The past week — and this month in general — has just left my head spinning. My stomach is constantly fluttering with so many butterflies I feel like a colony of caterpillars is crawling through my insides while I’m on a roller coaster going through airplane turbulence.
It’s both exhilarating and annoying (really, there’s only so much intestinal caterpillar tickling one can take) and I don’t even know where to begin.
I’ll just say this: I know I am at a crossroads.
It’s not some fleeting quarter-life crisis feeling. No, it’s as if I am standing on the map of my life and I can very clearly see that this is the moment everything changes. That fork in the road Robert Frost talks about? I am there, right now. I can practically see it, touch it in front of me.
Except there is no fork, there is just a one-way arrow. Something in my gut is telling me that years from now I will look back and say — just like I can say 2008 in China changed everything — that this time, the summer of 2013, that’s when everything changed again.
Every time I’ve left a country up until now — from the US to China to Singapore to Australia to France — it’s just been ‘the next step’. Each move was just for an adventure and a laugh. Each saw me with a different type of job and visa; no city was serious or permanent.
But this next move, the one I’m preparing to make in a month’s time — well, it could be the one that changes everything.
It could also turn out to be nothing in the end. But even if I fail, it will have changed the course in a major way.
So, there’s that.
June itself has been a clusterfudge of change and surprise with a lot of late nights and goodbyes.
My social life has not slowed down this month, if anything it’s gone into overdrive — my google calendar is a sea of color-coded parties and dinners and friend dates — but the company has changed. Friendships I thought were solid have faded into the background, while people I’d considered mere acquaintances for ages have unexpectedly stepped up to the plate to become star confidantes and partners-in-crime.
You know that terrible realization of Man, I guess I didn’t really know that person at all? Well, sometimes that can actually turn out to be a positively delightful surprise.
And so Paris has become even more fun than I expected at the eleventh hour, though with different company than I’d expected to see out my time here.
Then there was last week.
The three days of that weekend I hardly slept, between Fête de la Musique and packing up my apartment — which I’ll explain in more detail soon — which lasted well into early Monday morning, when I closed the door on my apartment for the last time and handed back my keys.
So there I was at 8 am, dragging my worldly possessions halfway across Paris, a hot sweaty hobo-looking mess getting all sorts of stares on the metro. Once resettled at my new temporary flat, I then had to unpack all my boxes from the weekend so I could repack a suitcase for Switzerland (and no, I couldn’t have prepared it beforehand, don’t bother suggesting it).
But by noon I was on the TGV speeding towards Lausanne. By nightfall I was in Switzerland, sitting high above Lake Geneva, drinking champagne while staring at the mountains of France across the lake.
As I wrote on facebook: I can’t even comprehend that this is my life sometimes.
I’ve always felt this strange dichotomy with my work trips. Last week I was staying up all night to the sun, up all night for good fun [couldn’t resist], living spontaneously, hardly a care in the world. My biggest decision was which Belgian beer I wanted to drink next.
This week I’m in in suits with my hair pulled back, hanging out with International Olympic Committee contacts in my free time, having lunch at UEFA (European Football) headquarters, preparing for an event with Jacques Rogge (IOC president, folks!) this weekend and the IOC extraordinary session next week.
Lunchtime conversations now revolve the upcoming IOC elections, the Confederations Cup, and speculation about our colleague on the Istanbul 2020 bid team (they’ve got to be having a tough time now, no?).
I spent the other night holed up in my hotel room for hours, editing sports articles and sports photos while Spain v Italy played on the tv in the background. I was drowning in sport and I felt so content.
So that’s a glimpse into my headspace and where I am right now, which is just all over the shop between work and friends and moving. I hope this explains the radio silence for the past couple weeks.
I still have so much I want to write about — Corsica, my road trip to Belgium two weeks ago, Switzerland, not to mention oh my god so many Paris posts — but it will likely have to wait until I return to Paris next week.
In the meantime, if anyone knows how to cure a bad case of butterflies in the stomach, let me know. They’re driving me nuts in there.