je suis minuit.

The half-way point.
It's a time during which an exchange student can't help but to think:
to think about what they've done and what they've yet to do; what they've learned and what they've yet to learn.
To think about how they've changed in personality and opinion, and how their home has changed in meaning and comfort.

Have I changed?
Should I hear it in my laugh
or in the way I say my name? Although it is true that I now prefer the French JorDANN more than a simple "Jordin".
And that's a change.

En fait, I have a hard time remembering who I was before I came to Belgium, or rather, who I was before I began my life as an exchange student. When I think of  how to label myself, the only thing that comes to mind is exchange student or something in its effect.
How can I know if I've changed if I don't know who the person was that changed?

My year of 2010 was entirely consumed by what I would become. I worked, thought, wondered, worried, and worked some more. By the end of August, I could finally say "I am" rather than "I'm going to be."
Looking back on it, it's as if the majority of 2010 didn't exist: I'd gone all-in with the present for a chance of a better future.
Slowly pushing a messy, colorful pile of seconds, minutes, and hours towards the center of the table, I'd bet it all for what I'd hoped to win.  All the while, I had never felt so weak, so vulnerable.
For strength's reputation, I bluffed. Though I had to force a smile rather than try to prevent one. How is it that no one ever called it?

But I never folded my hand,
and here I am: sitting on my bed in Belgium with my laptop cradled between my knees, content to have made the bet.

"and here I am."
What is "I"? A single letter so powerful and uncertain.
You may read this and think you know "I": the way "I" speaks or the way "I" wanders.
But "I" isn't who "I" was, it's rather who je suis.

I no longer want to fly.
If I did, I would never witness the puddle's goosebumps when he feels the touch of the rain. I would never hear Abe Lincoln, his cheek pressed against the sidewalk, begging for liberation to simply give luck for a day.

I'm now patriotic.
Living in Belgium has made me appreciate the US: it's constant laughter, always listened to like music and never criticized; it's open roads, wide enough that we can drive our aspirations as well as our "big American trucks."

I've forgotten how to spell and instead learned how to breathe.
Words have no sense:  they're powerless in the presence of a crooked smile
and its captivation,
of humbled innocence.


I think I'm just who I'm supposed to be, though I always will become.  It's a constant effect of time and its duration.
And in effect of time and its speed as well as the body's gradual exhaustion,
writing has finishe   

bientôt.

Everyone had told me, “You’re going to Belgium? I hope you like the rain.”
I would defy them all with a smile and a witty reply,
“Of course I do. All the better to dance in.”

Now for nearly six months, I haven't seen the sun.
I've sang
"Rain, rain, go away. Please come back another day"
and I've shouted
"Olly Olly Oxen Free!"
but never a reply.

My dance always stops at the sound of "hypothermie!" and loud shivers as my bones shake.
I'd never realized before that smiles can only be seen in sunshine. Something like Luminol and a blacklight.

But today it was Spring in Belgium: sunshine, 45 degrees, and the birds' constant laughter as they mocked the naked trees. As school had finished in the afternoon, I rested at the campus to witness the smile of my friend Catherine as she drove off on her new Vespa scooter, and then my friend Charlie and I began our Tuesday walk together, me toward the nearest bus stop and him on his way home.
I was liberated of my wool scarf, knitted gloves, and heavy winter jacket. The air smelled so crisp, fresh, new.. Am I in Belgium?
The sunshine highlighted the simplistic beauty of every smile and the skip in every step, and all I could do was laugh. Charlie couldn’t help but question my amusement. As we walked, he continued to glance over, an all-too-familiar look on his face which always says, “crazy American girl.” My only reply was, “soleil” as I tossed my hands into the air and smiled at the sky, spinning once to feel the dance of my dress lead by the step of the wind.

I've known 170 days in Belgium,
and I've yet to meet 142 more.

Did I ever tell you that, with the time change, 5 months is 5 weeks here? I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon, because soon is the only way things know to be.
For example, soon I’ll finish writing, and soon I’ll go to sleep. Soon I’ll wake up, and soon I’ll go to school. Soon is Friday and even sooner is Monday. Soon is March, April, and May. Soon I’ll say “Happy Birthday” to my best friend in the US over Skype, and soon I’ll post “Tu me manques..” on Charlie's Facebook wall.

All too soon is “au revoir”
in all its irony
followed by an unaccepted
hello.

who's jordann funk?

FOR: FUNK/JORDANN LEA
ROTARY BELGIUM-RETURN FOR JORDANN FUNK

13 JUL 11 - WEDNESDAY

AIR UNITED AIRLINES
LV BRUSSELS 1200N
08HR 18MIN

AR WASHINGTON DULLES 218P NON-STOP

SEAT-38J

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OPERATED BY /UNITED EXPRESS/SHUTTLE AMERICA

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this is a blog

that you may find profound, deviant, or insipid.

It may teach you, inspire you and leave you lost in thought; or it may bore you and cause your eyes to drag slowly shut.

You may read it for an hour, or maybe not at all.

Maybe you'll get to know me, maybe in ways I don't even know me.

I left the United States in August 2010 as a Rotary exchange student. I'll leave Belgium in July 2011 as Jordann.

about me

My photo
Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
I follow the sun.