Monday, December 6, 2010

Would Jane Approve? And other London Ramblings

My mother sent me a book last week for an "Advent present." She knew I was low on books to read and with my flight coming up she thought this would be just the thing. I have begun reading it because I am no longer in school, I only have one day of work left and three days left in Copenhagen, so I'm a bit bored. The novel begins on a flight to London. As soon as I read "London" my heart ached. Then it goes on to name all the sights and roads and parks, and I am on the brink of tears. It was when the heroine steps out of Gloucester Road tube stop and into South Kensington that I had to put the book down. My Gloucester Road. My South Kensington. Memories came flurrying back.
Every time I would return from a weekend away and finally make it back to Gloucester Road my heart would swell. I would always get the overwhelming feeling that I was home. The same feeling I used to get when returning home from Rhode Island, when I would take exit 23, pass by Carmen's and the motel and pull onto our hill. It had become my home.
Across the street was Byron's Burgers, Starbucks, Tesco. Down the road the cute little boutique that changed its window display every day, and every day had a dress that made me want to melt. And soon, Queens Gate Terrace. But if you continued on you would find yourself in the middle of Kensington Gardens. The first time I visited I thought my heart would burst. I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was walking in the same place Queen Victoria played croquet as a child. I was surrounded by a history that I had been obsessed with since I was a child.
But the book also brought back other memories, the mention of St. James Park transported me to St. Patrick's Day, just come from the pub at 11 am, an unusually sunny and warm day we walked through the park, discovered a tiny mews and learned the history of the torch bearers.
Piccadilly Circus flooded me with memories of the craziest nights spent in London. I'm reminded of love, lust, jealousy, but most of all fun. I have flashing visions of dancing, lights, and the song "Sweet Home Alabama."
I decided to go to London for a few reasons. I really needed to get out of Rhode Island and I had always loved England's history. I was that little girl who wanted to be a princess, and the idea of a place where there were real kings, queens, and princesses thrilled me. I think it started in the fourth grade when I read a novel about King Henry VIII and his daughters. And then my discovery of Queen Victoria, I read everything I could find about her, and watched all of the movies of course.
Like the heroine of the book I'm reading now, I also went to London because of my deep love for all things Jane Austen. Sometimes I think she wouldn't approve of how I spent my time in London. My original plan was to visit all Jane Austen related sites. Bath, Lyme,  Steventon. But as soon as I got there things changed, I got swept up in the life of London. The fast paced, crazy, slightly tipsy life. But maybe she would approve... because I had fun, I had a love affair, and ultimately I was happy. I wasn't following the same, slightly pathetic trail that all heart broken, Austen obsessed girls make when they are trying to find themselves, and their Mr. Darcy. I had already found myself. And the guy I found didn't fit into any Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightly, Mr. Edwards, or Captain Wentworth molds. He was his own person, and I held my own as well.
What I always wonder is if Jane would approve of all the novels that are being written about her. I don't think she would because most of them are utter trash. The authors cannot write at all, but the publishers know that if its about Jane Austen it will sell. Austen has a timeless fan base. My grandmother, my mother, and I, all very different, from very different times, are in love with her writing. So the spin offs and fictional biographies will sell like hot cakes. My mom definitely proves that, I think she buys every book she finds.
But I think after awhile we really get pathetic. If we want to honor Jane then we need to make our own stories. That's why I think she'd approve of my time spent in London, much more than she would if I just followed her life, a life that isn't even there anymore.
So here's to Jane, here's to London, and here's to our own stories.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When I decided to take a gap year between high school and college everyone worried that I would never go back to school. I never worried, I knew I wanted one extra year, only one, and then I would return. And even if I had worried it wouldn't have made a difference; by January I already missed the scramble of getting homework done, the underlying stress of exams, and most of all, being surrounded by people my own age.
What everyone should have been worried about, or at least more audibly worried, was my choice of school. Although I have always loved them for letting me live the life I choose, I hate that they didn't put their foot down and make me stick with my original school choice. I cannot blame them, but I know my life would have been completely different had I never gone to that school.
But that is difficult to think about. If I hadn't gone than I wouldn't have met the people that are so important in my life. My two best friends would never have met and become a couple, I may not have gone to London that semester (although I'm pretty sure I would, I've always wanted to).
The more I dwell on it the more "what-ifs" fly through my head.  And that was not the point of this post.
I'm leaving school again, and everyone is worried again. But I know me. I know I want a degree, and I will make sure I get it. I know that what I need right now is to take a break, reevaluate what I really want out of life. Where I really want to go, and ultimately, who I really want to be. It may take some time, but time is never wasted when you are learning, when you are smiling, when you are living. Time is wasted when you go through your days doing the same thing over and over, when you forget to laugh, when you can't remember the last time you danced. That is a waste of time. And that is what I've been doing since I've moved here.
I need to find happiness again, as corny as all of this may sound, I need to Believe again. I need to find the girl I used to be, the one everyone noticed because of her extreme happiness.

These posts are just me reminding myself I'm making the right decision, because I keep doubting myself. I hate when I doubt myself.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The other night some friends and I were having a conversation about growing up in the wrong place. We  were talking about how my friend from Bhutan was not made for the Bhutanese life. It was a life of restrictions, you had to be conservative. There was no talk about feelings, no expressing yourself. Women had to be quiet, reserved, the perfect image of a lady. But my friend was anything but. She spent her early years rebelling against everything. Playing with the boys, speaking her mind, refusing to conform. Finally she got out of Bhutan by becoming a flight attendant for American Airlines. She recalls from her time at American a life of freedom. She was able to experience the world and her eyes were open even more. It was then that she realized she was born for a much bigger place than Bhutan. After a few years she met a Danish man, fell in love, got pregnant (to her parents horror) and got married. It is not ten years later, and you should hear this woman talk! Her under the breath comments and loud exclamations always bring the room to laughter. She says the naughty things we are all thinking, but quickly apologizes with "I've always had something to say, but now that I can say almost anything and get away with it, I find it hard to stop!" We hardly mind, of course. Her Bhutanese roots keep her classy while her international persona brings us to tears of laughter. And we know, as much as she did when she first got out of Bhutan, that she belongs in the Western society, this is where she thrives, and we love her here.

This conversation got me thinking. Where do I belong? I had thought it was definitely not in the U.S. because I run away from there as often as I can, but then I always have to return. If it is in the U.S., then where exactly? I cannot figure that out. When I was in London last year I was reflecting on the same thing. My brothers seem to have all found a place where they thrive. One has found a beautiful life here in Denmark, one absolutely loves the West Coast and is happily situated in Seattle, Washington, one will never leave Boston, and another is quite comfortable is Wisconsin. But me, I can't seem to settle in one place for longer than six months. Vermont is too small and empty, Rhode Island just rubbed me the wrong way, and Denmark and I, we just clash, I can't seem to find my footing here.
I sometimes think if I could return to London it would be the place for me, but the people who aided in my infatuation with that city are long gone, would the effects be the same?
My indecision is sending me back to the comfort zone of Vermont. I am tucking myself back between the mountains in which I share a long lasting love-hate relationship. I run back to this little town over and over again but cannot wait to leave once I am there. I love the familiarity but feel suffocated by the overwhelming emptiness and the feeling that there is no where to go from there. There is no room for improvement, no way to get better. Returning to Vermont is a momentary pause in time. It is where I recharge my leaking battery, where I heal my wounds of the road, where I return to zero. But in order to get past zero I have to leave again.
Where to this time?

Monday, November 15, 2010


Yesterday my niece learned her last name. I don't think she knows what it means... but she is really good at saying it with a smile when we say "you're name is ...." But then whenever we ask, "Who's crazy?" She instantly replies "Me!" We have her trained pretty well.
Living with my niece is a strange kind of experience. I have been witnessing her grow up as if she were my own child. I heard her first word (Duck!), my name was the second one she learned, I saw the beginning of her crawls and her first wobbly stand. And now we are here. At two years old she is translating Danish for me, giving me butterfly kisses and listening to my heart beat with her play stethoscope. She wakes me up in the morning and gives me kisses before bed.
But she is not my own child, she is my niece, which means when I decide to return to the states, like I am doing now, I can't take her with me. I won't be able to see her every day, to have her tell me about school and the baby in mor's belly. I'll return to talking to her once a week on skype, hoping that she can calm down for just five minutes in order to wave hello through the computer screen. I can't help but worry that our special little bond will fade when I move away.
I know I am making the right decision, but it breaks my heart to leave that little girl. The other day while playing on the floor with wooden food and plastic tea cups I squeezed her and said "I love you more than anything in the world, did you know that?" But it wasn't until after I had said it that I even knew how true it was. This two year old, blonde hair, blue eyed, absolutely crazy girl had become my life.

Will I be ok living 5,000 miles away from her?

Friday, November 12, 2010

You've come in at the beginning of a movie

All movies start in the middle, and this is where you are starting with me. I thought for a moment about giving you a summary of my life until now, but that bores me so it will probably bore you as well. Also, I don't care to tell you about my life, I'm just here because I need to write. It has been forever since I've really written and I am afraid that if I don't try to do it as much as possible I'll lose it. I've already lost it actually, but I guess I'm trying to get it back.
Why write a blog? Simple, I have a ridiculous dream that some day I will write so well and someone will tell me that I am amazing and they want to pay me to do it. That is all. Also it is really boring to just write in a journal.

So here we are, the beginning of my movie, the middle (oh gosh no, not middle, first quarter!) of my life.
An American in Copenhagen, Denmark. A coward, a flake, a dreamer... these are all things I have thought of myself today. I'm leaving Denmark, heading back to the states, heading back to the land of the familiar. Well, sort of.
The land of the familiar is the middle of a hay field with cows in the distance and not a store for miles... and yes I guess I am going there, but I swear for just a month! Not longer... please not longer! I worry occasionally that I am giving up too early, but I am searching for happiness, and for me happiness lies with my friends.
My love and itch to travel always made me think that living abroad was what i really was yearning for. But it wasn't the living, it was the traveling. And now I don't travel, I just live, far away from my family and my familiar lifestyle. So I am returning.
But as I sit here watching my niece making "cake" for her mor and daddy I feel a bit of sadness. How do I choose between all of my friends and family in the states and my so adorable it hurts niece in Denmark? Sometimes it makes me resent my brother for moving so far away from my family. For depriving my mom of her first grand child, all of my brothers and sisters of their first niece. But that is selfish, how could I ask my sister-in-law to leave her family, her support system? I wouldn't if my husband's family lived in another country.
So I am going home. Hopefully I will move to Boston, hopefully I will get a good job. Hopefully no one will care that I never finished my bachelor's. Hopefully I will finish my bachelor's... and soon... hopefully I will not pick up and leave in another six months... like always...
There are way too many hopefullys... I just have to have a little faith and trust... and a bit of pixie dust