Final Functions in Foreign Fields (ie Europe)

Taken, along with my breath, from the hostel patio in Gryon, Switzerland. To have fluffy bolster pillow clouds both below and above you is completely wonderful. To have that sight in a hostel surrounded by new found friends with inspiring stories is purely magical.

I just want to write. I’m on the train to Obertraun, next to Hallstatt. I went there a while back, in the early spring – it was magical. Nice place to relax before the flight home. My headphones broke. I can listen to music at about 1/4th normal volume and from only the left earbud. Cool. Thanks apple. I was pretty hard on them, though, as I am with most of my things. I think I’ll start buying things that advertise a product’s durability. Yea, that’d be a good idea.

So – what the heck am I going to do when I get home? My goodness, I imagine it will be so different from the life I’ve been living here. So much less exciting. I’ve been staying up at night just lying in bed thinking. Thinking about what I want to do with my life, where I want to be. Really, Louisiana isn’t so bad; nearly all of my family is there. Things just feel better here. Especially the weather.

I’ve heard a lot of stories from people I’ve met during my travels. Most have met someone either riding a bike or walking literally across Europe either north to south or west to east. I want to do that. Traveling and being here has made me want to travel and travel and travel, but in adventurous ways like walking or riding everywhere. I want to learn to ride a motorcycle, go to South America and ride my bike from one end to the other.

I did some work in Switzerland. Construction work. 15 francs an hour, the first day for 10 hours, went to Chamonix, and the next 2 days for 6 and 7 hours. The boss, also the owner of the hostel said he would put me to work full time if I stayed. Not at all what I want to do with my life, but it was pretty good money. It supported the idea that I could travel with a little money and get a job when I could. I think it would be cool to work on a farm for a little while, too. The food can’t be bad there. It would be incredible to see a cow, what it eats and how it lives, and drink its milk. Why does that seem so primal now? It’s absurd. I mean, everyone goes to the  supermarket and buys a bunch of junk having no idea of its origin. Maybe I’ll be poor, but I want to have quality food that I know is not full of unnatural things. Maybe I’ll just go live on a farm. That way I’ll be both poor and have good food. But then not all farms are organic, either, so that doesn’t exactly solve the problem.

There was an animal rights festival in Munich. I don’t know if I should really call it a festival… An informational gathering that also sold food and shirts to the general public? I feel like everyone knows what’s right and wrong with animals, though. Not so true with food.

Cory didn’t like Munich. It was too big for him, he said. That’s interesting to me considering he said he was “too city” to climb/hike up to a waterfall in Chamonix. This trip has been a lesson in acceptance. I can accept that people have fun in different ways and that everyone is different. I love being in the mountains just as much as the next tree-hugging naturalist, but I like Munich. Once you get past the amount of people that inhabit the city, accept and embrace that, you can walk through the city like you are alone on a stroll through an incredibly old cobble-stoned city with markets, great architecture, an abundance of events, parks, and millions of people.

I think I’ll be much more willing to accept opportunity. The only thing will be choosing an opportunity out of many. An old boss once told me after I quickly declined an offer to mow his 20-acre plot of 4-foot high grass, “When I was a kid, if someone asked me if I wanted a job I wouldn’t have asked what the job was, I would’ve said yes before they had the chance to tell me.” He was right. Every question is an opportunity. I should’ve said yes then. I said yes in Switzerland.

“Do either of you guys want to make some money?”

“Yep. When?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Okay.”

Great experience. Getting to work in a foreign country on a house next to a beautiful stream in the mountains. I helped pour rocks, lay a water barrier, cut and tie rebar, and pour concrete out of a gigantic hose for the foundation of a house. I moved rocks, wood, radiators, more wood, and brushed old wood to give it a polished, antique look for the ceilings of a home. I think it would be an incredible feat to be able to build my own home. I doubt seriously that I’ll ever actually do it, but maybe if I end going to live in the woods and start my farm, I’ll have to build my house, too.

Yesterday I looked at a website offering an internship (one where you pay to do it, which isn’t cool by the way) in Kenya. Mombasa, Kenya. It was a medical internship. I’d really like to do something like that as well. It said French was good to know, too, so I guess it isn’t a waste to continue with Rosetta Stone. Level 1, Unit 3, Lesson 4. Knowing just a bit of language has helped a lot over here. And it makes me feel good.

In some ways this trip has made me unsure about my life though. That is good in a way, a challenge is always good for someone, but not knowing for sure what I want to do with my life, where I want it to go, after having thought I knew more than most of it, is a little distressing.

There was always a guy around NSU that just walked. The guy walked everywhere. I’d see him 100 meters away walking through a patch of trees, walking down the road toward nowhere a mile or two from campus, and in downtown Natchitoches along the river. I thought he was crazy. He did always talk to himself… Now I think he just wanted to think about what to do and where he wanted to be. That’s not crazy at all.

Having time constraints makes me not like something, I think. Is it ever too late for medical school? Not technically I suppose, but then I pretty much need to already have my MCAT taken, applications practically in the mail, schools picked, nearly the whole works. I’m sure if I wait around I’ll miss out on plenty and I don’t plan to miss many good opportunities, but I don’t plan to rush into something or somewhere without being around 95% sure it’s what I want to do. Life isn’t hard, living is easy, but when you are restricted from doing something between a certain time or a certain age, it just losses a certain quality of…something. I don’t know. Freshness, maybe?

I can’t wait to eat a bowl of cereal. I think I have had one this entire month. NOT cool. I’ll miss dearly the bread here, though. My mouth is watering.

Why can’t I just go live out of a tent? I wonder if being poor, having nothing, makes theft almost a necessity. Say I lived out of a tent. I’d eventually go broke unless I found a job. Then eventually I would likely not live out of a tent. If I didn’t find a job I’d go hungry unless I learned to farm. I’d have to learn early while I had any money for seeds. If nothing grew I’d be starving and end up begging, stealing, or looking for a job. This is sounding like I just don’t want a job at all, isn’t it? What if it’s not a job I don’t want but a career I don’t want. I feel like I could spend my life helping people as a doctor, but I don’t want to do the same thing every day. Then every day would turn into every damned day. Having money usually makes people materialistic and unconnected with themselves, though, and that’s one of the last things I want to become.

Hah, ohhhh Life, you tricky shaman.