Sunday, March 28, 2010

Four Weeks

Four weeks. I have four weeks, just about to the day, left in my program. I cannot quite believe it, and I can feel the pain and confusion of transitioning creeping back up on me. I am happy and grateful that I have five days in Germany with my boyfriend, and then another week in Paris and London with my grandma to help ease out of living in Europe for almost four months.

All the same I get anxious when I think about the end of my program, because it is the beginning of the end, and the beginning of something else all at the same time. I am going to miss London, and yet I am so excited to get back to all that is waiting for me at home. Transition times also make me think about graduation, and getting a job, and deciding where to go to grad school and that terrifies me a little bit still. Even though I am even more sure now that I will be ready for it when it comes.

I am still trying to make the most out of things. Yesterday I went to the Camden market, and it was overwhelming and wonderful.

I ate perogies. They were tasty.

Then last night I sat outside and smoked hookah and drank sangria and talked for hours about life, and relationships, and London with some of my girlfriends. It was an appropriate end to the day.

Now, I will have frozen pizza for dinner because the city has shut down all the water on our block.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cooperation in Violence?

"The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence."
-Thomas Merton

I stumbled upon this quote at work the other day and I was quite struck when I read it. It's been resurfacing in my mind today. I haven't been sleeping well the past few nights, thanks to an unsettled mind. I keep going though, because I don't want to miss anything.

Today I just kept thinking about that quote, though. I realized this morning that if I was at home and in this state, I would give myself a quiet day. Lately I've fallen into the trap that if I don't take every single opportunity to go out, to see something, do something, meet someone, then I'll regret it. Maybe that's partially true. On the other hand, I'm burned out. I'm so tired from dealing with the newness and uncertainty of my internship, from another class that has been added to my schedule, from missing people... I think maybe I need to stop distracting myself and taking some more quiet time. It's a precious thing around here, in a city in a flat with twenty other people.

Anyway. Today I walked in the park and made cookies. Now, I am going to watch TV or read. I will do homework tomorrow.

In other news, my internship is going well. The culture shock is a bit more intense - the British approach their work very differently that Americans, from what I can tell. I'll write more about that later. Also, I am going to tour the Globe Theater on Tuesday. At long last, my dream comes true.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Acceptance. It's a difficult word, difficult to comprehend, difficult to adopt. At least for me. My natural state seems to be resistance... I fret and complain and resist all the time. My classes aren't hard enough, my work is stressful, I don't like living with so many other people, the weather won't warm up; the list goes on, and it changes depending on the day. I don't know what to write for my next short story, waiting for inspiration doesn't work. I miss my boyfriend and I weep when we talk because I don't want to be this far apart anymore. I'm nervous about going home, and yet in some ways I can't wait.

Yet, every so often, I get flashes of insight where I think to myself that if I could simply accept where I am life would be easier. If I could accept the hard things that I can't stand, maybe I'd feel less exhausted. Maybe I would enjoy the things I love more... I don't know, this is a slippery thing, hard to get at, hard to do. I just keep thinking back to Italy and my first terrifying, lonely day while I waited for my friend to meet me. I was alone in Siena, in a sea of people who didn't speak the same language I did. I felt anxious just trying to find dinner. I didn't talk to anyone all day, but wandered through the sun-soaked cobblestoned streets by myself. It was awful and delicious all at the same time, but the important part is that after a few days I simply started to accept the language barrier for what it was. I can't even really describe it, excpet that once I realized there was nothing I could do about it, it just stopped bothering me. I floated through incomprehinsible conversations with smiles and lots of gestures. I also started to accept that, no matter what happend or where I went, things would be alright.

Being back in London has been more challenging that I thought though. I wonder if I can't get back to the way I felt in Italy - accpeting what I can't change, enjoying what I have, knowing everything will alright. My program is already more than half over, and I want to make it good.

Yesterday, it was sunny and I went for a walk in Hyde Park. There were bunches of crocuses, spread across the grass. It felt like each one was a tiny little promise that spring is on its way.

Saturday, March 13, 2010



So, I am exhausted. I've been meaning to write for days, to try (however feebly) to capture my travels in Italy, what it's like to be back in London, the first few days of my internship.

However, actually participating in all those things means that I have not had time or energy to write about it all here. Something tells me it would be inappropriate to blog at work (at least here, part of my job is to blog, except for the company... so, that worked out well).

I am about ready to collapse right now. Let me just say that working from 9 to 5 makes Saturday seem utterly luxurious. Weekends are nice, especially when they are filled with mojitos, swing dancing at the blues club, and street markets. Tomorrow church, grocery shopping, and finishing up my application to be a section editor at the school newspaper next year (something tells me I don't really know what I'm getting myself into there).

Soon, I will write about Italy. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a photograph.

(Side street in Siena, Italy)