I've rounded the corner into my fourth week here in Sancerre, which means I’m starting to feel preemptively nostalgic, as well as a bit panicky about doing everything I wanted to do here, and remorseful for time wasted, and sad.
The past three weeks have basically been pure bliss, punctuated by bouts of intense jealousy and frustration that I was not born here. There have been suprisingly few moments of crushing loneliness, though there were those too—I relied on a mix of iMessage and Louis CK on YouTube to get me through them (ironically, perhaps).
As I mentioned before, I've been wanting to come to France to learn French since I was 18, which left me nearly a decade to romanticize and dream and put this whole trip up on a big pedestal. I fully expected to come here and be let down, to realize that this was a silly idea, that this place is not for me—I was preparing for that. I thought it would be good to get it out of my system, so then I could go back and continue to build my real life in Massachusetts. But that's not what has happened. I don't miss Boston like I thought I would. I feel at home here, I feel alive and empowered and bursting with creative energy and I don't want to leave.
I left Boston feeling like I'd run myself ragged, doing a lot of things but none of them well. I was excited to leave that for Sancerre, a place where I knew no one, a place where I could really embrace my inner introvert. Without the possibility of socializing like I was used to, without the timesuck of a job and a commute, I would really be able to focus, dive deep, be rid of all the distractions that prevented me from doing everything I want. I would do yoga regularly, write on my blog, write in my journal, write in a beginner French journal, study French obsessively whenever possible, go for walks, go for runs, explore the area, work on my photography, cook simply with excellent French ingredients.
But the same problem has followed me here, and I feel once again stretched too thin (but definitely not physically). Of course this is classic—right? You try to get away from something you don't like about your life, only to find that it crops up again wherever you are. I am beginning to begrudgingly accept that this problem is with me, and it's something I need to learn how to manage.
I've done some of those things, but certainly not all, and almost none of them to a point where I feel satisfied. But leaving my familiar surroundings and coming here has helped me in ways that I predicted as well—I've learned more about myself. I've remembered that I love to explore, and I love to know the community in which I'm living. I've realized that biking makes me incredibly happy and I need to be in a place where I can do it easily. The charm and beauty of my town matters to me. Organizing social activities comes naturally to me, and I will make friends wherever I go. I have no inner introvert. Exercise tends to fall to the wayside. I am powerless in a pastry shop, but I am not powerless over the decision to go inside. I don't need all of the things I have back in the states. I am the kind of person that can pull off a leather jacket (Ben G. - you were wrong on that last one.)
My thoughts on this are by no means complete. I hadn't meant to write a more reflective post today, but this is what came out. I still have much more that I want to share about life here in Sancerre in posts that I hope will be more interesting, entertaining, and visually interesting, but I already know that I don't think I'll be able to get it all down before I leave on Friday morning.