Saturday, October 19, 2013

If we had blogs in 1998: Skiing in the Alps

It’s been a couple of months, I know, but I’m continuing my 1997-1998 journal from my year abroad in Luxembourg. In this episode, I’m getting tired of feeling like a third wheel as two friends go off on their own on a ski trip to Interlaken in the Swiss Alps. The thing is, I’d never skied before – five of the six who went on the trip had never skied – and we needed the one who had to show us how.

As always, spelling, grammatical, factual, and emotional errors have been preserved from the original journal. Today’s comments are in red.

6 Mars 1998

I haven’t been this pissed in quite awhile, and it’s another New Year’s anger, but it’s one of those things that keeps building till you explode. I have no idea what “New Year’s anger is. It sounds rather juvenile. I don’t want to explode, but this whole Matt & Andrea thing is making us all feel invisible, and I’m getting real sick of it. And now it’s almost one in the morning and they’re still not up here, and we’re going to be getting up in five hours and skiing for a day. So I’ll be in a shitty mood – even worse than I have been all week. I shouldn’t have even come for the weekend. What’s the point? Matt & Andrea prefer to be by themselves anyway. I guess we could have a just fine weekend with the four others, though none of us know how to ski. I’m just getting sick of this, & I’m beginning to wonder if it’s even worth it, I mean, putting myself through the feelings of invisibility. I hate feeling left out. Speaking of that, I wonder why I haven’t heard from Lynn in forever. It’s no surprise, people are always ditching me. I guess I’m destined to be alone until I find a suitable husband, if it ever happens. LOL. I don’t remember ever having that concern, so it’s funny to see it written here. [And how can I ever stay angry.]

The train ride today was long & uneventful, with Matt & Andrea once again isolating themselves from the rest of us. I’m beginning to realize why Erika felt the way she did, & I’m beginning to agree with the monopolizing part. Why did I not realize it before, when I could have told them when they asked me? Now I just have to sit & watch it, & I hate it. I hate the way things have to work. I wonder how much they’ll separate themselves from us tomorrow. When we went to Scott’s last night, Andrea wasn’t going to go because Matt wasn’t going. Then we changed our plans for the weekend because Matt didn’t want to get in at 6am on Monday, though what’s the fucking difference between getting in at fucking 9pm Sunday night & 6am Monday morning. It’s fucking ridiculous, & it pisses me off. Ooh...cursing. Because two friends have a secret relationship that everyone knows about? Dumb. I’ll never be able to sleep in this kind of mood. This sucks. I wish I would have stayed home. “I wish I would have.” Grammatical genius right there.

8 Mars 1998

Well, I’m leaving Suisse – on the train right now. The place was incredible, the company less so. The best time I had was skiing through the woods alone. Skiing is great, & it’s pretty easy. I would love to do it again in this country, minus the people that couldn’t do it. I can’t understand that. It was really quite simple. I fell a few times, but really not that many times. 

We dragged ourselves out of bed about 7am and left Balmer’s at 8am. It had been a late night on Friday, because Matt & Andrea didn’t get in till late, and because we had the long train ride before and because Thursday night we went to Scott’s the bar in Luxembourg City. Erika smoked. It was funny. But anyway, we should have been tired. But we were too anxious to be tired. We were scared, really. Andrea was excited. Poor Andrea, had to try to teach us all to ski. We took a train to Grindelwald, where we rented our skis & headed for the mountain top. I bought a pair of sunglasses. We finally got to the top about 11-11:30. Andrea had to teach us all. It was quite easy to attatch the boot to the ski. Then we started off on a really steep slope, so we all wiped out. First it was Matt, who slid on his butt down. He was pissed. Then Andrea had to go down to get him. Then Brad went down & wiped out, then I went down & wiped out, then Steph wiped out, then Lucy wiped out, but it was before she even went down the slope. It was all humourous. Then we practiced some snowplowing. After a long time, I decided I wanted to go down. So I took off. Brad & Steph came too. Every so often we’d stop & wait for the others, but they were incredibly slow. We never saw them again.We never saw Andrea and Matt until the evening, either. Apparently Matt has limited athletic skills and never got the hang of the skis, so he never even skied down the mountain, if I recall correctly. Andrea had my camera in her bag, so I didn't get to take any photos that day.

We took off and got to the train station at the bottom in over an hour. The trip was incredible, going through the pine, along a mountain stream, snowcapped peaks looming overhead, you feeling the peace that the setting has to offer. I felt incredible. We all took the train back up to the top, and zoomed down again. It only took me 25 minutes to get down, and I waited for Brad for ten-fifteen minutes after that. It was great. I wiped out on the second run, on account that I was going too fast and freaked out. I went fairly slow down a lot of it, not wanting to break things, logically. I bought a Sprite from the restaurant down the hill and waited. Steph didn’t go back up, but Brad and I did. By the time we got to the top, it was snowing. Tons of people were in the Teepee Bar, I guess because the ski conditions were bad. But we went down. I’m glad I had my sunglasses, because the rain beat against my face like life beats against my being. It was quite symbolic, actually. Me, in solitude, speeding past everything, and getting beaten by the rain. I took a different path down the third time, much like I have taken a different path throughout my life. Terrible metaphor disease strikes again. Also youthful stupidity. I wiped out badly, hitting a spot of grass, rolling a ways, losing my poles & my hat. My skis never came off. I hit my back, & it still hurts today. A bunch of people came over to me to see if I was ok. I would have liked to lay there longer, but I didn’t want to look like a fool. I wiped out again later on, and a bunch of kids passed by. I got to the bottom where Steph waited. We waited for Brad, then went down to Grindelwald, turned in our skies, & waited for the others at the train station. I neglected to mention that the people who asked if I were ok did so in three different languages, which I found delightful.

13 Mars 1998

As I often find myself doing, I’m writing this while sitting on a train. I never finished about the weekend, but basically it ended when we went down the hill. We went to a Swiss restaurant, which was excellent (rösti is a sort of hash brown dish – it’s wonderful.) Slips into present tense. So then we go back to Balmer’s and shower. Slips back to the past. Then we had to go to that horrible pub downstairs, where I stood there, not even in the circle, downing a beer so that I could go upstairs. Then Matt came down, though he had been sleeping. I’m sure he just had to rush to Andrea’s side, though much to his dismay, I’m sure, she was talking to another guy. Ha ha. I went upstairs first and went to bed. Steph came in last after talking for quite awhile to a guy from Kent State who was studying in Florence. We dragged ourselves out of bed Sunday morning. Andrea bought an expensive Swiss Army Knife. I almost forgot about the words I exchanged with Lucy. We were riding back from the slopes. When we came to our stop, we didn’t know we were supposed to get off. The conductor came & knocked on the window, and Steph & Lucy screamed, but Lucy’s scream started a dog barking and a baby crying, and I commented on that, so she went off. Everything seems fine now.

Andrea was sick all this week, and she’s not coming to Dublin. I wanted to cry when I found out because I was so disappointed. Erika’s taking her place. Back in the day when you could use someone else’s plane ticket. I wanted Erika to come anyway, but with Andrea and NO MATT. Poor Andrea, got ditched for spring break this week as well. I wanted so much to be able to help her. The thing that killed me, though, was when she was emptying her pouch, and she pulled out the shell that I gave her, and I had been so horrible to her all week, and I almost started crying. I swear, I’m a baby sometimes. But I just get so emotional.

Being at MUDEC was like being in high school. It was a small group of students - 100 at that time - who were thrown into new cultures and new experiences, sometimes with very little sleep, so these type of petty issues came up fairly often. Matt and Andrea were my friends, but we were all put off by their isolating themselves and pretending they weren't in a relationship when everyone knew they were. It seems rather humorous to me now. Andrea married her high school sweetheart, not Matt, and Matt disappeared to Boston, where I know through internet research that he is a professor of English at Boston College (I think). He also did some work with the Red Sox on archiving, and he presented a paper on something to do with travel themes in Victorian literature, which I found interesting because it's more evidence that the travel never leaves you. The last time I saw him we went to a Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway more than ten years ago. He has no web presence, like he's actually living in the Victorian age about which he teaches. I'm sure he's married with children by now. He wanted to name his kid Britney Alexandria. I hope his wife said no to that. 

Matt, if you ever read this, I still owe you some baseball tickets. Come down and see Boston when they play at Nationals Park. Or I can meet you halfway at Yankee Stadium.

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