Break the rules

by Lesley on February 17, 2010 · 7 comments

in lessons learned,travel

picasso

It was already the third day in Paris, but I’d seen only three places: my hotel room, the internet cafe, and the classroom. The point of our trip was to learn as we traveled, but that particular week my head had been buried in more books than city maps. Two projects were looming, hundreds of dates needed memorizing, and my dad and sister were just a few hours from arriving for a visit. I remember sulking on the way to class that morning, passing by pastry shops and crepe stands as I walked through autumn’s brisk air.

My entire life I’d followed the rules. Brush your teeth twice a day. Make the bed. Don’t be late. Park in that lot. Wear a helmet. I’d never regretted my decisions to follow the rules until that morning, in a tiny classroom tucked away from Paris’ streets, learning everything important but nothing memorable.

And so I walked out. I turned in the test early, painted a “I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM NOW” look on my face, then bolted. When I got outside that classroom door, I looked back as if anticipating a professor to chase me down the narrow streets. But, no one came. I picked up a quick pace, giggling to myself as I ran towards the metro. Still, no one followed. I felt like a rebel until I made it to the Picasso Museum–my hooky destination of choice. It wasn’t a quaint flea market or the grand Eiffel Tower–but it was a quiet escape from the itinerary, the schedule, the rules.

You know what? I don’t remember what was on that test, or what grade I got. I don’t think any of my professors ever asked where I went. But, I remember that day by myself and Picasso more than many of the other days spent in Europe. Today, break the rules. Sometimes it’s the best way to play.

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7 comments
Jeff
Jeff

Lesley, Just read this story... YOU'RE GROUNDED! Dad

Lesley Miller
Lesley Miller

I love that all you Europe Semester girls appreciated this story--and that you had stories of your own. Nicole, really cannot believe we both ended up at the Picasso Museum. What a coincidence!

Nicole
Nicole

I also LOVE this story Les! I don't recall ever hearing it before either. It's funny because I felt totally overwhelmed with schoolwork in Paris too and it was the city I so badly wanted to wander around the entire time we were there. Instead I spent a majority of the time in the Louvre for my gallery guide. The day before we had our gallery presentation, I ducked out early from the museum and went wandering by myself.. guess where I ended up? The Picasso Museum. To this day that is one of my favorite adventures and most favorite museums. I've always loved Picasso but this was a whole new experience. Plus it was raining off and on and I recall getting one of the best hot chocolates and pain au croissants I have ever eaten in my life. Ah, Paris...

Corinne
Corinne

I love this! Of course it was one of your most memorable days! That semester required taking a time out of the schedule every once in awhile. So amazing and so intense. I was so sick those first three days in Paris and never even saw that classroom. One of my favorite memories from that week is defying nurse's orders, and getting out during one of those nights, with a fluish headache and runny nose, and going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and feeling momentarily cured.

Michelle
Michelle

Lesley, i love this. One of my favorite memories from my Europe semester was the day my entire group boarded a bus for the "scheduled" tour of Corinth, but I purposefully "missed" the bus. And instead I stayed in Athens and had a wonderful day--wandering around the city by myself.

Amy Vogt
Amy Vogt

OOOH! Great challenge! I'm gonna have to think about this one. Is that bad?

Michelle
Michelle

I'm not sure if I ever knew that story or if I'm just forgetting! Coming from you, I think I would have remembered if you told. Way to keep a secret for all these years. ;) Trying to think of how to break the rules today, Michelle