...and now I'm home.
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
I think that going abroad makes it difficult to do anything other than the activities right in front of your face. However, I think that my time in Belfast re-taught me how to “live in the present”, as corny and even “millennial” as that sounds. I want to say that my time there was “indulgent” because I spent all of my focus on only the things right in front of me. But I think that is how I am supposed to be living. I thought about writing in my blog from time to time, but I used that time to call people from home or study or spend the evening in City Centre with my friends from Belfast. I could have spent an evening, holed up in the library with a blanket and tea, attempting to write out every detail into words that could barely explain a fraction of my experiences and would ultimately frustrate me to try to describe. Or, and instead, I could spend way too long getting ready with my roommates, take the bubblegum pink 8A bus to City Centre, and spend the evening drinking wine and eating good food and teasing Irish friends for saying everything from buildings to grocery bags were “wee.” I chose the latter.
I am going to post some photos from the trip. For this blog post, I'm going to stick with just my pictures from Paris. I’ve been really interested in black and white photography lately, mainly because of emphasis on contrast and emotion. I really enjoyed focusing less on trying to get pictures that I was “supposed” to get and enjoyed taking pictures that I wanted to take. Granted, I did not get a single picture of the Eiffel Tower with my DLSR. Slightly disappointing, but ultimately more comical than actually frustrating.
Since coming home, I moved into my family's house, applied to about 30 jobs and internships, didn't get any of the jobs and internships I initially applied for, moved out of my family's house and into my friend's house in La Mirada, was offered an internship, got a job working at a restaurant, and now am reading and writing and running and doing a number of other activities to fill my down time. For the most part, I've been reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and some poetry books by Paidraig O Tuama and Mary Oliver.
I've also been spending a lot of time with friends that live in the area as an excuse to try different cheap wines from Target (but legitimately enjoying the company and conversation, of course) and attending St. Matthew's, a church that I joined when I got home from Belfast. My friend Alea invited me and is a wonderful person to spend time with because she makes a lot of space for people to be who they are exactly where they are at. She also has little patience for a lot of the "voices of our generation" (by this, I mean writings by Rupi Kaur and similar poetry) and talks a lot about Victorian marriage plots and 19th century female writers (although, she has immense patience for cheap wine). She reminds me to forget about myself in the best ways and I hear God in her often.
I've been listening to this podcast called This Cultural Moment from John Mark Comer and Mark Sayers of Bridgetown Church in Portland. Comer and Sayers often discuss secularism, deconstructionism and other popular buzzwords that people my age perpetually harp on. I've noticed that even in my Christian communities and in popular Christian culture, concepts like deconstructionism are increasingly popular buzzwords, or at least in a lot of Christian circles at my school and in popular Christianity as advertised by Twitter and bestsellers at Barnes and Noble. However, I think that when you follow them to their ends, you find yourself empty, intellectually ripped apart, and lacking a sense of purpose. The "voices of my generation" revel in the feeling of rebellion and irreverence - I know this because I used to add to the clamor. But when these voices inform your life, you ultimately aren't left with anything. I understand why Alea has little patience for these voices. I lack patience for them now, too.
Blue Like Jazz has been particularly helpful for the project of deconstructing my deconstruction, mainly because it's reminded me to pick up my Bible, engage with my community, and care about reconstruction as well. I'm tired of being tired of the crazy conservatives and the crazy liberals and the crazy tendency to think that everyone else is crazy. I think I'm tired of thinking "everyone else" is crazy and I'm tired of using the word "crazy" to excuse myself from understanding ideas and people that I don't yet understand. Relationships are difficult. It's enough to drive anyone crazy. I don't want to waste any more time dwelling on the craziness of others when I have enough of my own to contend with.
I'll be sure to write again soon.
Also, when you have a moment, my current favorite songs are:
"Hey Ma" - Bon Iver
"Donna" - The Lumineers
"Eight Long Months" - Zach Winters
Listen to them if you feel so called. Adieu my friends.