Sunday, March 17, 2019

hygge in luxembourg

We met at a bar.
How quaint, n'est pas ? He was speaking Spanish and had ordered pisco sours. I was intrigued. Pisco sours were not on the menu nor, in my opinion, are they well-known in the States. I was tipsy enough to rudely interrupt them, ask where he was from. Venezuela. Thus the accent I could not place. I must've followed with an explanation of my familiarity with the cocktailnorthern Chile, study abroad, menu del diasand somehow got to Paris and how he'd recently moved from there, and Madrid, but mostly Cyprus.
He went back to reunite with the birthday party, and I turned back towards the friends I'd come with. This was our second stop after a company Christmas party. We were decked out accordingly. I felt warm, fuzzy, gleefully at ease with how life in SF had evolved. To my right was a Russian friend I'd met in Luxembourg, once. She'd moved back to the Bay not long before I moved up. We've gotten close since. Another friend had joined us, originally from China, with her German boyfriend. Amazing people I only knew by chance.
This was an important realization. Having relocated so regularly as I have, I've often felt lonely; unknown, and too much so.
It's made the serendipitous who matter more. For example: a French girl that cautiously entered an exchange program and ended up in my small hometown at the same time my parents agreed to host an international student, and clicked with myself and my family so completely so that we'd remain close close enough to then visit in Strasbourg, Los Angeles, Luxembourg (see above, below).
She's the reason I've studied French, why moving to Paris for grad school felt accessible, how I somehow had family nearby there.
"Life is about the journey, not the destination" is one of many platitudes I'd prefer to live without, but, as each year passes, my outcome-driven soul is finding it to be mostly true. The experiences have been enriching. But more importantly, my life has been made so full by the amazing souls I've met, stayed in touch with, had the immense pleasure of reuniting with whenever possible.
Then there are those passing connections, in which you're reminded how small and peculiar the world is (case in point: he'd worked with this guy) but also how magically vast. Our conversations were deep and inquisitive; his perspective, completely unique from my own. We discussed the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and racial inequity in the United States and the tensions between immigration and integration in France. He also introduced me to Colombian music. We danced. We laughed, a lot.

It all matters.

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