Monica Moscoso- France as text 2019

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Monica Moscoso is a senior at Florida International University. She’s is graduating with her Bachelors degree in Psychology. Monica has completed Honors Italy study abroad 2018, and is currently enrolled in Honors France study abroad 2019. Please find her As Texts below.

 

PARIS AS TEXT

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Old money wealth by Monica Moscoso of FIU at Paris, France

If Paris was a person, they’d come from an old money family. There’d be loads of rich history from down the line. Of monarchs, scandals, emperors, revolutions. The lookalike streets made of the same materials, built at around the same time, and only renovated— not made anew completely— serves as the same kind of united front old money families put up. The kind of families that take yacht trips together, with the one really old grandparent who made them who they are today (ahem Louis XIV). They even cast out others who are different than them. The business district with the skyscrapers? Outside Paris proper. Sleek and shine is the motto. Symmetry is beauty. Etoiles. Stars. From the viewpoint of the top of the Eiffel Tower, all was the same black shingle roofs with the same stone walls. Although, they did have that one modern store front on the Champs Elyseè, but it didn’t really fit and they decided to never do that again real quick. The black sheep of the family. We ignore them. Everything and everyone has its place in Paris. You might envy them, but they’re exactly who you want to be.

VERSAILLES AS TEXT

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The King by Monica Moscoso of FIU at Chateau de Versailles

Today turned out to be a busy day at Versailles. We had stuff to do! Places to be, people to see. First, started off our day in the Royal Chapel. God is above all here at Versailles. Louis is a Catholic King! He would never imagine himself above God. Although, he would imagine himself in the <<likeness>> of a god. He is called the Sun King. Apollo Versailles faces the rising sun and the setting sun. It reflects out over the Grand Canal and Gardens. The people are starving, but he’s building his palace. How bold. How audacious. How facetious. The people are dying, Louis! How can you not see? Riots in the city, looting of the deceased! Your young prince, Louis, you better teach him right. Keep him in Paris until he is ready. Let him see for himself what the working class world is like. Let him experience, and he will lead. He will be quick on his feet, ready to make the decisions that benefit all. Teach him to be empathetic. To think of others. Teach him to be strong in battle, and strong in his thoughts and words. Teach him math, science, literature! Give him the world and I promise, he will serve France right.

LYON AS TEXT

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Roots by Monica Moscoso of FIU at Lyon, France

As the gastronomical capital of the world, I expected Lyon to be a little more industrialized than it was. Carrying such a title only permits high expectations! Lyon was quaint, and full of secrets. Cafes on every corner, people milling about and enjoying their lives. The Seine marketplace people were happy to see us. Willing to laugh and joke around with us. Asked us personal questions like where were we from? Welcomed us and served us. Walking up to the Fourvière Hill on a steep winding asphalt road seemed like the obvious path, but a secret staircase gave you a straight shot up the hill. You only had to look for it! Secretive unless you tried hard enough. The traboules were also hidden in plain sight. Concealed behind an unassuming plain door, all you had to do was push the right one open and it would lead you through the backstreets of Lyon! Oh, what a beautiful city. The Notre Dame of Lyon was beautiful also. The gilded gold statue of the Virgin Mary paired with the story of people coming across Europe to do pilgrimages up to her was a bit stunning. Especially when you consider that pilgrimages are a sign of devout faith, and that Christianity rejected secular beauty and secular things in general, really. I mean, the Christian mosaics I’ve seen depict Bible stories, and rarely ever picture flowers or plants. Yet, there was a whole rose garden and orchard not only outside the church but incorporated into the pilgrimage path! Lyon is a mix of old and new. They know who they want to be while still remembering where they came from.

IZIEU AS TEXT

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Double-edged Sword by Monica Moscoso of FIU at Maison D’Izieu, France

Maison d’Izieu is situated in the overlap of the French Alps. You wouldn’t know it was there if they didn’t want you to know. It was a safe house during the War where Jewish children were sent. Walking through the rooms and getting a tour of the house was heartbreaking. Seeing the kids drawings, letters, suitcases, and photographs made it apparent that they were just that: kids. The arrest and deportation of these children by Klaus Barbie was devastating, but in a way, integral to the conviction of Barbie also. A bittersweet, double-edged sword. Actually, the arrest of these 44 children were quite possibly the only thing that could’ve convicted Klaus Barbie. He said he was only fighting the Resistance. Children aren’t resistance fighters. He had no reason to go after them except for being an evil human being. But then again, you wouldn’t know the house was there unless they wanted you to. So that means someone in the local neighborhood aided the Nazis in the raids by telling on the Maison d’Izieu. This complicitness is what we are starting to see again in America with ICE. The President has ordered raids in major cities, Miami being one of them. Miami is the gateway to Latin America, and a high percent of the population are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. They’re our teachers, they’re our grocery store clerks, our electricians, our friends, our neighbors. History is repeating itself, and it is up to us to take action to ensure that unnecessary actions are not carried out. We cannot be complicit. We cannot be the local farmer in the field ratting out children who have no control over what happens to them or their families. You too would send your kids away when the water is safer than the land.

NORMANDY AS TEXT/ PROJECT

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(Photo credits to findagrave.com)

Alfred Warner Chaskin 

Memorial location: A. 6. 18

Alfred Warner Chaskin was an American living in France at the time of WW2. He was born in New York on January 29th, 1887 and moved to Paris when he was 25. During the German Invasion of France, Mr. Chaskin was rounded up and sent to Concentration Camp Jlaf VII in Germany. Because he was American, he was captured as a civilian internee. He died of carcinoma of the lungs, and a metastatic tumor in the brain at age 57 and was originally buried in Salzburg, Austria. The US Army found his grave when the war ended, and his daughter was the one who decided to have his grave moved to its final resting place. 

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(full public file available at wwiiresearchandwritingcenter.com)

He is one of four civilians buried at Normandy American Cemetery. According to fallenherosofnormandy.org, he was awarded the WW2 Victory Medal, which is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who served at least one day of active duty in the years of the war. 

Before the war, I found documents that stated he was a banker. He worked at his own banking organization, Chaskin and Company, until it was liquidated in 1929. From then on, he worked independently. His latest reissued American passport was in 1936 (wwiiresearchandwritingcenter.com).

Regarding the awardance of the WW2 Victory medal, Omaha Beach memorial website states he was killed in action. I believe this might be due to him being a civilian internee, rather than him being a soldier on the frontlines. The Germans put civilians in internment camps available for possible trial and sentencing for being part of criminal organizations. 

Note: civilian internee is different from prisoner of war because POWs are part of the armed forces. 

Reflection:

It’s like looking for a long lost relative, or friend. I found your death records. Your burial records. But nothing that made you human. And I still have questions. What made you move to Paris? What did you do in school? Something to connect me to you. Did you like art? 

I can’t imagine being detained in an internment camp just because of the passport you held. I had great uncles who fought and died in the war. I didn’t know them, and I didn’t know you, but I’m grateful for the sacrifices you’ve made. Why were you awarded the Victory Medal? I can’t find anything on your military service, Mr. Chaskin. I guess going though the horrors of being interned was enough. Honored as a civilian, your country recognizes what you had to endure for us. I think that gives me hope. Being a woman, I am not the most honored individual in this country. People brush me off, look me over, don’t take me seriously because of my gender. I know my privileges, and I know my downfalls. But like you, I am a fighter and a survivor. You didn’t die because of the war. You didn’t die from complications of the war. By all means, you survived internment. Your burial in the Normandy American Cemetery as one of four civilians, and you burial in the Normandy American Cemetery as the only one of four civilians who never actual fought in the war gives me hope that my country, too, can recognize modern day people like me with high honors without discrimination of race, gender, ranking, or disability. So thank you. 

Pere Lachaise Project: Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganov

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Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganov was a Russian noble. Her family is known for being wealthy in the salt and fur trades. She was born in 1779 and died in 1818. When she was 16, she got married to Count Nikolai Nikitich Demidov, and ended up having two children with him.

When Elizaveta’s husband became a diplomat, they were sent to Paris and were avid supporters of Napoleon I. However, as France and Russia’s relationship grew tense nearing the Franco-Russian wars, Elizaveta and Nikolai were called to come home.

Due to completely different personalities and values, Elizaveta and her husband separated after the birth of her second son in 1812. She was described as being light, witty, and beautiful. He was described as being introverted and serious. She moved back to Paris where she lived out the rest of her days and then was buried in Pere Lachaise cemetery.

Her mausoleum is one of the most impressive ones in the cemetery. Around 1830, it was rumored that the Russian Princess proposed a challenge in her will. Whoever could stay with her for 365 days and 366 nights would inherit the entirety of her aristocrat fortune. Only 6 applications have ever been received by the Archives of Paris.

Reflection:

Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganov was a smart, funny, and attractive woman. Knowing where she stood in society and using that to her advantage. Incredibly independent, I seen parallels between her life and mine. She inherited a great fortune by being born into an already wealthy family, but when she got married off to the Demidovs, she ended up saving her new family from going bankrupt. Her husband in his young age was an incredible loose spender, and actually had to have the state send in receivers to end his behavior.

Over the course of history, there has been an established pattern of women being in the background of men’s accomplishments and/or being trapped by men (who wield all the power). Whether it be Reagan credited for his female speechwriter’s words, or women taking over and doing the “men’s jobs” during the was. Baroness Stroganov realized she wasnt in a happy position and had the courage to do something about it.

Im not too sure if divorce was even an accepted thing back then in 1800’s Russia. I know that in my religion, Catholicism, divorce is not accepted. Marriage is a thing ’til death do you part. But sometimes, there are circumstances that you cant control and you must make a hard decision. I know that’s what happened in my household. Things happened and my mom had a decision to make. Factoring in loss of income; the message she was sending as a woman to my sister and I; the message she was sending to my brother in either outcome; the shift in family dynamic; etc. In the end, my parents did end up divorcing last spring. However, what are we to do when we are put in these situations? Trapped by a vow that now means nothing? Stroganov got married at 16 and separated after just having a baby. Thankfully, she had resources available to her because she came from a family with money. However, it is not so easy for everyone. And for those that have it difficult, it is hard to be strong and independent. For too long have we been looked over and expected to conform to society’s and religion’s standards for us. Anyone who makes it a little easier to break those chains should be remembered.

Over Under Paris