#SYHO14 – Day 7: Sing for the moment

“Turn it down” I shrieked and was joined by groans from all four passengers in the backseat. “I hate this song!” I can’t remember his name now, but he was one of the four of the Brazilian crew, and he refused to turn it down.

It was 2003, it was one of the best years of my life, and I was in La Rochelle in a car filled with people, and they were blaring the worst song ever. 

I had my French friends, and then I had my Erasmus friends. The Erasmus group was a group of foreign exchange students that were here (“here” being La Rochelle) for a semester or two just to learn French. There were two German guys, two Brazilian guys, two Brazilian girls, and about ten Spaniards. There was also a Korean guy, and a tiny Japanese girl who intimidated me beyond belief. 

We were on our way to some club to meet up with the rest of the Erasmus crew, and it was the Germans and the Brazilian guys and me in the car. Half of us were drunk (not the half that was in charge of driving) and the music was blaring. The “Numa Numa” song came on for the 100th time on the radio station, and we were begging Brazil to turn it off.

The destination didn’t really matter since we never stayed in one place and as was the case with us, the journey was always much more fun than where we landed. Music, therefore, was crucial to our trip.

Andres, the other Brazilian guy, (Or Brazil #2) said something in Portuguese then turned the station to some other pop song that was popular. There were eight different conversations going on at the same time, and somehow we were all part of each and every single of one them. We got to the club and immediately found the rest of our group. “Heeeey!” and “saluts!” were exchanged and French in 5 different accents was spoken. It didn’t matter however, since the more beers and wine we drank, the more it all sounded the same. Some remix of the Black Eyed Peas was blaring and I jumped on the dance floor with the Brazilian boys. We had sang and danced to this particular song so many times by now, that we could coordinate perfectly and sometimes dance moves that we hadn’t planned before-hand would occur and our friends would stand in a circle watching and clapping and laughing and I would love it because I was Fergie. We were living movie scene after movie scene. 

To me, that was “the college years” until I moved to Mexico and lived more college years there. I don’t think I ever realized how amazing that one year would be until years later when I find myself linking so many good times and danceable songs to the crazy nights with the Erasmus gang. 

We were at a different bar now, there weren’t that many people dancing but we had worked up a sweat despite the door being open and the cold Rochelle maritime wind gushing into the dance floor. We had dance, again, to the Black Eyed Peas and I had had so many Smirnoff Ices (my drink of choice back then) that I didn’t care that I was now dancing to more crappy European techno music. It was getting late however, and part of the crew had already left. Our driver had class the next day so we were getting wrapped up and ready to go when Brazilian guy #1 came over and said “one more song!”. And we would have stayed. We would have. Except unfortunately for him, right at that moment the DJ decided to close off the night with the one song we had asked him to turn down in the car. I laughed and spun around “I hate this song!” and the rest of the passengers followed, groaning.

We walked quietly over to the car, the sudden shock of cold silence made the ringing in our ears from the loud music even worse, but it had almost become part of the detox.  Our breath forming vapor that went up into the air and sent smoke signals to the stars. We were all euphoric. There was nothing special about that night, every night we went out was like this, it was always full of dancing and drinking and the enchantment of youth. For us, it was simply another successful night of being alive and having fun

The walk to the car was 10 minutes, and somewhere along the trip there we had caught our breath and were thinking of homework assignments or sleeping in. The end was near. I could see the parking lot and had already forgotten about the club when I heard Brazil hum to some song. Before I realize what it was, I was singing along with him. We all cracked up. “Seriously. Worst song ever.” 

Of course it was that Numa Numa song. But for me, even though I dislike the song greatly, that song has become about freedom, and youth, and cold hot nights in La Rochelle. It reminds me of the youth in me that is always rampant and wild and will not be tamed, will not be put down. It is my ability to have fun, to partake in a community with people that are also willing to love me. 

What is a song that you did not like before, but it pushed to to remember a situation or feeling that was positive? What did you overcome? What did you learn? What did you get over? 

All my love,

Maëlle

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