just thoughts (get back to work, kasia)
My stomach is tearing itself to pieces. Oh I so want this job in Paris. I’m overqualified (but just to live in Paris for a year before giving into the real world, can you imagine?), and if I could just get the employer’s support for a work permit: boom, I’m in. Punk-ass Polish embassy, all I want is my EU passport, and it shouldn’t take me over three years to get it.
I think the only time I’ve truly experienced heartbreak is when I’m separated from a city (sorry, various boyz from my past and present). I was looking through some photos of my 21st birthday spent in Paris with my friend Felix. It’s actually entirely possible to believe that this was over a year ago. I look like a whole different person. I’m thinner now. My hair is shorter, and it’s blonde. Physically, I’m more comfortable in my own skin, but mentally, I’m far more anxious and stressed and perpetually exhausted. Time, time, time.
The Eagle and Child, Oxford, England
In September of last year, before I even stepped foot in Cambridge, I met a couple of good friends in Oxford. I had just left the States—I had landed in London four days before—and I found myself lugging those two giant suitcases on a train (my first English train) to Oxford, still perplexed as to where my life was directed, but somehow still happy and clear-headed. That night, we had pints in The Eagle and the Child, the same pub where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to meet to discuss their now-loved characters, and when my father called I had to pretend like I was sober. Other shenanigans ensued—fun, more fun than I can bring myself to share online. What a good, happy night. I suppose this Cambridge-loyalist has to admit: Oxford isn’t too bad.
Autumn Morning in Heidelberg, Germany
One of my favorite pastimes in that deadly Missouri summer heat is to browse the autumn tag over at allthingseurope. The only thing better would be to trek this very mountain in Heidelberg on a solo mission once more, just as I did in April. The top of the world is a peaceful place to be.
other things I found on my last trip to London, just in case you’re interested:
Captain Jack (Sparrow, not Harkness)
Marie Antoinette’s head
pints of STRONGBOW & pints of other things too
good weather (for about five minutes)
and then bad effing weather for the rest of the time
the Harrods bear (in an effort to escape the bad weather, of course)
smelly cats (this one’s for you, Phoebe Buffay)
an Oyster card for those trips on the Tube (though I really should have bought one back in September)
St. George’s Day festival on Trafalgar Square
set-up for the London Marathon
the actual London Marathon (and Waldo!)
but most importantly, my incredible cousins who are already back in Germany
Place des Vosges, Paris (by wakingphotolife:)
Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. One of my favorite writers, Victor Hugo, lived in a flat here from 1832 to 1848, so I had to visit. If you go just beyond the square, you might see an old, mumbling beggar who is kneeling down and covering her face with a shawl, or a side garden with an initially terrifying sculpture of a giant mole digging up from underneath the Earth. When I visited Place des Vosges on my birthday (early March), it looked like this:
Last supervision of the week postponed.
Impromptu day trip to London? I’ll take it.
I Live in Cambridge Now
After travelling solo and living out of suitcases for a week through London and Oxford, I finally have my clothing on hangers here in Cambridge. After visiting some friends at English universities, I can finally call one of them my home.
So far, I love it. I could live here forever, biking along these narrow streets on sunny days such as today (though I’m told the sunny is a fluke— whatever, losers.)
But I’ve been listening to the songs Some Constellation and HEERS (by the one and only hometown sensation makin’ it big around the world Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin) on repeat. I wonder if my subconscious is trying to tell me something.
Stories to come on InTransit, too, friends. I’ll try to tone down the cursing, as apparently it makes my mother sad. And after moving thousands of miles away, that’s the last thing I want to do.
Alright, now that I’ve successfully announced to the world that I don’t have a stable cultural identity, I think I can use my misfortune to my advantage. I may feel a bit out of place even in my own home, but this also means that I am a grade-A traveler. Allow me to explain.
When a person is truly attached to one place - say, they grew up in Kansas City with their friends and family - it is much more difficult for them to adjust to travel. True, they might be in awe of travel’s spectacle for the first few days, but it isn’t long before a pummeling homesickness takes over. I miss my family, of course, but since I’ve had experience living in different places, I never feel completely strange, even if I am in a strange place. Perhaps this is the answer that I’m looking for - perhaps home, for me, is travel.
In my French class, we are studying French language and grammar through French film. The most recent film that we watched is called L’auberge espagnole, or The Spanish Inn. Twenty-four year old French Xavier studies with ERASMUS (an EU student exchange program) in Barcelona, and he lives in an apartment with several other young people from all over Western Europe. You can imagine the misadventures they get into, especially with five different languages flying about. (“La fuck??” says the British Wendy in surprise, not understand the French word for “la FAC,” or university.) The film is funny, sexy, witty, and overall fun to watch.
I write about this because next year, I’ll be studying with several local and other foreign students at the University of Cambridge in England. Saying that I’m psyched would be an understatement. Xavier, from the film, puts it best when he arrives in Barcelona.
"When you first arrive in a new city, nothing makes sense. Everythings unknown, virgin… After you’ve lived here, walked these streets, you’ll know them inside out. You’ll know these people. Once you’ve lived here, crossed this street 10, 20, 1000 times… it’ll belong to you because you’ve lived there. That was about to happen to me, but I didn’t know it yet."
Perhaps living abroad with strangers will finally force me to find my cultural identity and reconcile the Ozarks Kasia and the Polish Kasia. Once again, Xavier sums it up:
“I’m French, Spanish, English, Danish. I’m not one, but many. I’m like Europe, I’m all that. I’m a real mess.”
I can’t wait to learn what he means.