Thursday, November 17, 2011

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes ...

Dear France,

I'm just going to come out and say it. You stink. I don't mean you're a bad place to live. That's not it at all. I really don't mind the snooty French people. In fact, they aren't that snooty most of the time. Although, those that are snooty, they definitely have noses reaching for the stars. Aside from that, the people aren't so bad.

You see, what I mean by telling you that you stink is simply this, you have a lot of smells. I've been trying to go running on your streets. It's not easy. Okay, what smells am I talking about? You need to know, there are numerous odors that are inhabiting your streets. Those suped up bicycles, or suped down motorcycles that you have running around are doing something wrong. The exhaust is incredible, and it can't simply be the gasoline that you've got in the country. It's not that all cars are putting out this rancid exhaust. It's just these little mini-motos that you have running around. I'm not talking about the mobilettes either, those are adorable and french and put out soft scents of french bread and butter as they pass by...or at least that's what I imagine. Nope. I'm talking those cheap little motos that 16-22 year old boys who don't want to take, or can't take, driving lessons to get thier license tool around trying to look hardcore and pick up the girls from the hood. These things put out a ridiculous cloud of exhaust. One that sits on the road. The exhaust seems to take an hour to dissipate, so it just waits for you. Walking by? Boom! Exhaust. Trying to run by and taking deep breaths because you're exercising? Boom! Exhaust. I get it. I lived in New York for awhile, the air isn't that great either. But at least it has the decency to permeate all the air in the city. You can't even tell the different exhausts from each other. Here, these little rideable motorcycles are killing me.

On the subject of difficulty breathing; it's time we had a talk. Look, I know you have a reputation to protect. I realize that a black beret and striped shirt with a baguette and cigarette in hand makes up the world's stereotype of french people. I understand that. But how did you, an entire and industrialized nation, miss the memo about the connection between smoking and health? This may seem surprising, but I have to tell you directly, without frills, smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. Smoking causes cancer. Breathing in hundreds of toxins on a regular basis will kill you. I know, the classic response of 'everything kills you these days.' You're snooty and you're attached to your smokes. Well look, smoking kills you faster. Smoking kills your friends and your family. And, on a related but more selfish note, smoking kills me. I'm tired of it. Again, running or walking around the streets and I have to run through billows of smoke what just hang about, regardless of the street, the park, or the direction. Nowhere and no one is safe.
Got a light? Yes they do. 

France, did you know that there are five entrances to the law building--five entrances that are three double-door widths large. With all of these options I'm still unable to find a clear and smoke free entrance inside. Even if you've made large strides to prevent smoking indoors, and I'll admit that it's along the right track. Still, France, I should remind you of a little something about science. Basically, the stuffy air on the inside of a closed space wants to get out. It's just claustrophobic or something. See, so when you have a box, or a building in this case, and you create a small opening for the air on the inside to escape, it will. That air is going to rush on out. But see, this creates a vacuum where that air needs to be replaced. So the air around that opening, let's say the doors to this building will be sucked right inside to replace the air that was stuck inside. Now, whatever makes up that air outside that opening--whether it be oxygen, nitrogen, or secondhand smoke--will move to the inside. All of this is to say that blocking all of the entrances with smokers and smoke will not help keep smoke out of the inside of buildings.

Okay. It's smoky and smelly outside. especially in front of restaurants and school buildings and everywhere. And sometimes those awful smells get inside, and they are less than fun. While I'm here, and on the issue of smelly things inside, there's one more thing I should probably talk about--you know, to continue the stereotyping. No, it's not the people urinating in the train stations. No, it's not the people urinating on the streets. No, it's not the dog feces left everywhere like rank land mines. No, it's not even the fake trash cans that are seeping garbage and coffee everywhere (and by cans, I of course mean the public plastic bags that are hung in places that don't really have cans so much as basketball hoops lifted about 4 feet off the ground with the clear garbage bag hanging inside of it). No. I have something that I need to talk to the french boys aged somewhere between 18-22 ish. See, I know you look good with your new kicks. Those skinny jeans and striped shirt make you look both awkward and solidly french. Yes, you have a great Guillaume Canet jawline and haircut. Yet, no matter how good you look, you need to shower. There it is, I said it, you didn't shower today. I know you didn't shower. You know you didn't shower. And those chickadees you were mackin' on, yeah, they know you didn't shower too. I'm going to go out on a limb (a very secure and strong limb) and say that I don't think you showered yesterday either. Okay, I don't mind when we're outside and you're 30 meters away, I can hardly even tell. But look, I got to class early and found a good spot. There are tons of great spaces everywhere, because this room is never filled. So why, oh why, must you come in late to sit directly in front of my place bringing me into the nucleus of your b.o. cloud? You don't. There are places everywhere. Find one of those. And one of those isn't the seat directly behind me. You see I have a computer so you jump to the obvious conclusion that I'm a super student who takes awesome and complete notes. Wrong. I'm American. My clothes/shoes/face/accent should've tipped you off. Sorry. My notes aren't going to be helpful, even if you breath down my neck as you lean over trying to read my microsoft word document filled with ellipses for words and phrases that I missed, and ridiculous misspellings of obvious place names. I'm sorry. I can't help you, but I can smell you. You should probably find a different seat, or come in earlier to give me a chance to move. Or, better yet, take a shower, use soap, use deodorant.

While not every dude on campus is smelly, i'm mostly tired of the smelly ones sitting in front of me in class. It's old. It's just a plea. There are others around you. You smell bad. You reek of smoke. You stink of b.o. Your halitosis moves like a shockwave. Please, just make an effort.

A concerned friend,

PS. Thanks for helping me take notes in class smelly dude behind me, I couldn't understand a word that the prof was saying.
PPS. France, you are also full of crazy good smells: mostly bread. Fresh baked bread at most hours of the day. Also, that crazy rich scent of butter melted into chocolate and bread from pain au chocolats is incredible. Thanks for those.
PPPS. I wish Helga were here. She smells nice. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nous On Veut Vivre...Vivre...Vivre....

Encore Plus Fort....

Really, you wanted to know about my entry into France. How it's been. What I've done. Etc. Well there isn't really anything to tell. I'm here and I have an address.

I suppose that isn't interesting. Let me tell you then, just sit there for a moment, and let me tell you about "Ma Rentree En France."

You see. It all started with an extremely lonely plane ride from Dulles to Keflavik international airport -- that's Iceland. From Iceland I would head right into France with a plan to hit the concourse runnning. I had several things to do. First I had to go to campus to get paperwork settled for school and to get a dorm room. Then I had to go to the dorms and get the room so I had a home to stay in. This of course needed to be completely taken care of by 5 as afterward everyone shuts down for the weekend. Well, if everything didn't work out, I'd be out of a bed and on the streets for Friday night. So, just to be on the safe side I got a hotel room for Friday night-- I figured I could drop my luggage off there instead of dragging it all around campus, and if everything doesn't go as planned I'll have a place for the night and can figure out what to do from there. The plane landed at 1:00 in the afternoon on Friday, so I figured it would be a lot of rushing around, particularly after traveling so far and so long, but it'd be worth it to get settled in and have fewer worries for the weekend.

Planes were not pleasant, with screaming kids and some turbulence, but they were on time. Landing at 1 I didn't get out of the airport until about 1:50 and grabbed a taxi to take straight to the hotel, which can be found in Nanterre along with the University, but it wasn't next door or anything. So after my 40 minute cab ride, I was at the hotel. Checked in, dropped things off, and was out of the hotel and in another cab by 3:00. Turns out Nanterre is confusing and difficult to navigate, even with a GPS system and innate knowledge of the area -- either that or the driver was trying to really take me for a ride. As we made the same circle a second time, I drew his attention to this and got a few euro knocked off the bill. He was a nice kid, and played it as though it was tough to figure out how to get around which it really did seem confusing with signs pointing every which direction for the University. In any case, made it to campus. 3:30. Time's moving fast. Time to find the person in charge of the exchange. Batiment A, here I come.

I didn't have her office number, it wasn't in any information i could find, but Batiment A was about international exchanges and relations and all that business. Walked into Batiment A. There is an 'Accueil' (welcome) desk. I walked up to the welcome desk, relieved that I would be able to quickly and easily locate the office. Then I asked the desk for directions to her office, getting a confused look and eventually writing her name down on paper to try and be clear. Having no idea, and seemingly in disbelief that the person even existed the desk suggested I head into room A09, just around the corner.
This is one (of many) rooms for inscription (registering for your classes basically). Into the room I head, map of hte campus in hand, and high hopes in mind. Again I ask for the program director's office--again I give her name--again nobody has an idea of who or where she is. Not frustrated, but a little disappointed, the best advice I get is to head up to A103, apparently there is an international relations office there. Up the stairs I seems like twice as many stairs as necessary for one flight, but after those 40 steps, I arrive at the first floor. (In France (and other countries I'm sure), the ground floor is either 0 or the rez-de-chausee, and the floors begin counting as you go up and thus the first floor is the first floor up from the ground.) A handwritten sign is on the door of room 103, "For exchange students incriptions, go to room C12." (It may have been C13, I don't remember that well.) Batiment C, here I come.

Confident of the room, and confident I would not find who I was looking for, I headed to Batiment C. Here I would find a collection of 17-20 year old boys and girls who seem to be somewhat in charge of explaining inscriptions and campus life to any foreign students walking in and trying to get their business organized. Well, I could care less about 99% of what was going on, I really just wanted to find the office or the person I needed. Thus, I ask two people that weren't helping anyone at the moment. As to be expected there is a certain consistency with people, as nobody has any idea of who the person is. Never even heard of her. Awesome. They were kind enough to give me a sheet of orange paper--a sort of hall pass to get around and to go directly to a building or office without being stopped by the numerous security guards standing around smoking. Apparently they ensure only so many people are in a building at a time...with the thousands of students trying to register, it makes some sense. Now I can blow right by everybody. I have a little sheet of paper, signed and ready to go. It gets me directly to ... A09. Batiment A, here I...

I knew there was something more to A09, then was being let on. Back to A09 I head. It's been engaging, and I am learning the lay of the campus. At least, I know where buildings A, B, and C are all located. They are all, also connected--but the doors between them are all locked at this point. Don't need any drifters I guess. Into A09. I'm not sure even what to ask. I ask the same question again. Next they ask what it is she does; I explain the general exchange program. I explain that there wasn't anyone in 103, but a sign that says C12. Suddenly the kid remembered something. C12 is where the inscriptions are being done for foreign exchanges. I should head there. I just came from there. No, he's sure someone there can help me. Batiment C...

Batiment C will not be of any help, again. Into C12 I walked. Apparently the director is either a missing person or a complete figment of my imagination. And despite the surprising friendliness of people, nobody is able to help. I'm slowly explaining to a girl who looks to be 15ish who I'm looking for and what she does. Then a security guard comes in, asking about where I needed to be (probably a result of having seen the same guy walk back and forth a couple times now. He asks what I was looking for. Back to A09 I go. Batiment A.

In A09. Nothing to say. Nothing to do. A third person asks to help me. Still no clue who the person is. Still the best that can be suggested is C12. This person has to exist. They have to be around. Someone has to know her. I tried A103 again. Knocked harder this time. Was convinced that everyone is at C12. I'm at a loss. Batiment C.

Between A and C is B, locked off but with people in the front doing some kind of student help. I dragged my feet, step by step, headed toward Batiment C, again. Constantly looking around for some other kind of clue, some large, neon sign that tells me which way to go. Then, as I'm dragging my feet, searching, struggling, a ray of light that is another student asks if I need help. Yes. Yes I did. She asked who I was looking for. I told her. It was fantastic. She had no idea who the person was. What she did know was a big help though, as I explained that the director helped with international relations the helper explained to me that "International Relations" was in Batiment L. What? No wonder nobody has heard of the person I'm looking for. She doesn't exist in these buildings, she must be in Batiment L. A clear and fortunate explanation of all my wasted efforts. It was tough, but I was finally headed somewhere. Across campus was but a stroll in comparison to those long trips between A and C because I had a new found spring in my step. A step that would take me to resolution and eventually a dormitory. Yes. Batiment L, here I come!

On the other side of campus, past buildings G, E, and F, and not even close to A, B, C, D, or DD, was Batiment L just waiting to help me. Into Batiment L I go. To the Accueil desk, I'm looking for the international relations department. A gentleman tells me to go past room R07 and to the left. Wait. R07? What? How did I not end up in L? For whatever reasons, I was in L, but they also have R numbered rooms. Sure. Also, apparently the gentleman who told me left, really meant right. I get confused too, so I won't fault him. I'm on my way to success. After some brief confusion and being confused on my part, I found the international relations department. Oops. It was definitely the place for international relations, as in the study of international relations. Naturally, it figured. Definitely my fault on that one. Huh, well, I saw something on the ground floor that may have been helpful, so I'll go check it out. On the ground floor I found the French Language for Foreigners --they call it something else. But I thought, this is here and so the actual exchange people can't be far. I thought that they deal with a lot of exchange students, maybe, maybe someone will know where in Batiment L I can find my director. I ask the man who's hanging out. Finally. Yes. He has heard of the person I'm looking for. He has heard of her, he has dealt with her, and he knows where her office is. This is the best news I've had all day. And so off I go, unsure of what to expect, to A - 1 - 0 - 3.  Batiment A, I'm coming for blood.

A103. I have confidence it's the right place. I don't know what will have changed between the minute I first got there, and now, but something has. Possibly just in me, 'cause I'm definitely getting tired, frustrated, and hungry. Back to Batiment A. Into Batiment A, past the security guards and up the unnecessary flights of stairs to A103. I'm there. It's the same. Same handwritten sign and same unhelpful everything around it. That man was certain, certain that it was 103. Yeah, he mentioned it was right around A103. Wait, there is another 103, there's an A103A, and an A103B. A103A clearly says something about physical sciences though. Whatever. I knocked to see if anyone was in A103A. There were. I asked if they knew the director. They didn't. I asked if they had an idea of where I should be looking. The friendly, and round physics teacher told me exactly where to go. A104.

A103, and A104 are in the corner together. A103 on one side, the left side, and A104 on the other side, the right side. Turns out 104 is very nearly, exaclty the place I had been looking for. There is a sign, explaining who is in the office and that the office handles international relations e.g. exchanges. Sweet. Still, again, I was tired, and frustrated, and naturally the person I'm looking for was not actually on this list. Still not the right place. I'm tired. I'm done. I'm walking away dejected and heartbroken and seeing that on the same wall of 104 is 106. A106. Same titles and function, international relations. But new people. Here she was. Finally. I found her name, First Initial, Period, Last Name. It was incredible. And like a light of glory, with little hope left. It is 4:55. No way. I can't make it in time. Well, maybe if I can get through this quickly, and have the director help me a little, I can get the directrice at the dorms to stay a little late and be super nice and give me a place to stay. There's still a chance!

My plane landed at 1:00 p.m., giving me a possible afternoon to get things done. It was a lot of running around, and my chances were slim to none at this point. Truly, I didn't expect much either. Nothing against the French, but they are known (in my mind) for closing their doors early, not giving a darn, and ensuring that they are home by 5, as opposed to just leaving at 5. I can assure you, that was not the case here. I gave the door a solid knock; one that says I'm here and I have a reason to be. As I waited for some answer I was checking out the signs around the door, some handwritten, some general college campus ads, and one that told me the office hours. It closes at 12:30 on Fridays.

I miss Helga, a lot.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Next time you're feelin' blue just let a smile begin....

Happy things will come to you, so Smurf yourself a grin....

My word of the day -- and probably many other people's word of the day as well-- is: weltschmertz. Why do I love my word-of-the-day widget? Usually the words are limited to 'copacetic' and 'lionize' which do me fine. I feel intelligent for knowing them and haughty for being disappointed in my 'word of the day' widget for not supplying me with a genuinely new word. Generally speaking, I feel satisfied. What's a weltschmertz? Apparently it is a noun, "sentimental pessimism; sorrow that one feels and accepts as one's necessary portion in life." Woh. I mean, that's a heavy word. It even feels heavy as it over the tongue and forces its way through the upper layer of teeth--and its German for those who don't know/couldn't figure it out (of which I may have been one, I won't say)-- so it comes out awkward and bizarre as Vel-tuh-shmerts.

I mean good golly, how often do you see a word with 6 consonants in a row? All right, 'catchphrase,' 'borschts,' and of course, 'eschscholtzia' for those Californians. Really though, otherwise there are only a few and those few don't seem to struggle to get out of the mouth nearly as much as weltschmerts. So there it is, a nasty word that seems to carry its definition quite well, as it leaves a seriously nasty taste that doesn't appeal to any of your tastebuds after having said it. In the end, that feeling will stay, too. Sitting there always a reminder of the unfortunate luck of of its ill existence. I suppose each person should probably say the word, genuinely say the word out loud once--if for no other reason than to get a good idea of its meaning.

Apparently (thanks wikipedia) it is a term coined by a German author, Jean Paul and 'denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who realizes the physical world can never satisfy the demands of the mind.' Huh. Well, until this word came along most of my mental demands were pretty well satisfied to tell you the truth, particularly as far as my word-a-day widget was concerned. And now?

Now after this latchstring (6 consonants in a row) has been untied I feel like a sisyphean lengthsman (6 consonants in a row) constantly searching a nasty street for the papers that have appeared since the earliest archchroniclers (6 consonants in a row) who must have put together, what used to be very satisfying, word-a-day calendars that are now tranfigured into weltschmertz (6 consonants in a row) inducing widgets for some lonely and erudite florist selling eschscholtzia (6 consonants in a row) to use as a catchphrase (6 consonants in a row) to impress and deter customers with their generally offputting attitude as they sit on their lunch break...eating their borschts (6 consonants in a row), of course. I feel that way, well, because there are many words out there that I'll see, pick up, read, and promptly forget; it leaves me with a sense of loss both of myself and of the language--of which I won't really be able to do anything about. Weltschmertz.


All right, so there was another word that has 6 consonants in a row: postphthisic. Here's the thing. I searched high and low for a definition of this word--I plugged it into google--and came up without a definition (not even urban dictionary had it in there). Apparently the word only exists for the purpose of having an additional word with 6 consonants in a row. This being the case, I have decided to also come up with a word. Or at least alter a word so that though it has 6 consonants in a row, it will leave me with a much better feeling after it all....
WeltSchmurfs: la LA lala-la La, La, lala- mean, uh, it's a noun. and it's, 'a smurfs world'/ It can also be used, more colloquially, to describe yourself as optimistic and excited about an enormous world of opportunities,
e.g. "As one little American student in this crazy French law school situation, I'm really in a weltschmurfs here!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And you may ask yourself....

So. I've clearly moved. For those of you who don't know, I actually was just looking for a new format. A new means of blogging that would be fast and easy and not necessarily for one message a month, because I unfortunately missed August. Which is heartbreaking and ridiculous because a. I didn't have a job that took me away from the intense time commitment of blogging of one's own life, b. I went on amazing adventures with my amazing fiancée, Helga, and thus had plenty to write about and to share, and c. it was my new year's resolution that as far as I can tell has just drifted out of the window.

So, I find myself in a new place. Well, a new place isn't entirely accurate as the actual place has been around for awhile. I'm in France. I'm in a student dormitory in Saint-Cloud. I suppose the other interpretation isn't super accurate either because I've certainly been to France and stayed in France for long periods of time as well. Still, I've never been in a French dorm it's something. In addition to the Jackie Chan movie title, I find myself tumbling down this path toward an uncertain career future. That being said, that's for the later, and for the now, I'm here. While I miss Helga terribly and have been recently wanting little more than to return to her, she is stronger than I and reminds me to stay. I'm here. I'm here for a reason. I should see it to the end. I don't consider myself a quitter, but let me tell you a thing or two about my current situation.

I suppose there's an old expression: You've made your bed, now lie in it (or something like that). Here's my bed. I didn't actually make it this way, this is how it came. Although, I suppose I opted for the French trip. In addition to the slasher like tears across the protective sheet --used to protect the mattress, not me-- there are som spots and stains that accompany the hacked up mattress. I suppose if a slashed up mattress is your only problem in a home its not that horrendous. (And I do understand that there are millions out there who would do anything to get this mattress and have something to sleep on instead of the floor--this isn't about them however, this is about me and my life in France.)

what are those spots?
Worry not, you see, I haven't pictures for my entire room. It's spacious --which I wasn't expecting-- and comes equipped with very nice amenities like a kitchenette and bathroom in the apartment! To be clear though, there are some repairs that need to be addressed in addition to the mattress which was to be replaced two wednesdays ago. In addition to the mattress being ready for a role as a significant prop in an attempting hack and slash of a college coed in a new B movie, the plank under the mattress is also less than impressive with an enormous crack that travels down the center lengthwise jutting in various directions. Clearly the bed was either used for something other than sleeping, or a very large person was here before me. Perhaps in support of the latter theory, the outlet next to the bed has been bashed farther into the wall than had been intended. We'll call it unusable for now, but really it looks like it should work all i have to do is reach in with my fingers and plug something in that way. Yeah. that should work-no problem. I suppose while we're on the subject of the last tenant being an overly sized and aggressive monster, the toilet seat is quite loose. Somehow the nut holding the bolt in place has been both dislodged and gone missing. Not to fear, it is still functional. Again, these small things--even when piled up-- are all silly whatevers in the mess of an old dorm not being able to pull it together. Ce n'est pas grave.

Before anything else, I owe a HUGE thanks to MikysectionF and JenJenny for hooking me up with several very useful things in my French move: movies, DVDs, a pasta dish, a pot, a collander and a couple of utensils! THANK YOU! So much, I finally got to cook myself some dinner the other night and it was GREAT! Hope to get a working internet and Halo situation up at some point.

I know, it had been nearly a week before I cooked my first dinner. I ate out a lot, and I ate a lot of cereal. Delicious "Fitness: Chocolate Noir" cereal which balances out the healthy figure on the box with chocolate. And quick aside, because the chocolate pieces and chocolate endowed wheat flakes are heavier, the further into the box you get the sweeter and better the cereal gets! I figure my last bowl will be all 55% chocolate. Any way, i cooked my first dinner, butter, no emmental, not even salt. It was just pasta because it was what I had and the store was closed. I was looking forward to it though, 'cause it was a step up --as Law cannot live on Fitness cereal alone. Sure enough, turn the burner on, which involves also turning the timer on because the burner will not work without a timer. Also, to be clear, by burner I just mean a modified set of two hot plates a smaller one in front and the better one in the back. I say better because the smaller one in the front isn't exactly reliable. The kitchenette's light is on so i can see, the timer is clickiting down from 35 minutes, and the burner is on somewhere between medium and high--there used to be numbers to indicate heat level but they have all since worn off. Yes sir, hot plate started to get warm, i could see some flavorless but warm penne in my future when suddenly a snap sounded through the air and the kitchenette went dark. I know, you're thinking, jeez it's rough, all that's stuff is broken in his place and the light bulb goes out--ONE MORE THING.

Don't worry. The light bulb is fine. I blew a fuse. Apparently the front burner is quite fickle, and by fickle i mean it doesn't enjoy working--but then who does? Yes, the combination of timer, light, and front burner would seem to be disastrous for cooking. To be sure, and also to be clear, I ran some tests and it turns out that a strong majority of the time just combining the timer (to turn the burner on) and the burner will cause the problem. Of course, these places are protected and have those neat security switches, which is really what caused the noise. So all i had to do to get power in the kitchen back was flip the switch. Well, flip the switch and not ever use the front burner again. naturally I forgot about it a couple of days later and tried to cook again. I think i've got it down now. So if you want warm pasta and warm sauce you're out of luck because I can't really do both. Yup, it's a silly little student studio I have.

Oh. Also, while I'm talking about my place, I should probably mention that Monday was a pretty solid day for discovery as well. The cord that connects the faucet to the shower head broke spraying water all over my bathroom and making it unnecessarily difficult to rinse off. Thankfully it broke just after completely lathering up in the shower--wouldn't want an excuse to avoid the difficult aspect of a broken shower now would we? Apparently the water here (and I'm not sure if 'here' means Saint Cloud, the residence, or France in general) has tons of calcium. Not the good, healthy stuff: the stuff that sucks to drink and erodes shower tools. Well, i suppose they are essentially the same thing, but you know what i mean. Also, during my Monday, I got to add to my theory of a Yeti being the previous tenant as the door handle broke off. Yes. The door handle. The little device that I use to open and close my front door, yeah it's broken. Apparently there's a little screw that holds it together, it fits snugly into a tiny hole that is dug out of a metal bar that comes from one side of the door handle. That nail has been pulled and scraped along the length of the bar so as to cause it to no longer function.

That's all i got for now. I've been around town a little. I'll tell you more about other stuff later. I just needed to get some of that fun stuff out the open. Maybe it won't be a crazy surprise if I move to a different place in the very near future. Although, it seems as if this place will be ripe with opportunities to write about.

Sorry it's taken so long,