little sarah Big World

Month: December, 2009

We were visiting Grandma and George’s graves

So…I’ve been really homesick lately, and last night I had a dream where I was crying. I mean to say that not only was I crying in the dream, but that it felt like crying. I remember the weight of it, the lump in my throat, and how my face felt hot and tight. It was like when you dream that you’re screaming and then wake up actually screaming, only I didn’t wake up right away. And then the next morning I felt a lot better.

I think I was crying in my sleep.

Of course, this gives a whole new meaning to the term “wet dream.”

…y que no haya remedio

Monday, December 28th, 2009

(bus: Oviedo to Madrid)

Where am I? Okay, so…I’m on the bus back to Madrid from Oviedo, but…I was just so lost in a book, and it’s over now, and I looked up to have that question come flying out of the darkness at me. Not feeling low about returning to Madrid this time, just…ambivalent. Looking forward to my next book, my next distraction, and that really does worry me. As much as I’m growing and learning and getting my bearings out here, I’m also just…killing time. Until I’m allowed to go home to my loved ones.

But then, okay, two things. First off, we talked about committing to where we are RIGHT NOW, didn’t we, Sarah? And also: you know damned well that you’d find something to bitch about in regards to your “loved ones” back home.

I fear that I may be a malcontent…

Patria querida

On the way to Oviedo, and then just now, again, on the way home, there was a rainbow, on the outskirts of the city. And not just any rainbow, but a vibrant, wide, full color-scheme arco iris that both greeted me and bade me farewell. Hasta luego, Asturias.

It’s good to know that Mother Nature feels the same way about Oviedo as I do.

Sarah & Oviedo, December 2009

On my way to Oviedo

So…they’re showing a movie on the bus with the sound coming through the overhead speakers. It’s American Gangster.

I should mention that this is the 8am bus, and that the movie opens with a man tied to a chair, doused in gasoline, and set on fire.

Merry Christmas, from Spain.

Tour Journal

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

(Madrid – airport)

Waiting for my flight with a headache (a hangover?). On my way to Copenhagen, to meet Will, to join him on the tour.

Nervous, anxious, excited, and headachy. Oh, and tired. Always tired, but I’ll sleep when I’m dead, I suppose.

Friday, December 4th, 2009

(Malmö – coffee shop)

“Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me,

If I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me”

-Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

Monday, December 7th, 2009


In a coffee shop, in Hamburg, wanting desperately to lose myself in a book, but stuck listening to shitty radio.

One of the people we met today said that I was boring. I think maybe it was a joke? Hard to tell, with the language barrier and all. Harder than one would think, at least.

And I don’t want to think that it’s true, but maybe it is. I suppose most boring people think that they’re interesting, and that’s what keeps them keepin’ on.

But anyways, fuck it. All I can do is keep on keepin’ on anyhow.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

(Train—Hannover to Amsterdam)

Am I a child? Will said that I am, and with good reason. I don’t know, with him…I think it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like, he sees me as childish, and so treats me as such, and then that’s what I become; that’s what I am.

But then I think back to the night when Laura forced me to set up my bedroom in Madrid, when she saw how I’d been living—everything a mess, suitcase half unpacked, etc.—and I remember it was all so overwhelming, and nothing was right, and I didn’t know how to fix it. My mind started spinning with wild, childish fantasies—impossible solutions—and I wanted to cry.

This was maybe not the first time I’ve had a near breakdown over a new bedroom.

No, not even close.

And I really don’t like seeing myself through their eyes. I don’t like seeing myself as needy, or childish. Dependent.

*     *     *

But it can’t ALL be true, because sometimes I don’t depend. Sometimes I’m depended on. I mean, dozens of people have entrusted their children to me, and I haven’t let them down. And I’ve known what to say when a three-, four-, five-year-old poses the tough questions (or, if I didn’t know, I made something up, like all good grown-ups do).

I help out all I can and try my best to be honest, to be reliable and keep my commitments, to keep my word. I’m teaching myself to be my own shelter, not to always run to that strong masculine shoulder but to just wait and wait and hold on. A lot of self-justification, but still.

Anyways, I can’t be THAT childish if I’m out there (mostly) on my own, in Madrid, doing my own thing.

I’m just sensitive, and that’s because I’m very serious, and that’s okay, because then I’m also sincere. And I think that takes more strength, in a way, than being callous, because you’re always exposed. No jokes, no armor. No bullshit “adult” superiority, none of that.

Because who ever REALLY grows up, anyway? Honestly.

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

(Strasbourg – café)

I think the road to genuinely not caring is a lot different and more “duro” than just pretending not to care. But it’s better.

Oh, how it’s better.

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

(Train – Geneva to Montpellier)

Quelqu’un m’a dit qu’il me trouve bizarre aujourd’hui, mais je ne suis pas d’accord. Je me sens heureuse—heureuse par tout ça que je suis. Heureuse par pouvoir parler le français (un peut), et l’espagnole. Par tout que je sais faire, par tout que je suis, et par tout que je ne suis pas—je me sens heureuse. Je sais que je ne suis pas ennuyant. Pas du tout. Et si on veut ça croire, quel dommage.

Pour lui.

*     *     *

La otra cosa es que, más que nada, ahora me siento tan agradecida por los amigos y familiares que tengo, los que me encuentran interesante, graciosa, genial. Los que ya saben que merezco la pena.

Laura me ha llamado varias veces durante esta gira. A lo mejor es para hablar de unos problemas que tenga, pero no solo será eso. También debe de ser para charlar conmigo, y para escucharme. Para sentirnos muy amigas. Porque ella depende de mí, justo como yo dependo tanto de ella. Y ya sé que cuando vuelva yo, vamos a embrazar. Vamos a cenar y hablar y beber hasta ponernos borrachas. Ya sé que voy a recontar mis experiencias a Marta y a las Marías, y que ellas van a estar interesadas en lo que tengo que decir.

Voy a hacer la compra con Marta, y discutir, y reírnos. Voy a fumar un cigarrillo con María Oviedo y hablar de los hombres. Voy a comer demasiado chocolate con María la pequeña. Voy a ir al cine con Sebastien para ver a Charlie Chaplin, cuantos veces podemos, y vamos a hablar francés.

Y luego, por fin, cuando haya conseguido lo que busco (cuando sea), voy a regresar a los EEUU, donde me esperarán mis amigos, mi familia, la vida que conozco.

Me sumergiré en todo lo que me está esperando, y lloraré. Lloraré por la pura alegría de todo eso.

*     *     *

More than anything, I feel like this has been a voyage of self-discovery. Oh, of course. Of course, of course—always thinking about myself, tucked up in my mind’s attic. Sometimes I wish I could tell my conscious self to fuck off, leave me be to listen to the music, dance a little, to laugh.

But that’s okay. I like that part of me, or at least I care about her—little self-conscious Sarah. And then there’s business Sarah, charming Sarah, grown-up Sarah and pretend-a-grown-up Sarah. I like them all. They can all stay.

There was a dark night, a very dark night (in Amsterdam, of all places!), and I was frozen, trapped under the weight of it all—existence, and possibility, and of course fear. Because sometimes we Sarahs get like that. Sometimes we’re reduced down to a fine point of despair, and in that empty, lonely little space the question comes: Is it worth it? Is all this worth anything? Should we keep going, keep trying? I know I can’t turn back, but I could get out. Morbid though it may sound, I console myself with that ultimate exit. I know that I can take it at any time. What can I say? I need the stakes to be that high; I take things very seriously.

These nights I usually fall asleep before making any drastic decisions. I exhaust myself in anguish and worry.

But then…maybe falling asleep IS my decision. And in the morning, I feel better. With time, I’m learning to remember that: In the morning, I’ll feel better.

So keep going, Sarahs. Lets keep going.

The Sun Also Rises

I bought this from a British man in a cluttered shop in Hamburg for maybe 3€. It’s not a bad photo, just a poorly printed copy of the book.

“He had been taken in hand by a lady who hoped to rise with the magazine. She was very forceful, and Cohn never had a chance of not being taken in hand. Also he was sure that he loved her.”

“So there you were. I was sorry for him, but it was not a thing you could do anything about, because right away you ran up against the two stubbornnesses: South America could fix it and he did not like Paris. He got the first idea out of a book, and I suppose the second came out of a book too.”

(Bill) “There you go. And you claim you want to be a writer, too. You’re only a newspaper man. An expatriated newspaper man. You ought to be ironical the minute you get out of bed. You ought to wake up with your mouth full of pity.”

“Perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.”

” ‘I’m damned bad for a religious atmosphere,’ Brett said. ‘I’ve the wrong type of face.’ ”

“Everything is on such a clear financial basis in France. It is the simplest country to live in. No one makes things complicated by becoming your friend for any obscure reason.”

“That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bring her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right.”