This is the nine-day countdown. My financially-misguided European adventure in espresso-drinking and French Alpine sheep farming is about to begin.
Goals: don't scream at the first sight of cars driving on the left side of the road, barter at a flea market, order wine like a native, order beer like a native, get the whole French-person-sexy-scarf-thing down, visit the Musee de l'erotisme (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), get mildly lost, don't break any limbs, cheese-make my way to glory (www.collectif-far.org), come home with more than a dollar in my pocket, come home with at least a dollar in my pocket.
The concept of traveling has effectively ravished me. I have become obsessed with flight prices, train routes, and online translators, spend more time on couchsurfing.org than on facebook, and am considering selling some family heirlooms in order to buy a nice backpacking tent. I want to go to Vienna. I want to go to Belize. I want to go to Nepal (Shansi grant, pretty please?). My mother is concerned over my apparent disinterest in the United States...which is not valid! I used Winter Term to get a driver's license, for pretty much the sole purpose of taking a road trip. I want to drive to Alaska. I kinda want to build a house-car, something like a mobile home only actually aesthetically pleasing, and drive it around everywhere, for instance to Alaska. That would be awesome. Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah. And Portland. So many of my favorite people at Oberlin are from Portland. Portland is perfect. Potentially. Probably.
Summer makes me flighty. Either that or everything makes me at least a little flighty - it's just comforting to think about going new places. Not just going there, though, but doing things. I was looking at all of the projects the people who got Shansi grants did (Shansi is an Oberlin foundation that focuses on connecting Oberlin with Asia) and they were all so interesting - ethnographic research and field recordings of Indian music and Japanese cooking...so many things. People are always doing interesting things. This summer one of my friends is working at an LGTBQ organization in Tel Aviv, and another friend is also in Israel being a paramedic, and someone is teaching at-risk kids in Cambridge, and someone else is advocating for animal rights in Ecuador...good lord. Such people, such summers.
So far I've been spending the days sunburning on a raft (George Raft, actually) on a lake and watching my hair get more rope-like as I continue to put off showering. The lake is the only place I love continuously - Ann Arbor feels stifling the same as last year, which felt stifling the same as the year before. I've run into a few "semi-friends" from high school, the kind you don't feel it's necessary to keep in touch with, and have been gently reminded of why it was I didn't feel the need to keep in touch with them in the first place. It's weird to see everybody scatter off to college and find people they really connect with, and then come back kind of their old selves, but highly saturated and magnified. Like they were finally able to sink their teeth into their own personality, grab it and run with it. I think most people are happy. The ones who aren't are doing something about it - transferring, taking semesters off. It must be interesting to be at that point again, of not being completely sure of what you're getting into, just sure of what you're leaving. That's maybe the best part of leaving - the cluelessness. There's this line from some book that someone told me awhile ago, something like how we are put on this earth with no instructions other than to wing it, and try to look human while doing it, and some of us actually become human in the process. I might write that on my face before going to Europe. Well not really, but still. It's nice advice.