Why, Chase? Why oh why did I let you buy me that 6th cup of wine? Why did we think it would be a good idea to eat nothing but crêpes with nutella all night?
I’m not going to beat myself up too much about it. After the hot chocolate, I went back to bed for another hour, and that seems to have helped. I just need to remember that getting up early to run/explore the city/eat pastries makes me happier and is more satisfying than staying up late to drink, and that the two are often mutually exclusive.
TODAY IS MY HALFWAY POINT HERE, GUYS! That means I’ve been here two weeks and I have two weeks left. Wow. It is not enough time, let me tell you, and I am sad to have wasted even a bit of it on a lousy hangover this morning. I feel like there is so much to do and see and experience here, and I spend so much time blogging and running and playing viola. But I try to find the balance between keeping up with the things that are essential to me and making the most of my limited time in this lovely place.
Lots of students here want to jet-set all over, to see as much of France/Europe/The World as possible before it’s time to go home. But I’ve played that game before, and it was too much for me. Too frantic. I don’t want to spend all of my time traveling when I’ve already traveled so far just to arrive HERE. I don’t want to pack my days with as many museums/spectacles/concerts as possible (though last night was fun). I don’t want to go out to eat for every meal, either.
I find the greatest joy in the little routines that I’ve developed, and in the small pleasures of every day life. Like how my cheap little treats from the pâtisserie near the post office come wrapped up like little gifts:
Or sitting outside in the courtyard, eating quiche and pastry, and posting to my blog:
I like going for runs in the botanical gardens, where there are peacocks and wallabies and flowerbeds and greenhouses. I like running into Bernard (mon père) around town, out for his daily stroll or running some errands. I like dinner together with the family, especially when Bernard uses his fork to point out a landmark or give directions on the map on the china cabinet, without ever rising from his seat, or when Colette tells us that we bring her such joy, that taking in international students allows her to travel the world.
I like going to the movies by myself, or with friends. I like riding my rental bike around and getting to know the city better. I like treating myself to Lebanese food after successfully haggling with the guy at the bike store and then changing my train ticket, all in French.
I like who I am here, I like the life I have here, and though I know that it is temporal, that it is fleeting, I am enjoying it. I know that I will be able to take a part of it back with me, that I will not regress. I will progress. I will go easy on myself while continuing to grow. Always grow.
From yesterday’s journal entry:
“I’ve felt something opening up inside of me for some months now–ever since I dropped out of music school–but here, in France, on my own, it’s begun to truly blossom and take shape…the truth is that I cannot go back to self-hate and punishment and anxiety all the time. The truth is that I accept myself, and I trust the part of me that knows what I want and–more importantly–what I DON’T want. I refuse to continue to live up to others’ expectations of me, whether implied or explicit, at my own expense. I just can’t anymore.
I realized last night that I was lost to myself for some years–caught up in relationships that could not fulfill me. And though I mourn the loss of all that time, I refuse to go back there. I refuse to lose any more of my time or myself. I resolve to grow, to know and love myself better and better. To do everything in my power to create the life that I want for myself.
And I am contented with that.”