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  • May23rd

    While rehashing my time and life in Louisiana, someone asked me if I regretted any of my decisions to drop such a pleasant life and head to Europe. I hesitated, as I didn’t want to give an answer immediately. Of course, I said “no.”

    I don’t believe in regrets – they’re not good for much.

    I miss Louisiana, but not necessarily the place. I miss sitting on my back porch talking with a good friend with a six-pack of Abita beer in hand and watching Merlot running around the yard. I miss getting excited about a new sushi restaurant downtown. I miss wasting gas and driving around the back-roads of North Louisiana to clear my head with mood-appropriate music blaring. I miss my friends.

    I miss a time and place that no longer exist in reality.

    People ask me if I miss Belgium, and I say immediately that I miss it more than you can imagine. But my time there was the time of a student surrounded by some of the best friends I’ve ever met. I experienced some of the happiest and pushed through some of the darkest times of my life there. It holds and will always hold a spectacularly special place in my heart. But, it’s not like it was now. I miss the experiences I was lucky enough to have while I did, so the question “do you miss Belgium?” is quite irrelevant.

    A friend of mine continually says I will miss Paris in spite of myself (in spite of my complaining of the weather, the tourists, the metro, the bureaucracy, etc.). I corrected her – I WILL miss Paris, not a single doubt, but not the place. I will miss the people, my friends, the nights out, the “experience” – all of which will not exist after this semester. We will all disperse back to our corners of the world, and Paris [as I know and love it] will not be here.

    That’s what life is about – experiences; and they’re fleeting, but always anew on the horizon.

    The experience of starting over multiple times has taught me a lot. In a similar conversation, I made a startling statement [even to me]: “I wonder when I’ll be ready to return to the States…I enjoy being a foreigner too much.” I said it without even thinking, but it is true. As strange as it sounds, I enjoy having to start over – it proves every time that I can do it. I can make my own way through dark times, I can make friends wherever I am, I can handle missing out on special occasions, I can find happiness where I am at the moment. I find that to be an invaluable skill.

     

    So on this almost-eve marking my completed second year in Europe – here’s to starting over – over and over again, just to prove you can.

     

    Try it, you might surprise yourself.

     

    I did.

     

    – Ross E.