Monday, August 25, 2008

Straight Up

Today while I was driving in the car with my mom, the blast from the past song "No Such Thing" by John Mayer came on and for the first time I realized how genius those lyrics are. I felt like saying, yeah John you're right, there is no such thing as "the real world" and yeah, I do want to run through the halls of my high school and scream at the top of my lungs. Before that song was just a catchy tune but now I'm thinking of incorporating it into the sound track of my life. Preach on John, preach on. (Though I still think the song "Say" is incredibly redundant and that you are regressing towards the label "man whore.")

In respect to the "real world," this is where my desire to be musically inclined accelerates. I would love to join the list of artists making a statement with their guitars and quick-witted lyrics regarding the "real world" fallacy. As far as I'm concerned, I am already in the "real world" and I've lived in it a full twenty years now. Yeah, ok, maybe I'm not financially independent yet and maybe I'm completely naive when it comes to politics, the stock market and trusting mechanics, but I'm still not convinced those are the ingredients that mix together to define the "real world." I babysat a two and a one year old all summer and that seemed more like reality than anything I've ever watched on CNN or Fox News. Oh, and "reality" television? Come on. I think the show entitled "The Real World" proves my point. So yeah, Matchbox 20 I do wish the "real world" would just stop hassling me because unless a "fake world" exists, I don't want to hear it. And yes, from now on the "real world" will always be put into quotation marks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You can't put your arms around a memory

I've been thinking a lot about something lately. A few years ago when I was having a difficult time understanding why I was struggling with something so much, my friend, CJ Lotz said, "Sometimes living hurts, but it beats the hell out of living numbly." I know that's true, but is it really true?

Just as our words cannot be neutral, neither can our experiences. What do you do when you don't want to re-live something because you know it will never be as good, but you also don't want to move forward because you don't want to forget it? And is there a limit to how many memories our brains can hold at one time? Does one memorable moment automatically replace another? Do I have to sacrifice my memories in order to get more? For some reason I have this scenario in my mind of me saying, "I'll give you one fourth grade slumber party in exchange for my upcoming camping trip," followed by a man with horn-rimmed glasses and the book of my life squinting his eyes whilst flipping pages back and forth then saying, "Throw in that senior year karaoke night and you've got a deal." That's not right.

Plus, if I can't store all of these memories in my brain, then I am forced to document them elsewhere. Ok. That's great. If I was the one responsible for recording the Second Coming it would probably go like this, "It was really dark. Then really light. Then Christ came and it was really cool. He's awesome." When you have the vocabulary of a fifth grader, it's difficult to convey any speck of emotion. In my creative writing class last semester, my professor shared this line from a girl's paper used to describe her character: "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever." I sympathize and empathize.

It's depressing thinking about all the good memories I can't think about anymore because they're forgotten. That's why I'm starting to believe that living numb is the only way to go. If we don't know what we're missing, we aren't missing anything.

Side note: There's a reason why this blog is entitled "Conversation With Myself." I am very well aware I couldn't pay someone to have this conversation with me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back and better than ever

I have returned. Not only am I a changed woman, I am completely cultured and significantly better looking than I was before. I am glowing with dehydration and am sporting the flip flop tan line across my feet. Tourist at its finest right here, baby.

Okay, time to be serious. Saying that Europe was an experience of a lifetime is lame but the only way I can think of to adequately describe five weeks of newness. You know you're a bad writer when cliches are your main channel of expression. Actually, I knew I was a bad writer when every other word in my journal was either "amazing" or "so cool." Anyway, it's time for some European highlights in no particular order:

Loch Ness: Not only is it a sea monster, it's an actual loch (similar to lake, but completely different). Who knew? I didn't. But if there's one thing I learned in Europe, it's that I'm completely uneducated and ignorant to the world I claim to live in. I sat and over looked Loch Ness for a good thirty minutes and thought that even if I did have all the power and creativity there was to offer, I could never make something this beautiful.

Gelato: Have you had any? Until you've plunged into your first lick, you cannot accurately say you've experienced pure bliss. Two scoops two times a day is what got me through 110 degree Rome. Whatever you do, don't die a gelato virgin.

Holy Frickin Bastille Day: Yes, France has an equivalent fourth of July celebration and we happened upon it. Sitting directly under the Eiffel Tower, watching the most amazing fireworks show of my life with classical music in the background was definitely monumental in my short, pathetic 20 years; however, getting back on the Metro after the show was like reliving the Titanic (even though I didn't live it the first time but I feel Jack and Rose justified the emotions well). I'm talking women and children only. It was intense and sweaty.

Jumping off a 30 foot platform into Lake Geneva: Yes, I did it. Yes, it was cold. Yes, it was totally worth it. Geneva is beautiful and I'm going back. I swear their sky is better than ours.

Getting my backpack stolen in London: It happened. Passport, ID, money, social security card, camera, journal, water bottle - gone. That is why all of the photos on this entry are pirated from people on my trip. Truthfully, Heavenly Father took care of me through other people and without this, my Europe experience would have been completely different. So, yes, I'm grateful it happened. Even though I think the word grateful is entirely overused sometimes, this time gratitude is the only word to capture my reaction. Along with a little frustrated and a tiny bit angry.

Segways in Salzburg: I can't believe Austria was my first time being introduced to segways. Um, hello? Why walk when you can segway? The best part was Ashely flying by me screaming, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoaaaaa!" And then jumping off just before her segway crashed into a stone wall. I was scared at the time, but looking back literally makes me laugh out loud. If those segways are anything, it's durable. When I'm old and rich my first purchase will be a segway.

Bath: Who knew it even existed. Oh, right, not me because I'm uneducated and ignorant. It's in England and is the most picturesque town I've ever seen. It's what I really imagined Europe to be like.

Birthday by the Seine River: This was my best night in Europe. A group of friends surprised me with french bread, cheese, ginger ale and a similar to Martinelli's drink right by the river at night. Picture this - I'm in Paris, by a river lit up at night next to a beautiful stone bridge with candles stolen from a famous French cathedral being sung "Happy Birthday to You" by some of the coolest people in the world. Plus I got a french barrett. What a perfect way to enter your twenties.

T9: Also known as "Team 9" or the coolest group of 9 globetrotters ever. I hung out with the same nine people for almost all of the trip and five weeks was not enough. While the days were busy with sight seeing and travel, the nights were the memory makers. Love circles, making wishes in fountains, stuffing ourselves with crepes and gelato, loser pictures, planning picnics by the river - that's the Europe I'll remember.

The four person bike in Rome: We had some extra time before a museum reservation, so the four of us rented a bike-like contraption and off-roaded down a few rocky hills that probably weren't in the bikes comfort zone. But it was fun and we have no regrets whatsoever.

"Hiking" the Matterhorn: We sat and ate lunch at a restaurant that was literally right next to the Matterhorn. Who does that? Oh, we do.

Paragliding in the Alps: Yep. I did it. Adrenaline rush? No. Freaking sweet experience that I'll hopefully never forget? Yes.

River rafting in Lauterbrunnen: Once again, I'm not sure why this was the first time I've done something this incredible. The river was a level three which was good enough for me. We even got to jump out and float down it for a while. Douggy, our rafting guide from New Zealand, made it all worthwhile.

The infamous sock fight with Ashley: You have to be careful who you get your facts from. Just know that mine is the true story. Too much went down to type all of it so here's the cliff note version: While doing laundry in Switzerland, somehow our director's socks got mixed in with my clothes. I threw the socks off our bed, Ashley got mad because I made an "executive decision" without her, the next thing I hear is Ashley say, "Uh, yeah. I'm gonna do it" followed by her pouncing on me while shoving the socks in my face, I then threw water in her face, she threw my pillow off the bed, I took the comforter with me and decided to sleep on the floor, she threw a fit about that, I got back on the bed at her request, she threw my pillow off again, we fought about who would get the pillow until neither of us did and we both went to sleep angry while I remained pillowless. Then apparently I woke up and got my pillow and Ashley asked me what I would do if she would were to throw it off again (remember this is around four o'clock in the morning and Ashley can still too easily summon her evilness) to which I replied with a moan-like scream or something. This fight will most likely forever remain a sensitive subject and may halter our friendship from ever reaching it's full potential. Was it worth it? Probably.

Smelly bus rides: The bus is where it all went down. Mafia, excellent conversation, starvation, logistics, Study Abroad Trivia, quality time with The Office and Arrested Development, would you rather, I have never, sweet Caroline. You name it, it happened on The Elbo Bus.

My apologies, but this list isn't even close to complete. I've got plenty more to add and hopefully some more pictures, too. The greatest thing I was taught in Europe is that people are what make the experiences worth it. There are good, interesting and fascinating people everywhere you go and as long as you find them or they find you, all of your efforts will be returned to you one hundredfold at least. You know a memory is good when simply thinking about it makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you mad, makes you feel any emotion at all. Europe is full of good memories for me.