Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Like Counting. (AH AH AH.)

On Saturday, I am moving out of the apartment I've lived in for most of this summer. Saturday is also, if I remember correctly, the one-year anniversary of my departure for Ireland. I find myself missing Dublin lately (and Cork, and all of Ireland, but Dublin specifically for some reason), and it's crazy to think it's been almost exactly a year since those first three days I spent there alone. Nothing like diving right in to all that independence you experience as a young person living abroad...

It's also crazy that just one year later, I'm preparing to move abroad again. Which brings me back to my original point: My move to France at the end of September will be my seventh move in just over thirteen months. Granted, I've mostly been merely moving back and forth from my parents house to temporary locales, but to put it in perspective, I moved about the same number of times in the THREE YEARS before that, and it was always between home and school, with no additional places. So after the last year, I'm honestly almost as excited just to live in the same place for more than four months at a time as I am to live in Europe.

This will be the sixth time I've left the U.S. in my twenty-two years (assuming two days in Canada even counts), and the third time it's been for more than a short vacation. The second time in my life (and in a row, actually) I haven't been home for Thanksgiving, and the first for Christmas.

It will be the second time I've been to France (although the first time to Brittany), and that raises an issue I have managed not to give a lot of thought to until now. My first trip to France was in high school, the summer before my senior year, with some of my classmates on an ostensibly educational trip organized by my French teacher. My boyfriend at the time also went, having fought his parents tooth and nail to be allowed and worked his butt off to pay for part of it himself, and we had a fantastically romantic trip despite being in a group and under pretty constant supervision. I have a blurry photo of us kissing on an upper level of the Eiffel Tower (we kissed in front of my teacher!), with the lights of Paris spread out below and the rose he'd bought me minutes before in my hand. At the time, he and I had been together for about nine months, which was long enough, even at sixteen, for us to start to function more or less as a single social unit and to convince ourselves and everyone around us that we were going to finish growing up together and stay together through college and get married young and have beautiful babies.

To make a long story short, that didn't happen, but only after three more years and a truly devastating breakup. I know couples that have gotten divorced with less emotional bloodshed. That was almost two years ago now and I'm basically over it, but I have yet to return to a lot of places and do a lot of things that I associate with that relationship—including going back to France. And Brittany should be fine, but I wonder what it's going to be like to travel to places we did go together, if I'll be able to enjoy places like Nice and Tours where I have strong, wonderful memories about being young and in love with someone who's no longer in my life. I want to go back to the places I loved then, but I wonder if it's too soon to revisit them while I'm still so young and still very single.

But anyway. I suppose I can't cross that bridge until I come to it. In the meantime, this upcoming voyage is also the first time I've actually needed to go through the process of obtaining a visa, which will be the subject of my next post...

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