Being a bit more than half finished with my teaching assistant contract, I’ve become a bit… reflective (hazy screen and fade out). After applying in late November, I found out that I indeed got this position the following spring, specifically during spring break. In the middle of a drinking game I checked my Gmail on my iPhone (do I perfectly represent our generation or what?) and saw the acceptance letter. All I knew was that I had a job in France in some place called “Besançon.” My first reaction? To tell my friends and family, starting with my roommate whom I had to wake up because she goes to bed by like 9 p.m… even on spring break. My second reaction? To try to learn how to smoke a cigarette, since I was going to France and all. Katie mustered up some excitement before falling back asleep and the cigarette thankfully didn’t take.
The next morning walking along the beach (I can’t remember for the life of me where we were… Panama City? Orange Beach? Gulf Shores?), my friends went ahead to go look for shells or something and I sat in the sand just at the break of the waves. Burying and uncovering my sun burnt shins in the sand and meeting the water with my toes I looked out at the horizon of the pale sky meeting the gulf (how cinematic is THAT?). I thought about what this experience could mean and if I could really do this. I felt what you’d expect, the mixture of excitement and fear that comes with most new things, no way could I have anticipated this reality. I remember the morning so perfectly well that it seems like I just fast-forwarded here.
I thought of that moment tonight while I stood in the snow outside my apartment after walking a friend to the bus stop. I think I’ve gotten used to the inconveniences of snow: the extra clothes, the different consistencies of it under your feet, the weird bus schedules (if they run at all... as mom can now attest) but I still get taken aback by how pretty it is. I’ve said it before, but I swear… it sparkles. And when it’s falling it’s really something. So heavy and fast that its shadows underneath the streetlights look like swarming gnats… but in a pretty way, I promise. I stood there for a bit trying to capture it in my mind and had another one of my “whoa, I’m in France” revelations and thought about what this experience has meant to me so far. Two distinct moments, separated by nine months, an ocean, and about 60 degrees of temperature but I think I’ll always connect them in my mind. Tonight in the snow kind of felt like the answer to whatever question I had in the sand last April.
As I said before, this is the halfway point and I want to make damn sure I get the most out of it. Next vacation is coming up (haha, this is SUCH a cake job – a job I actually feel like I getting better at and will attempt to cover in the next post). Skiing and a visit to London are on the agenda. Since I’m a complete skiing debutante, this vacay could either be the beginnings of a fun new hobby or an opportunity to injure myself and take advantage of the socialist healthcare. Oh well, it’s a butterfly either way! And LONDON?! That’s a whole new country for me, which is great, but it’s a whole new country that actually speaks English! Will be traveling with sweet Caroline (whom you’ll recognize from Adventure #4) and I am SO excited! Let me know if you have any tips. Cheers!