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.)


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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.