So there’s a new unflattering visa photo in my passport, and my email just pinged with a Delta check-in reminder. Know what that means, folks? It’s time to leave home again! And do you know what that means? Feelings!
Memphis, it’s been nice, and it’s been boring, and it’s been fun, and it’s been weird. You’re where I went to preschool, school, college, and church. You’ve employed me seven times in seven very different positions. At the drop of a hat I could run into anyone from my kindergarten teacher to a sorority sister, each with her own ideas of who I was and who I might have become. You’re the biggest small town I’ve ever known.
When I’m at home, it’s like I’m in a holding cell, or perhaps a sort of functional hibernation. I find a job, I see friends, I have quality family time, and I sleep in my childhood bedroom. It’s comfortable and slow, usually awash in a sweltering heat. I eat and drink a little too much. I gain a bit of weight. I have no trouble sleeping. Everything just floats.
Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, at least in small doses. I see it as being plugged in to a wall, immobile, recharging, until I yank myself off and put all that potential energy to good use. Tomorrow I coil up my power cord and get going again.
Thankfully, it’ll be easier this time. I went back and read my last leaving Memphis post in preparation for this one, and my heart goes out to 2017 pre-departure Julia. Y’all, she was quaking in her Keds. She didn’t know much about her job, her visa hadn’t come in the mail, she didn’t have an apartment lined up, she was a nervous wreck. A year later, I’m ready to go back and wrangle the little ones, my visa came in early, and my wonderful landlady’s got my room all warmed up for me. Incidentally, Anne, I don’t know if you read these, but in case you do: thanks for making St Nazaire feel like a second home.
So I’m proud to say that I am no longer a nervous wreck--more of a lightly anxious fender bender. There’ll likely never be a time that I can face a transatlantic flight with tranquility and acceptance, but my current state of manageable stress is the closest I’ve come. Just look at me grow!
If anyone reading this is thinking about study abroad or an international internship or something along those lines, make it long and do it twice--life and circumstance permitting, of course. With one year down, I’m comfortable with the job and the city, so there’s some space for optimism.
Julia, optimistic? The future is now.
Heading back to France, I have a plan for my ample down time, rather than wasting it worrying about wasting it. I know my life there, so I know what to add and subtract. I’m subtracting a pastry career, at least for now, since none of the bakeries I asked would take me on, anyway. Then I’m adding more writing. The majority of it will stay close to the chest while I figure out my voice and writing style, but there will be a few more public pieces as I take baby blogger steps.
If you feel like keeping up with the public ones (lookin’ at you, benevolent aunts and uncles), they’ll be on the travel blog Shut Up and Go. It was founded by Youtubers Damon and Jo, and it just had a grand relaunch, with me as one of their contributing writers. It’s very #Internet! which is weird but informative to me as a participant. Apparently search engine optimization is a real and important thing I’m supposed to pay attention to? Wild.
So go read them! If you want! You can also comment on my posts so I don’t feel like a failure, if that tickles your fancy. I won’t be getting paid for this, so compensate me in flattery. Constructive criticism is also cool, as I know I have a lot of development to do. You know, just send me that privately. The Internet needs to think I’m perfect.
And there you go. I hope you’ve enjoyed this update on late 2018 Julia. There was no point to this post other than to say what I’m doing and save it as a weirdly public time capsule. Aren’t blogs strange? Here’s a random piece of my life I wrote up, then slapped on a url for strangers to read. Sometimes I’ll take a topic and put it here in an attempt at a creative essay format for some writing practice, but not this one. It’s just a chunk of what I’m thinking today.
I mean, I know why I would want to look at this, now and in years to come, as it’s fun to see what my state of mind was at different parts of my life. Maybe when I look back on this I’ll even have made some progress on my writing skills. But what are you doing here? Did you make a wrong turn? What’s your excuse?
Well, it was nice of you to come here for whatever reason. I’ll let you charge your phone, fill up your water bottle, and go on your way. Anyway, I have a plane to catch.