Friday, July 26, 2013

the thing about leaving

So, I'm going to Seattle & the Pacific Northwest tomorrow. I'll be back soon enough. But if there's one thing I've learned about traveling, about my feelings on traveling, it's this:

You think you're so ready to leave...right up until it's time to leave. Then it hits you that you're going to be gone, and that life is going to go on without you. You start thinking about everything you're going to miss and your empty suitcase just sits there, taunting you. The reason you don't want to leave isn't 'cause you don't want to go wherever you're going. That has nothing to do with it. It's because you know everything will be different when you get back. It's the truth; it's unavoidable. Time passes and when time passes, things change. Maybe it's only a week, ten days, but it's still going to be different.

You tell yourself to think of all the wonderful sights and adventures and people ahead. You're still excited but it doesn't cancel out the hesitation. The feelings are not mutually exclusive; they exist together, cohabitants of your mind. You want to leave, but you don't. You don't want to leave, but you will.

It's how it always happens.

You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.” (Azar Nafizi)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

delicious ambiguity

I want to be a storyteller.
I think I've always wanted to be a storyteller.
When I was younger, I used to believe this meant going on grand adventures like you read about in books.
I wanted life-changing journeys and a wild cast of characters and surprises at every turn.
I wanted that, and maybe a part of me still does, but mostly, I just want to be able to tell a really good story.
But my life so far has not been a grand adventure, at least not the kind you read about in a novel.
I tried to convince myself that this was okay, that maybe my story could be gleaned from all the ordinary moments -- that if you strung them all together you could somehow sense a plot. But I keep trying that and it's like all the pieces just won't fit together. It doesn't make sense.
Of course it doesn't. I don't know everything that's going to happen yet. I can't connect the dots when they're not all there.
So I'm taking a step back again, thinking, maybe it's okay that it doesn't make sense.  Maybe it's okay not to know who you are or where this is going or what it means or anything. Maybe it it isn't fair for you to want to understand your life when you're still in the middle of it. You are seventeen, I tell myself. Someday, probably, you will be able to look back at everything that happened as steps leading you to where you will be. Right now, all you can see is what feels like a big tangled mess. Maybe it is not your job right now to untangle it into something that has meaning, but just to keep going. Keep living. Don't be afraid to make a bigger mess, even. If you want to be able to tell a story, you're going to have to do something, and you know that much is true.

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” (Gilda Radner) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

paris, part two

 Luxembourg Gardens

 Dinner, and the sky was a gorgeous color.

Shakespeare & Co.

 The Louve. It was, predictably, extremely crowded around the Renaissance art (cough cough, the Mona Lisa) and other famous pieces, like Venus de Milo. I had to push past people like it was the freshman hallway before first period and that's not my ideal museum experience. I like the quiet, I like when it feels like a sanctuary. There was some of that, since I worked my way through a lot of the museum, but it's huge and it made me I remember that I'm not so much about that ancient art. I think I like the movements from the nineteenth & twentieth century better. It was beautiful, but next time I'm going to the Musee d'Orsay.

First full view of the Eiffel Tower, from a boat on the Seine.

 Versailles. SO MANY PEOPLE. LINES FOR DAYS. Also Hall of Mirrors and gold-plated chandeliers and lots of paintings of long dead monarchs. And one of Joan of Arc, which was cool.

 Up the Eiffel Tower on the last night. Not all the way to the top, but I think the second level was good enough. It's kind of a little stunning. Just a little.

Bye, Paris. (It's still weird to think that I was there, what, three weeks ago?)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

paris, part one

I don't believe in love at first sight.

First impressions are too often misleading and I can never accurately tell how much someone is going to end up meaning to me when I first meet them. It's hard to know all that from a first glance, you know? I mean, maybe it exists for other people, but I feel like I'm too cautious to make that sort of a snap judgment.

I'm talking about people, of course, but I'm also talking about places.

My very first sight of Paris, pulling in on the train, wasn't that spectacular. It was kind of disappointing, honestly, because I had such high expectations (the root of all heartache) and all I saw was graffiti and dull apartment buildings and I was also hungry and tired which have a lot to do with my perceptions at the time. It just seemed like...any other European city I'd been in.

But I think you know where this is going. Over the next few days, I grew to love the City of Lights. Maybe it's not like it is in the movies, but still, Paris is magic. It really is. It's full of history and stories and, just, life. It feels like the center of the world.

I mean, it's not perfect. There are times it felt made, you know? Everything is cobblestones and concrete. It's beautiful and doesn't have the artificial feel you get in the suburbs or whatever, but it's like, where did the nature go? I'm used to lots of trees and creeks and dirt. The banks of the Seine are just concrete sloping into gray water and I can't imagine turtles living there. Even the parks, which were lovely, were so symmetrical and planned it almost didn't feel real.

So, yeah, it's not perfect. But you kind of have to love it anyway. It's Paris.

 Sacre Coer was beautiful and had a brilliant view of the city but Montmartre was so touristy. The street walking up was crammed with vendors trying to sell souvenirs and so many people.

More soon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

return of the flower crowns

Today my friend was all like, "I like how 2/3 of your "2013" album is the same person," and, well, he has a point. This is Adriana, and the basis of our friendship is me taking her picture every time she needs a new prof pic (yeah, you've seen her before) (like five or six times on here). It's always pretty spontaneous and never very planned but somehow it works. Here's from yesterday.