Sunday, July 13, 2003

Day after day I'm more confused
And I look for the light through the pourin' rain
You know thats a game that I'd hate to loose
And I'm feelin' the strain
Ain't it a shame?

Oh, gimme the Beach Boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock n' roll and drift away
Oh, gimme the Beach Boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock n' roll and drift away

Dobie Gray, Drift Away (recently covered by Uncle Kracker)

The last week in Strasbourg was a blur of classes, tours and - rain. Finally, after more than five weeks in Europe, we had rain. Somehow, it didn't dampen our spirits one whit. Instead, it lifted them, since the rain meant cooler temperatures, especially at night, and, given the fact that among CIARUS' many faults there was no air conditioning, that meant comfortable sleeping weather for all. Except Tim.

One of the planned 'events' was a picnic with the students of Nottingham Trent Law School. We met them in the large park across from the Council of Europe on Monday evening, 'round 7. It had spent the good part of the morning raining, to the extent that Dean Jean had made contingency plans should it continue to do so. But in the early afternoon, the rain stopped, even though it threatened to start up again all day. At around six-thirty, myself and about six others decided to walk to the park, even though it was quite a distance away. Sure enough, about two-thirds of the way there, the drizzling began anew. Fortunately, Dean Jean and the Nottingham faculty found a covered place from which to serve the food (cold cuts, bread, etc.) and we were all able to enjoy a simple meal, even if the beer was warm. Presently, a football/soccer match developed, with the Brits against the Americans (helped out by a couple of Brits who crossed over to balance the sides). During the match, the skies (which had stopped raining) opened up, and a downpour drenched us all. But that didn't dampen our spirits; we played on, with several of us (me included) going barefoot in the grass to maintain traction. Tim, the most athletic of the US guys, didn't; he played on with his crosstrainers. Eventually, the rain stopped, but the ground, now drenched, was still slick. And that's when it happened. An errant pass by a teammate sent the ball heading alone for the out-of-bounds. Willis, easily more liked by the Brits than his fellow American students, raced toward it for the British team. Tim raced toward it for ours. Tim easily outpaced Willis, and tried to stop to make the pass and.....slipped. He fell backwards, landing on both hands, but his left hit first, and the wrist snapped like a twig.

Needless to say, our match ended then and there, with Tim being driven to the hospital by Dean Jean. What happened next has become the stories of legend: first Dean Jean got lost on the way (thank God it wasn't serious!), then, once Tim had been seen at one hospital and sent to another for treatment, she nearly made things worse when she tried to take a comparison photo of Tim's wrists. Fortunately, Professor Geraghty stepped in and stopped her. Tim finally arrived back at CIARUS at 1:00a.m., with a cast up to his elbow that he still wears.

We spent the next four evenings partying with our newfound friends, and a couple of their girls (birds, if you will) fancied a couple of our guys (and vice versa, but not the same guys who were the object of the British girl's affections). It made for, as they would say, a jolly bit of fun, and several promised to come visit us in Oxford. We'll see.

Thursday saw our last class in Strasbourg, and Friday, July 4th, was ours to do with as we liked. I decided to head with Blake, Greg K, Tim, John, Bridget, Kathy and Art to a city nearby to which I'd never been (but have been wanting to visit for five years) and which would provide a lifetime of memories in forty-eight hours. Paris.

But you'll have to wait for that....

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