les sanglots longs des violins de l'automne.

I think that I think too much, and then I sit here thinking of ways that I can stop myself from thinking too much, and then I realize that it's never going to end and that I just need to stop thinking about this all because it's just adding to my thoughts.

I promise, this isn't rambling, it's a serious matter..
or at least I think so.


But if you're like me,
and you need a place to think,
go to La-Roche-en-Ardenne.


It's where you can be in Belgium,
"Le Plat Pays" (the flat country) according to Jacques Brel,
and walk on top of the world..
or at least that's how I felt.

Maybe it just takes nine months without mountains to realize their beauty.
Oh, Pennsylvania's autumn.  I can't wait to dance with you.

une pensée a day keeps the doctor away.

As we live, we meet people who teach us new words, unique words of inimitable rythyms. Before long, every word comes together and we learn to speak a language we had never known, a language true and pure: we learn to speak ourselves.

I've never been so fluent in the language, so fluent in myself.  The people I've met and experiences I've had in the last three months of my exchange have impacted me so strongly.  I see the world differently, I've learned new colors and new meanings.

Most people think it's only natural to know what love is and what friendship is, and I was one of those people. I'd assumed there was nothing beyond what I'd already experienced in my life.  Love was love;  Friendship was friendship.

Though I had always felt something was missing.  Although I was never alone, I was alone all the time (credit to the song Glycerine by Bush for that last line).  I had people in my life that I loved, people that I laughed with and cried with;  people with whom embarrassment did not exist and no secret was left untold.

But I'd never known someone who saw the world in the same way I did, or rather someone who looked beyond the world as I did, as I do.  I just figured that every person is unique, therefore I would never know someone like me.  And I was content with that.  I wasn't truly happy with it, but I was content.

Then I met someone who inspired me.
I met someone who looked beyond the world like me, but in a different way.  They taught me their perspective, and I felt inspiration.

May 19, 2011:  But what is inspiration? 

I feel as if most people live with their hands raised to their face, covering their eyes like in a game of hide-and-seek.  We'll count off years like seconds, waiting to begin the search for life- or rather, why we live. 

We say, "Oh, I'll count until twenty and then I'll start searching." 
But then some people get too carried away in counting, too carried away in the rythym of a monotonous life.  They'll count and count, "Sixty-seven, sixty-eight, sixty-nine," and by the time they uncover their eyes, they have but a few seconds left to find a life that has been hidden for years, crouching in the shadowed corner of that place they'd always wanted to discover but never had the time.
Others find themselves incapable of lowering their hands since either fear or apathy won't allow them.  Maybe at times they'll peak through gapped fingers, but they never find the courage or aspiration to see more than that.

Anyone can blindly count their life away; anyone can simply exist and never care to see what lies beyond the sweaty palms of their hands.  But to be someone, to find who we are, we need to open our eyes and search.  We need to have the courage to see the world for its venom- for those who poison and for those who cure.  We need to realize why we live, what makes us happy- as that is each person's definition.

Nature makes some people happy, sports make others happy.  For some people it's only money, or art, or helping others.  We're all different because different aspects of life bring us happiness, and therefore each of us leads a different life because we don't all follow the same thing.

Though it's difficult to find exactly that, to find what makes us our own person, our own definition. We keep covering our eyes and hoping we'll blindly stumble upon it,
or we wait until we're inspired.

Inspiration allows us to see.
It can be a word, a person, a book or a song.  Anything or anyone that makes us lose track of our countdown, to slowly lower our hands and open our eyes.  We'll stare forward, see the world, see the sun. See lips moving and feet walking. We'll feel, and we'll understand.

Understanding this inspiration, I feel that it serves as the base of love and friendship as well:  to love is to be with someone who always inspires us, and at the same time, we never cease to inspire them.

That inspiration defined friendship, defined love.  I realized I wanted to surround myself with people who could better me, who were able to turn the world I had clenched in my hand so that I could see it in a new way

I wanted to surround myself with people who could teach me, and I could teach them.

Friendship is more than laughing with someone.  It's feeling with someone,
someone who defines life as more than a meager existence. 

My mind is now so open, so clear.  I crave to learn and to live.
I love my friends, as I now am aware of the subject, verb, and object in that sentence.

Life,
just come to me.
I'm ready to learn you and to breathe you.

a smile in italian.

April 10th, 2011 was a date always on my tongue- a date I'd looked forward to even when I wasn't bilingual, when I was nothing but American.

April 10th until April 20th- ten days where I would travel throughout Italy with the other exchange students of Rotary. I would see Rome, Naples, Florence, Pompeii, Pisa, and Venice.

When I’d signed up for the trip in the US, I wasn't able to comprehend its reality since it was nearly 9 months away.
During the rainy winter of Belgium, I couldn’t imagine that I was actually going to see the sunshine, be basking in sunshine for 10 days.
And when I'd finally sat down on the double-decker bus that would take me through the Alps and along the Mediterranean; that would take me to see the Coliseum and the leaning tower of Pisa, I still wasn’t able to truly realize what I was about to do or where I was about to go.
It seemed as if I was defying some part of reality.

Even now, nearly a month after April 10th- a date no longer on my tongue- I feel like those ten days never happened.
I know that they happened: I replay them in my mind and recount the stories. But I can’t feel them.

I’d discovered beauty and captured it in photographs, but that’s all that remains- along with some souvenirs which barely bring back what they literally mean: the word souvenir, in French, translates into memory.

But every materialistic object that I’ve brought back from Italy does not appear to me as a memory. A memory is a fragment of the past which we remember since it has emotionally affected us in some way, but I've yet feel affected by what those ten days have brought me because I cannot yet recall them as reality.

I simply know that the beginning of the month of April was consumed by a meaningless waiting for the future- a sleeping future which quickly and unintentionally devoured what remained of the month. I woke up on April 21st and then read John Steinbeck’s East of Eden until the 23rd when I had to wiggle the book in my bulging suitcase. I didn’t open it again until I was lying at the beach of the Belgian sea with my new, third, and final host family.

That day the sun was shining, and it hasn’t stopped shining since. Belgium is smiling with summer, simply begging for us to discover her. I’ve spent more time in the woods by my house than I have actually under the roof. There are train tracks that run through the forest, and I spend my free time with my back against a tree next to the tracks, either reading or writing, and waiting for a train to speed by me. It gives me a sense of adventure, a desire to discover all the world has in store for me. I want to be on the train; I want to go where it takes me, and as I step off I’ll simply follow the sun- wander in a rhythm of mistakes and liberties in order to find the beauty of the world and of people.

I’m just really happy, and I’m not sure how else to put it. I can’t wait to live.


 
(Italy 2011: Here are photos in exchange of words.)

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.