Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So, this one might lack the normal sass and pretension

As summer gently lilts into autumn, a sense of melancholy washes over me.  It isnt that I dislike Fall, quite the opposite, actually.  It is my favorite.  I studied at one of the most beautiful campuses for university, a biased opinion, Im sure.  And, when the leaves would turn from verdant to crimson and gold, the campus transformed into something out of the Secret Garden or Hogwarts, even. I havent forgone seeing St. Norbert cloaked in these beautiful colors for the past seven years.  But, here I am sitting thousands of miles away, forgoing it. I have no doubt that Busans colors will be magnificent, but there is something that tugs me back to Lunas to order a caramel apple cider, or reading in the Shakespeare garden with my bare toes curled up beneath me because I am too stubborn to abandon my whimsical summer flip flops.

Or, ever further back, watching Poohs Grand Adventure with my oldest friend on the night before school started.  Or, walking with her amongst the leaves, we childishly pushed each other into piles to feel the crunch beneath us.  We traipsed around downtown on a Friday night listening to the last wailings of live street musicians.  They packed up their instruments to work coffee shops instead of street corners, as we pulled our fleeces tighter around our chests.

But, then, all of a sudden, all of that is gone. No. That isnt true. I am gone. I am away from that place of home and those who love me. I am sure Lunas still serves caramel apple cider. And, Piglet still walks about downtown with her husband and their little soon to be. My residents who came to St. Norbert, wide eyed and more or less innocent are now teaching and working and traveling all over the world. It makes a Mama Bear proud to see her cubs lumbering about and making their own way.  But, it also forces me to regard my life. That stage has finished, and I have moved from a Mama Bear in university and old friendships to being the new kid, the young kid in a completely different habitat.

In this new Urban Jungle of Busan, I recently celebrated my 25th birthday with all of the pomp and silliness necessary. But, I missed going to the Brewer game. I missed my father bringing me a strawberry rhubarb pie, because he knows how I feel about cake. I missed my mom making me whatever I wanted to eat and setting the table with the You are Special Today plate at my setting. I missed my sister forgetting that I get older when she does.

Don't get me wrong, Busan friends, I had an amazing birthday and made merry with incredible men and women. I have found such a phenomenal community of support and love here. My friends here have walked me through quite a lot, for which I am forever thankful.

But, this time of year brings back all things family. It smells of burning leaves and new cardigans. Autumn feels comfy wrapped tightly around me like a scarf or an embrace from your best friend. It is overdue coffee talks and apple picking. The crinkle of leaves mingles with the whispers of frost. All of these things are Wisconsin Fall.

But, now I must define a new Fall with sweet and salty hot chocolate instead of caramel apple cider. A new Fall when the cold comes before the leaves, and I swaddle myself in hoodies and jackets to take in the beautiful green trees on my hikes. A fall with beach walks with new friends instead of lake walks with friends as worn and beautiful as your favorite pair of sneakers, which will always fit perfectly.

And, I am in the center of thispulled back and forth. Memories wrap around me and seep into my life, which reminds me exactly of what I left. But, Adventure reaches towards those memories, holds them dear to her heart, but releases me from them. She tells me to go, to explore. Adventure serenades me from the highest mountain in Nepal and the lowest point of Thailand, calling my name.

I fly to Manila in the short space of one month. In the winter, I wish to see Cambodia, drink in Angkor Wat. What exactly shall I find there? With whom can I share my story, or part of it, rather? From whom do I take knowledge and grace? In whom shall I find hope? There are 6 billion people in this world, and I am but one. Before I can do anything of any consequence, I must see how others live, how they interact, more importantly, how they love.

It is in the love of strangers that I will find peace. I know my heart and what lies in it and around it. I know what I need. I am so young, but not so naive as to think that I have it all figured out. I do not know what I'll need in a month, in a year, ten years. But, I know right now that I need Adventure to continue singing her song, and I am meant to follow her.