Bad grammar, rhetorical questions and some misspellings

It’s still incredible for me to think that I’ve been living in Paris for 3 months now and that I only had two more to go. And after this, where will it take me? What becomes of my French? What becomes of the lifestyle I have worked so hard to be accustomed to and the nook I have created? Do I have to give up parts of myself that I’ve come to love just to fit back into a different space I once called home?

Home to me, is no longer attached to a face or a memory. I have come to learn (and quite frankly still trying to learn) to separate love and attachment and I have realized that I am much happier now in consequence. I still love my mother, even more now than I did before actually, if that was even possible. I still love my friends, with the same kind of compassion and care. But what changed is that I stopped trying to imagine home as a happy and perfect place or memory, somewhere that I would eventually go back to, some where I miss when I am away, somewhere I could feel safe...

No. Because home — is me.

Home is wherever my consciousness lies, wherever my current reality is, wherever my body is. Home is a feeling I create for myself with love and self-acceptance. The expectations we often place on others to make us feel these things, really, can be detrimental to our well-being. I always feel at home because I allow myself to feel that way, and that is something no one can take away from me unless they take my sanity with it too. And once I realized this, happiness came easier, naturally, not as a project with a goal I must achieve, but as a process and a given.

And once I was happy, and once springtime came, Paris became a nicer place to be.

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”― Earnest Hemingway

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast under the encouragement of my roommate. Books are quite interesting things. They allow us to take off our shoes and step into another just for a little while, until we tire and thus retire to our own worn yet comfortable ones. Yesterday, I stepped into Hemingway’s Paris. I walked down Hemingway’s Rue Monge just until I reached Cardinal Lemoine. I could smell the pies fresh from the oven of the pattiserie with hints of raspberry and lemon. I sat under the sun. I opened up my book. And instead of trying to be someone, I allowed myself to just be.

So many have left a part of themselves in Paris, the lost generation, artists, intellectuals, enlightened people, making my mark seem even more so insignificant. I am but one, small person. A person with no talents, no spectacular traits or attributes, no name. Yet I still can’t help but fight for my mark to stay too. Does the city have enough grace to hold one more memory, enough room to store but just one small piece of my soul?

When I leave, Paris will continue thriving as it always has for thousands of years, as if I never came. Would she remember me? Doubtful. Who am I but just one amongst billions who have once tred these streets.

And what becomes of me? This side of me that she has brought out, this version of myself that I have come to accept and love — it will fade as memories do. I will tweak and alter myself, my personality, the way I dress, the words I speak, just to fit back into the strange little city in sunny California where another part of my life is waiting for me. I will forget about the version of myself I saw here. She will still exist but you would only see a slight silouhette of her, breaking out of my subconscious when I let my guard down. I like her a lot, though. I want to hold on to her. But in order to be present and conscious and to live wholeheartedly, I need to be okay with letting this side of me go so that I can transition back and fit the social mold of Irvine that is so hard to break. I don’t see myself as a pessimist. I’m just a hopeful realist. That does not mean that I am compromising who I am and invalidating my experiences. It just means that I am going to selfishly internalize everything that was this journey and save it for myself — and perhaps a couple of others, but only the very few that are as good as spring itself.

In sum, I feel like these days, I am just a mess of rhetorical questions, nonsensicle polysyndetons and misspelled words. Translating between English and French is so tiring and somedays I just want to call it quits. I’m not sure if my French is improving but my English is definitely getting worse. I have 5 French friends, enough to count with one hand. I used to have 4 classes a day, 3 meetings, work, and dinners with friends. Now I have two classes a day, no meetings, no work, and maybe one dinner or one drink with a friend or two, only once a week though. I like it better this way. Less engagements gives me more time to clear my head. Plus, school is harder here and I need more time to do the same assignment I could complete in 30 minutes back in Irvine. I also watched Eat, Pray, Love today and it was such a shit movie I was actually offended. What pissed me off more was that half way into the movie I realized I’ve already seen it. It was probably the angriest I’ve been in a while, aside from shit-talking sessions on Sciences Po with friends at the bar, my new weekly favorite indulgence. School is pretty hard, and that is what I think about most of the time. That is until I choose not to and shut my laptop and walk outside. I realize that it is sunny and that I am alive and I stop thinking and then all was well.

I’m taking a trip to Budapest this weekend as my first solo-trip. Stay tuned for more rhetorical questions, bad grammar, and maybe some logical fallacies too.

https://vanessahsia.com/

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Vanessa Hsia

Vanessa Hsia

https://vanessahsia.com/

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