A Grand Tour

It’s been decided that next year I’m going to complete the arcane process of A Grand Tour. The yuppie translation, and a probably more understandable version, became the rite know as Backpacking Through Europe. I will be washing my hands of grad school in May and perhaps actually embarking toward learning something of more use.

I will be without job, and likely without prospects, and my Mom most likely will be returning to Germany to make a better life for herself. The thought arose first that I should take a few weeks to see my grandparents and help my Mom settle in. I’ll become nicely plump with all the potatoes and meats and, well, I’m not a fan of beer, but my grandparents have one swell liquor cabinet.

[They’ve taken to the habit of, when exchanging gifts with their neighbors and friends, that instead of giving gifts, they’ll bring wine or liquor and vice versa. My grandfather likes his beer and my grandmother isn’t allowed to drink due to diabetes so a fair bounty is amassed for their beloved and only granddaughter.]

This time span lengthened when I thought that I really wanted to make a trip to Austria to visit my friend M, the great Austrian exchange student that lived here for a good portion of a year. With her nearly immediate and deep friendship, I started to doubt how well I’m culturally inclined for America. Maybe I should look to Europe to be a different standard of how I fit in? Perhaps, being reared mostly by Mom and with her imparting her views and habits on me, maybe I can’t quite ever adapt to America. Then I get a resounding verbal slap from a conversation a had a couple weeks ago, in which I was told, “You’ve been living here for nearly ten years now. Stop being a tourist.”

This, and thoughts with that, are another post.

Lastly was a conversation with my Aunt, during which we came to the idea that we should go to Paris. With the city being a cradle for cultural civilization, I figured she would be the best travel mate due to her having a sense of refinement that I haven’t quite managed to achieve yet. For example, during her last visit to the states not too long ago, my Mom decided to serve up some Sloppy Joes. The lasting image from that dinner is her standing the next to my Mom putting the meat on the bun, her face chiseled into a display of disgust, saying “What…what is That?”

I’ve also taken a fancy to the idea of French men (note the word idea) even though I know it won’t go well. Given that I haven’t done well with a man with a French lineage here, and oh yes, I’m also German-American, they’ll throw me into the man-eating mime pit for sure.

So where else should I go? My first thought is, ‘Go where you would least feel comfortable.’ Why do I think that? Where would that be? I have to think more about this; plan it out.

The underlying thoughts I have to this is the reoccurring drama in my mind of the modern class wars. Do other people who, with an offer such as this, think about the opportunity as something overwhelming like I do? This has been going on in my mind for a while, a post in bits in pieces is sitting on my computer, complete with a smashing title. Basically, the gist of it is ‘Am I bourgeois?’ Answer, ‘Maybe a little.’ Next question, ‘Should I be ashamed of that or proud?’ To which, ‘I have no bloody idea.’ And followed with, ‘Does this make me a bad person?’ and there I mentally take two steps back (or forward depending on how you look at it) and ask, ‘What does that mean for the meaning of my life?’ This is where I shrug dismissively and invite myself out for tea and crumpets.

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12 Responses to A Grand Tour

  1. E says:

    “Am I bourgeois?” How 18th century. Are you auditioning for the French Revolution?

  2. firewings says:

    I’m there for the corsets and powder and itty bitty shoes. And the cake.

  3. E says:

    I really think you can just go down to the more aloof and creepy part of town for that.

  4. firewings says:

    I don’t think we have a part of town for exactly that…though, I’m not 100 percent certain of this matter and I will put the idea of testing this through management.

  5. Grad school, backpakcing vacations in other countries. Aye, I would call that bourgeois. Should you be proud? Depends on how you about the oppresion of the working class.

    Also the trip sounds lovely, minus the german and austrian parts. I hear Paris is nice.

  6. firewings says:

    Everyone would be more chipper if they eat cake.

    I kid, I kid. I like my head, thankyouverymuch.

  7. Sarah says:

    You will do fine. The nervousness makes everything ten times better when it actually happens:)

  8. chickdrummer says:

    bourgie, schmourgie…take the trip. And if really bothers you, do a marxist tour of Europe — go to all the revolution sites. And then go shopping…

  9. Freddy says:

    Danke fuer das Kompliment, aber Du bist “my best travelmate” weil man dich fuer Kunst und Kultur, Geschichte und Schoenheiten begeistern kann, so dass eine Reise mit Dir zur puren Lebensfreude wird!
    Muss ich schon mit Reiseplanungen anfangen, damit die Reise so ein Erfolg wird wie Berlin?

  10. firewings says:

    Of course you should!

  11. Thebutton says:

    Backpacking through Europe is one thing that I dreamed of. I actually remember Eric coming up with the idea back in HS. I’d still love to do it some day and I do hope you enjoy it when you do it. *coughs* And feel free to drop by my neck of the woods too.

  12. Lisa says:

    Put all internal questions aside and GRAB this opportunity while it exists! Some of my fondest memories come from my time traveling through Europe. I spent two weeks on trains, living out of one carry-on-sized bag. It was simply fabulous 🙂

    Do it! Do it! And keep us posted throughout your journey so we can live vicariously through you.

    With envy,
    Lisa

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