So this past week has been an interesting week to say the very least. I started my third week of classes and again, I’m very blessed to have such wonderful teachers who are patient teaching classes that I want to take (minus grammar but that comes with the territory I suppose). One thing that was a little bit different from past weeks was that I started my service learning at a non-profit organisation. It’s very different from anything that we have in the United States, but I think it’s closest to an after-school program, that does a lot more. It was a different experience and I look forward to contributing more in the future.
Thursday night was an experience to say the least. We went to the Opera Bastille for my first ever professional opera experience! To see the Opera Aida by Verdi performed in one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, is something that I’ll never forget. It was largely unforgettable because of the reaction of the audience.
Aida takes place in Ancient Egypt. One of the main arguments a director must make is about the costumes and the setting. Should they be dressed like in the story, the time period in which it was written, or in today’s time? The director chose the latter of these options… and was very political. I won’t go into much detail, but the worst of it was when one of the main characters was singing the KKK walked on stage. People were not happy. At curtain call, the audience couldn’t have cheered louder for the the performers. However they booed louder than the refs making a call in favor of the Packers at Soldier Field. It was bad. Good experience though.
Friday and Saturday I was blessed with some visitors from Valpo who are studying on the Cambridge program: Grant, Lisa, Rachel, and Cat. We had a wonderful time and I finally was able to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower! It was amazing to me that we were so high up, I could barely recognize Notre Dame from the top, yet from the ground in front of it, Notre Dame towers over you. It was indescribable. One reason I find the tourist attractions very easy to spot and beautiful is because at night, everything that is important to the French are lit up at night; even The Eiffel Tower sparkles at the top of the hour on top of being lit up after dark. I suppose that’s why they call Paris The City of Lights!
On Saturday night we went to the Fete des Vendages. Found at Montmarte, this is a wine festival and a festival of love. Every year they have a brilliant firework show on the steps leading up to the famous basilica, Sacre Coeur, and although crowded (it was so crowded at one point, I moved ten yards and my feet didn’t touch the ground. I was carried by everyone around me because it was so densely packed!) we (accidentally) got some of the best seats in the house. Unfortunately, my computer is being stupid, so I can’t upload a little video of the fireworks, so here’s the crowd behind me. Mind you, this is a small portion of the actual crowd and it took us 40 minutes to get from about 20 yards from the stairs to the bottom of the stairs.
All-in-all it was a wonderful weekend, full of new adventures with some familiar Americans!