One month left.
Then I'm back in America, happily surrounded by friends and family, and yummy Chicago food. I'm really trying to enjoy my last moments here, like seeing Mount Blanc from my backyard, driving through vineyards, and enjoying the company of my amazing friends.
Dan and Laura were here, and it was wonderful to have them. The day after they left, my friend Ashley stopped in for a week. While I'm so thankful they visited (I feel so loved!), I think I'm still getting over my exhaustion. Hosting is exhausting, especially when you play translator.
Anyway, Ashley and I decided to take a road trip to the south of France. The family recently bought me a car (I know, I am so spoiled) so we were enjoying the freedom of a spontaneous trip. It was Pentacost weekend, so I had three days and was excited to spend them on the Mediterranean.
Well, we decided to stay in Marseille, and that was our first mistake. We had pulled into the city, thought "hmm, looks like we arrived in the not-so-nice area of town", but quickly forgot when we realized how beautifully warm it was outside. We unrolled the front windows and sat in traffic.
Now, I can't say that what happened next is the worst thing that ever happened to me, but I'm pretty sure it's up there on my list.
Some skinny kid jumped off the back of his friends scooter, and his friend waited two cars ahead of us. He snuck up behind my car, reached in through my open window, and unlocked the back door. He opened the back door, I heard, looked back, Ashley said, "hey!" and reached back, and he was gone, running and jumping on the back of the scooter, clutching MY Mozart bag. The Mozart bag I bought at Mozart's house in Vienna, Austria. The Mozart bag that contained my Macbook, and my camera. The bag that contained my life, and approximately $2000 worth of stuff.
All of this happened in about 20 seconds.
I screamed louder than I previously thought possible, something not printable, and could not get my stupid seat belt off for the life of me. Ashley was trying to put her shoes back on and get out to chase the guys. We're still stuck in traffic, and I watch, helpless as they turn down a little alley. When I finally got my seatbelt off I had to get out to shut my car door, and as soon as traffic moved I shot down that alley searching for them, muttering things like, "I wish I had a gun. I'd shoot him." and other pleasantries such as "I'm going to find him and peel his skin off while he's still alive. Then we'll see if he wants my laptop." Then it all hit me and I broke down in tears.
Ashley was an angel through all of this. She let me decide the rest of our weekend and patiently listened to my complaints. After I calmed down we found our hotel, they took great care of us, and the next morning we went to the police. I'm very proud of myself, because I was able to file a whole police report in French and only needed a little help! We had met three girls at the hostel, and one spoke French, so she was a doll and came with me to the station to help me translate. The rest of Sunday we spent in Cassis, which is far lovlier than Marseille, and got to sit at the sea for a while. Then we headed home, not entirely defeated but with lower spirits than when we started.
I still cringe when I think of everything I lost. I used my laptop like a notebook and journal and took it everywhere. I lost about 1200 photos that weren't stored anywhere else. All my photos from Ireland, England, Czech Republic, and Austria are gone. The book I was writing is gone. Well, most of it. Luckily, I have spent a lot of time handwriting this year, so I still have notes and decent parts of the story.
My host family has been so generous, and I'm currently using their old laptop. Skype doesn't really work, but at least I have emails! It's a French keyboard so typing is a little tricky cause some letters and switched, and most punctuation marks are in different spots.
I'll try to keep posting before I go - so much is happening! I'm probably going to Paris next weekend (finally!), and then soon the new au pair comes and then I'm gone! I can't believe it.
Until next time!
P.S. If you happen to be in the black market in Marseille and see a beat-up Macbook, steal it back for me, ok? And a black and silver Canon Digital Rebel Xt. Ok, that's all.