Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Return

I am going to Oneonta in a matter of days. I am excited, nervous, and scared. I'm scared because I know I am sentimental, and I hate time travel. Even though I left Oneonta four months ago, that's enough distance from a place to remember the ups and downs--for my nostalgia to rear its ugly head. On the other hand, I will be reunited with old friends, get to play lots of board games, welcome in the new year with people I love, and finally eat some pad see ew with tofu (it's been too long). I've been thinking about living in the moment, and so in some ways I feel guilty about being excited about going back to Oneonta. Oneonta resembles a life I lived, a place I used to be. The voice in my head that thinks it knows best tells me to move on, grow up, make new memories. Don't be that person. The one that sticks around, the one that gets stuck in time. Kind of like the person that never moves past high school, but in my case never moves past college. I liked school. Sometimes I loved it. More than the late nights writing essays, it was the atmosphere that got me going. I won't pretend everyone at Hartwick is a nerd, but I definitely sensed an air of-- People got excited about ideas. Hold up, Angelica. Don't you teach? Well, sort of. We have discussions in class, and sometimes those are really great. My students usually surprise me at least once a class. But there's a weird dynamic. I moderate the conversation. I no longer raise my hand--I call on kids. Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal. (I'm probably over-thinking things). But as a student, I sort of gushed over things. When the teacher let me speak, I got to add to the conversation. Outside of the classroom, I had peers I could talk to about these ideas we were exploring. We were equals and we could turn things over together. As a teacher, I have to hold back (mostly because the students are supposed to be practicing their English, so me talking wouldn't really help them). Of course, I don't just miss school. I miss my friends. I miss living in a town in which I was pretty much guaranteed to run into someone I knew when I went to the store. I miss the community I left behind. I miss my life. I think the transition between college and whatever's next it totally underrated. And that's saying something, seeing as countless writers have explored the concept. But think about it--you're leaving a part of yourself behind. Some formative shit happened in college. Maybe you learned a lot about yourself (in fact, the only way this didn't happen is if you seriously lack introspection skills). You probably fell in and out of love at some point. You probably did things you never thought you would. You probably proved yourself wrong. Maybe you found your niche, or found out what your niche is not. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE FREAKING HUGE. This is a big deal. I don't know how we expect graduates to move on without a second glance. I'm definitely changing the way I look at it. 

YAY TRANSITION. Anyway, I'll post reunion pictures soon. Xoxo. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Semester 1 Wrap Up

I have one more day of classes.

This semester has been--well, I don't really know yet. It's one of those things I'll figure out once I get some distance from it. For now when I think of Fall 2014, my mind sort of comes up blank.

So much has happened! And yet it feels like so little at the same time. Time is weird.

I'm definitely in a heady, existential mood. But when am I not?

Here, I'll just recap some stuff that happened:

I got to Nice without a suitcase. Megan and Danica picked me up from the train station and I went directly to the bar most everyone was at, said, "Hello!" dropped my backpack off at Megan's house, and then stayed up drinking and dancing until who knows how late. Jet lag schmet-lag. 

During my first two weeks in Nice, I vacationed, basically.

Classes hadn't started yet, so I was free to get situated. In that time, I got an apartment, opened a banking account, got familiar with my neighborhood, figured out which bars in Old Town have the best happy hours, and spent a lot of time at the beach. 

This is what I wore on my first day of a teacher. It was sort of weird thinking of myself as a not-student, but I donned the lectrice jacket as best I could. My teaching strategy (more or less): listen to the students.

Meanwhile, I did my best to make friends. In the end, I really lucked out. These people are great--upbeat, curious, intelligent nerds-extraordinaire. 

I did a lot of partying. Probably about as much as one would expect a 20-something living in a city with a vibrant bar-scene would do.

Natalie and I made a Jacqueline-o-lantern for English Society. A few of us put on a film night where we showed A Nightmare Before Christmas and Psycho. I really enjoyed the English Society events I helped with this semester, from pub nights/quizzes, to film nights, to the Thanksgiving pot!

Oh, yeah! And this happened:

I also got the chance to meet up with the wonderful Ellen Parent.

 We went to Paris...

Where I was reunited with my Paris study-abroad partner-in-crime, Emma Lofthus! It was marvelous to see her after all the time we'd been apart. Since we'd last seen each other we'd both written our thesis, graduated from college, and moved to France! There was a lot to catch up on and I don't think we even got to say all there was to say, but it was nice to meet again over a cup of vin chaud (at Les Deux Magots, at that!) <3

I also went to an absinthe bar in Antibes, which was fun.

And partied some more.

I made my family's traditional Thanksgiving side-dish, sweet-potato casserole (with marshmallows on top). 

And celebrated Thanksgiving with this awesome crew.

The winter market opened this past weekend. All over town Christmas-themed things have been put up. It's weird, because not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I guess France doesn't care about that. However, I did notice a huge light-up menorah on my way home today. The Christmas market is full of vendors, a Ferris wheel, ice-skating, vin chaud, and dark chocolate made with olive oil, just to name a few highlights. 

I probably won't get a photo of the Christmas market before I leave Nice, so have a stolen collage from Becca's Instagram:

Overall, I'm satisfied with how things have gone these past 3.5 months. Wish me safe travels home. Happy holidays to everyone! And a fantastic New Year. Cheers!