Three years ago today, at home in Brooklyn, I wrote my first post for this blog, which I had conceived as an exercise in keeping my eyes on the prize. What prize? My big new dream was to spend two years saving up money while practicing my high school French and re-learning elementary Spanish, and then to move to Senegal followed by Argentina a year later. It was a ridiculously ambitious dream… but I did it all. Well, not Argentina. Not yet, anyway. Paris somehow got thrown into the mix first, the result of a post-Brexit fear that my EU citizenship might not be around to open Europe’s doors for me much longer.
The point is that I actively changed my life from one that was boring me and leaving me unfulfilled to the one I had dreamed about having since I was a kid. This blog has borne witness to all of that, and so I deeply appreciate this blog. Likewise, I deeply appreciate everyone who has followed along with my journey, whether dropping in once or reading every post.
Who knows what this year will bring. Maybe I’ll run out of steam (read: money) and go back to New York. Maybe I’ll return to Dakar. Maybe I’ll move on to Barcelona or Buenos Aires or somewhere else entirely. Maybe I’ll fall in love with Paris (I’m really, really trying) and stay. It’s all very, beautifully unclear. (And also very scary, let’s be honest.)
Whatever happens, I will write about it here.
[P.S. The photo has nothing to do with this blog post, but I took it last night when I was out in what apparently has become a hopping neighborhood of Paris. It amuses me. These poor residents just want to get some peace and quiet, but little do they realize that draping an indignant sign out your window (it says: silence, [we have] the right to sleep) is an invitation for rowdy revelers to yell even louder. At least it is in America. Maybe French young people have more respect.
So it turns out the longer you take a break from something, the harder it is to get back to doing it. I told myself I’d give myself a week off from blogging to focus on my work transition. One week turned into two and then three and now it’s been almost a month. Especially sad is that I didn’t post anything on April 21, my one year blogiversary. I had been planning to mark the occasion, but on that particular day and in the two weeks since I just felt too overwhelmed with job-related stuff. So my poor blog had to celebrate all on its own, silently and without fanfare. 😦
During my unintended hiatus, I neglected more than just the blog. I stopped doing my Spanish homework and quite frequently looked like this in class:
My last Spanish class was last night and now it’s up to me to carry on with it at home, after a month of slacking. Doesn’t bode well.
I also stopped going to my French conversation Meetups, ignored all emails and texts, and went for about one and a half runs total when in a good month I do two or three a week. In effect, all I’ve done is work, think about work, worry about work, semi-sleep, and over-eat.
Such is my way.
Luckily, my new place of employment’s foreign-ness – in every sense of the word – has been compensating for my lack of attention to all things foreign in my extracurricular life. It’s hands down the most international spot in all of New York – and really, anywhere. I’ve met people from about 20 different countries on six continents. I hear French constantly and I’ve spoken it nearly every day. I feel like I’m both at the world’s doorstep and on the world’s stage every time I walk through the doors.
Now in my third week on the job, I’m feeling a bit more acclimated and I’m starting to pick back up the other pieces of my life. Which, I hope, means I’ll be back to blogging regularly soon. We shall see…
2014 was the year in which I re-committed, after a decade of neglect, to travel the world and learn another language (or two). Pretty cool, then, that 2014 was also the year in which people from 76 countries visited the blog I started to keep me motivated towards that goal. (Mappie map above. World domination will soon be mine!) I am far, far from visiting 76 countries with my own two feet but it’s nice to know that if I can’t go to them, they’ll come to me.
Thank you to everyone who has spent time here this year! I can’t tell you how much you help keep me accountable to my dreams. (See: public declarations.) But beyond that, it’s so nice to not be writing in a vacuum, and to (virtually) meet more and more people who are like-minded in their goals.
Yesterday WordPress sent me an email to tell me, although it was already abundantly clear, that my most popular blog post this year was the one about Jordan Helton’s language learning journey in China. I had watched in delighted confusion as that post got shared via Facebook 80-something times in one week even though I only had about 2 readers at that point. I later learned that Jordan’s mom was the source of my mini-viral moment. I love that. Even though I’ve never met her, I can perfectly picture her face beaming with pride as she forwards the link to everyone she knows (and they in turn pass it on like a little Oklahoman digital chain letter). A nice image with which to close out 2014.
I have no idea what 2015 holds, but I’m excited. Happy new year!