die Fremde (the stranger)

Lately I’ve been feeling like a stranger in my own country, in my own home. How did that happen?

Everything is familiar, sure. I could walk around with no sense of direction and still find what I wanted to find. But still, something is just wrong.

While things are familiar, they’re not necessarily comfortable. I’m not content. I know I’ve experienced the feeling of bliss and comfort altogether, and I’ve been unable to find it here. And I know where to get it. I know who is in that scene in my head. I just don’t know when or how to get there.

To top it off, I’ve a growing (accidental) list. A list of things that other people are doing differently from how S would. Because of the distance and the unfixed time we’ll see each other again, I like to imagine what he would do if he was here. It makes me feel better because I know how he would react. And he would do a lot of things differently – and to me (but maybe not to you), they’re different in a better sense.

Sure, perhaps all these are pushing me to reject my surroundings. But sometimes I like to give my surroundings a chance, and I feel like the rejection is mutual.

Is it possible to be growing increasingly misfitting to your environment? Can you feel like you don’t belong in a place you’ve been all your life?

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der Wiederbeginn (restart)

So the good news is you didn’t hear from me within 24 hours of the previous post.

With the help of some truly amazing people and a lot of luck, I got on the plane, I had an amazing trip, I got home.

It was truly yet another amazing trip. Today someone asked me two difficult questions: where I was and what I liked most about the trip.

Bearing in mind I had landed at the airport about 2.5hours before I stepped into the office, I had not much interest in making small talk yet. But these questions were tough to answer.

To the first question – where was I? I was mostly in Toulouse, but in between, I was in a bunch of small towns I had never heard of prior to this. Basically S picked me up from the airport, and I saw nothing of Paris. We drove south to Créteil to visit a lovely family with the loveliest, most mischievous looking little 19-month-old. He was my perfect entertainment as I drifted in and out of concentration for the french conversation going on. Tee hee.

Then S drove west to Jouy-en-Josas where he is due to officially graduate in June – but at the campus I bumped into someone I knew and he didn’t know anybody. Hooray! I’m an international celebrity! Haha, I kid. We also took some walks around a cave, castle and haunted house. Obviously he’s spent a lot of time wandering about while living there for a year.

Then we went south to Orléans, where we crashed for the night (we were Hotel Formule 1 hopping) and it began to snow. My tropical heart was racing!

The next day, we left without really seeing the city center of Orléans, but we headed southwest to Chambord to have a look at the castle. It was pretty, snowy and darn cold. We were freezing walking in and out of the rooms of the castle, just hopping to spot a fire place like at the ground floor. Then it was east to Blois to stay for the night.

The next day, we headed southwest to Chenonceaux, and in a slight press for time, we just went as south as possible till it was getting late. So we stopped by Limoges for the night. I was happy to get off the highway because between these two cities, the highways were extremely hilly to say the least. I felt the pressure in my ears, S had to constantly switch between the light intensities of the car.

Finally the next day we had to go all the way south to Toulouse as we had to meet some people by noon. Whoa, what a ride. We spent most days there, except on Saturday where we headed southeast to Carcassonne.

That sums up where I’ve been. What was my favourite? This was truly the toughest one.

Was it seeing the snowy white countryside while driving, or passing by vineyards and green grasslands down south? Was it making friends with a horse just because? Was it watching awesome sunsets, and gazing at the starry night sky from the car? Was it visiting the fancy palaces and their gardens or being at the casino for the first time? Was it eating an awesome meal at l’Entrecôte or watching a movie with my beau?

Or was it taking long breakfasts in the sun, reading and having good discussions? Doing Sudoku puzzles that appear in the papers together like retirees? Watching him get his OCD on while he S-ifies his new house? (I’m not kidding when I say it’s ten times more comfortable when he puts his spin on it.) Or putting together a meal together and washing the dishes while occasionally pausing to satisfy our dancing feet? Or taking long walks with a coke in one hand? Or being our usual silly selves just because we can, whenever we can? Or being able to hold his hand while he drives down the street, and we put good music on? Or just being there and waking up each morning to see the sheepish grin on his face as I say “guten Morgen”?

Tough call, tough call.

Right now I’m going to sleep my jetlag off while wallowing in self-pity for having to be alone tonight, and for indefinite nights to come… it’s like we hit the restart button as this routine starts all over again. Scheiße.

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pride and irony

Interestingly, just as I heard a national day song playing on TV, I was reminded that one year ago on National Day, I had missed the entire parade as I was having a Skype interview in hope that I could do an internship in New York.

One year later, I’m having the same discussion, but for a different country (Deutschland, ja gerne) this time. This has come up again and again and again.

It’s enough of saying I need a change, and the world is my oyster. I know the general change I want, and I’ve the biggest push to date.

I’m sorry I don’t feel rooted here. I don’t feel contented. I don’t feel satisfied and whole. And I’m sorry it took a song (that is supposed to invoke nostalgia and national pride) to remind me that I’ve just done this a year ago. It failed then, but the next time I try (possibly next year, depending on how things pan out), I will be prepared. I will try even harder.

I know it’ll be tough. But damn it, I need to try and make my own mistakes.

I just need time to zoom by a little quicker now, if you don’t mind…