Saturday, October 22, 2005

The road

Europe has been wonderful but all flavored and brightened by one factor: I've finally found a friend. I had decided weeks ago in Nordic mythology that Ricky was worth knowing because he sat in front and talked to Morton about the readings, but I never dreamed we would end up spending almost every waking moment of this past week together. While the other kids were smoking up in Asterdam, we were sharing felafel by its canals, playing on its playgrounds, trading parlor tricks with a Morrocan-Dutch 12-year-old we met in the street, and generally spending as little money as possible. At night we would go back to the hotel and tell each other fairy tales.

We were probably the only ones on the trip who knew we were just friends, but the fact that he has a girlfriend at home makes things simpler and nicer in a lot of ways. It's also proved a theory of mine, but that one can wait until another city and another internet cafe.

I can't describe how super the kid is, but I think I can illustrate it. I like asking friends what they would do with their lives if they weren't going to do whatever they're planning to do. (Answers from my favorite people generally involve living in the woods.) I was going to ask Ricky, but I couldn't imagine what he would want to do that he's not already doing or planning to do - he can read and write Nordic runes, cook, juggle fire, amuse children, tell wonderful stories, walk in high heels, catch arrows in flight. He's studying in Copenhagen now and next semester he'll be in India. Right now he's about to hitchhike to Brussells and across Britain. I can only think of a few people with such a strong forward drive, a sense that they can do and be anything. His next ambition is to learn to swim in a chainmail shirt, so hopefully the drive won't lead to a watery death induced by overconfidence.

Thinking about all this made me vow to do more with myself, to really learn the things like bellydancing and massage that I feel I ought to be able to do. I resolved to track down the woman who does occasional bellydance workshops at Bryn Mawr and find out how to join her troupe. This evening as I was wandering the streets of Montmartes alone I happened upon the street where the exotic dancers of Paris apparently buy their gear. I've never seen even one shop that sold hip scarves, let alone a whole street of them. The one I've got is made from aluminum pieplates and sounds terrible, and I've wanted a real one for years. This was like a sign. (I don't believe in signs, so it wasn't a sign, but it sure was like one.) I now have a blue hip scarf with gold jangly coins. We'll see where life takes me from here.


*M* said...

i am glad you are having fun my dearie! i tried to send you a letter but they sent it back to me - hopefully it will make it there before you do! don't get lost amongst all the other blondes! (my goodness there are a lot of exclamation points in this comment) love and hugs, emelin and bmc

sandy said...

speaking of belly dancing:
sharon told me the funniest story the other day. she was at a moroccan resteraunt with some other bryn mawr phd grads (all women) and the belly dancer asked them where they were from and when they said bryn mawr she said "I went to bryn Mawr too"! She's a social worker by day and a belly dancer by night. made me think of you. you should have some magic brownies too! for me! enjoy yourself and your new friend! love, me

Julia said...

I'm glad to know my degree will come in handy. Well, at least she has a day job.