• Silver Lining

    The clouds today were quite impressive. They were the soft, lofty, puffy kind that seemed one whisper away from a thunderstorm conspiracy. But, despite some ominous signs this morning, it was sunny all day. And it seems unusually cool for May. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it feels like we’re having a proper spring this year!

    I held my eyes up toward the sky for most of the walk home from school. Eventually, though, my neck started feel stiff and I dropped my gaze. I’m back in the classes routine. I’ve started the bar review process. It seems like there’s always something new to do. There are a million things to do or manage with classes, capstones, bar review, planning for a graduation, etc. And, the prize for getting through the next few months is being…unemployed. With huge student debt. And bills. These are the thoughts that linger in my mind.

    Jut like clouds overhead.

    It was nice to see how pleasant the clouds looked today. They’re unfathomably massive, bursting and growing in dazzling fractal complexity at below-freezing temperatures. But, from an earthbound perspective, they still seem soft. And warm. And ephemeral. I guess that’s the beauty in perspective. It changes the understanding of a thing by reassessing its context.

    Hopefully this summer, the clouds will stay up (well) overhead. And instead of them crashing down on me, I’ll perhaps rise up to meet them? At least, that’s what I can pray!

    What’s on your agenda for this summer?

  • Goodbye?

    Friday was my  last day working at the UN. During the past seven months I met some incredible people. And, it’s harder leaving some than others. Also in the past week another intern, who in a lot of ways was a kind of “rock” and kind of a point of reference, left. So, basically, last week was filled with goodbyes–not only as the one leaving, but also as the one being left.

    And goodbyes are hard. I think they’re the worst.

    Almost everyone I’ve met here lives and will continue to live in Europe. The rest are from East Asia. Being from the US, that’s not an easy distance to traverse. I had resigned myself to recognizing that this would be the last time that I would see any of them. Even those from the US lived at the northern reaches of the East or West coast. In sum, I was sure that I would never see any of these people again.

    BUT! Then I thought, in a world where technology connects people like never before, do we actually have to say “Goodbye” as was once required?

    For everyone that I’ve met, I’ve made friends on Facebook. We’re (so far) on good terms. Everyone will be able to see everything that I post for like ever. So, keeping in touch is a an entirely different game. It’s like people don’t need to actually say goodbye anymore.

    Even when Xanga as we used to know it died, there were no real goodbyes between humans. Many of the goodbyes were to a platform that wouldn’t continue and to the potentiality of meeting someone on that platform that we might not otherwise. But, did anyone actually LOSE anyone? Maybe some did, but I think that was rather exceptional. The point is, I’m not sure that

    Now I feel silly that I bothered to make thank-you/farewell cards…

    When was the last time you ACTUALLY had to say a (permanent) goodbye?

  • My Old Life

    I’ve been working at this internship now for over six months. A few weeks ago they offered me an extension–paid, by the way–which I accepted. All told, I will have spent about seven months in Geneva, which is great and I’m glad about the choice I made.

    Over the past two weeks or so, I keep having flashbacks to my “old life,” or at least to the way it was before I started the internship. And, even though, in my old life,

    …I didn’t really have any friends…

    …I never really did anything…

    …I didn’t really liked where I lived…

    …I was constantly consumed with anxiety…

    …I still miss it. I don’t know if there is a Stockholm syndrome that applies to non-human “impressions,” but that may be it.

    By and large, I think the “flashbacks” are mostly the product of me currently living in a way that is most-similar to my life beforehand. Before leaving, I used to sleep in until late morning. I spent a lot of time at home in front of the computer, usually with the goal of “studying” or organizing my notes, etc. However, what usually happened was a lot of time-wasting on the Internets. Now, since my new contract isn’t sorted, I’m not really allowed in the office. Consequently, I sleep in until late morning. I spend a lot of time in the apartment in front of the computer, with the purported goal of “working,” etc. But, this has devolved into more-than-significant time-wasting on the Internets. Sounds familiar, right?

    So…why do I miss my old life?

    Then, today, someone from where I lived and will shortly be returning to posted a story about how they found a pipe bomb in this random guy’s house. This is very clearly a safety hazard–and not totally unique. FYI: the town is Waco, and the whole David Koresh thing went down there. Waco has a long history of explosives.

    I don’t understand why I feel drawn back.

    I am VERY confident that I do not want to stay in that town–mostly because I have much better job prospects in one of the larger metropolitan areas around. Maybe I’m just looking forward to being done with law school…and the bar exam…and this whole not-working-for-money phase of my life. I understand that this part of my life has been very formative and taught me as much about myself as it taught me any practical work-related skills. Still, it will be nice when it’s over.

    Still…the flashbacks…the desire to wake up in my own bed…the random compulsion that I feel to vacuum the stairs when there aren’t any stairs here for me to vacuum…what is going on?

    I hope that many of you more-experienced Xangans mayhap illuminate what I’m feeling.

  • Sometimes I think It’s Cool that I Speak Three Languages

    Then I remember that I’m fitfully awkward in ALL of them.

    So, tonight there was supposed to be a city-wide interns drinks social. I arrived “fashionably” late (mostly just logistically late). There had also been drinks at the end of the work day for another intern who was in her last week. Interestingly, she was also from the States–and Texas no less! Anyway, there was a little (and really only a little) wine and some terrible drink called “pastis.” The accent falls on the second syllable and the “a” is pronounced /ah/, so no stripper jokes!

    By the time I started for the bus, I was already feeling a little tired. But, I had resolved to go to the event in an effort to meet people. It didn’t work.

    After a whirlwind trip back at my sister’s (upset babies, mid-diaper-change leaks, eating too much, etc.), I changed my clothes and set off again. I arrived at the bar relatively easily. I ordered a drink…and then thinks slid down hill. NOT because of the drink, mind you. But, because I have zero conversation skills.

    I tried to pick a non-threatening group of people to interject myself into. You can’t easily maneuver yourself into any group of 2. So, I looked for groups of three or more. I picked one…they were a group of interns from CERN–way too smart for me. We would have nothing in common. I made the mistake of saying that aloud.

    Then, thoroughly embarrassed, I found a table where I finished my beer alone…and played 4 Pics 1 Word because you don’t need a WiFi connection. All told, I was in the bar about 20 minutes. It felt like a freakin’ eternity.

    On the way home I passed through the red-light district. There were literally red lights there, which made me smile. Then I thought of the terrible life sex workers must have. Then I stopped smiling.

    What’s your most awkward introduction or bar experience?

  • Thanatopsis

    Perhaps this post isn’t so morbid as much as it is exploratory–like the difference between a colonectomy and a colonoscopy. One is much more serious than the other, but they both kind of stink. This is kind of whiny/down—but I really wrote it to ask the question at the end–so maybe just skip to there? I’m in the middle of exploring what “big issues” make people interact the way they do and how I relate/agree/differ from others on those points.

    Recently, I’ve discovered that, unlike many people, the idea of dying alone doesn’t bother me. I don’t remember why this came up, but it did. Maybe in the context of future plans/will you have a family/why don’t you have any friends/something equally existential? Perhaps after drinking? But, it seems like many people try to fill their lives with people to avoid the lonely-death scenario. I don’t get it. And, in a recent trend, I’ve decided to stop buying into/accepting premises that I don’t understand.

    SOOOOoooo, all that said, there’s actually not much more to say. Oh, except that I’ve embraced the possibility that I might die alone–maybe in a nursing home, maybe not. That’ll depend on how fast Alzheimer’s sets in and how fast I can spend down my assets, create a Medicaid plan, etc. That is, presuming I don’t have a sudden and traumatic emergency that otherwise leaves me permanently breathless.

    To be clear: the idea of dying painfully is still upsetting and is something to be avoided. But, dying alone, in an empty room/house, even messing myself in the process, not so much. The end of life is as much a part of the life cycle has the beginning and the middle.

    Meh. Maybe my parents just raised an independent child?

    I am curious, though, why, if you have this fear, is the idea of dying alone loathsome/a factor worth motivating current conduct?