Friday, May 25, 2007

Chateau de Chantilly

I'm afraid of spiders. I'm not a big fan of getting up all close and personal with waterfalls, though I'll admire them from a distance (and probably clap my hands with child-like glee), and I think umbrellas are probably one of the WORST things ever created.
But I love castles. I love their history, and the feel of the cold stone beneath my fingers. I love to think of the people who lived their, and the lives they led. Their beauty... their architecture, their feel always makes me smile.

While I was studying abroad in Paris, I tried to find and explore a castle every weekend. Sometimes, I ended up lost, in the middle of nowhere. Other times, I ended up stuck on a bus with "nice man" trying to convince me to come over for lunch. Other times, I found exactly what I was looking for.

Le Chateau de Chantilly was exactly what I wanted. For those non-French speakers, "chantilly" means whipped cream, and in my imagination, that was just the kind of castle I was looking for... spirals, moats, bridges, aerial turrets, the works. Don't get me wrong, I love Versailles... but Versailles is a palace, not a castle. Versailles is boxy. Chantilly... chantilly is what dreams are made of.

So, at Chantilly I made a beeline for the tour, and explored the inside of the castle. Like most castles, there are places you can go, and places you can't. This sixteenth-century castle has several turrets... not high, but striking, with domed roofs, and the windows that I used to want to have in my bedroom.

Henri d'Orleans overused his symbol, but in the romantic way that makes me happy. Clearly, he wanted to be remembered.

It was a rainy day... but I wanted to explore outside (I was already wet, so what's a little more water? Remember: umbrellas are evil). The gardens, with the little "Ile d'amour" were beautiful, even flowerless in the rain.

Then I heard a waterfall and knew that I had to alter my course. For some reason, I could just imagine a repeat of what had happened in South Dakota, and not even the idea appeals to me. So, I changed courses, and landed in the middle of a little area with Kangaroos. Being the friendly person I am, I decided to talk with them. One (the only one that noted my presence at all) kept coming closer to the fence every time I spoke in English, and away when I spoke in French. It amused me.

As I was leaving, I walked into a huge spider web. And screamed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So when does "culture" stop being an excuse?
A friend of mine from Grace was an MK from Germany. Germany is far different culturally from the United States. My friend told me that he used to take girls down to the lake his freshman year, and Gracies excused it because "he didn't know better" or "Germany is a different culture, it's okay to do that kind of thing there."
"Actually," he said when telling me about it, "I knew perfectly well that it was unacceptable here. It also would have been unacceptable there. In Germany, all my friends would have teased me, trying to find out if I'd 'been getting any.' The Culture isn't an excuse.

Culture: a) "The ideas, customs, skills, arts, etc. of a people or group, that are transferred, communicated, or passed along, as in or to succeeding generations" b) such ideas, customs, etc. of a particular people or group in a particular period; civilization" c) "the particular people or group having such ideas, customs, etc."

How does that definition fit in with this article? What I mean by this is: since when have racial slurs of any kind, been deemed "cultural." If culture is going to be used as an excuse, it can be fit to almost anything.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard.

Who can grasp your infinite wisdom?

Who can fathom the depths of your love?

You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above...

And I stand I stand in awe of You.
Holy God, to whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe of You.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Stress. It's a killer.

"Don't hang on too long, but don't let go too soon."

Is it a bad thing to be crazy about your ex-boyfriend, find out he's dating - and living with - another girl, and still be crazy about him? (Oh wait! I totally know the answer to that: Yes. It's bad. Bad for your health. Bad for your mental stability, bad for your emotional stability...)
What if he calls you and contacts you and comes over and hangs out? Would that be bad for you, his girlfriend, or neither?
What if you've wanted to hear from him for months, and now, for the first time, you actually have? Where does that put you if he cares for someone else? What if you really are friends - for real - and have a good relationship and don't want that to change, but still want to be with him?

Then, on top of it all, what if you hear from someone you told to never contact you again? Do you tell him that he's still a Monster, that hasn't changed? Do you tell him to bugger off? Do you tell him, "Je sais que tu te trouves le plus beau creation de monde, mais vachement, vous n'etes que d'un salaud laid," or should it be said in English?

Sometimes, everyone deserves to be kicked in the butt. Most of the time, it's just one person who needs to take the brunt for everyone.

To the pain.

Why, oh why, does it all happen at once? One thing at a time! That's all I can handle! I'm a wuss!