You, too, can sneak into an Official European Government Building

Two days ago, I headed out to (1) eat lunch and (2) get a haircut. Two hours, tops. I got to the Resto U and lined up. But the group in front of me spoke no French. They read no French. They knew no French. And when you’re in France without any knowledge of French, you’re plain screwed.

So I helped the group order their lunch and then invited myself over to their table.

Turns out the group was a bunch of law students from Germany, visiting various law-ish places in Europe. They made fun of me for being Texan. I made fun of them for being German. So that’s how we became friends.

The Germans were headed to the European Court of Human Rights. It’s one of the many fancy Official European Government Buildings in Strasbourg.

You can’t just walk into the European Court of Human Rights. You need stamps and permission and letterheads and stuff. So this was pretty much my only chance to get into the Official European Government Building.

It was a tough decision. I mean, I really needed to get a haircut.

We walked to the Official European Government Building and my new German friends promised to friend me on Facebook, which meant that we’d become Real Friends.

The director of their program was waiting. She looked at me suspiciously.

“You can’t go in with us. You’re not on our list.”

Oh dear!

I put on the most charming face I could muster and pointed out that “we could try.” It worked. And I didn’t even have the benefit of a fresh haircut to polish off my charm.

We tried. She gave me a badge. I put on the badge. I walked in. I was prepared to speak in German if shit started hitting the fan. Never mind the fact that the only word I know is “Gesundheit.” You can Google Translate it.

I got in. The security guards didn’t say anything.

VICTORY!

No, not yet, Sophy.

I thought we were going to see some pretty rooms and meet some cool people. Instead, we walked into a room with a big screen and watched a film on the Official European Government Building.

In German.

I don’t speak German.

Like, at all.

I told you, all I know is “Gesundheit.”

I had no idea what was going on.

After the film, I thought maybe we’d go see some cool rooms and meet some cool people. We did go into a cool room with cool blue chairs.

I sat somewhere where important people sat.

A cool person walked in. He was tall and official looking, a lawyer for the European Court of Human Rights. And he lectured. In German. For two hours.

Two hours.

Two hours.

Two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours two hours.

I’d even cleverly picked a seat 3 meters away from the man, so I couldn’t escape. No, I really couldn’t escape. It would’ve been incredibly rude.

I counted the number of seats in the room. I counted the number of blonds versus brunettes. I played with the chair. And I had no idea what was going on, at all.

I do know that he never said “Gesundheit.”

And I now have friends to stay with in Berlin and Frankfurt.

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