Always Where I Need To Be

| Thursday, September 17, 2009

Alright. So it's been a long time since I last wrote. Yeah, I've been up to a lot. Most of you might not realize this but, learning is very tiring. Some of you must think, "This guy has never worked a day in his life and he's talking about being tired..." let me just say that I've worked on my feet for 9 hours a day and I realize that learning a new language is definitely more tiring. I don't wish to be controversial but, (all though I often am..) I didn't go to Italy to learn a very giddy argentine spanish. French is easily the hardest "Romantic" language to learn. You're just sitting there in class trying to make sense of it. Trying to see if there's a rule that lets you do the same trick to every phrase and then Claire Millet stands there and tells you that it doesn't work. In fact, it only works in this single instance, she'll smile and tell you, "Zaht ees french!"

I realize that I've forgotten how to learn.

Yeah, think about that for a second. It's a crippling feeling right? If you are reading this, you might think, "Well, I have a simple way to learn stuff..." Yeah? Well imagine this. I've been taking photography classes for so long that I've forgotten how to sit down and swallow a book. I've realized that I forgot that method that I used to have to learn stuff and know it permanently. It's an art that only comes through practice. Learning is a non-stop adventure and I believe that I've immersed myself in a place where I can just get caught up in learning and I no longer have the sharp tools to assimilate the knowledge and sort it out. No worries though. After a few hours of studying, I'll find the rhythm. It's like figuring out the right time to wake up to go to class. For a few weeks you wake up at odd times and can't seem to get it right, then all of a sudden, it becomes a routine. Know what I mean?

It's only the first week and I'm getting a hang of French for the most part. Thing is, I forget if I could have understood as much back at home. I try and remember what I could and couldn't understand before and the more time I spend here, the blurrier that line gets. I guess it's a good thing though. It's a bit like thinking that you can't remember when you couldn't understand what you're learning. That must be a good sign.

Baggage. Bloody hell. Understand that baggage is not just something material. Baggage has been haunting me. Funny thing is, it's not even my baggage really. Because of things that are out of my control, I've come to France with baggage that has to be sorted. I am of the faith that it's not good for the mind to just lose baggage. You know the feeling, you're walking through the Promenade and there's a constant thought or tag-line that keeps running through your head. You realize that if you don't let go of this, you'll go crazy. So you try and throw it away, some people like alcohol, some play sports, some even go crazy. I'm the later. It just runs through my head and I go crazy. So the first thing that I do is give this baggage to my heavenly Father. He gave me France. Yes, my Father is that powerful. He can give me a country to learn from. Not just a country, but a people as well. This is His way of being the concierge and saying, "Please. Allow me." I need to just let go of the baggage and let Him handle it. If we can manage to make this process a streamlined one, I'm thinking this whole Christianity thing will be headed on the right path. God makes sure that I'm "Always Where I Need To Be". Thanks Lord.

I don't have a lot to write about this time. I'm more pensive these days. I try and think before I speak. Listening is wonderful. You see things. You realize things that you might never have realized if you were speaking. Normally, the fact that I'm talking will tell you that I'm happy but I've learned a new happiness here. Contemplating is awesome. The view from my room really aids that sort of stuff. I have a view that I'll show in due time. I see the Jura mountains, I see Geneva, and behind me as a constant reminder of what is awesome, I see le Saleve. It's just ridiculous when I just sit here and look at everything and think of a lot of things. I'm in Europe. I wake up every morning and get to stare at one of the pearls of Europe, Geneva. What a majestic city. It's a place where the people are almost pleasantly strange. They just do their thing and don't ask questions. I walked into a camera store here and I was put at ease when I realized that NO ONE was asking me, "Sir, can I help you with anything? Are you sure? I'll be right HERE. (FOLLOWING YOU UNTIL I CAN HELP YOU)." If I want help, I'll ask. These people seem to understand my thoughts exactly. It's brilliant. For October, I might be going to the land where all my dreams are common day realities, England. If this so happens to materialize, I think I'll tear up a bit when I get there. You, yes you, know my London Calling and if I get the chance to relive that experience, you know I will. To the max. Understand that when I take the chunnel and end up at St. Pancras Station, this keyboard can't handle the rush of emotions that my fingers want to express. So there you have it.

Alright, time to transpose all the stuff that I wrote on the back of all of my syllabuses into a proper notebook.


La Maladie de la Vache Folle

| Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today I learned to coolest phrase I've ever heard. But first of all, let me say that I learned more in one remedial class session here than I did in an entire semester of French at SAU. Today I quite literally went through the caf calling friends and strangers alike, "Tu es fou/folle!" I don't remember the last time I had that much fun speaking in a foreign language. I've cursed in other languages and not gotten the same funny feeling. It was "good humor". It was fun. That class was great. A friend of ours was asking the most useful questions and so now I'm prepared for most social situations. I'll obviously have to carry the paper taped to my forehead to keep it handy, but it's going to be awesome when I'm prepared for more than just "Je ne parlais pas francais...". I'm actually feeling quite optimistic about this french linguistic adventure.

Regarding the people, it's a great place. The theology majors here are the same as a Jesus loving, sport loving, art major back at SAU. The people are really nice and willing to help you. I know that if I were at Talge and a bunch of French punks invaded my dorm, I'd be livid. They're actually quite nice. They are strict about noise levels which, as all of my RA's can tell you, make it really difficult for me to live at anytime past 9pm. So, all in all, this place is awesome. I hope I still love it come a few months from now.
So, the french reader might ask, why the funny title? Well, I'm thinking of naming my future band, "La Maladie de la Vache Folle". It would be a hit with the indie people because they just love anything that's trendy including french, it would be a hit with the kids because they speak like that, and with the french because most of them already seem to know that it would be awesome; hence I think it would most definitely work. There, sorted.

A bientot. Bonsoir.


London Calling

| Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Anyone that knows me will know that all I do is dream of life in England. Today my life took an interesting turn. No pictures today. Just words. I watched ITV Sports' coverage of the England vs. Serbia match. If England won the match, they would automatically qualify for the World Cup next year. I was so excited to be watching UK tele again. It was a refreshing view on my priorities in France. Yes, I want to learn french. At the same time I dream of staying in London for the entirety of the Christmas Break. This is the part where I make a promise to myself that I have no way of assuring myself. I will live in London soon. Honest. I've got the worst case of "the London Calling". I must give France a chance though. Yes, I found myself muttering funny french things like instead of saying "offside" for the million times that Emile Heskey was occupying that circumstantial position, I found myself saying "position de aujour" (i hope that's how you spell it). I love french the language. It's so difficult to pronounce that I'm actually learning it. It's enough of a challenge. It's like my mind sees no way to defeat it so I feel like it's a challenge. I'm almost done with the resolving of the picture problem with the "Spaceman" post. In the meantime just be patient (for the 6 peeps that read this thing) and I'll do what I can as fast as I can.



| Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lets pray

"Dear Lord, thank You for letting me see this. Your creation. Glorious stuff. I know you don't need to hear it because when you look up the word "Glorious" in the Holy Bible, Your character and creation keeps on showing up all over the place. But, yeah, thanks. Only You know how much I need this. In Jesus' name I pray, AAAAAAAAAAAmen."

You know that feeling of like odd holiness you get once you pray? No, not during, but like when the prayer is in transit to heaven"? Like He's listening and what you asked for might come true? The kind of optimism only He can bring? You know what I mean? It's that very same feeling I get when I see out my window. I feel closer to God when I see this place. It is believed that, in the realm of the SDA Universities, SAU is the most beautiful of all campuses. I was born to dispel this fallacy. For those that are familiar with the Chattanooga area, imagine the view from Lookout Ant Pile, (yeah I said it. I can't call it by that hollowed "M" word anymore.) towards Chattanooga, at day and night. But instead of the comical hills that you look at in the distance, here you see Mt. Blanc. Snowcapped year round. The tallest point in all of Western Europe. The rest of the mountains are proper. By that I mean that they do justice to the word. From my room, I can see everything that there is to see in Geneva. In the day time there is a natural haze that is by no way reminiscent to Los Angeles. It's like "organic" haze. No not "Purple Haze" as some might know, that's quite different. There is this massive mountain behind the mens residence hall that reminds me of what Lookout A.H. (for short) would look like if it was taller and was shaved. It's one of the biggest areas for parasailing and mountain gliding. Collonges-sous-Saleve looks like a green Italian country side at the edge of a metropolis. I hate to invoke the image of the cheeky little blokes on the other side of the border but I don't know a better way to describe this place. People? Suffice to say that they haven't utterly made fun of me for my name and the lack of french output on my behalf. I feel like a "Spaceman" it like I've known my whole life that the moon is out there. Out of my reach. But through a special set of circumstances, I'm here now. I'm on my proverbial moon. I don't know how to act, a spaceman can't act like a citizen of the moon, he has no idea what that means. I too feel that way. I'm not french. I hear people talk like french people and it makes me smile. I know what it sounds like because of my father. He's always talked like that and when he talks to his people it sounds like he's in a movie. That's how foreign french sounds right now. I really hope that I can really assimilate this language and make it my own. French, maybe I'll sound like it some day. Soon, hopefully.

Getting here was a complicated matter.

My original gate.

My real gate.

My delayed gate.

More pictures to come. Just click on these for the full effect.

Best of Both Worlds

| Friday, September 4, 2009

Recently it has come to my attention that Europe is "a whole new world". Well, what I say to that is a resounding "duh". I've been there before. London and Paris were very charming cities, thank you very much, but then it sunk in. I've never actually lived in a different country. To calm my already tense nerves, I thought, "it's like going to Southern..." but suddenly the familiar words of my father meandered their way through my already cluttered brain. It is a whole new world. A world without Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, or things being open 24 hours or 7 days a week.


As much as trendy, anti-political, anti-corporate
America condemns it, calling it, "the beast of Revelation", I don't think I would have survived 3 years of SAU without Wal-Mart, to be honest. Every time I needed to go get detergent at unhealthy hours of the night, Wal-Mart is open. Bedding? Video Games? Late night snacks/drinks?Clothing, for the frugal minded! Need I say more? I know people that have
refused to shop there at times citing all sorts of reasons, all true, to not support this corporate, made-in-China, machine. But it's funny how I can remember specific circumstances where their convictions have had to take a back seat to ohh what's the word... convenience. What I'm trying to say is, it's going to take some adjusting to not live with such a reliable source of absolutely everything. So here's to you, Wal-Mart. My one stop find-everything Camelot.

Taco Bell
"TB" as my friends affectionately call it. For the better part of a decade, this humble faux-Mexican joint has become a vital part of my diet. Unhealthy as it is, where else can you get beef, sour cream, tomatoes, rice,wrapped in a flour tortilla for under a buck? Is it healthy? No. Am I a poor college student that looks for the cheapest alternative for the fulfillment of his voracious appetite? I hear a reverberating "YES!" from all of my friends. Recently though, I have realized that Chipotle serves the best spick food I've ever had. But in the bang-for-your-buck department, Taco Bell is unrivaled. Thanks Taco Bell.

Places being open at convenient times
In America, and for SDA's, Sunday's are the best day to go to the malls or just shopping in general. So to some, the shopaholic contingent, the proposition of the customary practice of shops being generally closed in most European countries on Sunday's, will shake off those Armani socks you got at Marshalls for half price rather ironically on a Sunday in the USA. (Word keeps telling me "fragment consider revising" but you get the picture.) Things might be a little different in the UK and France but the majority of Europe follows the norm of being closed on Sundays. Plus the reliant people at Wikipedia say that in the UK, it's illegal to be open 24 hours a day in most derivatives of retail. It's going to be weird. I know. I will also be without the benefits of having a car. Some of you might find it odd that I say that. You think, "he didn't even have a car..." well thats true. It's also those people that I'd like to thank for taking my huge frame around Collegedale or indeed Broward/Miami Dade County. You were available at all hours and always obliged my requests. I'm eternally grateful.

So. Europe is a mucky, dead, dull, drag? Bollocks. Obviously anyone who's ever been there can tell you a story about how awesome it is. I don't intend to detract from the idea that Europe is awesome. I'm just getting my concerns out. I know that there are certain aspects (most, actually) about American living that seem disadvantageous to the typical European. What I wish to do is to embrace these things, to experience the "Best of Both Worlds". To do this, I feel that I must learn to appreciate what I have at home so that I can really understand what it means to not have it. Blogging about these sorts of things makes me do just that.

Europe has history. It has mountains, true mountains. I've not seen such things in my life. Geneva is the peace capital of Europe. In fact, Switzerland is notorious for being the neutral country. France is the country of my heritage. UK is the country of my football and lingo. Italy is the country of one of my biggest passions, Scuderia Ferrari. Spain is the country of one of my languages. Germany is the country of another one of my passions, BMW's. So as you can see, I have business to attend to in Europe. There are things for me on, what some would call, "the best end of the pond." I'm excited about this. Will I be able to see all those places? God willingly. There are more reasons than this for me to be excited. As a parting treat for the readers, I'd like to show you what I'm going to have to get used to. A picturesque castle, at the shore of Lake Geneva in the French speaking part of Switzerland.

Get jealous.

What to expect + The Calm Before the Storm

| Monday, August 24, 2009

I hope to photograph all the things I see in Europe. Whether dull or brilliant, I want you to see what I see. Part of the reason why I'm going is to show my friends and family what they might have seen or may not have seen yet. I will write about things sometimes in english, sometimes in french. I hope to use some of these photos to build some sort of photoessay about Europe. Nothing too serious but maybe I can show things that you've never seen before in a way that you might never see it. I need to get used to explaining my feelings without having a specific person in mind. Please reader, understand that I've never done this. I was under the impression that nothing I could say was intelligible by other beings with some sort of pulse. Recently someone, that I honestly don't listen to, told me that this website was overrated which inspired me to try this thing out. I called this "Tales from the Eiffel Tower" because if you use your imagination, all that I'm photographing can be seen from the famous tower. (You'll probably notice that my sentences are random thoughts that are stitched together in something you've learned to call "paragraphs". My paragraphs tend to lack any sort of flow. This is my style, or lack there of.)

So... I'm going to France. It's crazy isn't it? The very thought of that makes my mind implode. It helps to think that in nine month's I'm going to look back on this and think of the great moments I spent in the cradle of civilization. I call this part The Calm Before the Storm because if I could paint you a picture of how my stomach looks/feels right now, that's it. I feel relaxed but at the same time it's almost like I'm wincing at the knowledge that I'm going to go on three different flights, cross quite a few time zones, and leave the realm of general ignorance. By that I mean, I'm leaving the USA. I'm finally going to immerse myself in the world of where my father's mysterious roots originate from. For those that don't know, my father is a mysterious person. Not to say that he's a former French special forces agent who fought in five different continents and has battle scars when he flexes his monstrous biceps; quite different. He's a relaxed man that'll talk when spoken to and he's from a foreign land that I've failed to embrace my whole entire short life. So I can't help but thinking. This is it. This is my chance to take a stab at being semi-cultured. Do you know what it is when I say, "Lyon? Oh yes, I've been there. Twice, in fact. Fantastic brie if I do say so myself..." (In a wicked Berkshire accent, might I add.) The more I think about it, the more I come to the following conclusion. This is it. You're going to France, make this the best thing ever. Live it, Love it, Breathe it, Be it. Hopefully this is the most satisfying thing I've ever done. EVER. (That's what she said.)


This is my father. He's awesome.