To sum up the last 3 months as quickly as possible: life has been exaggeratedly terrible. First, work took over completely. Then I spiraled. I spiraled for a long while. Last night, got the news Ruth Bater Ginsberg passed, and that hit hard. It feels like 2020 has sucked up all the sanity and we’re all just meandering around. That’s as melodramatic and specific I’m going to get; it’s honestly not worth it.
Fortunately, I’ve been somewhat revived. It’s not through the massive amount of media I’ve been absorbing, that’s for sure. It’s astounding how much a person can take in while the TV runs constantly in the background. I’ve basically relived my childhood and “caught up” on shows that ended years ago that I missed. Streaming is a beautiful and evil thing.
It’s also shown me how much dedication a person really has to have in order to be one of those crazy nerdy masters of all things pop culture. It’s an outstanding, shameful amount of time, and I’m not proud of myself.
ANYWAYS, moving on to the revival of 2020 (i.e, much happier things).
I was fortunate enough to visit Chattanooga a couple weeks ago, helping out the building. Granted, it was still work, but the new surroundings and the act of traveling was incredibly invigorating. Returning home, I realized I hadn’t taken a trip since February. How had it been six months and I’d just… stayed in one location?
Every year, I usually take several mini-trips. Even if it’s just 2-3 days in Atlanta, a week in DC, a few days in Chicago. I enjoy moving around and city hopping. Being stuck in Nashville was weighing on me more than I consciously recognized and the 48 hours in Chattanooga was a swift kick in the butt: I gotta move.
Obviously, I’m not stupid enough to start taking cross country trips willy nilly amidst a continuing pandemic. I am, however, dumb enough to take 3 days off and visit my best friend for her upcoming birthday. The way we figure it, it’ll just be us for the most part. If we do any sightseeing, obviously it’ll be with masks on and sanitizer on the hip. The October weather will be lovely, the colors will change, and it’s definitely a happy thing to look forward to.
In addition to this mini-trip, I’m beginning to plan a European tour. I grew up daydreaming about backpacking Western Europe and now I’m finally in a position where those girlish dreams can be a reality. The trip will be the farthest from home and the longest trip I’ve planned so far. I’m proud of myself over the preparations I’ve made since making the decision, though they are effectively small.
Like all decisions I make, I started out with my comfort zone – research. Online boards, blogs, youtube videos, city tourist sites, and travel books galore! The plan, of course, is to see and do as much as possible – that’s just how I roll. The challenge this time is that my plans will span several countries, several currencies, several cultures, and several languages. I’m nowhere near completing the preparations, but I feel perfectly okay with that. I’m taking it one country at a time, starting with planning my time in France.
I’ve got one and a half to two years before the wheels leave the tarmac. I’m not feeling overwhelmed at all in the planning, it’s a wonderfully fun distraction from the reality of the world right now.
I quickly realized, however, the second task is obtaining a functioning use of the languages I will encounter on my trip. Language will be the most difficult barrier to deal with, as my brain isn’t well wired for learning language. Let’s be honest, you’ve seen my writings, I’ve a loose grasp on English grammar and it’s my first language. If that’s not convincing enough, I was studying the Praxis a couple weeks ago, grammar being one-fourth the subjects and let me tell you, it was a rough reality. I’m crap at Spanish, even though I took nine years of it in school! None of this bodes well for my future language endeavors.
A few of the language-learner videos I’ve been perusing has given me hope, though. I believe I wasn’t successful with Spanish because we never used it. We didn’t have conversations in class, indeed the classes were primarily taught in English. There was no immersion, no use of the language, and I had a huge confidence hang up to begin with. I’m not a shy person, but I am very uncomfortable with making mistakes others can see (or hear, in this case). So that’s step 2a, I guess. 2a: get over myself and embrace that I don’t know but that I’m trying. 2b: get to studying the language!
Basically, I’ve decided 2020 is a wash and will be on autopilot until 2021 or until COVID is completely dealt with. Already, it’s been easier to deal with the day to day knowing I’ve got a major change to look forward to, and there’s something for me to study and plan and do – I’m a huge dork, don’t know what to tell y’all.