Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's lonely being a rock star.

Been a busy few days.

I am pleased to report that on Sunday, I fully caught up on all my PhD work, and also my UofU work. 
Sent off my 2014 to-do list email to everyone.  And went to the party for all the homestay students and made a bunch of new friends.  I also sang my song, "The Sun Is Always Shining Somewhere" and played guitar.  We all had to do something representing our country.  Most of the German girls baked a yummy pie of some sort.  Gen, the student from Japan, talked about Kyoto, the city he's from, and sang a song.  The girl from Australia baked a traditional Australian cake.  What?  Who woulda known that Australians had a traditional cake to make! haha.  Me?  I sang the song that I sing to all the actors and artists who come see me speak at SAG/AFTRA/Equity in Manhattan.  It was SO awesome to be up on stage again, with a mic, and my guitar, and a captive audience, and singing and playing.  About 60 people.  A great audience.  And I rocked the house baby.  Felt so great.  I'm even smiling as I write this.  I was super proud of my performance and the way my voice sounded and everyone loved it.  In the middle, everyone started clapping to the rhythm.  How that happened, I know not, but literally, everyone started clapping at the same time, like it was preplanned.  It was so weird, and so wonderful.  I've never had an audience clap along to the rhythm while I played one of my songs.  Super cool!
That night, I had a 2 hour skype session with one my clients back home in NYC, and that went really well too.  The adrenaline pump I get from talking to one of my clients is indescribable.  It always leaves me feeling infused with energy and a readiness to take on the world.  Boom shakalaka! 

All of this makes me so happy.  How well everything is going here.  It also all makes me so sad. I’m leaving in 2 months.  AGAIN.  For China.  I’m getting so acclimated now to France, and making friends.  Yet, still lonely.  It's like it's an ingrained part of me now: loneliness.
The irony of it all is that in the school, I am a veritable rock star.  I turn a corner in the hall and--no joke--a group of girls see me and start shrieking, "Eek! It's him! It's him!" like I’m Justin Bieber or Tom Cruise.  In the dining hall, when I sit with one group, other groups ask why I sat with them and not us.  The girls stare.  They giggle.  They laugh.  They give me the eye and sweet smiles.  The guys too are really friendly.  Coming up to me to say, "Hello!  I speak English!  How are you?"  Without trying to sound too full of myself... they love me, and it’s so nice.  So nice to finally be recognized as being awesome!  I spoke to mom tonight and at first said, “It’s nice to be at a place where they think I am awesome.”  But then I realized, it’s more than that.  “It’s nice to be at a place where they KNOW I am awesome and have no problem telling me.”  Because I am, and I'm damn proud of myself and all I've managed to accomplish.  At my old job, I was looked down upon for being talented and multifaceted and having so many hats; here, they embrace that fact, so proud to rattle off my list of accomplishments: Avocat, Musicien, Acteur, Realisateur, Sauvateur, Draguer(e).  The last one is pretty funny.  It means, "Flirter; Chaser of girls".  I don't know how the girls here decided to put that tag on me, but apparently, it's as nice of a compliment as lawyer, musician, actor, film director, and lifeguard.  I'll take it! 
And yet, it sucks.  Cause like I said before: I'm the rock star.  Lots of groupies; not many friends.  I am literally rarely alone, but it doesn't mean I don't feel lonely. 

And yet, I’m feeling so comfortable here now.  I don’t want to move.  Again.  And to CHINA!  Sure, I’m looking forward to it.  And it’s gonna be great, I’m sure.  And once I get there, I’ll be fine.  But the thought of relocating, and trying to find new friends, and getting used to another new city, and culture, and language.  Ugh.  And double ugh: they are certainly not going to look up to me like a rock star like they do here.  Haha! 
I did wake up feeling very sad today. Upset that I’m not able to study my languages as much as I did before, because I am speaking French so much.  Ironic right?  I should be happy.  Upset that Louisa is gone. Upset that I don’t have anyone.  Upset that I’m heading to China soon.  I’m excited too, but I’m sad at the same time.  I did do some Russian language study before leaving for school, and that made me feel a little better.   But not a great deal.  But I knew that later in the day I would be dancing again with Gautier, and that it would probably make me feel better, and I was right!  Dancing always does.
I just feel like I have less time now than I did back home to do the things I want.  And that freaks me out too, because in Shanghai, I will have even less time.  Three days a week will be 9am – 9pm days.  Well, I guess that just means I will have to do more work on those two days I have free.  Either getting up early again on my free days and working until 11:30am, or staying up later on the nights before my free days.  I guess I will have to wait and see.

My friend Nora sent me a message on FB telling me how inspired she was to know I was back in France, and that as a result, she finally bought my book, “Time Zen”.  I replied, “If only good time management skills were the key to finding a girlfriend.”  Or something like that.  Everyone looks up to me so, and yet, I don’t have that one thing that I know would make me so much happier.  Blech.
All in all, today was a long day, but that’s good, because it got my mind off things.  I met the gym class in the gymnasium and did my pull ups, sit ups, and crunches.  Spoke with the students, and met Maeva, Florian’s older sister.  Florian is a middle schooler who talks to me every night for about an hour totally in English.  But in class, he can barely say or understand a word.  The explanation?  He plays video games online with players from the US.  So he knows how to read and write, but can’t speak or understand.  Very funny.

I met some students from the drama club from the gym class, and turns out there is a play on Monday, and I’m gonna go check it out.  Can't wait to see my first play in French!
I also received a very interesting email today.  It is one that may change my life, but enough on that for now. 

Anyway, after meeting the drama club students in the morning, I joined two of them for a walk into town and a hot chocolate at Hotel Europa, where we drank free of charge because one of the girls’ mother works there.  Cool!

Then I taught some classes at the middle school.

Then lunch at the high school, sitting with some students.
Then I went to the teacher’s room and printed out all the stuff I need for my PhD and my UofU class.  That took a while, but I'm glad it's done: I can start getting to work tomorrow.

Then, a haircut.  I walked around to five different shops before finding one for 10 Euro.  All the others wanted 15 or more, and nopers!  I refuse to pay 15 Euro (more than 18 dollars) for a ten minute men's haircut.  Puhleeazze!
Then, I danced in the dorm parking lot with Gautier and Alexi.  Guatier taught me some awesome new house moves, and Alexi some popping.  Gautier taught me to do a house dance circle, sort of like my legs are the hands of a clock, and I dance the hours on the clock.  Hard to explain, but it's really really cool.

Then, I ran for 19 minutes through town.  19 minutes before my leg started to hurt.  I think I was able to run for so long before the pain hit because my muscles were already warmed up from the dancing.  Possible?  Or just a coincidence?  Don’t know…  But while running, I passed this very old man with a cane taking but one step a minute it seemed, and we exchanged friendly smiles, and I realized then and there that despite my difficulty with my leg, I can still run, and I should be grateful for that, and I am. 
Then took the bus home.  Spoke to a 65 year old woman who lost her son a few years ago in a house fire, another son in another accident, and whose daughter is epileptic, and who is now single, living alone with just her daughter, whom she cares for.   Life is tough… for all of us… and for some tougher than others.  Talking with her made me sad for her situation, and made me again realize that life just really sucks sometimes; that you can do nothing to escape it.  She taught me MDR, which is LOL for Frenchies.  MDR = Meurt de rire, or dying of laughter.  Ha.  Funny.

Then, another big French dinner here at home.  I shared my day’s adventures with Veronique and Dominique, and we watched the news together. 
Loneliness.  It's a theme I keep returning to.  Despite being with so many people today, doing so many different things, and despite being a total rock star celebrity at work, and despite returning home every night to even more Facebook requests and Facebook messages from students… I feel alone.  And lacking.  And wishing I had a close connection to someone like I once did with Louisa.  Gosh I miss that girl.  So many people tell me I should keep that to myself, and not post things like that publicly, but whatever.  Who am I trying to impress?  Her?  She blocked me on Facebook and wants nothing to do with me.  Some girl I haven't met yet?  I'm just sharing my feelings, is all.  I shake my head when I think about what I had, and how it could really be over, and how it ever came to pass that she would block me, and keep me blocked, and never unblock me.  It hurts tremendously.  But like that woman on the bus, I guess I just have to realize that life truly does just suck sometimes, and sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do about it except, in her words, be strong and keep living.  Indeed. 

And keep living I shall, and I wonder if the key to my future lies in that email.  One day I shall find out.  In the meantime, I'm gonna get ready for bed.  Tomorrow, it's back to the high school where I am certain to find more shrieking girls clamoring for my attention.  Ha!  If I never become a true rock star in the traditional sense, I will always cherish this experience for letting me know what it REALLY feels like to be a rock star.  When I walk into one of the classrooms, you should see the eyes light up, and the bright smiles, and the cheers of joy.  It's truly amazing.  And wherever I go, people who I have never met already know who I am.  My question, "Have we met?"  The inevitable response, "No, but everyone has heard about you, so I know all about you.  You're Monroe.  I hear that you..." and so it goes.  Makes me smile.

Finally, I'm hoping to make plans to visit Barcelona this weekend for sometime late February/early March.  And one of these Saturdays I need to visit Toulouse, which is but an hour away by train.  I'm also scheduled to get a private tour of the Goya museum here by a French art historian.  I really look forward to that. 

Well ladies and gents, time for me to hit the hay.  It's about midnight here, and I have yet another day of French living tomorrow.  Allons-y!

No comments: