And Then I Found Myself

Over the last few days, I have found myself in a number of places and situations that, whether expected or unexpected, took me by surprise. They were also largely beyond my control. Alas, I don’t think that after three days here I can say that I have truly “found” myself in any meaningful sense of the word, but I have found myself in a number of other ways. For example, I found myself without a functional computer on the morning that I arrived in Madrid. That was scary.

The airport was really big. It might have gone on forever. I’m not sure.

I found myself eating a croissant and a small glass of orange juice for breakfast. It somehow cost me six and a half euros. I guess orange juice is expensive.

It was a perfect breakfast. Albeit small.

I waited for what seemed like days in the Madrid airport. I was floating in and out of consciousness, exhausted from the red-eye flight and increasingly paranoid. I was worried about my now non-functional computer, my ever-decreasing phone battery (which, without my computer, I had no way to charge), whether or not my French would be good enough to communicate, and how I was going to get to my final destination that evening, the small town of Rouffach.

My fears were largely unfounded. My French turned out to be perfectly adequate, I made it to Rouffach without much problem (thanks to a friendly ride from my hosts, the Binners, who came to pick me up in a neighboring town), and before the evening was over, I had eaten a ton of food, quaffed plenty of wine, and made some new friends.

The weekend that followed was one of much more drinking, much more eating, and much more partying. The Binners had helped to organize a “natural wine salon” which was essentially a convention where organic and biodynamic winemakers could sell their wines to the public. Everyone was tasting, eating, and conversing rapidly in French, and so I naturally followed suit (when in Rome…). I did minor bits and pieces of work intermittently, helping to serve at meals and clean up after the salon, but for the most part, I wandered around, talked to the winemakers and various onlookers, tasted a ton of wines, and ate more food than I realistically had room for.

The following photos are a small selection of the people and things that I encountered over the weekend.

I met and made some new friends.
I found myself being serenaded by an accordion player over breakfast.
I guess it's a good thing I'm not vegetarian anymore.
I found myself eating a lot of German/Alsatian food. Sourkrout, four different types of meat, potatoes, and mustard. Meats and starches. Yeah.
St. Emilion Grand Cru. Nbd.
I found myself drinking some badass wine.
The view outside of my house in Ammerschwihr
I found this amazing view of the little town of Ammerschwihr, where the Binners (my host family for May) are located.
This almost inspired me to return to vegetarianism.
I found myself staring at a dead pig on a spit. Common sight, apparently, in Alsace.
I found a quaint little street in Rouffach with a crumbling, centuries-old house at the end.

And finally, after all this, I found myself sleeping for roughly twelve hours last night. Jetlag finally caught up to me. I fixed my computer, somehow, miraculously, over the last twenty-four hours, and today managed to fix the internet as well. So I am back in working order, well-rested, and ready to… take a vacation day tomorrow! I don’t know why, but tomorrow is a national holiday. So, after two days of partying, one day of rest, and another day of holiday, I think I can say that, so far, this trip has worked out quite admirably.