By Thomas P. Vincent
This trip marked my first ever travel abroad experience. Prior to this I had barely left New Jersey, only being on a plane one other time for a trip to Florida. I had reservations about being on a plane for seven hours, but the trip was severely outweighed by my overexcitement about visiting the “City of Light,” as well as a plethora of in-flight movies. I had never before dreamed that I would ever gain an opportunity such as this, but thanks to the hard work of certain parties in the Global Education Department, and the fervent persuasive dedication (stubbornness) of one Professor (full) to my participation in the trip, I was able to go. To say this trip was life changing is a paragon of understatement. How many times have you seen entire movies, shows, novels etcetera based off of the City of Light, or even one area of it? To be able to now view, and read, films, and novels and be able to see a place where I can say “I was there” is an experience that is transcendent.
Some of these “places” visited include, but are not limited to, Notre Dame de Paris, The Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay, The Pantheon, Shakespeare & Company, and The Catacombs. I found out very early that my New Jersey jokester side was not overwhelmed by artistic passion, rather, it was facilitated by it! The charm of Paris put me in such a passionately ecstatic mood that I quickly turned each of its monuments into my own personal opportunities for fun. This applies to me turning the giant glass-pyramid entrance of the Louvre into a delivered pizza, whistling the x-files tune in The Catacombs for a particular member who was terrified of the “human wallpaper,” searching Van Gogh’s The Church at Auvers painting for the monster in the window featured in his Doctor Who episode and many more. The one moment, however, that will forever be with me occurred at The Pantheon, a mausoleum housing the most treasured National Heroes in France’s history. Upon entering I immediately went to the tombs to search for Victor Hugo’s burial place, one of my favorite authors, and possibly the most treasured novelist in France’s history. Once I arrived at the tomb I was overcome by the fact that I was looking at “The” Victor Hugo’s burial place. As a means of showing the immortalization of his famous Hunchback: Quasimodo, and for my own personal gratification, I stuffed my bag up the back of my hoodie and Hunchbacked. All participants laughed and I could feel Hugo’s ghost shaking his head with a “This is what my works have come to.”
This trip has provided me not with an opportunity to be a goof, but an opportunity to be myself on a field of experience that is truer than I have ever felt. Whether you are the serious artist, prankster, casual traveler, or what have you, Paris is a City of extremes. Georgian Court University gave me the chance to live on a dimension of extreme “selfness,” a magic which I can never forget.