it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

to steal a phrase from dickens, i think i now understand it fully. we returned yesterday evening (or rather, very early this morning) from our travels abroad, and the highs we had were the highest & most joyful: lauren & joe's wedding in oxford, our first train ride into paris accompanied by live accordion music, holding a hot crepe in front of the seine, watching the tour eiffel sparkle and shimmer at midnight, posing in front of 44 rue jacob with hemingway's ghost and dining at his favorite le-pre-aux-clercs on a turkey-curry kabob and the red house wine, and befriending a couple of french kids who wanted to practice their english while i practiced my french at a cafe in montmartre while toasting "sante" with beer (1664) and mojitos until the cafe closed. oh, then the lows we had made the highs so much more meaningful, and i'll summarize to say that losing our luggage for the entire trip was the most painfully humbling experience. i hardly think the good times would have been as triumphant if the bad times had not crushed our spirits so brutally in their brief moments of victory. our trip was a grand success, all in all. the writer in me is still soaking it all in at the moment, having hardly found time to write in the midst of the experience, and i hope to share it with you in more detail sometime before school starts next month. 

in a luggage update though: one piece was returned to us thursday evening, appearing to be completely in tact (even the bit of money i stashed was there!). our other piece ("my" bag") is still awol. we hope it is having a good time and expect it to return home fully loaded with souvenirs, including (but not limited to): glowing glass replicas of the tour eiffel, one pink thong emblazed with the word paris on the front in tiny rhinestones, a note that stays "my father has died and i have no money..." (beggars feast on the tourists, always introducing themselves with the phrase "do you speak english?" before holding out this note and then completely grossing you out by touching a finger to your pastry and then her lips and leaving you no choice but to abandon your edibles since you refused to eat something someone else has fingered, which may not have happened if you gave away your loose change.) i figure our luggage is really hard up at this point.

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