Chasing Hemingway

Enjambement

I wrote this before break, on December 19th, I believe, and just never got around to posting it. I’ll post this now and then write a winter break/New Year’s post in a bit. Bonne Année tout le monde, et meilleurs voeux pour 2007! (Happy New Year everyone, and best wishes for 2007!)

****

For the non-English majors among you, that’s the French word (and basically the same as the English one) for something in literature where all the words or actions or syllables or whatever are squeezed into too small a space/time period, lending a feeling of… well, it depends, but right now, it’s overwhelming, and leaves little room to think. We were talking about it in terms of Verlaine poems today in class, but I just now decided it applies to my life these days.

Everything is going so fast and I want to stop and appreciate and enjoy it, but, try as I might, it’s slipping through my fingers every time I try to hold onto it. It’s like those annoying toys with that strange liquid in them that I think are supposed to be stress thingies, but really just are stressful if you try to squeeze them. Sorry, I digress.

I am nearly done with this semester, more or less. After tomorrow, I’m not going to any more classes. Until I get back and have to go pick papers up and deal with Sociologie at the Institut Catholique. I have so many little things I have to do. And want to do. I meant to bake pumpkin muffins tonight to give to people tomorrow, considering I can’t afford Christmas presents for everyone I care about, and I want to be able to give something to people who are leaving, at least. But then Selene and Rachel were going to see Hors de Prix, this cute new Audrey Tautou romantic comedy, and really, who can say no to Audrey Tautou? I’ve decided someday I’m going to wake up and be her. Any day now…

But really, I’m on this whirlwind tour trying to do everything and enjoy my experience and still pass my classes and see my friends and experience Europe and Paris and hang out with my amazing family, and I don’t know how I can possibly accomplish everything.

Saturday I slept four hours in order to get up at 8:30 to cook a Thanksgiving meal for 10 (my fam and some friends) for lunch. It went surprisingly well, considering the only thing I’d ever made before out of the whole meal was cranberry sauce. The stuffing turned out phenomenal, surprisingly, despite the only day-old baguettes. The French sweet potatoes were wonderful, and Solène mashed them very well. The turkey was a teensy bit dry, but worse things could have happened. And the pumpkin pie was a huge hit, despite using creme instead of condensed milk, and having to grind our own cloves. I think I may have converted some Frenchies to American culture. I told them they have to come visit for a real Thanksgiving. That would be super awesome.

Debbi and her friend were here until this morning, and I decided that seeing one of my best friends whom I’ve barely seen since high school graduation was more important than school work. Because really, I need to convert more people to Paris. Besides, study abroad is the experience, right? So we spent lots of time together, and she met some of my friends over tea, and it was fabulous. And then last night, the two of them (both from Williams, and both friends with Dan), Dan, and I hung out at a café for hours, and then ended up, after a wild goose chase, having dinner at the awesome little Italian pizza place up the street from my house where I had dinner with Caro and friends my third night here. Life is funny, isn’t it? We had a fabulous evening, and it was nice for all of us, I think, so see different worlds all mesh so well.

Other than this stuff, it’s just been all the usual craziness. Trying to spend as much time as possible with everyone. Had an in-class thingy in history on Monday (ew), a paper due in one of my lit classes today, an exam in my art history class tomorrow. Babysat today, teach tomorrow morning, bright and early, though I haven’t the faintest what I’ll teach them.

I’m wishing I could go back to the US on the group flight. Sadly, it’s impractical and too expensive at this point, but it would make my trip home significantly more enjoyable, and, being me, I could put off goodbyes as long as possible. I’m dreading this going home simply because I know when I return it won’t be the same.

It’s funny when you make friends for four months only. I don’t doubt I’ll stay in touch with many of them, but it’s such a funny situation, such a funny amount of time. You bond quickly, in some cases, so it’s a little like life is sped up. But in other cases, it feels like you’ve just become really good friends, and then that’s it, who knows when you’ll see each other again. It’s such a strange world that we live in. I don’t ever want to lose friends, for whatever reason, but almost seems absurd the way I just keep adding people to the list of people I want to tell things to, to talk to at odd hours, to be reminded of by the most random things. And it seems funny the way we sometimes don’t give experiences (which become memories) enough importance, perhaps because they seem too recent. I’ve been reflecting a lot on this semester the last few days, and I remember the most random things, the obscure fun things that I’ll always remember, but I’m never sure if the other people involved will remember them as being that special. Or maybe they will in several months, but for now, it’s just stuff that’s happened.

I’m starting to realize there’s not going to be some real goodbye event for me. I’m one of those people who, much as I hate change, needs finality. Otherwise there’s an odd emptiness. That’s the other thing – Selene and I were talking the other day about emotional holes. Right now, there’s this odd emotional hole in my core that comes from a combination of being too busy to think, avoiding thinking about my friends leaving, and something else that I can’t put my finger on.

I need to stop this and go to bed. Teaching in the morning.

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This entry was published on January 1, 2007 at 2:44 pm and is filed under Junior Year Abroad, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Enjambement

  1. Lindsey on said:

    Dear Kate,
    I had a wonderful time catching up with your Mom a bit yesterday – she came all the way over to my work neck of the woods (my office is in Walnut Creek) for lunch. She filled me in a bit on your time with your parents in November and over Christmas. Your living situation sounds ideal, how great to have several contermporary temporary siblings. I’m quite impressed that in addition to living the student’s life in Paris you are also working not one but two jobs on the side. Quite a balancing act – and probably a great way to make you feel more Parisian.

    Any way, Mimi sent me the link to your blog, which I have only had a few minutes to peruse. I love your breezy in the moment style and your descriptions are so evocative. Ah, Paris! We went to see Casablanca on the big screen recently – at the fabulously restored Art Deco style Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland. They show classic movies on random Friday nights, complete with live organ music, 1950’s newsreels and cartoon, black tied MC wheeling the DECOwheel for little door prizes – not your average multiplex, for sure. At any rate, all those indelibly etched lines reverberated in that setting – and yes indeed, we’ll always have Paris. I’m delighted that you will have Paris in so much more depth than most Americans can ever dream of.

    Keep having an amazing time, and I’ll tune in every now and then when I need a wonderful spot to go get a Parisian daydreaming fix!

    Love, Lindsey

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