6.25.2010

A l'aventure...

Last night I dined with Fanny, the only French friend in New York that I see on a regular basis. She's leaving New York in a couple of months, after several years (and what seems like several lifetimes) for London to go to graduate school. She can't yet imagine what her life will be like there, but one thing is for sure: it will be nothing like it has been here.

We talked about this over Japanese food, the way people are presented with opportunities to completely (like... completely) overhaul their lives. I'm thrilled for her (and jealous in the best way).

"I'm really happy, don't get me wrong," I said to her. "But there is a small part of me that loves the feeling of throwing yourself into a situation that's going to totally change you. Total clean slate, total starting over."

I remember those times, the weeks leading up to the departure date, the bittersweet feelings about leaving what was comfortable and discovering the unknown. For all the times I moved to France (ok, only 3, but still...), none of them were the same. Each time a different city, a different group of people, a different dynamic. The same thing happened when I went to Muhlenberg (although I wasn't yet excited by the prospect of NEW LIFE! and it took me a while to appreciate it) and when I spent the summer at Middlebury. How lucky I feel to have taken those opportunities when they presented themselves.

Fanny and I talked about what it means to have these chances. Some people have reacted to her change in a positive way and others have questioned why she would leave a perfectly fine life here in New York. I suppose drastic life changes are not for everyone- and that's not a judgment. It's a fact.

Tonight I'll board a plane to Chicago and then another one to Cedar Rapids, IA. It feels a little bit like a throw-back to the old days, packing up my things and heading into the unknown. The opening of Dickens' David Copperfield suggests that we are the heroes of our own lives and this image has always provided me with comfort when I'm homesick or nervous about doing something new. Heroines don't cry! They have adventures! What kind of boring life story would it be to always stay the same?

So I'm off to the adventurous plains of Iowa for the next 8 days or so. I'm going to try to stay relatively Internet-free while I'm out there, checking email once at night and leaving my phone in my room all day. I figure that removing myself to the most remote place I can think of to write would not be very productive if I tweeted about it all day long.

It's ass-in-chair time, people. Let the page count begin.

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