culture shock

Chris and I had a conversation the other day on our own perspective of what the Midwest meant to us. Chris grew up in tiny hamlets (population of several thousand), while I criss-crossed from Port Huron to Toronto. It was with that conversation that I realised that my own perception of the Midwest, and the world in general, was not what I thought it should or could be. Because I had lived and visited extensively to several metro areas while still a child, I understood a better sense of my gypsy-like lifestyle more so than I did ever before. That alone was perhaps one of the greatest realisations of myself that I have had in current history.

I’ve always talked about the fact that there are two Lisas — one that harbors the home and hearth fantasy while the other sees herself as jet setting across the globe. It’s difficult to reconcile the two, finding a place where I fit in without feeling claustrophobic. Someone once said that my own pre-determined destinies would only come true if I let them — as I had often remarked that I was going to end up being the old hag at the end of a bar, wearing my faux fur and jewels while slugging back vodkas and chain smoking, while regaling of all my love affairs with men that got progressively younger. On the other hand, there is the aging Lisa bouncing my grandchildren on my knee while regaling of all my adventures around the world.

At the Caffe Accademica, near the Piazza di Spagna, inside the putrid smelling bathrooms, graffiti was written by women from all over the world. I had wished I had a pen with me, to leave my mark on that bathroom wall, to note that “Lisa was here.” Who we are but memories that we create with others and memories that we create within ourselves.

Life is about ambience and adventure. Even when we got detoured from the metro the other day, our walk to Termini through Chinatown was an adventure. Our getting lost was an adventure. Life is nothing more than a series of getting lost from location to location and hoping to hell you can find your way back. It’s not just about the tourist sites and the souvenirs collected on your travels, but the impressions that you impart and take with you as you go. I wish that I had the photography training to capture the images of the people as we walked, because I wanted to remember the look of the lovers who were snogging besides us the restaurant or the old couple who walked happily down Via ottavio towards the Vatican, hand in hand.

When I had move to the Bay Area in 1997, one of my friends there notated as we walked down Telegraph Rd. in Berkeley — that I seemed to fit in. This chameleon like trait has been a curse, I thought, since high school when I meshed from social group to social group. And I think that is why I don’t feel so intimidated being in a different country. Sure, the culture is different and the people are different but in the end, we really are all just the same. I could see myself living here, just as I could see myself living in Barcelona or in the South of France (I’m not terribly crazy about Paris but perhaps if I had spent more time in the city, that too would have changed). I feel confident that I could go anywhere in the world and blend in, without having too much of a terrible difficulty getting around. Perhaps I should just accept my fate that I am a world citizen, not a citizen of a particular country or city.

at the airport

One of the great things about being a geek is the capability of having technology with you on the go. However if I was more of a geek, I’d be sitting here on wireless dialup account instead of, well, not.

The Grand Rapids International airport (GRR) is strange in many ways. First off, the security measures here surpass those of even Dulles (IAD) in Washington. My brother had said to me when he was flying out of GRR to IAD to come visit me last summer about the trials and tribulations he had to go through with security when he was waiting for his flight. I didn’t believe him. How could I? For a metro area of several hundred thousand people, many don’t seem to leave, and it would seem difficult to comprehend the idea that the security at GRR would surpass that of IAD.

I feel more and more out of place when I talk about my travels when in my own mind, I do not do more than go where I want. In my own eyes, the world is so large and I’ve seen so little, it’s hard to distinguish from what is “well traveled” to what is not. I guess it does sound a bit exotic to say I’ve lived in San Francisco, Washington DC, and Toronto and then come back here to good old GRap as the locals call it. Why would I want to come back?

There was a girl I had worked with at the cawfee shop who had said that her world consisted of Kent County and that was it. She had no desire to travel beyond her “bubble” as she called it. She wanted to get married, have babies, and be a mommy. She was all of 18. She had no desire to see the world or explore outside of her bubble. There are those I know who have traveled outside their boundaries physically and could not comprehend what they saw. I mean that here they are, traveling around the state, country or internationally, and disliked it.

Personally, I don’t know what it is. Is it the restlessness that I feel? Which I automatically think that is really screaming of my own lack of commitment. Can I feel comfortable to one day settle down in one place and be happy or even just content? It is difficult for me to say. The Geography of Michigan class that I’m taking currently shows just how diverse Michigan is, at least from a geographical point of view. There is so much to see and do here (as shocking as that may be when taking into heart my thoughts on Michigan and the Midwest in general), that I feel overwhelmed. I haven’t even been any farther than Traverse City and have yet been to the Upper Peninsula, and for being a “local,” to me that is disgraceful.

Because my trip plans for Europe have fallen through, I had been thinking of renting a cottage up in the UP for a week. Just me. The dogs. My laptop and pray-fully, no internet connection. I have found that the more I live alone, the more I like it. I’m more of private person and now I wonder if I will ever really be happy being with someone in a relationship. I think about that part quite a bit, that my own happiness is coming from within, but yet even at that stage, I would never feel comfortable being with someone else. Things like having a family do equate into this, but I do not ever really see someone else as being by side. I’ve honestly thought that if I was not married or in a committed relationship by the time, I was 35, I would end up having IVF kids. Keth and I joke about that now, but the more I look at it, the more I realize just how much of the truth it may be. I’m not scared of this idea, I guess I’ve always thought that it would be better to raise a child alone than in a relationship where it was abusive, and the issue is that it’s becoming clear with my own relationship choices that abuse is all I know. That is not to say that all the relationships I’ve been were abusive, but it all goes back to Alan and when I had for a brief moment in time the “perfect” relationship in my eyes only to have it blown up in my face – all because he had cheated on me.

Danny says I carry extra guilt left over from my Catholic upbringing, and I’m not quite sure that is true. I can see why he would think that but I’m tired of feeling like I have these rigid set of morals and ideas only to find the world shifts too much into the grey pattern area. Most of it conflicting. Like I do consider emotional cheating to be cheating. I cannot abide by the fact that if you are in a relationship that you would have the audacity of wanting to be with someone else. Oh, I know it’s human relations to look and admire attractive people, that’s fine, but when it becomes something else and ends up being more than a fantasy, then it becomes dangerous. Why get married or be with someone if you don’t, truthfully, want to be with them? That’s never made sense to me and those who know me the best would know the agony I went through prior the separation with Paul. It made me numb. I felt nothing other than I did not want to be here and I had to leave and I could never communicate to those just how difficult it was TO leave. The one thing I did resent was the common ideology that if you are not happy, then just leave, that I could pick up and go and no one seemed to take into account that they only knew my side of the story or even better, they knew only what I would tell them. They did not walk in my shoes and they did not seem to understand when I tried to make the situation clear.

I have this sinking suspicion I’ll always be a solitary person, and that discovery has hurt more than anything else. Not that being solitary is bad, but simply that not having someone by my side would hurt. I’ve dreamed of being with someone, this ‘being’ if you will, that would compliment me as I would compliment them. True wuv. So now, I wonder if I feel disillusioned simply because of past experiences or what the deal is. Hope is there, it’s a small flame, and it’s becoming smaller. In the end, I’m tired of a society that is cruel and malicious and I just wish people were nicer to each other, but that wish doesn’t seem to want to work out.

Keth says, maybe I’m looking too hard? She said to me when I was lamenting about this to her fairly recently and I can see why she would say that. If you’ve searched for “something” for over 30 years, it’s very easy to get discouraged but it’s difficult to keep up hope. It’s difficult to feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know there are many difficulties that I have sustained in my life that have bucked the system. I’ve left high school and went back and got my GED. I went to college, only to leave and come back many years later. Things that professionals say are the hardest to do, I’ve done. Yet I feel no satisfaction from these accomplishments.

($Deity save me from ignorant people. Please. A girl in my Geography of Michigan class asked if we had to know the bedrock type. Hello. Geography. Pay ATTENTION! Another woman compared the term ‘outwash’ (the left over silt from glacier movement) to the leftover drippings of Guinness. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.)

One thing leads to another

Shooting at the walls of heartache, BANG BANG

so last night ben and i were using this nifty software so we could talk voice over ip and man was it crystal clear, Anyways, so we were talking both kind of waiting for the war to start (is this how it starts now? you know baby share this war with me?) and well there was no big KABOOM and well i can’t speak for him but damn i felt very anticlimactic. Kind of like when you really dig someone and find out they are crappy kissers, that kind of anticlimactic. But we both thought it would be DAMN cool to be like, talking on-line via VOIP and he’s in Belgium and I’m in the US and the war start. You know, all tragic romancey kind of thing in the bizarre kind of surreal way kind of crap. And I was laughing absurdly at the whole thing and the fact i locked my door when I was going to bed that you know, WW3 is starting and here i am LOCKING MY DOOR. I laughed. I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

SO! things have been weird around these parts. I went and got a new tattoo:

newtat

(It’s fake. The Ben is that is. The tattoo. Not the person. I mean if the person was fake, my GOD do i have an imagination and who the hell have I been talking to lately)

But damn! Some people over on my livejournal were all freaking out 10 ways to Sunday and well, i wanted to have fun with people so i told some that, BEN AND I WERE GETTING MARRIED! In GREECE! (We moved it from the South of France to Greece you see). And I was having fun and people believed Ben and I were getting married and well the fun kinda stopped being fun cos no one would play into it. And then I got bored. heh.

But I should marry ben. I mean he’s tall, cute, British, reads, he’s geeky, plays video games and the great part is HE DOES NOT SNORE!
is that a girls dream or what.

I’m kidding.
Maybe.

So anyways, what I did was have this redone:
realnewtat

My mom’s name on my arm, I had Amy re-do as the coloring had come out and everyone was like that was a really great faded effect’ and well it was NOT supposed to be faded and well that is partially my fault but she said she was going to do it for free so HEY who was I to pass that up. I talked to her about my back, which is my next project. I’m going to have half a belt encircle the butterfly so it peeks out from my pants/jeans and then work my way up. I was thinking kanji and I definitely want a piece at the nape of my spine but hey, i’m a broke college student so she’s working out a deal with me and charging me 50/hr instead of 85/hr and we are blocking off two hour time frames and doing this once a month. Except probably in May and August (Vegas baby! and Europe!)

So she’s working on my arm and I told her I was teasing a friend about getting his name tattoo’d on me and I asked her to do it with a sharpie and take a picture of it and she thought it was great idea, so she did! So I giggled all the way home madly and hoping ben was still on-line and he was! And he was like, shocked. it was funny 🙂 Relived I think when I told him it was sharpie and it will fade (like so: https://exitpursuedbyabear.net/wp-content/uploads/bentat.jpg — you try taking a pic of your ass :). I told him last night I never once thought he might figure i was like some really CRAZY (seriously) bitch living in the US. Good thing he has a sense of humour.

Sometimes thinking ruins everything. 🙂

What else, well, I got the COOLEST present yesterday:

morris1

ohmygod, I LOVE that book and i’m so mad when i lost it. That made me SUPER happy! Ben rules 🙂

And what else, oh i got my UUNet bonus check and also my sprint refund check which meant I got to go spend 50 bucks in books at half.com. heh.

My poli sci exam is pushed back five days. I’m late writing my women writers midterm and I’ve been sitting here bouncing around to 80s music. hahaha. I so want to be out frolicking on the beaches of Mediterranean and NOT in the US.

x0x0x
lisa

oh yah.
kethryvis and i have been sitting here doing our horroscopes with mens we have crushes on. you soooooooo know when you like someone when your sitting here figuring out what the hell your chances are with someone. I told her we needed to be in our pjs, hair in rollers drinking hotcocoa having a slumber party.

Except she’s 3k miles away :/

hahaha. we are pathetic.