Not entirely fictional, but not entirely honest.

This is a story.. musing.. thing? I wrote whilst in the US. As the title suggests it is not an entirely fictional summation of my feelings however I have taken artistic liberty and embellished occasionally. These things happen, often it makes for a better read though. As with anything I write; it does not have a title.

You asked me if I was ready and at first I looked to you with only confusion. Ready for what? In my heart I knew; I guess it was the vagueness of your question that led to my realisation. I took my time answering. I know you hate that but condensing every thought and emotion into words is never easy when the appropriate words do not exist. How can you ask me to quantify emotion? 

I cannot articulate the turmoil I feel – the combination of relief and anguish that drives me to permanent exhaustion. I have always found emotion unbearable. 

You are never satisfied by trivial answers; you demand my honesty and will take no less. Even now I can see you watching me. Anyone else would feel trepidation at the length of my silence but you understand. If not, your façade is welcomingly believable. I can only sigh and look to you with what I can only imagine is a look of utter despair. No. My simple answer leaves you unsatisfied. You mirror my thoughts by asking ‘why’, the question I hate merely for its appropriateness. 

I do not know what I can say that will express what I feel. That in itself is not unusual. Words are never enough. I search for a way to be concise although brevity is not what you want. You will make me explain myself despite knowing the difficulty it causes. Give me a moment, I need time to think. You are temporarily sated but you watch me, fixated, allowing no escape. 

The easy answer is that by integrating myself so thoroughly; leaving everything behind will be painful. That answer does not incorporate everything though. It ignores the fear I have – of going home, having to re-establish myself there with the knowledge of how much I have changed, having to commit to a routine that I cannot currently fathom. 

I fell in love. Not with a person or place, but with a feeling. The limitation of my language constrains me. I use love for the lack of a more appropriate term. I am unfamiliar with passion – be it love, fear or hatred. The fluctuations of emotion I experience here can only be explained by passion. It is such an alternative to my usual apathy that the thought of its loss is devastating to me. I do not want to lose who I am. The desire to articulate this is overwhelming but I fear that you will be unable to understand. 

Who was I then compared to who I am now? It seems like such a time ago.

The reality is that I will miss this place when I am gone. I will miss the people, the scenery, the community and the lifestyle. I am afraid that this will become nothing but fodder for nostalgia. I could be content with that, although not happy with normalcy.

You have grown weary of my musings. The silence has prolonged and although it is not yet uncomfortable; my time is up. I look at you again: what I have become here is not who I was before and I am not ready to lose that. Passion has enlightened me to a greater desire for knowledge and emotion. I am afraid of the certainty of my future, for the trap I face is avoidable but deceivingly easy to be consumed by. I fear the inevitability of forgetting and being forgotten. I have found meaning in relationships that I previously could not comprehend, will replicating that elsewhere be as satisfying?

I am rambling, I always do when I justify myself to you, although you are accustomed to that by now. I want to provide the answer you desire; that which will lead to absolute comprehension. I am not ready, I say, because everything I have learnt is trivial. I have glimpsed a potential for greater meaning but I am not yet close enough to achieve it. I am not ready; and I am terrible at goodbye.

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The mundane happenings of life.

So I thought I would just do a brief post to update ya’ll (American, right?) on the little things I am doing that don’t really deserve their own individual post. That way you get to digest it all in one rather than trying to find them all.

Firstly, I am now a proud member of the Humboldt Ultimate Frisbee team. We are called the ‘Hags and it is probably the best sport I have ever done. I have been playing for 3 weeks. Week one was spent in intense muscle pain which personally, I would say the equivalent is a broken bone (no exaggeration, I promise). Week two was spent with a pulled groin muscle from doing mad tricks (read: running for the Frisbee) and week three has so far gone without injury. Fingers crossed though, since it’s only Monday. Being part of the team means that we get to travel to other colleges to compete in Tournaments. The first tournament will be on the 28th of September and I’m actually super excited for it. I don’t have any photos yet but I will definitely provide some of the tournament. I still don’t fully understand the rules but I assume that comes in time. Hopefully. I am actually more fit now that I have come to America than I was when I left. That means that those of you who said I’d get fat living here (I’m looking at you sister) are totally wrong. I win.

But actually I don’t win. I’ve been in the US for about 3 weeks now and it has been hot the entire time. I was told when I got here that we’d have about three days of sunshine before it started raining. It has not yet rained and I have had a permanent sunburn since I arrived. I even bought sunscreen (they laughed at me when I bought it, but it’s almost empty) but sunscreen does not protect my pale-ness. I am a bad Australian.

I haven’t done any travelling yet but we have avid plans to go places on weekends. ‘We’ is our little motley crew that has been established. Altogether there is a permanent group of 6 Australians, 1 Finish, 1 Saudi Arabian and lots of Americans. Here is a hint, if you ever want to make friends in America – just start talking. People flock to the Australian accent over here.

My housemates are awesome. I actually got super lucky because we all get along fabulously and (shocking when you’re talking about college kids) we all clean up after ourselves. I still need to buy decorations for my room because it’s super lame at the moment but I bought a potplant the other day (another hint; don’t ask for a ‘potplant’ here because they will think you mean something entirely different) which has lovely orange flowers. That is currently the only décor in my room. I kind of want a gold fish.

Things I miss; vegemite and milo. There is nothing to have on my toast here! Also, chocolate that tastes like Australian chocolate. I’m totally baking a cake tomorrow for my friends birthday. It’s going to be delicious.

That’s all from me because I have class soon. I shall update you all when something exciting happens.

Journey to Prairie Creek

This pretty much sums up what we walked through, although the trail is a lot nicer here.

This pretty much sums up what we walked through, although the trail is a lot nicer here.

Firstly, I apologise that I haven’t posted in a while (since I’ve got here really). I have been settling into classes and life in Arcata which – while impressively relaxed, still takes some getting used to. I will update you all on the mundane happenings of my life in a later post. This is mainly because I don’t want to bombard you with a whole bunch of unnecessary (I can never spell this word properly, thanks spellcheck!) reading.

This is the bus that took us to Prairie Creek. It's exactly like the ones in the movies.

This is the bus that took us to Prairie Creek. It’s exactly like the ones in the movies.

So about two weeks ago Humboldt took all the international students on a field trip to a place called Prairie Creek, CA. Apparently this is near the area where Bigfoot is rumoured to live. By the end of my trip I will have tracked him down and got a photo – so be ready for that. Anyway, we got on our Humboldt busses and took the 40min (approx.) journey to Prairie Creek.

I actually climbed up on a log to get this photo. I'm turning into an athlete.

I actually climbed up on a log to get this photo. I’m turning into an athlete.

The scenery here is impressive, back home the forests are predominately Eucalypt forests with a groundcover of mostly ferns and small native grasses. The forest we went to consisted of giant redwoods spanning from ones you could hug to ones you couldn’t even see the top of. There were a lot of ferns too but these ones are different, with leaves that are very different to ours (I’m pretty sure I have a picture somewhere so if you are particularly interested in the difference in fern leaf structure – hit me up). Honestly though, the main difference I found was how green everything is here. Apparently it hasn’t rained since February and still there is green and water everywhere. They’ve filmed sections of Star Wars and Jurassic Park in the area where I’m living and I can see why.

Here is some water and also some ferns for all you fern enthusiasts out there.

Here is some water and also some ferns for all you fern enthusiasts out there.

Having grown up near forests and having (warning: brag) an amazing ability to orientate myself in a forest without a map I was elected to assist in leading the hike (I know guys, my ego didn’t need the boost but I gladly accepted the challenge). We ended up taking too many photos and dawdling behind the main group so my skills were required (nobody got lost, just delayed).

It was a really fun experience, there is a huge difference in the people here from those that don’t speak English very well to those that do. It’s so funny the way people figure out how to communicate without much language (hint: it’s a lot of pointing to things and miming) but somehow we all managed it.

This is a tree. Aptly named "Big Tree"

This is a tree. Aptly named “Big Tree”

I’m looking forward to exploring the area a bit better and going camping. It’s such a picturesque place.

I’m sorry about the overuse of brackets but I’ve decided a running commentary on what I’m writing is required.

This is an Elk I saw on the side of the road.

This is an Elk I saw on the side of the road.

Finally I know what Australian’s sound like!

So after four days of only hanging out with American’s and other international students I met more Australian’s today! It’s really strange, now that I’ve been listening to different people speak I finally know what other people hear when I talk. When you live in Australia and are permanently surrounded by other Australian’s you don’t really notice it. I actually laughed cause it’s such a strange thing for me.

 

So everyone else is arriving on campus today including a whole two of my housemates! Only two more to go until we are all here. So far everyone has been really nice. The only annoying thing is that people eat dinner really early around here so I keep accidentally missing it. I maintain that 6:30 is not an appropriate time to stop dinner.

 

Anyway I have nothing interesting to say today. Peace.

Welcome to America! (More or less)

So after a 23 (approximately) hour journey across time-zones; I am now sitting in my dorm room in Arcata, California after partaking in some traditional American cuisine (read: chicken parma sub and a coke aka soda).

My dorm from the outside looks pretty cool.

My dorm from the outside looks pretty cool.

 

My dorm is pretty cool. Once you’ve walked up a massive hill (pictured below) its actually really beautiful. I had to get some help to walk (drag) my stuff up The Hill because it is really steep. Surrounded on all sides by redwoods. It is quite picturesque. (I will take some pictures tomorrow maybe, I haven’t really had time to yet). I’m the first one to move into my dorm. Today I went to Eureka, California to buy essentials and came back with 1 orange plate, bowl, cup and knife and fork (nothing if not matching don’t you know).

This is The Hill. It will be referred to in capital from now on. (Picture does not do justice)

This is The Hill. It will be referred to in capital from now on. (Picture does not do justice)

 

I’m actually without bed linen until tomorrow which I thought would matter but it doesn’t. Technologically impaired Bek is unable to turn off the heating in the apartment so until such time as my room-mates arrive it’s going to be like 23 degrees in here. I also spent 10min trying to figure out how to work the shower, you will be happy to know that I got there in the end.

There really isn’t much to report back at this stage. I’ve met a lot of people already and made friends with a few of them. Most people are really helpful. I think everyone gets in on Tuesday so then I assume the university will be busy, at the moment though it’s just really peaceful.

The view from outside my window.

The view from outside my window.

 

That’s all for the moment I think. I’ll update you all a bit later on how things are travelling. There is a hiking trail which I can see just outside my window so tomorrow I might check it out and see where it goes. Who knows.

Journey across the world

So in a few days (6 to be precise) I will be getting onto a plane and flying to America where I will live for four months. I’m getting quite nervous and a little stressed. I am certain that is because I have had to pack up my house, clean it, move furniture, finish work and organise my stuff for travelling at the same time.

On Wednesday I’ve decided that to ‘chill out’ before my journey I will have my hair cut, maybe a massage and just relax. That should get me prepared for the 20 (or so) hour journey.

I still find it amusing that for reasons (resulting from my own stupidity) I will have no bed linen for the first two nights but hey, everyone needs stories to go with their trips.