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“What A Weird Day” Blog Carnival

What A Weird Day...
What A Weird Day...

I recently participated in a Blog Carnival at China Story Weekly, where I submitted a story about the rough Chinese massages I had when I visited Beijing last year.

It was so much fun, I figured I’d host my own carnival: tthe “what a weird day!” Carnival!

For those who are not familiar with Blog Carnivals, the goal is to basically gather as many posts as possible on a given theme. You send me your stories through Blog Carnival, and I will publish them. The deadline is June 8th, 2009. You will get a backlink in the process if that can be an incentive too.

The theme for this month is “what a weird day!“. We all experienced a day when nothing goes as planned, when the world just looks strange, when we witness something unusual. At least I hope so… wouldn’t like being the only one!

All you have to do is submit your article at Blog Carnival (you don’t even need to register). It can be an old post or a new article written just for me (I’m flattered, really!). We are quite a multilingual crowd here, so you can write in English, but also in Spanish, French and Mandarin. Have fun!

Allow me to share one of my stories…

In fall 2006, I went back to France for a few weeks. I stayed at my parents’ place, in Nantes, where I grew up: a five storeys building in the city center.

I was studying for my Chinese exams and everyday, I followed the same ritual, which included memorizing a few hundred characters, figuring out why wenyan (ancient Chinese) was so fucked up and why I really needed to know all the changyu.

In a word, I was studying late and was rarely up before twelve.

One morning, I got up and sleepily went downstairs to pick up the mail. I opened the mail box, retrieved a bunch of junk flyers and a little sheet of A4 paper, neatly folded in two. I climbed back upstairs, sorting out the junk mail to put it directly in the recycle bin at the door. The little sheet of paper would have ended up there if I hadn’t dropped it on the floor while opening the door.

I glanced at it: it was from the city of Nantes. A word caught my eye: evacuation. I called my mum and showed her the paper. We both started giggling.

— Is it a joke?
— Well, I don’t think so.

According to the paper we had received, a WW2 American bomb had been found in the Loire, the main river crossing the city. Construction workers digging the new med school’s foundations had discovered the 500 pounds explosive, safely buried under concrete. Ooops.

The bomb wasn’t safe (gee…) and had to be defused. We were all asked to evacuate the city on the following Sunday, from 4 am. Those who had nowhere to go would be taken to the nearby stadium by the city of Nantes.

We were Thursday. My parents didn’t have a car and we were five people anyway.

We called my grand-parents, but since they only lived 500 meters away, they had received the note as well. I called some friends, but they all lived downtown Nantes, in the unsafe perimeter.

We held a family counsel. My mother didn’t want to go to the stadium: she feared that even though the city provided transportation, it would be packed. My father didn’t feel like going either: he had better things to do at 4 am on a Sunday, like sleeping. My brother and my sister wanted to stay home, because it was kind of cool. And I wanted to stay home because of all the reasons mentioned above. A no-brainer. We rarely do what we are supposed to do in my family anyway.

My parents live nearby the Quai de la Fosse, on the bank of the river. We weighted the pros and the cons, but figured that we would be fine.

Us vs. The Bomb
Us vs. The Bomb

For a couple of days, we had a lot of fun telling people we were being evacuated. I emailed Feng, who was in Ottawa, and he didn’t believe me until I send him an article.

On Saturday night, we said our prayers… no, wait a second, wrong family. We just joked and bugged each other as usual. My mother’s only concession to the bomb threat was to take her geraniums inside.

At dawn, we started to hear the civil defense’s choppers above us. Soon after, the police arrived in the supposedly empty safety perimeters do to a last check. We heard them entering our building. A few seconds later, they climbed the stairs and hammered on the door:

— Police, open this door!

We remained quiet and they eventually left to check others doors. Still, I wouldn’t like being a criminal woken up by the police at the door… feels weird.

The city center was strangely quiet but for the sound of the choppers and for the police and military cars’ flashing lights. Eventually, around noon, we heard the civil defense siren, letting us know the bomb had been safely defused.

We later learned that out of the 20,000 people who had to evacuate, only about 500 went to the stadium. Sure, some probably spent the weekend outside the city, but apparently, a lot stayed home like us. French always do the opposite of what they are supposed to do!

Anyway… that was a weird day!

How about you? Tell me about your weird day and join the Blog Carnival!

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