Sunday Scribblings Archives

January 7, 2007

Kissing, or How I Learned To Stop Angsting Unless It Was Going To Look Pretty When I Did It...

Kissing, or the lack thereof, defines entire countries for me.

I remember being 17 and walking through the street of Paris. I was at my angsty best, pining after a boy, and felt that everything I was doing there (walking across bridges, looking at beautiful buildings, seeing churches or statues or paintings) was coloured by the fact that That Boy, That Boy That Was Always On My Mind, wasn't there. I remember sitting on a bridge at night, holding a rose I'd gotten from some place, and slowly taking off every petal and dropping it into the river.

Light in the DarknessThe next time I went to Paris, I had freshly turned 29 and the memory of being that overly-lonely 17 year old brought me some form of bemusement. Ah, young angst, I thought, while pretending not to notice the young couple doing everything except actually getting naked whilst the lights were coming on at the Eiffel Tower. There's an age I think we all go through where that lack of someone to kiss is so... disheartening. The feeling that we're the only one that isn't being kissed *right now*, except maybe our parents, and parents don't do that *anyway*, right? 17 and in Paris probably should have been just as much fun as 29 and in Paris was, but I was so distracted.

Maybe if I'd had someone to kiss at 17, I would have been just as distracted. It's hard to notice the beautiful lights across the city when you're... well, otherwise distracted.

At 27, I went to China, and dealt with students that were the same age I was then. I didn't so much notice the lack of kissing in the school - it had been so long since I'd been in a high school, and most of my classes were of kids around 12, so it just didn't occur to me. Sometimes I'd tease my older students about having boyfriends, or get the younger boys to behave by telling them that they should stop showing off to impress their girlfriends, and quickly everyone would fall in line. It wasn't until my first trip to Shanghai that I finally noticed that those public displays of affection that were so common in my high school were totally absent.

I was sitting on the bus from Rudong, travelling with a friend of mine, when I saw a couple of teenagers on the street kissing. "Pssst..." I hissed at Paul. "Look over there." When he saw them, his eyes went as wide as mine, and we spent most of that weekend pointing out Public Displays of Affection in awe. How brave they were! How... affectionate! How... normal, at least to us. Then we went back to our respective very small towns and noticed how little affection we saw displayed in classes.

Soon after that I found out that students could be expelled and sent home in disgrace if they had boyfriends or girlfriends. I don't doubt there were relationships going on, but there was so much pressure to never be caught.

Two RosesI'm almost done my packing for Australia and I'm very aware of the fact that there won't be anyone to notice these things with. There will be no one just as lost as I am to whisper "Do you see them?" to, and smile and share secret memories of being that lost in each other that the lights seem unimportant, no one to discuss whether the socialably acceptable forms of affection in public are the same as they are back in Canada. {In thinking about this now, public displays of affection are much less in the UK than they are in Canada... maybe it's because we cuddle more to deal with the cold?}

There won't be anyone to kiss.

I suspect that this time that won't be quite such an end-of-the-world type of feeling. But I won't promise not to sigh occasionally in wistfulness....

{Sunday Scribblings}
{More pictures from Paris}
{More pictures from Rome}

December 31, 2006

Destinations, or my 2007 is better than yours...

There are a lot of adventures ahead of me right now, and I have to admit - I'm a little scared.

It's not *just* that I'm going to move to Australia (Perth, did I tell you? Picked entirely by asking a bunch of people and then completely ignoring their advice), but there are so many other things happening in 2007 that I'm looking at the year as a whole and wondering if I'm going to pull it off. There's a lot going on.

Let's see... I'm hitting Singapore for four days in January {During which I'm going to start at one end of Chinatown, then eat my way to the other end of Chinatown. God, I miss *real* Chinese food), then hopping and skipping to Perth. I haven't quite sorted out what I'll do when I'm there, but I'm pretty sure there'll be lots of exploring of Western Australia to do. It's a big place - there'll be lots. I have to find kangaroos.

In late June I have a ticket to London, where I'll change planes and head off to exciting Halifax - the one in Canada, not the one in the UK. From there, I'm going back to Edmonton again, because Mark is having his 30th birthday party on 07/07/07, and I'm not missing it for the world. I'm going to be in various parts of Canada for something approaching two weeks, then I'm heading back to London to change planes for a week in Spain. My plans involve Sangria and beaches, and probably a bunch of exciting things in ruins. I can't wait - sincerely, I've been planning this trip off and on for the better part of a year now, since I got Don the "100 Places To See Before You Die" book and there was a castle.

There's always a castle, isn't there?

After a week in Spain, it's off to much-less-sunny (I hope! I burn!) Poland for a week of exploring. I have no idea what I'm going to do in Poland, not even as firm an idea as I have for Spain, but I have a guidebook, and friends who have been there. And blogs I can read about it. I'll muddle through and find out what I want to do.

And then I go back to Aus, but this time it's the other side of the country - I'm heading to Brisbane for the second half of my year, and I have GREAT BARRIER REEF highlighted and circled and starred in my guidebook. I get giddy just thinking about it, about seeing the surf and the sand and the bright colours. I have this image of Aus in my head that is probably nothing like reality (since I moved to Scotland for the boys in kilts, and they are sadly few and far between - lots of sheep, though), but I'm picturing part of it as a rugged country where men are men and women sigh a lot, and dust gets into everything, and other parts of it in bright colours and splashes of animals and bird songs I don't recognize and sheep! sheep! (or is that new zealand?) and looking up at the stars and wondering why they're so strange.

Yeah... Aus is going to be the big adventure, isn't it? I really hope there are sheep.

But in September I'm hooking up with Tom in new zealand for a bit, and that will be strange - the first person from my "old" life that I'll see in someplace different. There, I know there will be sheep. And mountains. And kiwi birds. It'll be great!

And after that it's exploring Brisbane and the eastern parts of Australia and counting down until another country (one I'll probably love just as much as I love the UK) disappears behind another plane.

I have so many destinations. I'm afraid of what I'll find. I break my heart over every country I leave.

Stupid countries, being so exciting.

{Sunday Scribblings}

About Sunday Scribblings

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Anna Overseas in the Sunday Scribblings category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Scotland is the previous category.

Travel is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.