if I don’t recollect it, did it even happen

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See all those buildings and streets? Those are the events of my current life: the fluid rigidity of ordered chaos. How streets meld into one another, how steel buildings juxtapose one another. How I get lost. How easy it is to be found. You get the idea.

I cannot say what London is. I am not from London, I am not of London. I am in London, just as I have been in every other place of my life. I can say what I am. I am, as I hope I can always be, seeing. Feeling. Hearing. Walking, running, talking, laughing, crying. And all in one week. What a strange experience to “study” abroad. To have a dorm, a home, a headquarters. To have familiar peers, familiar texts, a familiar language. To be thrust into something so familiar and so foreign at the same time. For English to sound the same but make no sense at all. For one week in another country to feel far longer and more full than a week in my other homes (for Iacquire new ones every time I lie down in a new bed). To feel guilty about this length and fullness–as if I’m betraying past experiences of my life. To understand that I miss what makes my other homes so wonderfully my own–the people in them. To be afraid of the surge of excitement and anxiety that hits you with every wind gust from the tube. Does it feel the same in other cities? Am I experiencing a city or London? Or myself, a little different from other selves I’ve been.

 

“Turn around so I can take your picture!” yells Sissy as we explore Camden market. As we tentatively finger clothes, jewelry. As we try food samples. As we consider purchases than re-consider our dwindling funds. As we say we have headaches, we have fatigue, we have too much more to see to stop now. And I hope that my face conveys this. I am the kind of happy that has staying power. Hesitant, afraid, uncertain. Still walking, laughing, crying. And it’s only been a week.

tomorrow, I’ll be in London. also, “a lot.”

A lot has happened since my last post. A lot is about to happen in my future posts. “A lot” is a funny phrase–sometimes because people combine it to make one word, but most of the time because it’s purposefully vague. “I did a lot today” means that I did not take a nap today. For some people “I did a lot today” means “I helped design nuclear weapons.” You get the idea. 

A lot has happened. My third year of college ended. One night I wrote a ten page paper in two hours. Later that same night I was in the hospital, with my head-wounded sister. I stopped getting angry and started laughing “a lot more often.” I turned 21. I moved into a new house. I’ve felt myself love a little harder in more concentrated bursts. I’m holding on tighter and letting go of “a lot of things.” There are tangible things that help me remember this last month, these past few months. My sister’s scar. My semester transcript. My watch tan. My boyfriend’s flannel shirt. These things are coming with me to London.

A lot is going to happen. I don’t know what yet. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have books I’m going to read and places I’m going to go. I know how to get from the airport to my dorm. I think. But then what happens? Do I change? Do I melt into my surroundings and pick up a British accent? Do I flit, uncomfortably, from one coffee shop to the next, trying to find my hidden literary genius? I’m only going for a month and I’m only going to a country that speaks my language. But, like my mother says, “While you’re on another continent!” Yeah, a lot is going to happen. And I think that means more than not napping. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated.

Cheerio!