The last summer of high school did not send me out of those four years with a youthful bang: for the most part, it was full of minimum-wage slavery at McDonald's. Blah blah blah, I got to bypass airport security every day in order to contribute to factory farming, global over-excess, the general ill-health of Idaho's soon-to-be-departed (from the state, at least). But that's okay because I don't work there anymore, and also because working so much, making those dolla billz, meant I got to go to Europe!
(I also had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Washington, D.C. with the best humans in the world doing my favorite thing, learning and growing as an AFS'er! But I already wrote that part out to perfection so I will publish it right after this.)
I wrote a blog post addressing all of this before I left for Europe in November, actually, but in typical fashion I decided to "let it sit" for a bit so I could edit and then publish it. Said editing and publication never happened, and my once-loved blogging habit has fallen so far by the wayside that "blogger.com" doesn't even autofill in my browser anymore.
|From Versailles back to Paris|
So... Europe? Yeah, Europe. A month of my life spent hanging out in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Seville. A month spent wandering around cobblestoned cities, joining the human rivers through foreign metro systems turned ever-so-slightly familiar, rubbing fallen orange leaves in Seville to dab the citrus on my neck. A month of becoming more myself: that little speck of effervescent weirdness, with those bangs, those glasses, those dusty Dr. Martens, carrying around her fat Moleskine notebook full of receipts and business cards and doodles.
I couldn't sufficiently sum it up for you guys even if I really tried. There's just too much. So much of life, crammed into such a little space. I haven't actually sat down and written about my trip, come to think of it, and all that comes to me are these little snippets, these snapshots of people, snatches of warm and odd feelings I still keep close to my heart.
|Bubbles in Barcelona|
"You know, it's nice to just sit here, and just, like, hold hands. Makes you feel a little less adrift in the world."
|La Rambla, Barcelona|
During those ten days, we thirty-some multinational AFSers pulled off events of seismic proportions: a World Congress, a youth symposium, a gala with a cocktail reception. We became a family, bonding over cold sandwich boxes, late nights at the enormous Palais de Congres, our collective lack of sleep and near-manic desire to help whoever we could, however we could. I have never experienced such warmth and positivity, heard "I love you" from so many new people, been so useful and so pleasantly busy in my life.
|The Alcazar in Seville|
|John Green would be shitting himself over all these potential metaphors.|
(Seville? Seville was a noisy hostel and keeping mostly to myself, reading a cheap book and stumbling upon a men's kazoo choir while lost and looking for a flamenco show. Lovely and storybook-pretty, but more of a denouement than anything.)
Now I'm back in Boise! Huh-zzzzzah. I stayed awake through my entire flight from Reykjavik to Seattle, saw the Northern Lights through my frosted plastic plane window and watched a lot of Icelandic travel shows.
|The castle in Lisbon|
“I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.” - Lena Dunham (I got her book in Paris, and I so am that kind of girl).