I wish someone were here with me to click "purchase" on a plane ticket back to the US. I have to do it, but it seems too hard to do. It's so loaded, it has so many implications that make me feel really lousy. But not doing it doesn't make me feel any better, either.
In any case, I'm going to have to get it done, and will likely be back on the other side of the Atlantic by mid to late August. Which means I'll be back before Labor Day weekend. And nothing would make me happier than to spend Labor Day with some friends... so if anyone doesn't already have plans for the holiday, what do you say to some quality time in beautiful Wisconsin (I'm serious -- it's beautiful) -- barbecues, taking a boat out on a lake somewhere, frozen custard, fireflies -- all the things that make summer in the States so great. Who's in?
... Which is about all the good to report, so I'm trying to relish that. Even though my dad is here for a visit, and today I am busy moving from the student house (finally) to a shared apartment, I have never felt more lonely, failed, or hopeless. Coming back to the US, while the obvious choice (at least to everyone else) feels like it would make me feel even worse somehow. Yet it may be my only choice. I want so badly to feel just a shred of hope that things will be better someday, but I am still reeling from the hurt feelings and self-hatred of ruining the only thing in the past 8 months that has made me truly smile and feel hopeful. Not only do I not have the little things that make it easier to get through each day, I know that the reason for that is my own mistakes and shortcomings ... If I can't hold on to such small, but important things, how can I hope that the big things will ever be better?
I've noticed that sometimes during Olympics coverage, commentators refer to athletes as "n Jahre jung" (n years young) and other times "n Jahre alt" (n years old) I don't know what is the basis for their choice, but I don't like the implication of the fact that someone just introduced a German bobsled team saying "Frau A. ist 35 Jahre alt, und Frau B. ist 22 Jahre jung." I guess whatever the cutoff is, I'm past it.
Someone with a job head over to the kate spade online "sample sale," willya? I need to unsubscribe from their mailing list, lest I continue to be tempted by pretty things like this. Let me know what you pick so I can enjoy your splurge vicariously. You get a nice new bag, I know that someone I know got a nice new bag, and the economy chugs on -- win, win, win, right? ;-)
This is not the aftermath of a crash -- this is the finish line.
I have been watching a lot of Olympics coverage -- to distract me from other things, as a welcome break from CNN International, and because I am an admitted Olympics junkie. The winter Olympics is always a harder sell -- fewer events, and seemingly still fewer that my fellow Americans seem to do well at. In particular, I always found the cross-country skiing (including nordic combined and biathlon) particularly snooze-worthy. But I am changing my mind.
I'm not saying that I find the exhaustive race coverage of Eurosport riveting... I mean, really, what on Earth is even remotely interesting about ski jumping, or watching people splayed on the ground with rifles when only the little graphic in the corner tells you whether they're a good shot? Though I did learn today that it is much harder to shoot in heavy snow... in a terrible mood, I admit to a certain schadenfreude watching the many, many misses.
So, anyway, back to what I like. And it is this: the end. It seems like in so many racing sports -- track and field events, speed skating, biking, what have you, the racers seem to work to finish with "dignity" -- perhaps wheezing or bending over to catch their breath -- but visibly working to keep it together, put on a smile, make a victory lap. That never bothered me... but now I've watched more nordic skiing. The moment these athletes cross the finish line, they just collapse. They don't ski slowly, catching their breath, and then smile triumphantly. They fall in heaps just across the finish line. And they stay there until they are good and ready to get up. They are freaking exhausted. And why shouldn't they be? If there were a once-in-four-years event that was the pinnacle of achievement for the passion at which you have reached a world-class level, SHOULDN'T you end that event with absolutely nothing left in you? And should you be totally comfortable with that -- no need to paint a pretty picture -- you just skied as far, fast, and strong as you could -- who cares if you have the strength left to smile? I love them for it. It's become a cliche, but leave it all on the field. And be proud of it.
Or maybe I just like it because for the past six months I feel like they look 2 seconds after crossing the finish line. Maybe I should go skiing.
On a totally randomly arguably related note, I am at the moment enjoying a Ritter Sport "Olympia" -- I was lured in by the "Endlich wieder da!," despite not understanding the reference, and the somewhat off-putting description (milk chocolate with a filling of yogurt, honey, hazelnuts and grape sugar), and now am well and truly hooked. Evidently I am not alone -- I understand that it returned after outrage (with online petitions, etc.) when it was put out of production. If and when I finally leave Germany, it will be with as many of these babies as I can manage.
And to go with the chocolate, I'm now watching snowboard cross -- not nearly the cathartic exhaustion of cross-country skiing, but it looks really freaking fun. I hope I get some crazy fun after my exhaustion, too.