February, at times, felt a little like this:
And March? March, I barely know you, but I love you just for arriving. There were times I thought you never would.
In February, I finished a draft of my thesis, for better or worse, and handed it in to my advisor, and now I'm working on my craft essay. Then I'll hand that in, revise and hand in my thesis again, this time to readers, and I'll be…basically done with school (except for some presenting and reading out loud which I'm in denial about). I have to admit that my heart just wasn't in the short stories I was working on for my thesis, and that it's an immense relief to work on something purely factual this month. When I work on fiction lately, it reminds me of my very first writing class when I was 15. I handed in this piece of fiction and the teacher said "this reads like a police report." Which it did!
Aside from this Mindy Kaling book that I'm probably typing up the review for right now, I haven't read anything worthwhile in a little bit, but I'm totally on it, you guys. (Can you believe this is the only paragraph in this entire massive post about actual books? I know! This blog is going straight downhill. Soon I'll start posting gratuitous pictures of my outfits. Just kidding! I know no one wants to see my collection of J. Crew lounge pants.)
This summer, I am hoping to get a CELTA, and move someplace for a year to teach English. My biggest obstacle at the moment is finding Molly a good place to stay until we can be reunited. I'd particularly like the place I go to be Argentina, but we'll see. Moving to South America! It's a pretty radical idea for me. It's not something I would have envisioned myself doing a year ago, but once the idea was in my head it sort of became more and more appealing as time went on. I like the idea of living in a Spanish-speaking country again as an adult, of experiencing a different Latin America from the one I grew up in. So, that's the plan. Subject to change based on mood/events.
The idea of moving to a new place by myself (again) is sort of exhilirating, if poop-my-pants scary. Inevitably, I'm thinking a lot lately about the times I've travelled on my own. When I was 20 or 21, I went to Paris by myself. Just before, I had walked the Camino de Santiago with a little tour group. I had been unaccompanied by anyone I knew, but not alone. Paris was the first time I was really alone. I had like two hundred dollars in cash that was literally all my money in the world, because I'd spent the rest of it on this amazing, life-changing vacation. I stayed at this hotel on the Left Bank (I think it was by the Luxembourg Gardens…I can't be sure because I had a weird aversion to taking pictures back then). It was such a tiny, mom-and-pop sort of place that after a certain hour they just locked up, and you would have to let yourself into the building with your key. One night, I went to see a performance of a ballet, Romeo and Juliet, at the Bastille. It was amazing, of course, but when I went to take the metro afterwards, I realized I'd left my clutch by my seat.
I began to panic. I mean, I didn't know the French word for…anything useful. I ran back into the opera house, all the way back to my seat. And it was gone!
There's this point I reach whenever awful things are happening, where something becomes so awful–my keys! my money! MY MONEY! who was going to help me? DOOOOOOM–that it turns ridiculous and sort of comical. I stood there, picturing myself having to sleep on the Champs Élysées, like my friend Laura had had to that summer we'd been fifteen and in Paris 'learning French' (another time, another time). Having to fight a pigeon for half a croissant and whatnot.
I went to the ticket desk or the help desk or some place like that. And I don't know what I said to the man behind the counter, but I remember he all of a sudden pulled my little clutch out from behind the desk and handed it to me. Jesus, I was so relieved. Can you believe someone had turned it in with everything inside? I know ballet spectators are probably not the most criminal group of people ever, but come on. I was so giddy, so shocked that suddenly everything had turned out ok, that I decided to walk home. I took this long detour through the Latin Quarter, and all around me the city was so beautiful. So lit up, so crowded in parts, with everyone speaking this language that I barely understood, and then suddenly completely empty and all mine for blocks. I just kept thinking: I can't believe everything's ok and nothing at all is wrong.
Ironically, walking home is exactly the same thing I would've been doing if if I hadn't found my wallet, except I would've been miserable. I kept thinking about that too, how sometimes the difference between misery and this overwhelming feeling I had that I was the luckiest person on earth is mostly a matter of perception (if I had lost my wallet, I'm sure it would have been inconvenient, but fine; I'm lucky in that my family is never more than a phone call away, and always willing to help me out when I ask for help) (also sometimes when I don't ask). Even now, when I think about it, I feel some of that same…lightness. I was so grateful to have that whole night, the walk home, my stupid clutch. I suppose I'm writing this down so I can remember that even something that seems like a disaster can turn out ok, one way or another, and so I can remember to be open to seeing the grace in everything that happens.
*The title of this–let's be honest–emo post is from the famous Elizabeth Bishop poem.