Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ten Desolate Declarations

     When I think of my time that will be spent studying abroad next year, I hardly thinking of actually studying. Rather, I envision all the tasty pastries I'll get to try, being able to freely (and legally) drink, taking the train to explore Belgium in my solitude, and extending beyond the borders of Belgium and expanding my travels to various countries within Europe. Yes, I'd like to see the Eiffel Tower and spend a day savoring macarons and croissants, visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa, walk the Avenue des Champs-Élysées; I admit to being completely américain et générique. I also look forward to venturing to the unspoken parts of Europe, the hidden gems tucked neatly away with European pride, that little pâtisserie, park, or cafe that I will be able to validate as a part of my own, my Belgium. I get a strange sensation when I think that Belgium will be my home next year. Not just the place I stay for a year, but the home I live, breath, sleep, eat, cry, laugh, have shitty days, have fantastic days, brood and thrive in. The home in Portland, Oregon, USA that has become so much of a safety net for me will be gone. After Belgium, my time feeding off my parents will be near expiration, than I’m on my own two feet and set of hands to scrounge for whatever decent life I can make for myself. It’s a terrifying feeling. But as most have come to learn, the things that scare us are usually the experiences most worth having. My living adrenaline rush for a year, that’s what Belgium will be. With that said, I’d like to make a list of things that I wish to accomplish during my year abroad:

1.       Abandoning my tendency for excess.
2.       Learning how to live again, without excuse and without regret.
3.       Striving for anything that I’ve been shamed out of by feeling inadequate.
4.       Becoming a citizen of the world; familiar with literature, art, music, politics and current events of various countries.
5.       Documenting anything and everything that I won’t want to forget. This includes writing, which I’ve missed immensely. I’m depending on this experience to revive that urge to put pen to paper.
6.       Discovering my future. What will serve as the most rewarding experience? I’ve struggled with the concept of college for too long.
7.       Finding reassurance in the fact that my high school journey has been strange, discombobulating, and left something to desire. Ending it in a foreign country should help to relieve any dissatisfaction I feel by not enjoying it. No, I didn’t go to prom, I went to BELGIUM for a year. What exactly did you do?
8.       Making life long friends. I’ve heard all too much that I will meet people who I will forever be tied to through this mutual experience; I’m beginning to believe it’s true. It’s hard for me to grasp this idea, as I’m so god-damn independent, and having any friends who will stick around for the long haul is as foreign to me as Europe is.
9.       Opening my eyes to the abundance of beauty in the world. So often I’m blinded to it by my comfy, American life.
10.   Ultimately, I hope to take away from this trip those which you cannot express in words. There are some things so exquisite, even the most talented writer cannot adequately define them. I want to learn those things, live by them, and relish in the unknowns of the world. 

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