I have only been out of the states for 2 months...
And in some ways, it seems like only 2 months. Just flying by. My body has somehow flung through 2 months of life without me even realizing it.
On the other hand, it feels like I have been away for years. Each day is like a year. So many sections, so many events, so many feelings. I can barely remember what I did a few hours ago.
I have forgotten who I used to be in so many ways...and maybe that's a bad thing...but I LOVE IT!!
This whole study abroad has been a process. I know I brag all day long about the cool things I get to do, and it's true, I do some cool things. But I have lost a lot too.
I have lost...
1. a phone
2. my watch
3. wireless internet
4. my language
5. communication with the outside world
6. a shower that fits my body
7. eating healthy in any way
8. my sense of security
9. over half my bank account
10. seeing my family
And let me tell you, it was hard at first. I was exposed! My techniques of hiding didn't work. I am a target at all times.
I just try to act as French as possible, and then pray they don't talk to me because then they will know my secret... (that I can't speak their language).
It's like this if a stranger approached me...
Stranger: "Bahahah Hu hdhdgfe"
Stranger: What time is it?
Me: I don't have a watch
Stranger: Oh, could you look up directions for me?
Me: I don't have internet
Stranger: Oh, can I see pictures of your birthday?
Me: No, because I broke a girls camera and she was using my camera that day.
Stranger: Oh, well you look unhealthy and like you haven't taken a shower in ages.
Me: You nailed it. My diet is chocolate, bread, cheese and more bread. Oh ya, and I can barely fit into my shower.
Stranger: Hard life you got there...
Me: Not really, I'm changing in all the right ways.
Seems like an average conversation you would have with a stranger right? Yes, it's happened to me lots.
But while I lost most of my comforts, I've lost so many chains that I haven't been able to get loose in years
1. the perception that I am NOT cool.
2. the negative words I would feed myself
3. the idea that being different is being bad
4. my fear of failure
5. all that I could have hoped for
Experiences are hard. Being uncomfortable really blows, I won't deny that. Every day, it can be painful. To be striped of all that you are, or what you thought you were. And underneath, there is something more.
I will admit that some days in the beginning I acted like I was having so much fun, but I was just trying to survive. My security, my way of life, was being pulled away. The rug that I have been lounging on for too long, was forcefully being ripped out from under me.
The past few days I have been thinking, "I swear God sent me here because he knew that I wouldn't learn anything unless he threw me off a cliff, and waited for me to realize that it is OKAY to fly."
And now, with only a week and a half left in Paris, I am trying to reflect upon my experience here. Paris literally took away most of me and then pumped me back up with life. With energy. With love. With happiness.
After I skyped with my family this afternoon, memories of my old self came flashing back. And I laughed. Tatum, what the heck were you thinking!!! Man, why did I take life so seriously? Why was I so worried about every movement I made? Why did I put down the things I didn't do instead of relishing in the things I did do? Why did I think it was a weakness to be different?
No way HOSAY!!!! No way HOSAY!!!
I dare the dentist to give me some more Lortab. I can guarantee there would be no more crying out of sadness. No way HOSAY!! It would be all fun and games with me now.
This whole post probably sounds crazy, but for the first time, I don't care. So what, if I'm crazy!