So, before I got distracted by a whirlwind of birthday fun and end-of-semester paper writing, I believe I asked the Internet a question, yes? And it went a little something like, summer plans: France or Massachusetts? Of course it was a bit more complicated than that, and there were all sorts of variables and conditions and stipulations and it was all enough to make my head spin. Luckily my readers are a bit more level-headed than I and probably not apt to make flappy hand gestures or emit shrieks of terror when faced with a fairly straightforward a or b type decision. The final count was seven votes for French summer camp in Amherst, and four for study abroad trip to France, or five if you count one vote submitted by text message. (This isn't American Idol, Jamie, you may not text in your vote!) And really, I love my readers. And you know why I love my readers, readers? Because you perfectly represent the two sides of my personality; the one side that thinks bills and excellent experience and resume builder, and the other side that just wants to put on a striped shirt and a beret and go skipping tra la la down the Champs Elysées, because who needs money when you have Paris, baby??? You guys are kind of the angel and the devil on my shoulder, and did you know my sister actually has tattoos of an angel and a devil on her shoulders? Which is neither here nor there except that it kind of seemed to fit, and I probably never would have had a chance to bring it up otherwise. So anyway, I mulled, I considered, and I dwelled a little bit for good measure. But really, I had already made my decision. I mean, you want me to pay you to work? Indentured servitude, even indentured servitude in France, just doesn't float my hypothetical boat.
So, summer camp! Water balloon fights, popsicles and campfires. Skits and songs and...grammar exercises! Amherst it is!
The very next day I received a phone call from the France program. Just as I was opening my mouth to say thanks but no thanks, she dropped this bomb: Since the co-leader of the trip has a bit more time in her schedule, she has agreed to take the Wilderness First Responder training. (Sucker!) So I wouldn't have to. Which kind of threw me into a tailspin. And instead of saying, "Fantastic, I'll take it!" I said, "Oh, great! I'll...have to get back to you." I am not the type to flit back and forth between decisions; once I've made one I'm usually pretty firm on it, having already convinced myself of all the relative merits of the side I've landed on. Plus the timing of the Amherst program would allow me to go on a road trip in June with my friend Jamie, who is moving to Seattle, and yay, roadtrip!!!! And I've never been on a roadtrip out west before, or to Seattle, and I had pretty much already determined that this would without a doubt be The Summer of Rachel. Fancy free with no responsibilities, no bills, no rent to pay and a whole summer in front of me, and who knows if or when this will happen again?
But then the devil? angel? on my other shoulder started whispering in my ear, and it was just one word over and over. France. A month-long, all expenses paid trip to France. Granted, it wouldn't exactly be a vacation, in fact I was pretty sure it would end up feeling a whole lot like work by the end, but could I really turn it down? It would mean no road trip, and it would mean turning down another job that I really, really wanted. And instead of feeling so incredibly lucky that I actually had to choose between two amazing opportunities, I just wanted to pound my fists against the ground and cry like a baby because I wanted to do it all, dammit! But unless I can manage to clone myself in the next four weeks, there's no way to do both. And so I got a hold of myself. I looked at some pictures of previous France trips on the company's website. And then I saw this:
A bientôt, baby.