I leave for France on Tuesday, and I’m not ready.
What does it mean, really, to be ready for something? My bags aren’t completely packed, but they will be, soon. I don’t have a detailed plan of work for while I’m there, but I have ideas, and I think that’s all I need. I’ve taken care of the details: flights and trains and hotels, money and plug adapters. My passport is practically glued to my hand, that’s now nervous I am about forgetting it.
The other day, my grandmother asked me how to say ‘pull’ in French. I felt like the word was on the tip of my tongue; I opened my mouth to say it, but nothing came out. I searched through my mind, at first confident that I could find it. I couldn’t.
I’ve forgotten a lot of the French that I learned in college. When did I lose the word ‘pull’? Last year? 5 years ago? Slowly, and without my knowledge, words have been slipping away. Going back to France makes me realize how much of the language I’ve lost, it makes me wonder how much of the language I can, and will, get back. I think to myself- “Why haven’t I been preparing? Why haven’t I been studying vocab, watching French movies?”
It wouldn’t have mattered. What I learned in France during my first week abroad was equal to or greater than everything I’d learned in the classroom over the previous 7 years. I’ll go back to France and the language will be there. It will be around me, and it will be in my head. The word ‘pull’ might appear, effortlessly, along with all the others that have gotten lost.
But this trip isn’t really about the language. I can focus on not feeling prepared to speak French, but that’s not what I’m really worried about.
I’m worried about having three weeks to chase a dream, and wondering if I can do it. I’m worried about sitting down and writing. I’m worried about how to be an artist.
I’m worried, but my excitement is a bit stronger. I’m excited about giving myself a chance to focus on a dream. I’m excited to see what happens when I sit down and write for three weeks. I’m excited to find out what kind of artist I am, I’m excited to let myself be an artist.
Right now, I’m about as prepared as I’m going to be. It’s time to get to France and speak the language and eat the bread and take some photos and start to write. I’m excited to share this experience, because I think it’s going to be a great one.