Circles

Angers, France. 01-28-2014

Circles puzzle me. And I can’t help but think about a certain ex-someone every time circles come to mind. Because they believed in circles, or rather that life moved, progressed, according to circles. And I thought at the time that this was crap, because it seemed to me like circles never really progressed but just moved as an endless cycle of the same. But the more I visit the idea, or the mention of circles visits me, I start to see that maybe circles are a more accurate representation of time than are lines.

We talk about circles of friends, circles of people, not lines of people, because circles imply a connectedness that a line lacks. Perhaps an intersection of lines? But this still lacks a wholeness that the interconnectedness of people portrayed through or by the circle more accurately represents.

The circle is a journey in which you move only to return to the same point…but to return to this point comes after the passing of time – after things have happened. So perhaps, contrary to my earlier opinion, the circle can build and progress, and in a way more accurately and truly than the line.

I want lines. Because lines are clear and clean and have a clear progression of time which leaves past in the past. I like the safety of distance in time – of time as natural fixer and healer. But it’s hard to ignore that even with miles of time, things that you hope would be gone, would be over, or would have changed…are still there. Still here. Oh but for a way to harness and control perspective, to understand its ways and to seize it. Space can do much, but sometimes it’s not enough.

To step back or step in to now: I’ve been in France for a week and five days. It already feels like so much has happened, perhaps because of the comfort I feel with new friends and international students. Outside of that though, I’ve felt myself an alien and am aware of a desire to fit in, or blend in, to my surroundings. I’m so shy to speak the language because I feel like I don’t know enough or will say something dumb. I do feel this going away a bit, though slowly. I just need to be myself and be comfortable being myself, and not so caught up with trying to blend in culturally. But god, French people like to stare! Either that, or they ignore you entirely.

It’s just the beginning and yet, each day is important and new and exciting. Because I only have my classes once a week, I feel like I should be getting all this stuff done – a compulsion resultant of my work and school schedules back home. However, with less of my time segmented and put into blocks, the openness allows me to enjoy and feel each day more: each day counts and is full of opportunity.

The beginning

Angers, France. 01-20-2014

I’m here. I’m finally here. And wow! I couldn’t be more grateful or more giddy or more happy. Can’t believe it’s only been four days. Everything feels so right and so good. I’m so full of emotion. Finally unpacked my suitcase! And got kitchen things and a towel(!) and a much needed adapter from the French Walmart equivalent, Carrefour. Yesterday’s tour of both campuses and the city center was exhausting but so wonderful. This city is so beautiful! It’s perfect, and much bigger than I imagined. I can’t believe that this is my home for the next five months! And there’s so much culture. So much music and art happening during my time here.

The getting down was rough. Everyone speaking French to me and myself too exhausted and brain-dead to understand or respond. But, I did it. I made it from plane to train to bus to international office, to my room. Made my bed and then collapsed and had an overwhelmed and exhausted cry. And god, it was so wonderful to see the guys from UNCG. Stepped out of my door and there they were at the end of the hall. They helped me find the administrative office and the supermarket. We had a celebratory drink and then I passed OUT. It’s probably the first time I’ve gone to bed before 9pm in a while. Each night gets easier to sleep through without waking up randomly.

I’ve met so many other international students already. My favorites are already the Greeks 🙂 I can see Costas and I being good friends. He’s wonderful, and seems to be a very kind and genuine human. And it amazes me that this is the first time he’s spoken English at length! He’s such a good speaker of both French and English.

Today’s highlight? Everything is closed on Sundays, so we went ice skating! Very different from American rinks in that they played actually good music – like club music with good beats. The coolest part was when everybody gathered in the center of the rink to watch these guys breakdance and do tricks on the ice. IT WAS SO COOL!!! It was Costas’ first time ever ice skating but he was able to do a few laps by himself before we left.

I’m so excited about my life right now 😀 Can’t wait to start sitting in on classes and I’d like to explore the city by myself in the next few days. Also excited to explore the surrounding cities. Lots to do tomorrow.

 

Hello world!

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Delighted to have you with me as I dive into the digital realm of writing and publishing. Thus marks the inauguration of my first stab at New Year’s Resolution #1: write more.

It’s January 2015 and I’m right smack in the middle of my 20’s. I celebrated my quarter century birthday back in the fall and have been living in New York City now for about four months; more specifically, way the fuck out in Brooklyn. And not the fancy part where boutiques and restaurants abound, but in a neighborhood that most haven’t even heard of. Ironically, I enjoy the quiet.

A little over a year ago, I was beginning my last semester of college, studying abroad in Western France. Now, my southern constitution is doing battle with its first real winter. I’ve called North Carolina home for the past 14 years and a home it will always be, but the energy of this city has excited and incited me for years.  And so, after a final summer spent in NC, on front porches and back porches, in the company of honeysuckle and lightning bugs, I made the transition from frequent visitor to resident of NYC.

When friends and family ask “how’s New York?!” the best response I can give is – it’s weird…but good. It’s exciting to inhabit a place that harbors the same spirit of adventure I found in Europe, yet the endless possibility for discovery is both inspiring and overwhelming. Contrasted with the desire to make a home, to make a life and find your place, it can leave you feeling lost. The problem is that my home is with the hearts of Greeks and Poles, Aussies and Irish. And of course, Frenchies.

In an effort to find my place, I’m beginning an act of perspective through a parallel of numbered time. I’ll revisit my writings during my five months in France, a year later, alongside the happenings of my present. I’ll go back as a way of going forward, attempting to understand why my time abroad was so good, and reaching for the best possible now.

Follow me on my quarter-century crisis journey, on this circular meshing of time and place, as I seek to clarify the abstract of my unknown future.