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Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

By Billy | January 7, 2012

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write in a while, I promise. In fact, I’ve been doing so man amazing things that I’ve thought regularly that I have too much to write about and need to wait for things to calm down. That, obviously, don’t do a good job communicating my experiences to the people I love, nor does it help me wrap my head around the events taking place, nor is it actually logical because I usually spend my free time during these “busy days” pacing in circles. Last night I stared at a candle flame for 10 minutes or so, (with no other goal but to observe the candle) for example.

Since I’ve last written, my partner got off her plane and we enjoyed a month in the old world together. Since I’ve last written, I visited Germany for the first time. Since I’ve last written, I visited the Netherlands for the first time. Since I’ve last written, I visited the church in which my ancestors were baptized more than 200 years ago. Since I’ve last written, I’ve successfully cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner (with a partner, of course) for 15+ people without any catastrophy. Since I’ve last written I have learned how to enjoy dancing with a partner, I got the guts to finish my banjo (another success), and I’ve remembered how much I enjoy playing board games.

Since I’ve last written, my host mother and I have decided that it is time for me to move on. We’ve decided that the kids are mature enough to take control of their own studies and that they can perform well enough without my help. I wasn’t surprised that this conversation came up; I wasn’t excited or disappointed by the change in my life. My first thoughts were: Well… what do I do now? Do I go hitch hike through Europe? Do I just go home?

After thinking hard about what it’s like to hitch hike, I decided that I don’t want to do that right now. Hitch hiking is easy in some places and impossible in others, and given my sex, my hairstyle, and the stories written on my skin, it’s especially difficult to get rides. I’ve spent hours walking on highways in the states, and I don’t really want to do that as a foreigner. I got stopped by two cops in Virginia and West Virginia — one actually gave me a ride and gave me the best place to pick up rides — that’s a conversation I don’t really want to try my French out with, for example.

So hitch hiking around Europe is out of the question for now. What I’d like to do is slowly travel, meeting lots of people, spending lots of time (and therefore little money), and really absorbing the culture and environment. This is a type of journey I can’t do with 3 huge bags (what I brought with me to be an au-pair).

So what am I going to do? Once upon a time, my University advisor told me “Go to Taize, France.” She didn’t know why she was telling me that, just that I needed to hear it.
So now I’m in Europe; I can’t stay long, I don’t have much dough, I have too many bags to move a lot… I guess now is the time that I’m going to Taize. A week later, I had a plane ticket booked for Paris. Today is the 7th of January. 10 days from now I will be in Paris; hopefully meeting someone who wants to host me and give me a couch for a couple days. If not, In exactly 10 days, I’ll be on a train between Taize and Paris.

I don’t know what I’ll learn in Taize, but I feel like I’m supposed to go there so I’m doing it. I hope I don’t feel like I learn anything. I hope it feels completely purposeless but completely where I need to be.

So that’s a bit about where I am right now. I may post a thing or two about Telgte, where Joan Grasmeder lived 200 years go, but don’t expect to hear from me until I’m writing back in Virginia. I know a lot of you are really disappointed that I’ll be back in the USA, but try to pretend to be glad to see me again. (btw, think Valentines Day when you’re wondering when I’ll be home).

OH! Also. Listen to this:

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