Poetry Corner

This is really just a random collection of poems that I wrote before, while, or after studying abroad. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, so I figured I’d just dump them onto this blog, since they do relate to going/being/returning from abroad.

“I Promise”

When you started crying

I did too

but I blinked away the tears

because I didn’t want

you to cry harder.

So instead

I clung to you and

closed my eyes,

telling myself,

“I’ll see you again.”

And it’s true, even if

it’ll take eight months.

I’ll come back to you.

“Missing You”

Homesickness isn’t a shadow

that creeps up on you

it’s a blinding sun

that slams into you

when you least expect it.

Sometimes, when I walk down a street

I stare straight past the sky

and when I blink, all I see are memories

scattered before me like constellations.

“Almost Home”

The sun’s still rising

as the click-clack of

my suitcase wheels follows me

down the sidewalk

onto the bus

through the airport

all the way to Heathrow

where I can’t help but smile

when I see my mom waving:

it’s almost home—

but not quite.


My heart’s been at sea for months

drifting with a windblown sail

but now it’s finally anchored

in the harbor where it belongs.

“Deceptive Reality”

September to May—it’s a long time

for a ship to be drifting at sea and

even though I’ve furled my sails

sometimes I still can’t tell if

I’m living in a dream—

am I a sailor or an albatross?

So check my vital signs

before I forget

whether I’m anchored in reality

or floating in fantasy.


I’ve awakened the wanderlust

sleeping in my veins

and now it’s become a melody,

chords and bars strumming through

my veins, where the vitals keep me

awake in a star-and-sunlight bed,

dreaming of a city across the ocean

where sprawling, shadowed hills

stretch around red-tiled roofs

painted before a gray coast of rocks

that border the bright blue sea,

its waters brimming with

my hopes and dreams,

its tides ebbing and flowing

with my memories.


TAPIF Acceptance!

I actually got this email on Friday, but was waiting until I excitedly could tell my French professors and other people in person before I officially blogged about it. But yes, as the title of this post says, I was accepted into TAPIF! When I saw the email in my inbox, my hands shot to my mouth and I internally screamed before getting so excited that I promptly bumped my knee into my desk. (Luckily, it was the sliding keyboard part, so no bruises occurred.)

I’ll be helping at the secondary level—either at a middle or high school—somewhere in the Académie d’Amiens, a little department north of Paris and close to England and Belgium. The region is tiny and rainy, a lot different from large, sunny Nice. I’m excited for the change (even if my hair probably isn’t) because it means that I’ll get to see more of France—especially since I spent most of my time in the south while studying abroad.

Fortunately, the email came in the late afternoon, because I immediately lost all interest in anything remotely academic. Instead, I spent the rest of the day Googling information about Amiens, drinking in facts and potentially crying over pictures of rural Picardie. More information will slowly trickle in over the summer, and when it does, I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted!

French Film Festival

Considering that I spent my last spring break in Rome, I was excited to finally get out of Ashland and my house. Today, my friend Madeline and I went to Carytown for the French Film Festival, an event created by VCU and U of R professors back in 1993. French directors, actors, and producers present award-winning films and then hold Q & A sessions, introducing and immersing Americans into French and francophone cinema, language, and culture. I’ve actually wanted to go since I heard about it in high school, but never found the time or money to. (Thankfully, my French professor managed to get subsidized tickets, and my friend and I only had to pay $15. The one stipulation was that I had to write a blurb about our experience, but because I’m a nerd and love writing, it was honestly more of a treat.)

After picking up our student passes, Madeline and I had a quick lunch at The Mellow Mushroom and then headed back to the Byrd Theatre. We came in on the tail end of the Q & A session for Belle et Sébastien, meaning that we got to see the young actor Félix Bousset on stage. Plus, the huge, fluffy white dog (who was probably bigger than the eleven-year-old actor, to be honest) in the movie walked right past us, and Madeline got to pet her as I frantically but fruitlessly tried to snap a picture of her.

Our French Film Festival pass, which is just another thing with poor Félix’s face plastered all over it:

Now twice as excited after the unexpected dog encounter, Madeline and I settled down to watch Le goût des merveilles (for you non-francophones, sorry, I’m too lazy to translate that into English). The movie, written and directed by Eric Besnard, is set in Provence (the region where I studied abroad!) and follows the intertwining storylines of Louise, a widower struggling to support her children and her farm, and Pierre, a brilliant man with Aspergers.

Quite frankly, the trailer didn’t do the movie justice. Madeline and I were terrified that the movie was going to be sad because, uh, what else would you expect from French movies? (Kidding, here. French cinema has incredible variety.) Le goût des merveilles was pretty much the exact opposite of that, a bright and humorous film that made the entire audience laugh—numerous times—but with some underlying hints of tragedy. Witty, charming, heartwarming and heartbreaking, it’s a movie that explores human relationships. Plus, the cinematography was just…gorgeous. Not to mention, it had an adorably hilarious running theme of dots.

Here’s the movie poster for Le goût des merveilles.  Gorgeous, no?

Our first French Film Festival was definitely a success, and no, the fact that I got really excited about hearing French outside of school was definitely not a factor. Nope, not at all.