But then this morning I started piling everything up that I needed to take with me and I couldn't find my house keys. In some kind of poetic twist, even the physical problem existed of not being able to "get back into my former home." And as I ransacked the place, cursing the piles of junk mail that have collected over the past two months and shoving old magazines in a garbage bag, I started bawling again, the mantra repeating in my head "I don't want to go." Because on some level, I don't want to come back. And the only thing worse than being somewhat dissatisfied with your life is going away from it and having to re-enter once more.
I lay on my bed staring across at the closet as my poor mother searched the nooks and crannies of the room around me. And suddenly I got up, walked across the room, reached my hand into the right pocket of my white jacket and pulled out the keys. And then I calmed down.
I'm leaving for a week to get my stuff and I promised my new boss last night that I would be coming back (although don't think it wasn't an idea as recent as a week ago to end up staying in Paris for good). I can't promise good Internet access over the next week, but I can promise some good stories when I get back. Like what "downward facing dog" is in French. I'm really looking forward to that.
What are you doing ??? ;)
Do you have decided to stay in NY ?
Do you have found a new job near Central Park ? A good job?
I’m so sad about this email!!!! I didn’t kwown that !!!!
But I guess it’s a good thing for you !!! congratulations !!! sincerely !
I hope everything is all right for you and hope see you again one day !
I’ve heard that you’re not coming back to Paris on September. If it’s true, I’m glad that you’ve found a good job but a little sad because I’m nostalgic about our discussions, laughter… during classes.
And now I realize that there's just a host of problems awaiting me when I get to the point of hiring someone to watch my future children. Like finding a babysitter who looks responsible, minimum age 45.
1. I have been completely ignoring time limits.
2. I have been very nonchalantly verifying my answers ("oh hmm, yeah, wow, that one was way off! ha!")
Last night I decided to buckle down and set some time limits. It goes without saying that the math and verbal sections that I tackled under these conditions were the hardest I've encountered so far. My results on last night's exercises would put me somewhere in the academic range of "i do good at skool" and "decimals are decorative!" In the midst of the problem solving section, I was bitch-slapped by standard deviation and kicked in the gut by percentages. And then, a tiny graph appeared, one that asked for the slope of the line.
Like an almighty force rushing out through every pore of my being, slope screamed out "CHANGE IN Y OVER CHANGE IN X!" and the explanation from my 10th grade Math teacher echoed close behind "rise over run... you would need to get out of bed before you run away!"
Perhaps my hypochondria stems from an education based on ways to flee one's bed, even while in Math class. But I digress.
Important lessons were learned in the verbal section as well. I am now particularly well-informed about why black slaves ended up preserving tradition better than their white owners (they kept strict records about their kin and therefore never married their cousins... the inbreeding hypothesis might explain what the hell is so wrong with the Bush family) and why Virginia Woolf was so impressed by Chaucer (he didn't outwardly moralize but asked his reader to come to his own moral judgements). Look at all I've retained 24 hours later! And yet, one might ask, why did I only get 5/10 correct last night?
The more I study for this damn test, the more annoyed I get. This is not because I don't like studying the math because I am actually having an okay time wondering down memory lane, reconnecting synapses that have been road blocked since the AP Pre-Calc disaster of '99. It's more the idea that someone like myself, who is not interested in pursuing geometry or antonyms in graduate school, would need to prove something by this lop-sided excuse for a measuring device.
If there is any advice I can offer to those considering taking the mighty GRE, I'd suggest taking it while the iron is hot. Word on the street is they're changing the format to something longer and more focused on the math section, two elements that can only add to the GRE Marketing departments' sleepless nights.
I'm really bad at listening to my messages, so bad in fact that two years ago Evelyn sat next to me on the couch and MADE me listen to them while she took notes on a spare pad of paper. I think I'd reached 35 that time and the thing is, once you get over three, it starts feeling overwhelming to even contemplate calling the mailbox because WHO wants me and WHAT do they need that I'm late sending to them?
Either way, I always end up deleting messages before they're over because they're so old I assume there is no relevant information in them. And perhaps this is my passive-aggressive way of avoiding social responsibility, to wait until the event/issue/trauma/assignment is so far past due that all I can do is shrug my shoulders and delete.
Last week I had dinner at the old apartment in Rye with Evelyn, Tejal and Dani. During said dinner, Evelyn mentioned some highly delicious gossip that she assumed I'd known for weeks because she'd left it in a voice mail for me. I guess my trigger-happy finger zapped it all away though because she didn't spit the gossip out within the first three seconds, a fact that leads me to wonder what else people are leaving at the tail ends of messages.
Is someone in love with me? Have I been fired? Is anyone else pregnant with a KFed baby? I would say that my curiosity outweighs my lazy phone tendencies and that I'll change my ways, but to be more realistic, give me the good stuff first. Forget pleasantries. Leave the dirt at the beep.
I wished I was like this kind of person about five hundred times this past week.
The reason I haven't written anything lately is that I didn't know how to write without turning this thing into something boring and worrisome for those who read it. I read several blogs, some of which are written by women who are going through unbearable times and I'm always left with anxiety after reading their words. I cannot do anything to help and yet I cannot NOT do anything either. I spent the past week or so having daily breakdowns in the comfort of my own bed, choosing to get through these moments of doubt alone.
Because the thing is, I'm a wallower. I am not like the aforementioned few; I can't take a punch and walk proudly away. I wallow and I sit in it and wait until my toes touch the bottom so I can push off again towards air. If I don't deal with things as they come they come back to get me months later and so my way of dealing is to get it all out at once. And boy, was there a lot to get a handle on this week. Here is a helpful diagram to help those of you visual learners (minus the black rubber ball, but including the big gut fed by homemade cookies ...):
It was very cathartic to make this silly picture, so if you'd like the image to make one of your own, to name (and choose fonts and sizes for!) your problems, drop me an email and I'd love to see your version if you're into sharing. Naming the overwhelming issues can be a good step towards getting over them and this exercise, combined with a few other moments over the past couple of days has me feeling a bit better. I think I'm swimming up to the surface again; a few yoga classes, a joyful weekend in Vermont for my graduation from Middlebury, and a quiet afternoon of studying math for the GREs have reset a few of my buttons. And while I'm still dreading the trip to Paris in two weeks to collect my things and say my goodbyes, making stateside plans for the upcoming months has helped me feel balanced as well.
Check back soon for Middlebury French class of 2007 pix, fun facts learned while studying for the GREs, and the story behind why I now own a cane. A story not to be missed, folks.
When we got there, four kittens were left and, as the early afternoon progressed, they all disappeared. The orange tabby left in the arms of a young boy and his sister, a tiny black one mewed its way to its new owner's red Honda. One by one, they were absorbed into the local community, adopted into the arms and backyards of local families. It reminded me of the time that Steve and I flew down to D.C. to visit Katie last summer. When we passed through the gates into the baggage claim area, we saw two families waiting to receive tiny Asian babies in red jumpsuits. Tears flew into my eyes as the mothers were passed the newest members of their families and the siblings danced around their parents' legs singing "I have a sister!"
I like the idea of people taking care of projects started elsewhere. Is that an awfully simple way to talk about adoption? It feels like it might be, but I want to insist upon the simple fact that it's a beautiful thing to imagine and conceive of an idea or project or child oneself, but it's also pretty stunning to see the torch being passed as well.
My Nana used to raise African violets in her sun room. They started on an end table and by the end had spread across every possible surface, including the floor. When we stayed there a few weeks ago, we went around and threw them into one giant garbage bag; most had died because it had been so long that someone had been in her house to water them. One, however, looked like it had an ounce of life left in it so I brought it home in the hopes of reviving something in the wake of a loss. It was finicky for the first two weeks and didn't seem to like any of the places I put it in the house.
Proud to report that the sunlight in the laundry room has made this adoption and revival a success.
I spent this past weekend in Nashville (which oddly enough seems to have become my #1 vacation spot in this large country) with the Sarahs. I thought a lot on my plan ride home tonight why my friendship with the Sarahs continues on so strong, regardless of what Midwest state they plant themselves in (and what foreign soil I'm playing on). Staying with them is like visiting family, like having cousins my own age whose values are close to mine and whose love of arts and crafts and everything nature is something we revel in sharing. Maybe it's the wooden paneling in their rented apartment that reminds me of my Nana's or maybe it's the feeling of being far from home that kicks up the family instinct in me, but regardless of what the reasons are, the Sarahs are living proof that friendship can work long-distance.
I am living in a place called Doubtland at the moment; some of you may know it, as it lies directly north of Steam-roll-ahead-Optimistville and just south of Old Regretsbury. There are moment when this just all feels wrong, buying cars and living back at home and working full-time and starting all. over. again. I had a very long and profound conversation with an old boss of mine last week who said it short and to the point when she said "we are misfits. There's no use fighting it, once you become one of these trans-continental people, you can't fit into any one side anymore." She's right of course, and this purgatory-like status feels even more damning when I barely recognize myself in my hometown anymore. Like I've forgotten the language and the will to speak it.
As if such large-scale life changes weren't enough, July brought with it the end to two matriarchs in our family. I spent five days down in Pennsylvania with my Mom at my Nana's, going through her things and was faced with yet another side of myself. To realize we are one in a chain of generations is something I rarely feel in America because the architecture doesn't shout it the same way as it does in Europe. But we found deeds for my great-grandfather's land in the 1800's and photos from the early 20th century that vibrated with history and only fed my over-active imagination at night when I should have been sleeping. To face my past, present and future in the same month has been utterly exhausting.
I greet August with a half-hearted wave, anxious about the next few weeks of setting roots down here, but also dreading the end of the month, when I head back to Paris to collect my things and say goodbye. The future of these newsletters is uncertain as well. I can't continue writing to Paris because it's like never getting over a relationship, but at the same time, it seems too soon to be writing to New York. I may need to find someplace in-between like the Atlantic Ocean or something general like the globe. Or maybe, dear readers, I will cut out the middleman and write directly to you.