Christmas is approaching.
I’ve found my balance in Grenoble, even moved to my very own first ‘apartment’ – actually a tiny maid’s room on the fifth floor of a vintage building with an unreliable elevator, furnished with a single bed, a table/desk and a chair. An alcove contains a shower, sink, hot plate and bidet. The toilet has a little room all to itself. I have a window looking out over other roof tops, with the Alps as a backdrop.
I am gloriously free. Free from Mme. Leiva-Marcon’s complaints about my hot water usage Free from lectures about disturbing her evening every time I come home after 9 p.m. And so I move my belongings to this little retreat and am, for the first time, truly on my own.
The talk in Mille. Simon’s class is of where to spend Christmas break. All of Europe beckons, but the main requirement for me is that it won’t cost much.
Judy from Newark has an ex-fiance, a second lieutenant stationed at the Ramstein airbase near Mannheim. She assures us they are still on friendly terms. Sure enough, he offers to turn over his BOQ (bachelor officer quarters) apartment to us.
Rick and Don from Portland agree to drive us to Mannheim in the Alte Liebe if Pat, Judy and I pay for gas. It’s 370 miles. They assure us we can cover that in a day – if the Alte Liebe holds up. After they drop us at Ramstein, they’ll head for the slopes. The plan is we’ll meet up with them in time for New Years Eve in Innsbruck, Austria.
There are a lot of variable here, weather/road conditions, the Alte Liebe, hitchhiking, ex-fiances – but I have just turned 20 and these are fleeting worries that hardly weigh against the prospect of this excellent adventure!