Monday, September 03, 2007

Fast Forward

In exactly 3 weeks, Jose and Juan Diego will be here. They'll be staying for 8 days, a visit which will coincide perfectly with my 24th birthday. I'm planning on showing them around The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam, and taking them to a football game with Quint on the 26th. We'll probably stay at his place that night and spend my birthday in Rotterdam as well before heading back here for my birthday party on the 28th. I'm so excited for them to get here, I can hardly keep still. It's only been a little over a month since the last time I saw them, but it certainly feels like much longer. Not that there has been particularly much going on since I got home, but juggling work, studying and getting reacquainted with old faces as well as getting to know several new ones has been more of a job than I thought it would be. I still have an entire week left of summer holiday before classes start next Monday, but at best I'm just feeling exhausted and not completely up to the task of plunging back into my old routine.

This Thursday I will reach the 5-year mark of my time in Europe and somehow I'm feeling this itch to continue moving forward. I used to associate this unquenchable wanderlust with being in Holland, but after a few months in London, a half year in Barcelona, another in Granada and countless other trips all over the continent, I'm realizing that perhaps it has nothing to do with that. I know that Europe is a place I would love to settle into one day, but somehow I don't think that time has arrived just yet. Something that scares me, of course, is the possibility of becoming a sort of rootless vagabond, wandering aimlessly in search of a place, a feeling, an anchoring point which simply doesn't exist. In just five years, I've already seem to become a foreigner just about everywhere I go, whether it be Hawai'i, Holland, Spain or otherwise.

Perhaps I'm simply finding myself in a sort of premature quarter-life crisis, where all the things I used to accept as universal truths and constants are suddenly coming under scrutiny. I don't want to pass any more time cruising through life with a cocktail in my hand, spending hours sitting and discussing empty and idealistic changes which never materialize. I look around my flat and see the hoard of books I've collected throughout the years, the books I've devoured like a starving child and which have filled me with an arsenal of ideas and a desire to change things, but absolutely no motivation to actually do so. I wonder if for some, this is the crucial point which determines the choice for a life of action or simply one of indifference.

There was a day in Granada when we gathered as a group at the cafe near the faculty, then moved on to the fountain in Plaza Trinidad, and by the time the sun had set, were sitting along the wall at the Mirador de San Nicolas in the Albaicin. As the day had progressed, the group had become smaller and more intimate and the conversation more somber and profound. At some point, while engaged in one of our thousands of fierce arguments about western politics, my friend Kyriakos, the ultimate revolutionary, looked at me and said "You have such a beautiful mind and so many amazing ideas, Joey. But you sit there with your Macbook and your pretty little shoes and I wonder if you'd really be able to accept the sacrifices you would have to make in order to see these ideas truly materialize." I was more shocked than offended by what he said, and spent a majority of the rest of that night thinking about it. Would I be able to? It's a difficult question to ask yourself. In any case, I don't want to keep wondering, but would rather simply find out. Students of politics spend so much time talking, it may be one of the things that we do best; talking to postpone actually having to act, talking to justify things to others and maybe even more to ourselves, talking to chide away our guilt for our good fortune and reluctance to surrender it to the benefit of another.

I don't want to talk anymore. It's all become so trite and contradictory. I came this close to landing an internship in Israel where I would actually have to shut up for once and do something, then turned it down because it would have postponed my graduating for a mere 3 or 4 months. Maybe the time has finally come for me to decide the next step and stop hiding behind transparent excuses and imagined inconveniences. I hope these next few months will tell.

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