Emma June Grosskopf

I was talking to Rita Hott and a group of HHS kids to get a little bit of insight about their recent trip to Italy and Austria, and it was making me reminisce on my own time abroad in Paris after my freshman year of college.

Collectively, the HHS kids seemed impressed with the European food, and man, I get it.

The only meal that I had while I was in Paris that didn’t rock my world was a steak that I had for dinner one night. It was overcooked and tasted like a boot.

That was the night I had to cook for myself.

Naturally, because French people would rather start another revolution than overcook their meat. Oops.

The HHS students also talked about their struggles with a language barrier, and as someone who went to Paris thinking, “I am basically fluent, oui oui, ze French are lucky to have me,” I had a rude wake-up call. Shocking no one, I wasn’t actually God’s gift to Paris. I was lucky if I could string 3 words together some days.

Also, I’m sure it was cold over there when the high school students went, and, again, I feel that.

I went to Paris in May, and so I thought, “Ooh la la, spring in Paris, how very Claude Monet of me,” and so I packed dresses and skirts and other cutesy things, not knowing that once I got there, it would rain every single stinkin’ day.

To add to the chill, I had a crush on another student on the trip: Carlo. Carlo came unprepared and didn’t have an umbrella, so I gave mine to him. So he took it and I was left without an umbrella, in the cold.

Turns out the guy didn’t even like me, so how’s that for The City of Love? More like the City of No Love, No Carlo, No Umbrella and Hypothermia.

In a way though, I’m pretty sure that my 3-week-long academic trip to Paris foreshadowed my foray into Hampshire County and its culture, because the restaurant (let’s be real here: the bar) that I frequented the most while in the City of Lights was called “Le Cerf.”

Which, wouldn’t you guess it, means “the Deer.”

See? I was celebrating buck season before I knew it had a name. I was just doing it with a glass of wine (or 2) and a baguette instead of a rifle and an orange hat. Not to mention, a patient waiter that dealt with a rowdy, 19-year-old American girl who was determined to sample all of the wines on the menu. He was probably praising the Lord when he finally saw the last of me.

Little does he know, when I return to gay Paree, I will be seeking him out singularly to talk his ear off with my new-and-improved-as-a-college-grad French language skills.

As a language major, I am a huge proponent of the idea that we need to be more globally conscious and experience different cultures. Eat their gelato, drink their wine, complain about their public transportation and fake it ‘till you make it. It doesn’t matter if you’re in high school, college or well into your fully-formed adult life. The stories last a lifetime.

Everyone can always use another adventure, so if you can, make it happen, and bon voyage.

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