mardi 15 février 2011

Other people can teach you things

A belated Valentine's Day... sort of.

The funniest thing happened tonight. OK it wasn't that funny.

I was sitting in the tv room by myself watching The Simpsons (as I sometimes do from 7:30-8:30pm) when all of a sudden, one of my friends, Y, comes in with 2 other students. One (S) presents me with a bunch of flowers and the other is playing a... mandolin? I was shocked and actually replied with, "What the hell?" I had no idea what was going on. The flowers from S were actually for his girlfriend... I don't know if they were just doing it for fun or if Y put them up to it but I guess it cheered me up.

I've never written about S before I don't think. But he is truly an amazing person. He's a student who lives in the internat but I never teach/see him during the day. He's only 16 but is wise and mature beyond his years. I really enjoy talking to him and am amazed that I can get along with someone so much younger than myself.

It all started when I first arrived and my now good friend M took me to the supermarket to buy supplies and food. While we were there, she introduced S and I to each other (he also happened to be there during one of his free periods I guess). He's actually Canadian and moved to France when he was 6 and still speaks English really well (with no hint of a French accent). He seemed so happy to meet me, an English native speaker (which are rare in this town). I felt welcomed by him and ever since then we've been friends. (Well it feels like we're friends even though we don't go out on weekends or anything like that). It's weird to say this but I feel like I can talk about almost anything with him, the same topics I talk about with my other friends.

Not that long ago when I was still 'dating' K, I wanted his perspective on relationships. I didn't tell him anything about my relationship though (as I don't really think it's appropriate to discuss my personal life with students). I had noticed over the past couple of weeks that he'd been spending a lot of time with this blonde girl (who also lives in the internat) and that they were quite close. I just assumed they must've been girlfriend and boyfriend.

I asked him about her and he tells me they've only been girlfriend/boyfriend for one day. And I asked, "How is that so? I've seen you two together for weeks." And he replied, "Yes we've been together for a while but I only officially asked her yesterday. Just because she's pretty and I like her doesn't mean she should be my girlfriend. I wanted to take the time to get to know her first before I asked her.." and on he went...

And I thought to myself, "Wow. That's a bloody mature thing to say for a 16 year old." While speaking to him I always feel that he is really mature and he is a nice, decent guy with a good head on his shoulders. He's definitely someone I'll miss when I leave this school/town.

Actually there are a few students I have that I really like too and I'll miss them a lot too. They have taught me so much about French life and culture (far more than the teachers here have). It's sometimes so nice talking to youngsters. They have such an innocent view about life and the world. I often wish I could be like that again.

Actually, almost all of my friends in Australia and here are younger than me. It's not a conscious decision, it just ended up that way. Perhaps I am a bit immature, I don't know but I just like hanging out with people younger than me. I always feel that older people are more bitter, stressed, restricted, set in their ways... younger people are happier, freer and more open, etc.

It's funny how friends will give you totally different advice.

Regarding my breakup..

Yesterday M got the shits with me asking me why I was so angry and rude. I didn't think I was angry and rude at all. I was extremely tired from my weekend and emotionally drained. I felt confused by her attitude towards me when she'd always been so nice before. I didn't get it so I avoided talking to her.

C gave me the most bizarre advice. Not really advice, but a suggestion. She said that I should get together with one of the other teachers. A teacher who has been chasing HER. No thanks. I was completely shocked by her suggestion. I know she was just trying to help but still...

Y didn't really give me any advice per se, and it was obvious he didn't know WHAT to say to someone who'd just been dumped. When I talked about it with him tonight he changed the topic rather quickly. I get the feeling he's never been in a long-term relationship so I don't hold it against him that he couldn't possibly understand what I was feeling.

A gave me the best advice of all. He was kind and supportive and really seemed to understand the feelings I was going through. He was the first to reply to me Friday night and said something like, "We'll help cheer you up next week and we can do something together soon" or something along those lines and it was pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear. Tonight when I saw him I told him what had happened and he really seemed to listen and understand and not judge. I actually thanked him for being so supportive because I always go through life feeling like noone understand how I truly feel. And then he thanked ME for thanking him! If that doesn't make someone feel all gushy inside...

I guess I should be honest and say that I KNEW K was not looking for a relationship from the start (I'm not stupid and I've been in enough relationships and gone on enough dates to read the 'signs') and I wasn't either. I just got confused and maybe somehow hoped deep down it could turn into one. But the truth is I'm not looking for one right now and I'm not ready. What I really wanted was a friend. A really really good/close friend. It's something I've always wanted.

I've always had a handful of close friends (which changed throughout the years) but I've never had one best friend. It's just something I always wanted and never had and then every time I got a boyfriend I relied on him to be my best friend too.

What I've wanted for a long time was not necessarily a boyfriend (although that would've been nice) but just a friend who would be always there for me to do stuff with. I think ALL single people go through this feeling. It's always a struggle to find a friend to do stuff or go on holidays with. You either end up dragging along a sibling or going alone. The reason is because everyone has their own agenda, and sure, often you find friend/s to do stuff with but then half the time they'll turn you down too.

When you have a best friend or a boyfriend/partner it's less likely that they'll turn you down. If you are really close it's impossible that they'd turn you down unless they were sick, injured, or had something REALLY important on.

I don't know if that makes me selfish...

I read that to be a good partner or to find a boyfriend you have to first learn how to live with yourself and be happy with yourself. I think most of the time I succeed. I do everything by myself. People think I'm "weird" because I go to restaurants, movies and holidays alone. But what other choice do I have? To stay inside cooped up watching tv? I actually had this conversation with A tonight. He asked me if I went to Avignon alone and I said Yes.

I get tired of EVERYONE asking me who I go with, or did I go alone, when I talk about travelling. Like seriously, what choice do I have?! If my friends don't want or can't go with me... I HAVE to go alone. Most of the time I'm OK with it but every now and then I do feel lonely and bored. Hey, I'm only human.

One of my French friends who lives in Australia told me that he's finding it harder and harder to find the energy to travel. He loves travelling too and uses his spare time to do so (and has seen a heck of a lot more of Australia than I have during his 1.5 years there). He didn't need to spell it out for me. I knew EXACTLY what he meant and what he was thinking. We had a brief conversation when he came to visit me here back in October.

We were talking about how it's nice to travel alone, you get to do WHATEVER you want however and whenever you want without any consideration of anyone else's wishes. You feel like you have unlimited time and no time is ever wasted doing some shitty thing you didn't want to do just to please someone else, etc. And for me your senses are heightened because you have the time to ABSORB everything and soak it all in (with the absence of someone to talk to). I love listening to my ipod as I stroll around a beautiful picturesque location (ie almost everywhere and anywhere), it feels like I'm watching a movie and listening to a soundtrack. Except it's better because I'm IN the movie :)

Sure it's great, but after a while it just gets tedious and boring. And of course lonely.

So, we could really understand each other. So when he wrote me this email I knew EXACTLY what he meant. That he got tired of travelling because he was sick of doing it alone and I admit I feel the same way.

Sure it's great to see all these beautiful places (and have your friends say that they're jealous of you) but when it comes down to it, it really isn't that special if you have noone to share those memories with.

I can honestly say that I enjoy myself infinitely more when I travel with someone else. My happiest memories are of when I was with a local who drove me around and showed me places I was unable to get to by myself just by walking or public transport. Those were my fondest memories because it felt like they truly CARED. When you spend so much time alone it's easy to feel like noone gives a shit about you (well, except your family who live on the other side of the world and can't be with you anyway). Like seriously, who would know if you got sick or injured or got lost? Who would check up on you?

But when someone takes the time to actually drive me around for hours or days and show me THEIR parts of the world, I'm truly touched. And that makes the memories a billion times stronger and better for me. It doesn't even matter who they are, whether I know them well or not, whether they are male or female, one person or two or more...

As a human it's normal to want to interact with others.

I feel like it's something I've wanted my whole life. Just someone to spend time with. Someone to do stuff with. Someone who's always available to do stuff with. I'll never forget that weekend with K, which will still stay in my memory as a truly memorable, magical and remarkable weekend because he took the time to show me some beautiful places that I'd never been to and which blew my mind (he also brought me to meet his family - yes, something I never mentioned before). And despite what happened in the end, I believe that you don't just do that for anyone. I'd like to believe that he did care for me during our short time together.

PS - it snowed overnight in the mountains near here! Fingers crossed more snow is coming so they can re-open the skifield. Another reason I wanted it to snow soon is because at the back of my mind I knew our relationship wouldn't last long and I really REALLY wanted to go skiing with K, my personal ski instructor who knows the skifield like the back of his hand. Guess that'll never eventuate now :(

PPS - I spent so long talking to A,Y and S and then writing this blog post that it's now after 11pm and I have a class at 8am tomorrow and I haven't even prepared what I'm going to teach them yet. Oops! I'm a bad teacher ;)


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