Monday, October 14, 2013

A Field Trip, a Pickpocket and an Eccentric Naked Artist

Hundertwasser's work

My Post-Field Trip Chocolate Dessert

Three hours, 25 3-year-olds, two subway rides (one during rush hour), one thwarted pickpocket, one naked artist, two aspirins. What does that equal other than a lot of elementary math? My first experience as a chaperone on the… field trip!  

Yes, the very brave preschool teacher planned this outing to a children's museum to see the works of Hundertwasser, an Austrian contemporary artist. In my previous field trip experiences, I was the student. Mom always accompanied us as we traveled through our suburban Florida town in the glamorous old school bus.

Paris should be an exciting setting for a field trip, non?

Kind of. The excitement happened on our way to the museum. We're all sandwiched together at rush hour. The chubby little hands are clinging to the pole in the center of the car. A suspicious looking dude (who moments later will become "the pickpocket") kind of lingers around us. Then the door opens and… action! It started as the typical scene of pickpocket grabbing for well-dressed guy's cell phone. But all of a sudden, well-dressed guy pushes the pickpocket and kicks him in the behind, sending him sailing right out the door! Bet that pickpocket will think twice before he tries "blending" with a bunch of toddlers… Ah, the joys of public transportation.

Finally, we arrived safe and sound and didn't lose any children! The children seemed to enjoy the colorful contemporary works of Hundertwasser -- but were slightly bewildered when told that he used to like walking around naked. One little girl even said "I'm scared" -- she thought that Hundertwasser was going to pop up in front of us without his clothes on.

So after reassuring the children that the deceased artist wasn't going to reappear in the nude, the learning and games continued. Then it was time for the trek back to school. This time, it was uneventful. The pickpockets must have been at lunch.

I was getting a bit hungry myself… So after popping a couple of aspirin, I headed to my neighborhood cafĂ©. Even at the bustling rush hour, today, for some reason, it seemed quite tranquil to me.


  1. Oh, I remember those school trips well! I quite enjoyed being a mum-who-helped on these occasions, but I have no exciting tales of pickpockets to recount. But I could tell you about the child who was sick over the sandwiches......

  2. Yes, it is fun, and kind of funny to listen to the comments the kids make... That sick on the sandwich experience probably was one to remember!! Poor kid...

  3. Recounting it all afterwards, it sounds all very funny, but I am sure it was somewhat alarming at the time. I am impressed at how brave you are to take on that role, they take children out to cultural events right from a young age here which is brilliant, but they also get a bit of a life lesson in the process, being exposed to the greater world that many of them won't yet have been exposed to. For sure, they will likely never forget it, and neither will you . :) Being about kids is an eyeopener, as I mentioned to you yesterday discovering my 11 year old's friend were all texting the French President complaining about losing 2 weeks from their summer holidays! One of my French students whose son is only in CP (1st yr primary) is already telling his Mum he is going to have an iPhone when he gets to college, the things they learn at school!

    1. Thank you! When I found out they were taking such young children out and about in the city, I was surprised too. Control-freak me figured I'd better be there!! It's true that here in France, they seem to take small children everywhere! And regarding the iPhone, it's amazing to see babies practically who do a better job of scrolling from photo to photo than some adults... They learn quickly...