Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sweet October {finishing something}

My favorite October was the one when I lived in Switzerland student teaching in the months before I graduated college with some girls who would become treasured friends and a Peruvian apartment that made us feel grown up and partially confused about Swiss life. We were Americans in a Swiss German village in an apartment with South American d├ęcor.

It was no surprise we messed up the serious order imposed by our Swiss neighbors on laundry schedules and lost a few Tupperware items during our stay, which did not make us good tenants, although we cleaned that place better than any place I've lived in since.

Switzerland is no joke when it comes to the word clean. The streets are clean. The trains are clean. I bet even the dogs who ate at the restaurants were clean.

I miss that October. I think about it every now and again, for a lot of reasons. I wonder if I would have the closeness with friends from that trip if not for, well, the closeness you have when you live with a friend overseas. Three months even in the most beautiful country in the world can seem like an eternity if you don't get along with the people you're with, because they are're.with.ever. It's probably the closest thing to being married. I wouldn't know because I'm not married, but when we came away from the trip we laughed about the closeness of it all. That's really the only right word for it. 

one of my swiss friends, mandy, when our other friend abby got married

If this has ever happened to you, you know that in the moment-by-moments, the people you are with are the only people you can rely on, when say you get locked IN a school at nighttime (that happened to me, yes) or you get lost, or take turns keeping your eyes open so you don't miss your stop and end up in another town -- or worse -- country. Or when you miss a flight and do end up in another country. And of course there's that thing about not knowing any of the languages. Maybe when you went overseas you were smart and learned a language. 

I blame the fact that we went to a country with four languages.

Then there's different food and different everything even if it is only Europe. Because you're 21 or 22 years old and you've never been anywhere.

All of us and all of life is a blend of this unique diversity.

That trip was the beginning of the end for me because from then on I've always been pulled toward different cultures and people. Maybe not only because of that trip, but it started the fire.

In my little third grade class, there was something like 18 different cultures and peoples represented.

It's funny, because almost all my jobs since have given me an up-close glimpse into different cultures, where I almost feel a part, and where I am the minority.

It's hard for me to move on from an intense time with people I've come to love. We are each a blend of the collection of people who have shown us what it is to live a full life, to remember our way is not the only way. It's helpful every once in awhile to pay tribute to them.

When I get to the end of a season, when another 'October' gets ready to make its passage, I wonder if there's a way to avoid putting a period there. I hate moving on from things I fear I will soon forget.

There are so many details I can't recall from Octobers long ago. But they are still there.

Just like that Peruvian apartment, there are things we own for awhile, but they are not ours to keep for good.

October always helps me remember there are seasons to hold on and times to let go, that we don't have to fear the dreaded period and it's okay to say something is finished 'for now' and maybe that's good enough for today.

What's been one of your most favorite adventures? Why was it so special?


  1. Living in nyc was definitely my favorite adventure. I really enjoyed reading this post. It felt so personal, and I could even imagine you right here talking to me. :)

    1. Thanks friend:). That's what I hope for because that would be so great! Someday we should arrange to get coffee together -- on a new adventure?!