E! True Europe Story

I am home. It didn’t really occur to me to post anything about arriving safely until everyone messaged me to make sure I was okay. That was precious. I am fine. I’m currently snowed in at my mom’s house in Cedar Rapids with flannel sheets, brand new pajamas, cable, three bottles of German wine, lots of chocolate and Fiber One. Just kidding about that last one (well, not really. I love Fiber One.)

I am working on a feature. Its called E! True Europe Story: The details you never knew you wanted to know. Here’s a preview.

In Rome, due to the train strike, we had to purchase “tickets” from a private shuttle that supposedly ran from the airport to our hotel and back. When the “shuttle” arrived, it turned out to be a mobster-like town car, and a bulky man in a pinstripe suit with a big mole on his face got out of the car, adjusted his tie and introduced himself as our “driver” in a scraggly mobster voice. Elaine and I looked at each other and slid into the back seat. I thought we were going to be cemented and thrown into the river. But then he pulled onto the interstate and began singing along to Nora Jones “Sunrise” and I realized things were going to be okay.

Again, thanks to the train strike, the only transportation option in Paris was to ride one of those open-air hop-on-hop-off tour busses. So we rounded up every layer of clothing, hat and scarf we could find and sat atop a tour bus in 20-degree weather with the wind blowing through our hair until we could no longer feel our extremities, and then we went home. This means in the same month I experienced 100-degree temperatures with 100% humidity in the middle of a rainforest, and a tour bus induced wind-chill factor of below freezing in the middle of Europe. Now my body won’t regulate properly. I run naked in the snow and sleep in the fireplace. That’s a lie, but seriously, folks, there is some truth to not jumping in the pool after you get out of the hot tub. It’s just not right.

When I began to recognize flight attendants and getting a, “hello, how are you?” I did the math. I have been on 24 planes in 2 months and all on the same airline. It occurred to me yesterday that maybe I should have joined some kind of mileage program. Just in case you don’t believe me, I have listed them below for your reading pleasure:

Indy to Houston
Houston to Belize City
Belize City to Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda to Belize City
Belize City to San Pedro
San Pedro to Belize City
Belize City to Houston
Houston to Indy
Cedar Rapids to Minneapolis
Minneapolis to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Nurnberg
Nurnberg to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Detroit
Detroit to Indy
Indy to Detroit
Detroit to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Nurnberg
Nurnberg to Paris
Paris to Nurnberg
Nurnberg to Rome
Rome to Nurnberg
Nurnberg to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Detroit
Detroit to Cedar Rapids

Who goes to a foreign country to find her aunt’s husband’s French father? You cannot imagine the communication circus we had in Marseille. From the second we arrived at the train station, which was packed, and I realized I had to find a man I hadn’t seen in a decade, who may or may not recognize me, and somehow communicate with him for an entire week, with one teeny-tiny French dictionary, I thought we might be doomed. Elaine is a good friend for braving the entire ordeal. Lucky for us, we’re all really good at charades. On the first day, when he told me we needed to leave the next morning at 9, it took 40 minutes of yawning, pretending to get out of bed and pointing at the clock to get him to understand I wanted him to wake me up at 8am. He understood that to mean I wanted to wake up EVERY morning at 8am, so he burst in our rooms every morning with a bell at ten till 8 until I found a translator to tell him to stop. Don’t even get me started on the conversation about my mom getting remarried and moving to Iowa…or my stand on spreadable meat.

Two words: douche and fahrt. As in “shower” in French and “exit” in German. I giggled through 2 entire countries.

*sidenote: they do not believe in showers. They believe in bathtubs with detachable hand nozzles and no shower curtain. What the? I could never wash my hair and wash myself during the same “douche”.

During an attempt to perform a spectacular stunt in Rome, which involved jumping up onto a headless statue and placing my face on top of his headless neck, I threw out my back and shattered my favorite sunglasses. It took about 15 attempts, and the ill-fated back and sunglass tragedy happened around jump number 11, but we eventually almost succeeded. The picture sequence is below. I had to sleep with a rolled-up towel under my back that night, and another one rolled up under my neck. It took about three days to regain full range of motion. All for a headless Rome stunt. You better check yourself…

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In Paris, the fashion was peacoats and knee-high boots. In Brooke, the fashion was warm and comfy, as in ski coat and tennies. Even though it took a year to save up for my 3-piece lime green unzippable Columbia coat, and my tennis shoes were Puma, I might as well have been a homeless bum. People threw coins at me, and I was like, “It’s a COLUMBIA for pete’s sake! And purple Pumas, from San Diego.” That must mean “welfare” and “soup kitchen” in French.

It was the day after Thanksgiving. The scene was the PX on post. The people involved were all middle-aged army wives and one store manager. 4pm: Sale on all Dooney and Bourke purses. Fight breaks out in front of the jewelry counter, purses everywhere, children trampled, two women down. Encore at 6pm: all Coach purses 75% off.

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4 thoughts on “E! True Europe Story”

  1. I am seriously resisting making a very dirty comment about bathtubs with detachable hand nozzles. But my love for them is probably best saved for the E! True Myllisa Story. I luv, luv, luv this entire concept (your E! True Europe Stories, not my trashy shower escapades). Keep it coming.

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  2. i am right there with you on the detachable shower head. whoever invented that was a woman, am i right?

    and who doesn’t love the word douche? we all know i do.

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  3. wait, you went to amsterdam…we need to talk! :)
    i would love love love to hear more about your trip….when you going to be back in indy? would love to get together girl!
    K

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  4. remember the cute guy up there at the palantine? yeah, and his MOM made me tell him about the vestal virgins! i didn’t really want to say the word “virgin” to him…..and you kept trying to get him to look at you. i think the headless statue/breaking your favorite sunglasses/getting laughs from everyone who walked by was a great way to forget that whole cute boy incident, don’t you?

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