Today I decided to go to the Palace of Versailles and it might have been the best decision I have made this whole trip.
Going into today, I had not made any friends. I was alone, in a new country, hoping someone social would come up to me and sweep me off my feet wanting to hang out. Turns out, it is very hit or miss at hostels whether or not you make friends. I did not know this. I have always been told, the second you start traveling you will meet so many people at all the hostels and will make so many lifelong friends. I was getting sad because while I was having a fabulous time, I was still alone.
Before getting on the shuttle to the palace, a young man walked up to me and asked if I was going. He immediately started talking, and I learned he was from a country called Columbia. We talked for a bit before getting on the bus where he saw someone, he met the day prior, who was also from his homeland. Assuming that was the end of it, I stopped talking and let him have his hello’s with her. But the next thing I knew, we are all talking and I was planning my whole trip around being with them. We made plans to eat food they brought and explore the gardens. And so we did! 4 hours later, we had explored and drank ourselves into a little wine buzz. While laughing and taking pictures the whole time.
We went into the castle at that point and of course it was magnificent. I would expect no less at this point. But, the best part was I had new friends to explore it with. We ended up going back to the hostel and spending a few hours with a couple of bottles of wine before we finally said goodnight.
Now we have plans to meet up tomorrow, and I am so glad I decided to go on the bus at that time. Traveling is amazing, but making new friends is even better.
All I can say is things don’t always look how people say they will or how you hope they would. But part of backpacking is staying caught up in the moment and seeing where it takes you.
Today I started my tourist excursion of Paris. I wanted to get this out of the way so I could get to see more of the real life of Parisians. The city is beautiful and with so much to see and experience it actually takes a while to complete. Being the overly ambitious person I am, I thought I could walk from the 19th arrondesmont (a section of the city) down to the 1st and back all in one day. I made it to the Eiffel tower after walking over an hour, but after my feet hurt so bad, I ended up having to call an uber.
A few things have surprised me with this trip, one being the people of Paris. They are all very nice and welcoming. Having been from the states, I have heard many times about how rude French people are, or how you have to watch your step closely to avoid being singled out. I think an easy way to combat this is the same thing anyone would do in the states… Be kind and understanding of the fact that you are in a different culture with different customs. The point of traveling is to get a new world view and that isn’t possible if you force your own on others. I have seen Americans be loud, block pathways, be gullible, and not accepting. Before we judge, we should be trying to see if there is a reason for the behavior. Not everyone speaks English and I have gotten by through the use of single words or google translate. The important part has been learning from them and making an attempt to listen and not bring my preconceived ideas of Paris into my trip.
A few things about the hostel. The bathrooms are completely different. They just have two push circles behind the toilet, the smaller one is for liquids and the larger for solids. Now the only reason I know this is because of trial and error. It really doesn’t make sense at first inspection as there is no signage, but after a few tries you get the hang of it. They also do not put the toilet paper in the bowl, instead it goes in a garbage bag located right next to the toilet. I am staying in a mixed dorm. This means anywhere from 10-20 people both male and female staying in the same room. Not a big deal, but wow, it is soooo loud! With the jet lag, adjusting to the loud noises has been keeping me up at night. Hopefully I adjust soon!
When walking, no one obeys the normal rules of the road from home in the states. The arc de triumphe for example, is a complete madhouse when experiencing it from a car. There are no lines on the street, and everyone just packs together with the idea that if you fit then you can go. Because of this, the cars are much smaller. Those coup cars that are just the front 2 seats that everyone laughed at 10 years ago, are actually very common here. And for a foreigner like me, the stress caused by this madhouse is palpable.
The city is surprisingly clean. They love to smoke, but there aren’t cigarettes lying around. In fact, there isn’t any garbage lying on the street. Being from the northwest, this city is cleaner than Portland or Seattle. It is refreshing being in a city but not having to be concerned about what I am stepping in. That being said, adjusting to the smell of cigarettes constantly has been a struggle. Thankfully, because they are so consciences, it has not been hard to adapt. They have recycling centers every block and sidewalk cleaners every day coming out to keep the city clean.
All in all, starting out this trip has been exciting and different. Seeing the sites, I have only ever seen pictures of, has been amazing. I am exhausted from the jet lag but also wide awake trying to soak in as much as I can. All in all, has been a short day but an amazing start to my journey.
At 18 I decided to get myself a dog. I wanted to find a german shepard lab mix because I wanted the protective, family breeds. I ended up getting the sweetest most loving partner that I could have ever asked for. I got her as a puppy, and she was covered in fleas. After lots of baths, medicine, and good food she turned into the sweetest pup. Now shes turning 6, and we have been through so much together. Looking back, I can see how much easier life would have been had I not chosen to go down this path.
After I got her, I was immediately kicked out of my house. Thankfully my grandparents let me live in their trailer for a week until I found a place to stay. Then I rented a room from an older couple until she was 6 months old. From there, we periodically moved from living in the car to living in an apartment. The costs of a pet deposit were to high to settle anywhere, and there was the difficulty of finding a place that would accept large dogs. I couldn’t go back to school, because I had to work full time to pay for my apartment.
That wasn’t the end of it. There were vet bills, food increases, daily walks… All of a sudden my blossoming life was no longer my own. The skills and lessons I had to learn came faster, and I had to make the right decisions for both of us. As great as growing as a person is, I had to put off so much that I wanted to do in the meantime. I would have graduated college already, or travelled more. While having her hasn’t stopped me, it has made things harder.
Any advice I would give, is don’t jump into commitment without actually thinking long and hard about the ramifications. As a young girl it would have been a better choice to only have myself to look after. I could have achieved a few of my dreams and then gotten the dog I wanted. I still love and would do anything for my dog. But never again would I do something as darastic and life altering.
I am a child of divorce. At 3 years old my parents seperated due to my dad cheating. I spent the first few years going back and forth for equal time and it was actually great. I got to know my dad, and wasn’t forced to choose between the two of them. Once I turned 5, my mother got remarried and splitting the time stopped. A new plan was set up and it involved only seeing my dad 1 day a week and every other weekend. As bad as that was, it got worse. There were huge differences between my dad and the new family. My step-dad was religious so off to church we went, while my other dad was not religious at all. One wanted private school, the other public and so on.. After a while the differences kept adding up, during this time the seperation between myself and everyone in both families grew larger. Not siding fully with either side, I started to desire their affection all the while not fully being accepted by either. This due to my differences in beliefs or my own inability to share my feelings. Eventually, I became a teenager and started lashing out. My lack of control and absent father figure lead me to try and find someone who would accept me.
Fast forward to adulthood. I still worry about my family and try to gain their acceptance. I try to push myself on each of my families without really being wanted, or I try to find that acceptance in others. Most call this way of thinking and acting ‘daddy issues’. The expectation of girls like me is that they don’t trust easily, seek mistreatment, or date older men.
Choosing to not think of my pain or methods of dealing with it in a bad light, I have moved forward with my life. We as a society usually expect the woman to try and fix her problem with her dad through other men. If she trusts, has a normal healthy sex life, and dates reasonably aged men for her age, she was able to pull herself out of the pain her father delt her. If she can’t achive those things she is nothing but a slave to the issues that weren’t her fault. Why do we shame women for these things, when they were not her fault to begin with? It was not my actions that made my dad decide to cheat. It also wasn’t my fault that I didn’t have a strong father figure to show me how men should act.
We are all responsible for our own actions and what we decide to do with the hand we have been dealt. I disagree that women should have to try to pull together and fix what has been done to us in order to be ‘normal’. We can accept the pain, but it is on our fathers to do a better job and show us what we should be looking for in a partner. It is for us to decide what to do with the childhood we were given, and it is on them to realize the pain they have caused.
If I choose to look for acceptance in the beds of others that is my choice. My deciding to be warry of commitment and scared of getting hurt is my battle to fight. Dating older men would be my choice. All decisions are mine to make and my choosing that path to deal with my pain is my choice. But, I should never have to put up with people generalizing my behavior to use against me or demean who I am for something that I could not control. Daddy issues are just that, my issues between me and my father. How I choose to deal with it is my choice between me, myself, and my partner. All I can hope for is to one day rebuild the relationships with my dads, and prevent any children I might have from going through it as well.
A few years ago I was in an abusive relationship. One of the things he would judge me for and hold against me was my ‘daddy issues’. This is my feelings on the term and is not meant to offend or hurt anyone.
I ended a relationship earlier this year. All of our time was spent laying in bed watching TV, or playing games. Never really talking, our relationship was leading to discontent and anger as he never knew what was bothering me. We went on like that for months before I finally realized what was missing. I told him I needed more love and romance, but he said he couldn’t do it. Hearbroken, we cried for hours because we both knew that what had happened wasn’t what either of us wanted. After we seperated, I spent some time living with a friend who was generous enough to put me up in her apartment. I lived there for about a month before moving into my apartment. I tried going on a few dates but it didn’t last, mostly because I couldn’t move on. Being alone did teach me about myself and what I wanted. And I found myself just wishing things had not ended the way they had.
We spent almost every weekend together after we seperated and after some time actually started to learn more about each other. I learned about his time in the military including his feelings about his childhood. Whereas he spent time actually listening and not just playing on his computer. We went to lunch, parks, and he drove my dog to the vet. Slowly we started forming a relationship beyond what we had before. It was great, and lead us to reconsider why we seperated in the beginning. We eventually got back together and I moved my things over to his house in preperation for my leaving the country.
As time has passed the worry that things will go back to how they were, has stayed. We now are together all of the time and the temptation to go back is always present. Trying to keep on this new path has really been accomplished only by always going out. Making that time to sit and talk is really what is keeping everything together. You don’t realize how little you talk to someone you live with until you set aside time doing nothing but that. With this new plan, we made a variety of changes in our relationship that have been nothing but great. Now, because of our new open dialog, we communicate better and actually fight more. I know that it will pass, but the fighting is proof that we are being open, honest, and real. Without this concious effort to talk more, I have no doubt things would end again.
Thats all I got. As I struggle through the mistakes and pain of the last time we tried this, I have learned a few things. Keep your relationships happy and always make time for each other. Even if things end for a time, if its meant to be it will work out. Relationships are about choosing each other day after day and no one is ever going to be obligated to love you. So, try to be a person worth getting to know and love. While that sounds like something off a sappy instagram feed, it is all true. After all that sap, I can only say love with all you have and do not let your mistakes define your future.
A few days ago I recieved my acceptance letter for my study abroad. Of course, this happened in the middle of my finals and after that my desire to study was non existant. Being the trooper I am, I pushed to finish and hopefully passed. Along with this going on, I now have a list of everything I need to get done before leaving. Did anyone know you have to have insurance that works overseas in order to get a residence visa? Because now I do, regretably. I am trying to keep everything organized by writing it down but there are way to many things on way to much paper!
To even think about moving, I need copies of all of my identifying paperwork. This is everything from my drivers licence and passport to insurance cards and acceptance letters. For some reason, it isn’t just the one copy, but about 4. One to leave home, one for my carry on, one for my luggage, and lastly one for my university. Then I have to figure out all the electronics and how the heck I will power everything. I have to have my laptop, phone, camera, and kindle availible at all times, but my converter only has one port. So I still gotta figure that one out still.. Maybe they have converter extension cords? I still need luggage too. As someone who is fine throwing everything into a large duffle bag, the annoying process of finding and buying expensive (~$200) luggage is annoying. Whats more annoying is carrying a giant bag around though.
I wish I could pack more than I am. One carry on, plus one checked bag is not a lot of room. I get to save some space as I dont need to pack essencials like laundry soap. The lack of room really gets to me when I realize that I will be there from winter until summer and will only have the two bags. So, I think I will pack for spring and hopefully I can layer to make it warmer? Probably a terrible plan as Germany isn’t exactly known for their calm winters. Thankfully you can squeeze a whole lot of leggings into a very small space!
So I also have to convert all of my money to euros.. Not a big deal, except my college is in the middle of nowhere and figuring out bank exchange rates is actually quite annoying. Everyone charges different fees and something like Travelex, while convienent, had charges so high that I was going to lose a large amount of my money. Looking into it, general advice seems to point toward applying for a Chase bank credit card as they do not have foreign transaction fees. Next step, I just have to see if I get approved. Which is, as always, stressful.
Thats my small list of stress for the week! Tune in next time to hear me rant about some other small thing like the lines at christmas time… But oh my god these next few weeks need to slow down!
Introverts are not exactly known for their great social lives. Having to ride this line between wanting to be someone I wasn’t and needing my space has taken a lot out of me. Submerged in this world of social media means seeing everyone with their happy little clique and wondering where my people were. Why does everyone else seem so happy in their groups? Why do they seem to always know the right thing to say and do? Is there a class somewhere where I can learn these social skills I have clearly missed out on? We have this culture of more friends, equaling higher numbers, in turn meaning you have more value. Where do we get this idea that many distant friends have the same value as several close ones? How do some people get these great lifelong friendships with so many people ? This struggle has dominated my life as I try to figure out who I am and my value.
As a young girl, I had a best friend. She was wonderful, and quirky, and perfect. I wanted to be her best friend to have part of that joy she seemed to radiate. We grew close, but eventually I switched schools. Still living close together, we mainly hung out over summers. I spent nights with her camping out in the backyard, splashing around in the hot tub, and developing a love of old Audrey Hepburn movies. We went to her child theater plays, and did everything normal child best friends would. The introverted nature inside me declared her my best friend, but I knew that I was not her only friend. Over the years she grew closer and closer with the classmates I had left, while I stayed focused on my friendship with her. I held her to this childish pedestal, which over time evolved to where I thought people would like me more if I was like her. Instead of choosing my clothing and activities based on what I liked, I tried to emulate her. I obviously failed horribly and eventually we drifted apart as teenagers. Never learning from this experience, I brought this baggage along as I tried to find my place.
I then met my adult bestie. We met through dance class, and hated each other instantly for no real reason. Eventually we became friends at the school and got to know each other. She was rough in the doesn’t take any crap way, and had a hard life that she grew from. I admired her so much for her strength and ability to stand strong when everything in life came down on her. We started to get super close and looking back I realize what I was looking for in this friendship. I needed someone who would look up to me the way I had looked up to my childhood friend. I wanted to be the cool one. I wanted to be the one that someone would want to be. She did, in her own way want to be me, but only so much as have the simpler life I had. Beyond that, she was free thinking and could never have been swayed by my basic thoughts. Whereas I wanted to be accepted, she just wanted to be able to be herself. Somehow we were perfect together. It wasn’t paradise, in fact most of the time we were arguing or mad at each other for some stupid reason. Yet, we made it to 11 years of being friends until it all went downhill. At this point we were adults and she was living with her boyfriend. While I didn’t do anything wrong, my quest to be accepted resulted in an awkward situation that I should not have been in. From there on out it was rocky footing. Accumulating tension until my birthday, we tried to continue on as normal. I then went to dinner with my mother and ended up having to cancel my plans with her, before she decided she was done with me. Heartbroken and bitter I moved on, never really letting go but accepting that we weren’t meant to be.
Trying to move on, I met a wonderful girl at my college. She was popular, and liked to party… I was hooked. Finally, instead of chasing people I could go after a lifestyle that was sure to bring friends to me. I spent all of 4 months partying, before I started to hate my life. I am a person who needs alone time, yet I was spending it all on people who didn’t care about me. I started to crawl into my shell when the stress of the semester kicked in. But, every once in a while I would go out. After some time I couldn’t go out one too many days and they all moved on. No longer did my phone buzz with invitations to the bar and instead it stays silent with only a few people who occasionally contacted me. Yet, I don’t feel sad for myself.
For my childhood friend, I just wanted someone to acknowledge me and accept me for the single individual I am. I saw in her the person I wanted to be and instead of seeing her for the human she was. She was wonderful, but she was also flawed in ways it took me years to finally see. She did not need approval, but also didn’t have any close relationships like I did later in my life. Now, I can accept that she did not know who I was as a person, but I also did not really know her either. The person who, to this day I would call my closest friend, was actually someone I needed to get acceptance from. I still call her that, because of everyone in the world, she is one of 3 people who, I feel, knows who I am at my core and loved me for that. As I say that, I also have to accept the reality of the situation, and that is that we fed each others issues. She gave me acceptance and I gave her someone who needed her. When we grew up, that complex stayed in place, but we both tried to reach above it. I tried to not rely on her for my only source of feeling belonging, and she created her own life that didn’t need me. Now that we don’t talk, I can say I hope we both have achieved those goals. I know I have, but that is a story for another time. When I finally got to college, I gave up on anyone really knowing me and just wanted the image that everyone else had. Forgetting what I wanted, I figured if everyone else could be happy this way, then so could I. Everyone had these picture perfect friends that did everything together. I just wanted to look like I was apart of this normal part of life. But, part of growing up is accepting that that you are who you are and that is ok! Eventually, I hope to have a small horde of people who love me and can be added to my list. Until then I will learn to love myself and have that be enough.
When I find a ‘Best Friend’, they are the only person with that title, and I would do anything for them because that is who I am. But, for these relationships, it was mainly my need to be accepted that resulted in me feeling more alone than ever. I doubt I will ever actually find someone who can make me feel what I am searching for, because I have to do that for myself. Instead of looking to the rest of the world, I need to let go of this desire to look like everyone else does. There are bigger fish in life, and I hope that instead of trying to solve my problems with people I can try to solve them myself.
Thanks for reading my heart-to-heart, and if anyone feels as I do I would love to hear how you learned to accept yourself. Life is a journey, and as I go along I hope each day will be better than the last with learning more about myself and others.