Grocery Tale

I didn’t want to go grocery shopping. The baby was fussy and she’d finally fallen asleep in the car, so I put the whole car seat in the cart instead of carrying her in the sling. Market Basket is always busy, but not quite as bad in the middle of a Wednesday. As I walked through the door, I immediately felt angrier. People are going to get in my way. A woman looked at the baby and said “Oooo, a baby,” and then kept walking. That is so weird. I only needed a handful of things. I tried to walk in an organized way through the aisles so I would not need to backtrack. I decided not to get two bags of string cheese for my husband. I saw a woman who looked very sad, and I wondered if I looked sad. I didn’t feel sad, but sometimes you don’t look how you feel. I saw a man approaching me with his cart. He’s not going to stop. He’s going to make me stop. I got angry. He looked up at me. He stopped his cart and smiled. I was embarrassed. “Thank you,” I said. He kept smiling.

Hospitals, Cake, and Stories

After a long day of babysitting, I came home and ate a piece of cake.

It was delicious.

Two days spent trying to figure out the next step — hospitals are scary, but every single one of the doctors and nurses was kind. They took care of me. Robert kept asking me if I was okay, if I was comfortable. It was strange when he said, “Nice to meet you,” and I realized that I’d never see this man again, after two hours of him almost holding my hand.

Still no idea, so today I went back to work and ate cake.

[The little girl I watch makes up songs and stories like it’s her job. Example:

Pre-schooler: My boyfriend’s the greatest.

Me: Really? What makes him the greatest?

Pre-schooler: He gives me popcorn every day.

If only it were that simple. ]

Kinship with Strangers

I am already past the halfway-point of my TEFL course, and I can’t believe it.

Mostly because that means the time of decisions is feeling terribly close.

I was hashing it out with someone (my mother? myself? i can’t remember), and I realized that I don’t like this making of decisions. It’s not that I’m indecisive – that is far from any trait I possess – it’s that I hate the idea of being boxed in a year down the road by a choice I make now.

What if something better comes along?
Or if not better, at least different?

What if I choose something and its permanence becomes a chain on my ankle?

I read this article today on, and despite the differences in our circumstances, the woman sounds scarily like myself at times. She’s scared of making decisions, too, and actually has put off long-term decisions for 22 years.

It seems even people nearly twice my age have the same thoughts.

On My Way

It’s a cloudy day here, and I’m doing some last-minute packing and a CVS run for travel-size “necessities.” It’s embarrassing how many things I feel I can’t do without.

I realized last night that I have the tiniest bit of anxiety about travel and new places. It seems obvious and not that big of a deal, but the fact is, I will never be the same after this trip. Every time we do something brand new, have a new experience, meet new people, we cannot remain the same. And I know my goal is not to remain the same, but still. Change is intimidating.

But then again, who’s to say that the Midwest won’t be changed by me?

I don’t always feel this way, but…

I spent a lot of time in the car today, driving my Gramma back home, and I remembered writing an essay my senior year of college. It flowed out of me unbidden — the paper had started as a funny exploration of homeschooling and turned into a kind of melancholy look at the emerging adult. Or, at least, THIS emerging adult. And then I thought about all the movies I’ve watched, all the books I’ve read, and I realized there are two kinds of girls: the girls who go off on their grand adventures, traveling the world, au pairing, writing, singing, meeting dashing young foreigners with crooked smiles and laughs in their eyes, cooking, discovering cures for deadly diseases, helping orphans, drinking too much and smoking. There’s a plethora of aspects of this same girl — the girl who goes for it.

And then there’s the other kind of girl: the girl who goes home. There really aren’t that many different colors of this girl. She’s pretty much the same wherever she is. She sometimes has as many dreams as the girl who leaves, but she lacks a certain something. Maybe it’s guts. Maybe it’s drive. Maybe it’s self-confidence. She probably knits and her friends probably think of her as very sweet, when they think of her at all. She stays home and wonders what all the other girls are doing out there. And she blogs about it.

And next week?

Yesterday I met a family about babysitting. They live in the next town over in a nice house on a hill — three kids, a dog, pretty much what you’d imagine. The mom was really nice: energetic, happy, easy to talk to. The youngest, a daughter, sat at the table with us the whole time, not saying a word. Her cropped blonde head just went back and forth between us, watching.

And as much as I tried to avoid it, the question, “So, what do you hope to do?” came up, and I was obliged to give some sort of answer. At first I was going to talk about publishing. Because it’s easy. Because it’s something people can wrap their minds around. But I can’t keep lying to everyone. Too much alone time. Too much paperwork. So I was honest.

“I’m not sure,” I said. “I love writing, but I don’t think I want that to be my main source of income. I’ve been thinking about getting certified to teach English as a foreign language.”

This was true. I’ve been doing research online about potential programs, different places to study, different job possibilities once I’m done.

“Oh, that sounds interesting!” she said.

Good. I came up with the right answer. But the thing is, that’s just what I’m thinking about this week. This week I emailed a friend in New York, one of my best friends, asking to let me stay with her while I studied my own language. To paraphrase Anne of Green Gables, I soared up on the wings of anticipation – fast-paced days in the big city, meeting people from all over the world, eating out at little hole-in-the-wall diners tourists never find, writing in a nook in the public library – and then thudded right back down when my friend said that wouldn’t work.

Who knows what my answer will be next week?!