Aly en… Anywhere

Hello, all!

It’s getting to be that timea gain, where my wanderlust sets in and I find myself dreaming of new places to explore and beginning to plan what’s next.

It should come as no surprise to those of you that know me (either by reading this blog or personally know me) that I am an international studies major. At my school, this means that I have to have an “international experience”, which means studying abroad for at least 6 credit hours.

I don’t have any issues with the fact that I have to study abroad– in fact, I think it’s great that my program requires majors to study abroad, because I think the experience of going abroad is probably one of the most useful and necessary experiences to have as a student. Particularly in my major, it makes sense that they require it (or a similar experience).

My major worry is not how or why, but where. Having already fulfilled my dream of going to France, it seems a bit silly to try to recreate the experience or continue to lust after a country and experience that I have already had. That is not to say that it would be the same now, as a university student rather than a high schooler, but for various reasons, I probably won’t be going back to France to attend classes.

So where to, if not France?

This is the dilemma I am faced with this year, as I seek out where I should go next. There are so many places in the world to see, and even though I am focusing my search on Europe (after all, France is just a short trip away from most places in Western Europe), I find myself questioning this blog most of all. If I am not “en France”, as I have shaped my online identity since 2009, am I still “Aly en France”? I mean, I’m not in France now– but I maintain this blog, my tumblr, etc., under that username/title. It works; my near-constant longing for France and nostalgia for the places I have been is a bit ridiculous, even as time passes. My heart still remains “en France”, so far as I (and this blog) are concerned.

But wherever I go in the future– should my blog still be “Aly en France”? France is not the end of my travels; it was the beginning of a lifetime of wanderlust and dreams. It is still an important part of how I perceive the world and my identity as a person. But should my blog always reflect an experience I have already had?

What do you do with a virtual space that holds so many memories and identity you have taken on when it is no longer relevant to your current life?

Do you abandon it, as I have (at least on this site) until a time when you figure it out again? Or is it not necessary for the name to reflect reality?

What if I was just “Aly en Europe” or “Aly en America” or any other combination of place? Does my current reality need to be reflected in my online presence? 

These are some of the questions I am struggling with while I do research about where would be the best place for me to go next. The challenges of international travel await, yet I am preoccupied with an issue of virtual identity, rather than the challenges of reality.

I’d love to hear what you (as a reader of this blog, however infrequent) think!

A bientôt,
Aly

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On Failure

Hello, all!

Normally around this time, I’d be writing frantically in an attempt to finish my novel before the end of National Novel Writing Month. But this year, that isn’t happening and I can’t help but say that I’m a bit disappointed in myself. It seems like I’ve failed myself.
Failure is an interesting thing. It leads to feelings of inadequacy and shame and other unpleasant feelings. But it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be proud of yourself because the thing about failure is that it means you at least TRIED. (In most cases; the case could be made that failing at something means you didn’t try hard enough, but I’m trying to be positive here…)
I think it takes a kind of bravery to say that you have failed at something. It’s admitting to yourself and others that you didn’t finish something you said you would. It’s difficult to claim failure because it isn’t something to be PROUD of.
Really cliche quotes always say that you can’t do everything perfectly on the first try, and every failure is a step in the right direction– a way to help you learn and grow as an individual. While I have a tendency to scoff at these quotes, I have to admit that there is some value in them.
I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo for the last two years– both times I’ve attempted it. This year, I was hesitant to even begin but thanks to the persuasion of a few of my writing friends, I started a novel this month. I doubted my ability to finish, based on my failure at NaBloPoMo in September. Furthermore, finals are coming up and this month has been the one where I have had more work to do in every class. It seemed like an impossible task– throw in a novel on top of all that? No thanks.
But I can’t be too upset with myself for failing. I keep reminding myself that I at least tried and though I’ve given up on hitting the 50k goal, I’m going to keep writing this story. Failing at NaNoWriMo doesn’t mean that I’ve failed at life and to be honest, the only person I’ve let down is myself, namely because some small part of me believes that I should have been able to finish.
The truth is, sometimes failure is inevitable. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do next and sometimes things don’t work out the way you expect them to. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a shot, because with that risk of failure comes the chance of success and I’m a firm believer of trying.
And yes, failure helps you grow. It helps you learn. Failing gives you a perspective on your life and a chance to fix mistakes when the opportunity arises to try again.
So even though I failed at NaNoWriMo (and NaBloPoMo), it doesn’t mean I’m giving up. It just means I’m trying something else out.
And now, I need to return to work that needs to be done. Failure isn’t an option.
-Aly

And So, September

Hello, all!

It’s September at last and as promised to a few people months ago, I will be blogging every day this month. There’s a lot going on right now– hence the fact that I have yet to post despite the abundance of things to write about lately– but I think this is an important month. This is my first month of college life, and I’ve also decided that for this month, I’m going to become vegetarian, just to see how it goes. Granted, I’ll probably make a few exceptions this weekend since I’m returning home (and cafeteria food is more vegetarian friendly, though not always the most delicious).

At any rate, this is just the short intro post since I’m running out of time to write today and I desperately need sleep.

A demain!

-Aly

Fears and Promises

Hello, all!

So this has been bothering me all day, and I’m writing about it so that I can stop thinking about it and actually focus.

I have lots of fears. Small fears, and probably irrational ones, but they’re ones that continually make sense in the context of my life. Basically, I fear dramatic change that could end in me losing people that are important to me. I could elaborate much more on that, but I’d rather not.

This is partially because I’ll be going to visit UNC-Asheville again on Friday, and since that’s where I’ll be going to college next year (unless something changes within the next month, which is unlikely but still…). Going up to Asheville again for the first of the many orientation-type sessions is like admitting to myself that high school is ending and my life is going to change very DRAMATICALLY, and much sooner than I’m prepared for.

It’s scary. I mean, it’s awesome and I’m excited, but I’m also terrified. The same old fears, the ones that show up every time you’re thrust into a situation where you’ll be meeting lots of strangers and what-if-I-make-a-fool-of-myself, what-if-nobody-likes-me, what-if-I-become-cripplingly-socially-awkward, what-if-I-get-lost… and there are so many more. Irrational fears. Silly fears, as though my brain has been transported back to the beginning of middle school or something equally traumatizing.

I can’t get rid of them, though. I can’t help but be anxious about these minuscule, potential problems. Because these are the small ones, the ones that I’m okay with voicing, and they don’t even touch on the larger issues, being that MY LIFE IS CHANGING AND I AM WORRIED. I guess that’s the easiest way to say it for now. I want to remind myself of things that I will remember to do, or at least, things I don’t want myself to do. Promises, in a way, to myself, ways I want my life to be now and in the future.

I promise that I will not:

  • Forget about my close friends that I have now.
  • Let people think of me as an object or take advantage of me.
  • Lose my morals.
  • Follow blindly.
  • Have a closed mind.
  • Be afraid of new situations or opportunities.
  • Put myself into situations that I know are dangerous.
  • Abuse my body.
  • Shut myself off from the world.
  • Be afraid to make change in my life. (Even if it scares me.)
  • Pretend to be somebody I’m not.
  • Forget my dreams & ambitions.

At the same time, I will:

  • Be open to new friendships.
  • Explore.
  • Fill my life with things that make me happy.
  • Focus on others, not just myself.
  • Be honest with myself.
  • Treat the earth with respect.
  • Be kind.
  • Remember how it feels to do something new and exciting.
  • Be confident.
  • Admit my faults… and try to change them.
  • Ask forgiveness when I need to.
  • Make positive decisions.
  • Choose the life I want. (And not regret it.)

So, yeah. That’s what I want to remember a week from now… a few months from now… a year from now. I want to remember how I feel now, and how I felt like in the past. I don’t want to lose myself or lose the wonderful people that surround me.

I’m giving myself the freedom to change my life whenever I want to. I’m not afraid of my fears (thanks, FDR… *nerd jokes*), and I’ll try to understand myself and my choices. I’ll try to embrace change and choose the best path. And if I mess up, I’m going to try my hardest to correct it, rather than dwelling on it.

I can make these promises now and hopefully I’ll remember them later, and if I don’t, somebody will hopefully be around to remind me. (Thanks in advance! :))

So… what are your fears? What promises do you want to make to yourself?

-Aly

P.S. Thanks for reading, as always! Even more thanks for the comments on my last post– everybody was so encouraging and understanding. Love to all of you. ❤

Granola Bar

Coucou!

Okay, so, today I’ll be writing in English, though yesterday’s post is definitely not the last post I’ll be writing in French just because I can…

ANYWAY!

My first day of Forsyth Tech went surprisingly well. I was EARLY, but my teacher was late, so I stood anxiously in the quickly-emptying hallway and fidgeted, while obsessively checking my phone for the time. Eventually he showed up (about six minutes late), and the class began. There were only SEVEN of us there, which was REALLY WEIRD. Is that how it works at community colleges, or did everybody just…skip?

We were discussing Ethics and Law, which is really quite fascinating, though the chapter in the book is TWENTY-SIX pages long (so after working on it for a good chunk of my day and taking probably unnecessary notes, I’m on page 18). I really hope every chapter won’t be like that, because I fear that might be a bit too much reading, even for me. Unfortunately, I encountered so many problems with my Sociology class that I didn’t even get started on that today.

I logged on to Blackboard, only to discover that I WASN’T enrolled in any online classes. So I called the help desk, only to be put on hold for 10 minutes and hang up. I then called the Dual Enrollment organizer, only to find out that she will be gone until Friday (unless she’s forgotten to change her voicemail…), and then i called Tech Support AGAIN, only to be on hold for 15 minutes before actually talking to an actual person, who told me that I was enrolled in the class from their end, and that I’d have to contact my teacher to have them open up the course. Unfortunately, I can’t see my teacher’s contact information since it says I’m not enrolled in the class. GAHHHHHH. SO FREAKING FRUSTRATING.

All of that means that I have to deal with more stuff tomorrow, since I didn’t today. Emails, emails, emails, that I don’t have time to do.

Anyway, after all that mess, I went up to my high school to help out one of the “coaches”, Mr Fisher, who is really a math teacher. I got there early (since I’m bad at timing), and ended up staying for the next two hours, dealing mostly with the organization of textbooks, which included putting names into many of them. I gave one of my friends a New book because I could, and then spazzed out later when I found MY old Algebra 2 book. I’m so glad I don’t have to go through that again. I wanted to leave a note for the next owner of that book, but decided not to. I mean, I wouldn’t want to embarrass anybody by being that creepy! … 🙂

Finally, there was more cross-country, where I ran with a small group of girls, For once, we had a girl from every grade! We were just chilling, a nice, relaxed run. One of the other groups (the “faster” group), walked, which I DO NOT UNDERSTAND, and it annoys me quite a bit but so far as I’m concerned, they can make their own decisions about what they want from their season. I’ll just run with the “slow” group, enjoy myself, and at the end of the day, feel good about what I accomplished.

In other news, Real School starts Wednesday, and I’m still not done with Summer Reading, so I’ll be squeezing that in tomorrow!

A demain, comme d’habitude 😉

-Aly