugee.
As for London--Harrods is not my idea of a good time. I didn't meet Richard, though, so it could have been better. I bought a lovely piece of cheesecake with a dollop of custard on the top and a perfect, immense, red raspberry right on the top and took it outside because there was no place to eat in the huge market. And there were too many people to eat around, even if I had wanted to. And then there was the seafood market, stinking up the place in a way landlubbers like me are unused to.
So I sat down with my raspberry cheesecake and it hit the dirt almost instantly. My perfect, wonderful cheesecake. What did I do, you ask? I burst into tears. Not because of the cheesecake, because of the raspberry, burst on the dusty English ground in front of me.
And my mom, who was with me on that trip, picked the cheesecake up surgically removed the top layer and part of each side, and we ate it.
Just like that. And I told her about the perfect raspberry, and she said it was fine, because a squirrel or bird would come and snatch it up, and enjoy our treat with us. After that, she famously said, "Laura, I'll always be there to scrape the dirt off your custard."
And that is why you should always travel with friends.
In Italy I famously stemmed the tides of a flood spreading out over the marble floors in one of my hotel rooms, using all our paper-thin towels to keep water from taking over the bedroom, as one of my four roommates cried about how the trip was not what she'd wanted it to be, with all the flooding bathrooms and Europeans.
And I, clad only in a towel from the bathroom as I tried to save her belongings from water damage, laughed at her and told her to grow up, and tossed her another towel.
This was after, of course, I came about a foot from falling off an Alp. One of the French Alps, in case you were wondering. All because those Romans didn't clean up after themselves, and marble is slippery when wet (see hotel, above).
Everyone picks up tragedies like that when they travel abroad, tragedies you should never try to avoid, because they will happen no matter what you do. And you should all travel, especially in college. There will never be an easier time for you to pull it off. Besides, some schools will actually help you pay for it.
Visit this place.
And that's a good thing. We should all have an international experience so that we know, in addition to what we think of France, what France thinks of us.
For the record, here's the mountain I almost fell from, to my death, and my friend Jaren who tackled me to save my pathetic life. Thanks again, Jaren!