Aaaaalrighty folks, where did I leave off? Ah yes, exhausted and on the way to Luxembourg on Wednesday evening. Amira and I spent the three hour bus ride from Brussels chatting about very significant world issues (and by that I mean our personal lives). We were given the night off - which doesn't say much considering A. we didn't arrive until 10pm and B. apparently nothing is open after 8pm in Luxembourg which is why the crew ended up drinking cheap hotel wine in our room and trying to decompress from the stress of the last few days. The wine wasn't life changing but the company made up for it and (as per usual) we ended up passing out way later than intended and somehow only got like 4h of sleep yet again. I know. We hate ourselves. As a side note, the hotel walls were mad thin so we could basically tell each other goodnight through the walls which was unbelievably creepy and not good for those of us who talk at a volume like 7x louder than any given European.
The next morning was a rough one and I'm pretty sure if I snoozed my alarm one more time Des would have smothered me with my own pillow without a second thought. In fairness, I forget that other people actually wake up to their alarms the first time they go off instead of hitting snooze every five minutes till the alarm finally just turns off and you sleep through whatever you were supposed to be doing??? Weirdos. Anyway, we made it down with plenty of time for breakfast, especially when our breakfast-time got extended bc the bus driver would be arriving late (meaning that once again I was robbed of at least 15 minutes of valuable sleep and when you're only getting 4h a night that's literally tons). Somehow we ended up having to take public transport to our destination despite having our own bus that refused to pick us up (thereby completely and utterly failing at its only FREAKING JOB) and it wasn't long before we arrived at our destination: the European Court of Justice. We watched a super cool case that I would explain except it would bore all of you to death bc you're probably not into the same nerdy stuff I am. I will say this though: as the working language of the court is French and cases come from all over the EU, there are simultaneous translators for any parties present. My focus here is the dude sitting in the Czech sound box (the case came from the Czech Republic) switching fluently between Czech - a language literally no one except Czech people speak bc it is insane - French, and English like it was the easiest thing in the world. It was like he didn't even have to think about it - he didn't hesitate or pause one time, he even poured his colleague a glass of water while interpreting, as if what he was doing shouldn't have taken every fiber of his concentration?! Do you know how difficult that is?! I'm not gonna lie like he wasn't even life-alteringly attractive but I considered asking for his hand in marriage after the hearing bc I was so thoroughly impressed by him and am still not 100% sure he isn't a robot. In kind-of related news, I really need to learn French. After the hearing, we grabbed lunch at the cantine (which was again way too expensive for what it was) and threw back some coffee before diving back into even more meetings which seemed to have no end in sight and resulted in several "JOSEF" texts asking when we could all go home.
Now listen. When I say I was exhausted, I don't just mean like "pretty tired." I mean cannot formulate thoughts and opinions, have no Freudian superego to combat the primitive idiocy of my id, am on the brink of complete and total delirium, find everything funny and yet cannot recognize sarcasm, cannot make jokes funny enough to make other people realize I am employing sarcasm (though I think that also may have something to do with some peoples' general inability to comprehend humor idk), and having to actively fight to keep my eyes open during some of the coolest professional experiences of my life (like the CoJ case where I had to borrow JV's notebook and write notes to Des so that I had something to do other than pass the hell out bc we couldn't whisper to each other bc we are loud whisperers and every time we tried to communicate he glared at us and I'm telling you man if looks could kill we would be dust). I was no longer a person. My soul had left my body. I was a shell of who I once was, having aged 20 years over the course of a few short days. So when they told us that our last meeting was with an alumni was with a ZEI alum at the European Investment Bank..... like, alright cool, neat job.... but you're going to try and bring 25 brain-dead zombies to a freaking bank??? Are you insane? Suffice it to say that it was painfully awkward when he asked if we had any questions at the end and we could barely muster up the usual "tell us more about how you got to your current position" and "what is your job like on a daily basis" before our last two collective brain cells sputtered and died out.
Now knowing how absolutely dead we were, you would think we would head back to the hotel and pass the hell out, right? Wrong. No, no. That would be way too responsible. The girls and I decided we needed food (and alcohol) in a bad way, so we grabbed a few friends and hit up the Mexican bar/restaurant close to our apartment to see what kind of trouble we could get into. It didn't take long before our Portuguese bartender friend heard a few of us speaking Spanish and decided to join us for chats and treat us to a few rounds on the house. You see the benefits of speaking foreign languages, people? Free alcohol. What more could you possibly ask for? A few drinks in we knew it was time to head over to the other side of town and meet up with the rest of our program who was enjoying dinner at a restaurant that my GoogleMaps absolutely refused to locate with any accuracy and sent us in a few circles before we asked enough people to lead us in the right direction.
Half an hour of happily trudging through the snow like the seven dwarves later, we found the rest of our group and spent awhile hanging out and, admittedly, being a little less sober than everyone else, before deciding we would head over to the club we'd seen across the street with the loud music and pretty lights bc what could go wrong? Before we left, we asked everyone if they were interested in joining, and 20 minutes later we had twenty-five masters fellows racing across the street to dance their troubles away. Seriously, we took over this club. It was awesome. Amira and I befriended the DJ and it wasn't long before he was playing some absolute bangers while we all sang and danced way more exaggeratedly than we might have if we hadn't had a proper dose of alcohol and sleep deprivation. It wasn't long before there were only six of us left (myself, Amira, Colin, Heidi, Nikola, and Iris) and we decided that it was probably about time to head home - more because the club was closing down than bc we actually wanted to leave. We weren't super worried about the half-hour walk home (alcohol is cool like that) but we also didn't realize that entertainment would be provided along the way. See, my friend Colin has some sort of sick death wish, and thought that it would be a good idea to throw a snowball at me. Naturally, I had to retaliate. It took about 30 seconds before the six of us were in an all-out, no-holds-barred snowball fight, the likes of which never before seen on the streets of Luxembourg. Alliances were formed, trust was broken, friends were betrayed, and snow was in our clothes. By the end of it, our hair was absolutely soaking wet and as I'd lent Amira one of my gloves for fighting purposes, I could only feel one hand. The rest of the way back was filled with good chats and great company and a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors, the purposes of which will remain unnamed. All in all, it was one of the best nights I've had in a long time, and I don't think I'm likely to forget it.
The next morning, however, was a different story considering YET A-FREAKING-GAIN we somehow only managed to squeeze in 4h of sleep before having to get ready to check out of the hotel. Like, seriously, why? The scientific term for what I was at that point is "brain dead." Luckily we had a veeeery chill day planned of taking a goddamn walking tour of Luxembourg. Yup. Of course we did, bc simply not doing anything for more than 5 minutes would be unacceptable. Now as a very relevant side note: Luxembourg is easily one of the top five most gorgeous places I've ever been, and the snow all over the place had it looking like it came straight out of a children's fairytale. It was breathtaking in every way a city can be. However, that does not mean that I want to go traipsing around pretending to listen to the tour guide about the history of this incredible city (which I honestly would be super interested under normal circumstances) and wondering how long it takes for your toes to literally fall off your feet in sub-zero temperatures with inappropriate footwear (fight me I brought the warmest professional-looking boots I had and wore them all 4 days I still have blisters I hate everything). Miraculously, we did make it through the tour (and the week) with all our fingers and toes in tact, and only a little less than half of our brain cells. I'd call that a success, no?
I will say this was quite a bonding trip for the girls and I. I mean don't get me wrong, I see them all the time - and there are a lot of jokes made about the unhealthy level of codependency between Des and I - but this was literally four days of seeing each other non-stop when we were at what could probably be considered our worst in terms of lack of sleep and f*cks to give. I even noticed I've started adopting phrases and mannerisms and facial expressions from them, like the stupid valley girl voice Des does, the way Luisa calls everyone "bitches" and the faces Amira makes when she's trying not to say what she's thinking. It's a little terrifying, but they say imitation is the highest form of flattery, so I guess what I'm trying to say is I love you three.
In regards to this weekend since we've been back: As per usual, the girls & I went from "let's have a chill, alcohol-free night" to downing 5 bottles of wine and closing down the club at 6am and I'm not sure how it happened but like are we really even surprised. Fun little anecdote for that night though is that after spending 20 minutes telling this guy in a million ways that I was not interested in going home with him, he finally realized my "no" didn't actually mean "yes", called me a bitch (and a bunch of other fun German insults meant to be derogatory towards women), and spat on the ground at my feet. And they say romance is dead. Aside from that though life is good and we're all back in class (competition law - and for any of you wondering how screwed I already know I am for the next exam, the answer is "very screwed") trying to shove copious amounts of information into our brains and somehow retain like 8% of it for later. Speaking of which, I wrote this blog instead of reading for class so I hope you appreciate my sacrifice for the greater good even though I didn't do it for you I just really didn't want to read.
But for now I think it's time for bed, and believe it or not I think I'll be getting more than 4h of sleep tonight! So wish me luck boys and girls and until next time.
PS. I literally speak fluent German and still have to stare at the German words for "push" and "pull" every time I walk through a labeled door which inevitably makes me look *even* dumber than I would if I just tried one and then did the other if it didn't work BUT HERE I AM LOOKIN' DUMB.
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Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
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