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Le 24 septembre only happens once a year, and this year it meant “Cultivating our culture” until 2AM!

It is a very cool idea–from 2pm until 2am on this day only, people can pay 10 francs once and receive a ticket that grants access into all 26 of Lausanne’s museums.

Of course, I love art and museums and staying out on Saturday night, and I had the opportunity to see some exhibitions that I never will have the chance to see again.

Our tickets actually called “Billet à planter” which was made out of recycled paper and had a little packet with plant seeds in it to plant wherever we want.

We saw the Fondation de l’Hermitage, which is almost never open to the public and if it is then it’s really expensive, and it houses many of Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Bonnard’s works, as well as Vallatton, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Then we got lost on the Rue de Geneve looking for the Musée de l’immigration for about an hour. It was a good bonding experience, walking around with three boys and four girls at midnight in the sketch part of Lausanne…We made it to the museum, which sounded so promising in the brochure about it because the major political parties in Switzerland are completely against immigration and we wanted to see what the Swiss thought about immigration, but the museum was a dud.

It was so disappointing–one room with a bunch of books about other countries and some toys. It was literally a place for kindergartners to go on field trips and learn about other countries.

All that getting lost for nothing! Around 1am we hopped on a bus and a few of us went to the Musée de l’Élysée, which I was unsure what exhibits were there, and  it turned about to be an exhibit of photography called L’autre Amérique. Of

course, I had not expected any of the exhibits I saw to hit so close to home for me, but this one was really interesting to see from a European viewpoint.

The exposition was called “Stands-up–Reporting Live from Ground Zero” by Frank Schramm. He photographed journalists in New York in September 2001 for eight weeks after the attacks. The photos themselves were interesting but I did not grasp what Schramm was trying to imply. The photos were of anchors sleeping and talking and holding a badge that says “9-11, Never forget.” It was a complete terror, but these anchors seem so serene.

Another part of the exhibit showed photos of nuclear plants and oil spills and people fishing in a lake that had a nuclear reactor right next to it. It was stuff that I see in America a lot, but all my foreign friends thought that this was horrendous–“how could America destroy so much in order to keep everyone alive with natural resources?” they asked me. It does seem ironic.

Then we lasped into a conversation about the media in America and how instead of being the watchdog, or the fourth estate, it’s constantly terrorizing the people of the nation, and rather than having good journalists, they become journalists that will twist anything to make a story.

It is so interesting to hear about American politics from Japanese and British viewpoints like I hear last night. It makes me feel like I’m not crazy. In America, it seems like there is nothing on the news except the crazies that are running for the presidency, and here, my French and Chinese roommates all adore Obama and support him, and don’t understand why nothing is getting done in our country. (These are French people asking me this…that is when you KNOW our government is at a standstill.)

And of course, the other day Atlanta made the front page of the local newspaper about killing Troy Davis. The title in English is “The icon of injustice will be executed tonight.” The whole world is angry. Especially Europeans whose countries all must ban the death penalty in order to be in the European Union. Being here and hearing other people’s opinions about politics in my home country, and how it effects the rest of the world, is refreshing.