Friday, September 19, 2008

EXCITEMENT FOR BETTER OR WORSE? (September 18th)

Of course, we all want an exciting trip while in France. We want something to remember—something that we can brag about not only for days or weeks after its over, but for years afterward (well into our futures). We want just the thought of France or French paraphernalia to bring up rosy colored memories and stories that even our grandchildren would find entertaining, cultured, or quaint. However, judging solely from my pass experiences in America, I’m not sure you’re ever given the opportunity to pick the exact types of situations you desire. For example, if you ask for excitement, you have to be able to accept it in a multitude of variations—for better or for worse. Unfortunately, for our small group of nine students, the worse hit rather early on…

Late last night a man claiming to be security reprimanded two of our Franklin Pierce girls and a male resident of our building (who is also participating in a study abroad program run by a college in Chicago) for chatting out in the hallway on the building’s ground floor. Although they all thought the man was a weird apparition for “security” had never surfaced before, and they most definitely hadn’t been loud enough to disturb the other residents, they heeded all of his requests. As he made his way around the ground floor, broke into the office, and proceeded to walk around the stairwell, the other male resident left his room, closing the automatically locking door. Feeling safe, one of our FP girls also left her residence in order to have a quick cigarette. After she returned, the male resident keyed into his room finding that his shutter had been pushed aside, someone had climbed in through his open window, and his computer, cell phones, and money had been stolen. Feeling anxious after hearing about the situation, the FP girl checked her own residence to find both of her cell phones and twenty euros gone. The “security guard” had not been security after all. Those involved had to get in contact with the building manager (who later explained the building didn’t have security personnel), call the police, wait for them to arrive, explain what had transpired, and agree to fill out the paperwork for a deposition today before they could finally go to sleep for the evening, which didn’t happen until after 3:00AM.

Of course, I have to clarify that I wasn’t an actual witness to this horror. Instead, I was up on the first floor watching a DVD, eating ice cream mixed with cookie crumbles, and easily falling asleep without a care in the world (at the time, I felt like I deserved a relaxing evening because my struggles to get the attention of the building’s manager had finally paid off—yielding me the lovely, usually taken for granted, pleasures of hot water, which I hadn’t ever been able to experience in my personal shower in Lyon). I heard about the scary situation while on the metro riding to Lyon Bleu for French class.

The rest of the day consisted of us all discussing our safety at the apartments whether solely among one another or to Christine (our GA) and Wendy. Judging from everyone’s thoughts and reactions, it’s highly apparent that we no longer feel comfortable, and that’s truly unfortunate. We spoke about always deadlocking our doors, not allowing workers to key into our rooms anymore (especially when we’re not around), not “buzzing in” those trapped outside the residence (they should personally know the code for the building if they need to get inside), and always being on the lookout for out of place people or belongings.

When I got back to my room this evening, the door to my apartment had been left wide open, and as I let the situation sink in, I quickly realized that the other girls were furious. They forced me back down the stairs, right up to the window of the main office, and helped me to let the building manager know about the situation at hand. She seemed highly disturbed by the comment (which I said as politely as possible) but relieved that nothing appeared to have been stolen. As an apology, she promised to reprimand the workers and remind them again (she said she’d already been warning them) to deadbolt all apartment doors after completing their obligations. Hearing that was enough for me. It had to be. There wasn’t really anything else I could see her doing in order to make me feel less anxious.

Personally, I know that I’m still digesting the occurrences of the past twenty-four hours, but I had to write about it as soon as possible in order to get it somewhat out of my system. I don’t mean to worry anyone at home, and I’m sure we’re safe here. No one was hurt, and no one feels the least bit physically threatened. Our concern is for our possessions, and we carry a lot of the important/expensive ones on our bodies at all times anyway. Other than that, we can easily hide iPods and the like. It’s just one of those occurrences I couldn’t let go by without telling you about it. After all, it makes up a part of our trip to France, and I’m already candy-coated enough as it is. I refuse to sugarcoat this blog too. I’d rather it be raw and real. It’s a take it or leave it kind of a thing.

Avec Amore,
G

1 comment:

Chinako said...

SCARY! I'm glad you're ok and that the police are helpful over there as well. I hope this doesn't ever happen again on your trip.

I'm SO happy you linked me to this blog! I've read every one (and found a few grammatical errors, but I won't bother to correct you here), and I love being able to live vicariously through you as you venture through France and both bad and good alike.

Love & Misses!