Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Howard asked me an interesting question this week, which made me start thinking. Okay, it wasn't exactly a question but more of a discombobulated jumble of sentences that apparently were attempting to describe my "story." Following a description I gave relating to a bees nest and attacking hornets, Howard said that he was attempting to picture the tractor (yes, my family has a big, blue, New Holland tractor, and yes, I drive it) and the bees and the "whole...thing...I'm just trying to understand." Well, I suppose I would have difficulty explaining it to him exactly, but those are simply are part of who I am. I have recently been feeling as if I am ready to "go home," and as myself and some of the other students have discussed, as wonderful as Paris is, there are things from home that we miss and are ready to be back in the comfort of once more. For some it may be simply their morning cup of coffee--in a big mug, with no small cubes of sugar, and vanilla soy milk, for example--or maybe it is a hammock, or spicy food, or the simple fact of walking outside and just being outside instead of having to walk a mile or hop on the metro to get to the nearest splotch of grass. There are things about myself that people may not necessarily relate to, or understand, but they are things that make me who I am, and for that simple fact I am proud of those things--I like them about myself and that they are a part of my "story." I like that I know how to drive a tractor and use a front loader, and that I own work boots, and have deer that run through the back yard, and that half of my town is dirt roads, or that I know video games and like getting into mud fights and driving the four-wheeler too fast so that it rolls over into a ditch (I have a brother, come on, of course I like those things). So, addmittedly, I am a bit of a tom-boy and I come from a town where maybe people from the outside look in and don't see much of anything but to me it's my story, it's home. But that is a rather loose concept in itself, isn't it? "Home." Is that even definable? I was trying to decide why exactly I (and others here) are beginning to miss home, and what exactly it is that we miss. I don't think that it is necessarily a place or that I think an open field with a tractor is particularly better than Paris, but rather that it is a feeling of being myself, of belonging in a certain kind of surrounding. I suppose home is more of a feeling than anything else. So I suppose that it is just as likely that someone finds that somewhere outside of what is considered their "home" --where they come from--and can feel at home elsewhere in the world. I think that perhaps being removed from those things for such a length of time may have made me realize how much a part of me they really are. I love Paris, and everything it has to offer, and I love it even more for bringing me to the realization that I am who I am: I like open-air dirt roads alongside rolling hills and fields, and I don't care that the closest starbucks is a half an hour drive away. However, it has also made me realize how much of the world there is to see; there are so many people in this city from all over the world, and it has made me want to travel even more, see other parts of the world that have entirely different cultures than where I am from. Especially because I know that my home will always be waiting there for me upon return: a comforting reminder that no matter how far away you travel, you can always go back. Maybe that isn't the outlook I'm supposed to have on things, maybe I should be trying to see how well I could fit in here, which to a certain extent I have realized. I could live in Paris. But not forever. I also think that part of it is the people--who you are depends a lot upon the people you are surrounded by (in my opinion, anyway) and while I like the "me" that is here with this group of people, I think it would be harder to be that side of me with people that I met from here. But then again that is part of it isn't it? The difficulty of changing things about yourself to adjust to a new place, to new people, and to try and fit in the new picture you have thrown yourself into. I think that is part of the beauty of travel--being able to adjust, maybe change in certain ways, and yet still know who you are and where you came from. There is a definite chance that this is all jibberish and not making any sense, but I think it has helped me to understand my own thoughts...as well as perhaps be able to answer Howard's questions of "what is my story..." I may be beginning to find an answer...

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