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I recently met someone I felt an immediate affinity towards.  We haven’t spoken today  (le sigh), but I think that the feeling was mutual. The thing is, this dude was pretty much the opposite of the kind of guy that was on my radar since I was looking for a version of the last guy that broke my heart, that wouldn’t do it again. That would just love me forever from the minute he saw me, leaving me to the be the one being all iffy and not sure what I wanted and dillydallying, and I would never feel any anxiety about love or romance or commitment again.  I would never question my lovable-ness, capacity for an intimate, caring, relationship, or the journey round the world that has complicated establishing a relationship of significance (a major life goal effectively impeding another life goal, and I daresay, human need for intimacy).  I dreamt so hard of this day when essentially all self-doubt would vanish as I bathed in the validating sunshine of his love. This love of course, would be without question completely compatible, share all my most deeply held views and come from the same white American culture, be really cute, a great lover, smart, funny, sexy, good in the kitchen, etc. I would never have to question my feelings towards him, wonder what to make for dinner, or worry that this wasn’t such a wise idea. As life would have it, and destiny likes to prove me wrong, of course the current dude (please phone, RING) doesn’t quite fit the bill. Probably no one on this earth does. Helas (that’s French for alas, you guessed it).

Another exciting thing that happened to me today [when I decided to get in touch with my friends from home and tell them all about the dude that is usually in touch but not today, not like my life revolves around dudes or anything] was having lunch with a classmate, who’s about 40 and has a wife and kids, and talking about the meaning of life. I’ve enlisted the help of my band of brothers and sisters to find a job in Paris, including the reflection process of what job it is I actually want.  We had a really pleasant conversation, and we totally have a lot of similar personality traits. He had a successful career for about 20 years, then after having kids felt his life was out of balance and he wasn’t living well. He counselled me not to rush the process of introspection and act prematurely, to always keep in mind the ultimate destination, and not to give up on following, and finding my dream. He’s Moroccan, by the way, and loves Tony Robbins. Apparently some things that seem super American (like self-help literature and self-actualization) are pretty much human universals. Who’d a thunk, immigrant society and all that we are. Home of tolerance, individualism, and huddled masses yearning to breath free. Yes, I do buy all that, God I am goosebumps proud to be American even though I want to live in Paris-call me Thomas Jefferson.

[[…dude just texted…can’t make this stuff up.  Obviously I’m going to do the mature thing and take a couple minutes to respond, and try to think of something more than “doing ok and you” but probably revert back to that so it doesn’t look like I’m trying too hard…God it will be hilarious if I ever let him see my blog. Sometimes dating a Francophone isn’t such a bad thing]]

So basically, I’m thinking that more than anything, we are all human together. There’s no better gospel to preach, actually. I love nothing more than explaining America to the people in my classes and representing my country well- Oui, je parle francais. Et du coup, je suis americaine! Incroyable! La seule qui parle la langue du pays ou je me trouve!  All self-congratulations aside, I was talking to the dude about hugging/kissing/greeting customs. Besides the fact that most people are warmer than white anglo saxon Americans comme moi, whose lack of kisiness he found shocking (no bisous with your best friend! j’etais shque!), we came to the conclusion that its pretty standard to touch people who look like they are sad. I was like, yup that’s just human. While it is probably not correct to say that, and there’s some remote people in the Amazon rainforest, highlands of New Guinea (people weren’t discovered there until the 1930s), or Arctic tundra that could prove me wrong, I think it’s fair to say there’s some human constants. The interesting thing about the dude is how quickly I forget he’s from a faraway exotic land, and then when we compare some random things, I’m like damn,not quite the same childhood there. But maybe similar personalities- definitely some kind of affinity I’d say. Right now we have a horrible cold, which I either got from him (la maitresse- the mistress)or my best friend in grad school (le mari-husband). We do not have birth order in common, but we both agree that youngest children are spoiled.  Some things never change.

So yeah, love is a matter of courage, of launching oneself into the unknown of another human soul if you do it right. I’ve only known the guy for a few weeks though. And courage, and love and courage/love, are needed to pursue your big dream. Destiny, no matter how loudly it knocks, can’t open the door for you to a fulfilling life. So interesting and possibly culturally capitalistically conditioned that we would call it your life’s work that is your calling, mission, vocation, raison d’etre, etc.  I asked for a sign as to mine- remember that whole trying to find a job in Paris thing, but not knowing which job I even wanted- and I think I got it.

One of my former students passed the first step to becoming a diplomat. He would be a great representative for America, and I’m amazingly proud of him. I’m so happy for him because he’s had a really hard time recently. He said I was the first one he told and I was not to tell anybody. So you see how good I am at keeping secrets to myself lol. I was just so gratified to hear of his success, and the fact he picked me to tell first (could also have something to do with the fact that I was on facebook all evening…the Lord works in mysterious ways…) really meant a lot. He told me what an impact the program I was working for had on him and it was really a moment where you realize, damn, this is what I’m here for. This is what brings a tear to my eye.

Honestly, this is what I write this blog for, so I can pass along what I learn right along to you, to share my trials and inspirations, and to put all I’ve got in the service of something greater. What do teachers make? Not sure, exactly. I do hope that I will get to build something of my own so I can teach other people to do it for themselves, kind of like how I post all my travel photos and take a million shots so people can share the journey with me.  I defeinitely don’t want to be a teacher in the common sense of the term. I’m too much of a strategic thinker to enjoy being employed in our current systems, at the moment, and I want to go figure stuff out so I can explain it to other people. Gotta have some expertise first, and I’m building on that. Any kind of job that lets me work with people from all kinds of backgrounds and helps me develop them should do. I think I would be a damn good general manager of something, if I had the autonomy and support to dream and innovate and create with a team.  And it doesn’t really matter what my job title is, I’m going to keep on sharing all that I know, pursuing truth, and promoting love, tolerance, and self-actualization anyway. Sometimes I feel frustrated that other people don’t seem to be able to give me the kind of advice I feel like I give them, but not only does everyone have something to teach you, you also teach in order to learn. So there it is, I guess.

So what do I want to teach? Mostly certain core values, insights, a way of thinking. Not a particular subject. At this point I’m not feeling inspired to do serious academic data driven research, I’m content to pass along my general theories of everything which do contain some original thought therein. I’m sure I will find a way when the time comes, and I know there is a use for my talents out there. It may not be immediately obvious, and it might take a while to sort itself out, but I know where I want to go. In fact, the general desire to teach, have an autonomous schedule, win the hearts and minds of millions or a few with the written world, shake the foundations of society with iconoclastic ideas, and do a little consulting to keep one foot in the real world has remained relatively unchanged.  Getting there will be an interesting process, and it will probably involve some tradeoffs. Btws, pardon me for dreaming big, because if you aren’t dreaming big you aren’t dreaming at all, and in pursuit of being “realistic” you cease to be true to yourself, which kills the whole exercise. So take a deep breath, smile, and face the world.

I hope you have a couple of eureka moments or so per day. Today was a really good day for me, and it’s been my priviledge to share it with you.

In other words, I freaked out about the dude (got myself psyched up to leave him behind if necessary, in fact), hung out on Facebook, chatted up old friends, made French toast in France, wrote to you lovelies, and didn’t study accounting. Zut.

Another note on love:

I finally realized that there has never been wrong with me, my ballsiness, travelling girl circus thing, or anything else about me.

While I try to remain open to love and whatever happens, and in the past have felt the fool for being so, in fact, I was just braver than the boys were. Brave enough to try to let love in, and cultivate a real relationship instead of playing games. Courageous enough to admit that I really want the real thing, intimacy, involvement, hope- potential for pain notwithstanding. Might as well call me Meridah (kudos if you get the recent Disney reference. Btws, I went to see that movie by myself, cuz i’m such a badass I didn’t know anyone else who wanted to go see it that hadn’t already gone).

Yup, it takes courage to admit what you really want and go for it. It takes courage to remain human, not be afraid of your fragility, and persevere. It takes a lot to open up to difference, not just cultural but to letting something actually change your life. Paris!

Anyway, good night and wish me luck.

love and bisous,