Hello Handstand Followers. Yes, Big Papi here helping out Gobblegee as she counts down the days for her semester abroad. I wanted to have her focus completely on having a good time with Emilie, et al (in what looks like continuous rain for the next week) and not have the pressure of publishing her daily exploits in Southern France.
In keeping with her tried and true format of numbering her observations or insights, I will do the same on the topic of “Parents of a Student in a Semester Abroad Program: Things We Didn’t Think About.”
1. When Kelsey left for Paris, I thought we would hear from her on weekends or every so often, and I fretted about whether we would know how well/poorly she was handling the experience. It turned out that we’ve heard from Kelsey almost everyday…thank goodness for the internet phone in her room. Otherwise, AT&T would be killing a few extra trees for our billing statement! Don’t get me wrong, we love hearing from her (although most of the calls were to the homefront with Maria) but it has certainly been more frequent than when she was in Santa Cruz. And that’s been a good thing…we (probably mostly me) have felt better knowing how she was doing day to day.
2. Wow, how many countries can you fly to in a 16 week period? I must admit, before Kelsey left I downloaded the Eurotrain app to my iPhone figuring I (the one who makes all the travel arrangements for la familie Krasnigor) would need it to help Kelsey navigate to a couple of places in Europe. Well to my surprise (and I’m very proud of her) she managed to make flight reservations, not trains, to most of her destinations within a couple of weeks of her arrival in Paris! Shows how “ancient” I’ve become given flights have gotten much cheaper than years gone by when trains were cheaper! When I asked Kelsey for a list of places she was going I didn’t know whether to be jealous or amazed or both…I knew I was exhausted just to hear about all the places she would be visiting. What an awesome experience.
3. Food. Need I say more? Gobblegee in Paris became a larger than life affair…I knew that she and her roomate would have a kitchenette (based on the brochure and her choice of a double room) and I also recall reading about a “cafeteria” in the general vicinity of her school. So I figured from a food standpoint she would probably get by eating when she was at school (like Santa Cruz) in the cafe every now and then and maybe a microwave meal or two in her dorm…what a surprise when we saw the Rolli bag in its full red glory! It’s been a foodie excursion ever since…cudos to Kelsey for making her minimal kitchen work and for all the cooking she’s done! Its nice to know the Krasnigor family has helped the farmers/Marche` in Paris/France maintain a high quality of living with Kelsey in town. Felicitations!
4. Having lived in Germany for five years as a teenager, I could only relate to Kelsey some of the more “European” differences on a general level, i.e. they go to the food market more often, they love the outdoors, gas is expensive, the Euro is expensive, the Germans don’t like the French, the French don’t like non-French, the weather typically sucks, and yes, you must either smoke and/or drink, preferably both, when you are out and about in the big cities. But Kelsey has definitely expereienced a more in-depth, first hand view of life as a Parisian and its been awesome. Through the power of Handstands, we’ve all been able to learn more about the world of Paris through her eyes, a great and really neat (I know corney) ride! It makes me want to go to these places and continue the experience and become more immersed in the culture.
5. Lastly for today, where are the Handstands? When I first learned and read about this blog, I imagined multiple location shots of Kelsey demonstrating her physical ability to “handstand” (commonly performed during Crossfit WODs) with cute quips about where she was and the reactions she’s gotten. Subsequently I realize she’s creatively used this term as a metaphor for her curtural immersion and observations to deliver a granular yet lucid literary ode to living and surviving in Paris amongst the natives while expanding her educational horizons and emotional fortitude.
Yep, I just said that…anyways…Au revoir pour l’instant! (Thank you, Google Translate!) keith/dad