Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can I Hold You?

You know how sometimes you try to use the Wi-Fi and it just isn't working, but if you plug in it works fine?  I'm really hoping going home is like plugging in.

But if you handed me a plane ticket home right now I wouldn't take it.  I have no reason to.

Here in these deep city lights
Girl could get lost tonight
I'm finding every reason to be gone
-- Sara Bareilles

This trip started out with so much pain and separation and isolation.  I had to look for the upsides to everything and it was such a struggle.  Traveling was my greatest upside.
My bike and I having a picnic in Amsterdam

The more I set out with my bike, backpack and tickets, the more I realize I can't go home.  Traveling has changed me.  Seeing other sides of my friends has changed me.  Realizing what friendship is has changed me.  Discovering has changed me.

Le mode bouge, le monde change [...] et si bien qu'il semble que nous cessons d'être ce que nous étions, qu'au vrai nous ne sommes plus ce que nous étions, et que déjà nous n'étions plus exactement nous-mêmes dans le moment où ces prodiges s'accomplissaient sous nos yeux.
-- Camara Layé
I miss people.  Some more than others, and some so much that it aches.  But this year has changed a lot.  Many of my jadis friends are no longer.  Many of my friends and I have simply fallen out of contact.  Many of my friends' lives are changing and I am not there for the change.  When I return, I'm likely to not fit the way I used to in this group.  There are new significant others, there are marriages and there are break-ups between lovers and friends alike.

I don't keep many friendships for long.  Give someone enough time, and everyone gives you a reason to hate them.  That's why traveling is so appealing; you are friends for only a day, a weekend, a week.  It's a brief encounter to take away the sting of loneliness.  Drop me back into my previous life and I may not even have those brief enounters.

I don't want to go home, but I don't want to be here.  I want to run away, hide, get lost, disappear.

That's what's on my mind.

True confession:  I sing and dance in the shower.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Speak to Me.

How do I love my languages?  Let me count the ways.
I love them on my very worst and very best of days.

Español: Ah, .  La primera lengua de tomar posesión de mi corazón.  No hay otra que fluye tan bien, que canta tan dulcemente, y no hay otra que puede hacer cualquier frace suena como una historia de amor. Los acentos son tan numerosos como las estrellas, y la jerga va me desconcertar hasta el día de mi muerte.
Spanish:  Ah, yes.  The first language to seize my heart.  There is no other which flows so well, which sings so sweetly, and no other which can make every sentence sound like a love story.  The accents are as numerous as the stars, and the slang will baffle me until my dying day.

Français: Après quatorze années d'apprentissage du français, je me trouve surprise chaque jour par ce langage Il n'y a aucune autre langue avec cette diversité de mots.  Montrez-moi deux mots dans cette langue que vous croyez avoir le même sens, je vous montrerai une nuance.  C'est possible que le 'ne' facultatif m'échappe pour toujours ; que mon accent canadien-français me révèle toujours aux Parisiens ; que je ne maîtrise jamais les genres des mots, mais je ne renoncerai jamais à mes études de cette langue.
French:  After fourteen years of learning French, I am still surprised daily by the language.  There is no other language that has the same diversity of words.  Show me two words in this language that you believe to have the same meaning; I will show you a nuance.  Perhaps the expletive 'ne' will always escape me; perhaps my French-Canadian accent will always give me away to Parisians; perhaps I will never master the gender of the words, but I will never give up in my studies of this language.

English: This beautiful language has taken a lot of flack recently.  Many people think it is ugly, or "infecting" other languages, or taking over, or too difficult to master.  I see another side to things: it is adding new words to the world, allowing many people to communicate all over the world (many of whom would otherwise never have been able to do so), and it is beautiful.  There is no language nearly as palpable as English.  Every noun can be made a verb, every verb can be made an adjective, and even if, grammatically speaking, these manipulations are incorrect, people will understand you.  While English may be difficult to learn, it is a forgiving language, and it is challenge even to native speakers to master the grammar.

[Ayisyen] Kreyòl:  Kreyòl se yon lang pwoteksyon.  Li pèmèt ou kache oumenm nan mond la - moun ki pa gen pou wè oswa santi sa ou gen - ak nan di tout sa ou vle di.  Bèl nan senplisite li yo ak senp nan bèlte li, lang sa ap toujou rale kòd yo nan kè ou.  Koute l'pale se tande yon istwa, kilti a ak yon mond kontrèman ak yon bagay ou janm imajine.  Pou wè li alekri se yo konprann kè sere nan yon moun, libète dezi ak lit kont tout chans.
[Haitian] Creole: Creole is a protective tongue.  It allows you to hide yourself from the world -- those who have not seen or felt what you have -- and from saying all that you mean.  Beautiful in its simplicity and simple in its beauty, this language will always pull the strings in your heart.  To hear it spoken is to hear a history, a culture and a world unlike something you've ever imagined.  To see it written is to understand the anguish of a people, to desire freedom and to struggle against all odds.

ASL:  The only language I can speak without sound.  The only language where I have seen genuine gratitude on the face of every person I've used it with. The world of the deaf is a place I pray I will never have to enter.  However, there is a beauty to that place that we, the hearing, can never understand.  The closest I can ever come is through the use of this language.  It is a marvel to witness and a joy to be a part of.

Português: sempre de surpresa no rosto de alguém que me escuta falar Português. Poucas pessoas se comprometem o longo processo de aprendizagem esta língua. Embora eu nunca vou virar corretamente meu 'r's, e nunca ponho as minhas palavras na ordem correta, eu tenho orgulho de ter aprendido um pouco de Português. A língua, o seu romance em grande parte desconhecida, uma das palavras mais maravilhosa que existe. É a única língua que eu falo que tem uma palavra para expressar o quanto você sente falta de alguém ou algo assim: "saudade".
Portuguese:  There is always surprise on the face of someone who hears me speak Portuguese.  Few people undertake the long process of learning this language.  While I will never properly flip my 'r's, and will never put my words in the correct order, I am proud to have learned some Portuguese.  The language, its romance largely unknown, has one of the most wonderful words in existence.  It is the only language I speak that has a word to express how much you miss someone or something: "saudade".

Italiano: Dopo aver scherzato per tanto tempo che "parlo cibo e moda", ho finalmente sto prendendo il tempo di imparare italiano. Io non sono fluente, e io non credo che lo sarà sempre. Ma sono determinati a dare del mio meglio provare. Questo linguaggio riesce ad unire sentimento con le parole; gesto con il pensiero, la passione con l'azione. Questo linguaggio ha un ritmo bellissimo e una retorica unica. La sua una gioia da guardare, un privilegio di imparare.
Italian:  After having joked for so long that "I speak food and fashion", I finally took the time to learn some Italian.  I am not fluent, and I don't think I ever will be.  However, I am determined to give it my best try.  This language manages to unite feeling with words; movement with thought; passion with action.  This language has a beautiful rhythm and a unique rhetoric.  Its a joy to watch, a privilege to learn.

DeutschOh Deutsch, eines Tages werde ich Meister euch.  Mein Deutsch ist begrenzt.  Meine Sätze sind kurz.  Aber ich habe mich in dieser Sprache, anders als alle anderen gefallen.  Mit einem Ruf, häßlich, und ein extra Geschlecht für mich zu lernen (Dank an), sollte ich aufgeben.  Aber ich kann nicht.  Diese Sprache Phrasen alles perfekt, hält eine ganz eigene Geschichte, und schuf das schönste Wort der Welt: Wanderlust.
German: Oh German, one day I will master you.  My German is limited.  My phrases will have to be short.  But I have fallen in love with this language, different from all the rest.  With its reputation of being ugly, and an extra gender for me to learn (thanks), I should give up.  But I can't.  This language phrases everything perfectly, holds a history all its own, and created the most beautiful word in the world: wanderlust

Monday, March 7, 2011

Les Fleurs du Mal

The sun has been shining in Paris lately, and the weather has been hovering around 10 degrees for the last little while.

All the flowers appearing remind me of work.  I miss work.  I want to go back.  I want to wake up too early in the morning, stand in the warm sunshine for a full day, and cut the flowers all summer.  I want to chat all day with my work mates.  I want to attempt my limited Punjabi and work on my Portuguese.  I want to make a fool of myself trying to joke around in Spanish.  I want to weed-whack around the pond and enjoy the presence of our great blue heron. I want it dearly.

The warmth reminds me of Redeemer and how I can lay on my stomach for hours in the quad, looking for clovers, eating licorice and chatting with everyone who passes by.  I miss walking around Hamilton barefoot and not worrying what I look like.  (This carefree attitude doesn't exist in Paris, trust me).

A lot of the joy that I've found before in schoolwork has been missing this year.  I love my classmates, and I enjoy my classes, but I'm finding it difficult to sit down and read Baudelaire, or write a thesis statement.  This is beyond odd for me -- it is downright horrifying.  Which author can capture my heart and soul, if not Baudelaire?  Who am I, if not the Academic?

That being said, I have had of late a big smile on my face too many times to forget.  Most of it revolves around going out with the previous classmates, or getting to know the new ones.  Some of it revolves around the trees budding and the flowers blooming.  A good deal of it revolves around the ridiculously hilarious things my room mate says.  I am very thankful for a lot this year, and I truly am enjoying myself.  but there is still that dull ache of being ready.  Ready to go home, ready to start work, ready to feel grass under my bare toes again.