Blocked

“There’s nothing to writing. You just sit at a typewriter and bleed.” – Hemingway

The only thing I’ve written in a long time is how I’ve written absolutely nothing as of late. And despite being at what is truly the peak of my happiness, endlessly inspired, and, alongside a busy schedule, making the time for writing, I just don’t know where to begin. In my journal I wrote that maybe I wrote because I was filling a void or emptiness, and now that it’s been filled with love and endless joy, I no longer have a writer within me. It’s a scary thought for me to contemplate.

It’s one Hemingway would agree with; he believed it was suffering that created the best writing. But he was an old alcoholic fool, and while I look up to him as a writer, taking his advice would be foolish.

Fitzgerald has said, “I love her and it is the beginning of everything,” and maybe that is a statement I should focus on to drive my writing. My love, my Jordan, was the beginning of a new book in the life of Claudia. So vastly different is this book that I don’t remember even a chapter of the books prior. But this love is difficult to get down on paper.

Even among the two of us, we ask ourselves if it will, “always be like this,” or if it’s possible that, “two people could love each other so much,” or if we are, “crazy to everyone looking in.” It’s not inaccurate…

We do not fight and very rarely bicker (I can count the times on one hand). We support each other and encourage one another to take it easy on ourselves. We endlessly have something to talk about, while sitting in silence is just as beautiful. We adventure together, laugh together, we are building a little family together. But a love so perfect doesn’t make a good novel. So, maybe I won’t write about love. Maybe that’s not the beginning of what I an destined to write…

I once started a non-fiction book about how to cultivate a happy life, how to assess the things in life that aren’t allowing you to be your very best self, and how to heal from trauma and challenges. This began some time after facing my sexual assailant in court, producing my TedTalk in New York, and overcoming my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But now, when I look back at the chapters of that book (I think I got to about 10 of them), I feel a disconnect from it. So, maybe that’s not what I’m destined to write, either…

A few things I do know well and write about with passion:
Hemingway
1920s Expat Writers
Paris
Following your heart
Eventually, I’d like to pursue a PhD. My thesis would revolve around those central ideas. The focus would be about how the expat writers of the 1920s who lived in and wrote about Paris portrayed this experience as being transforming, perfectly beautiful, and ripe full of success. When, in fact, it is the opposite experience for many expats: it is difficult to integrate, there is no success or wealth in the arts (despite how much France/the city of Paris advertise that they support them), living costs are extraordinary, Parisians are leaving the city because it’s, as Jordan says, dying, and being recognized for the production of English work is even more rare.

I’ve considered beginning my writing about this, perhaps starting with a focus on the lives of some of my favourite expats who have inspired my literary heart. And now that I’ve written it down, here, I feel even more inspired to do so. The only problem is that this is a project that requires immense dedication, and my schedule is pretty solid at the moment.

Have I mentioned I also got another job? Well, I haven’t received the contract yet, but I got a verbal invite by the owner of the company. It’s a Skype-based English Language Learning company that’s run out of France (but could continue with me when we move to Amsterdam). You get paired with adolescents and adults and you engage in conversation with them that has an intentional language learning focus. You assign them homework, and you work with them on a random weekly basis. It pays very well, and I’m considering using this as my secondary work over my work with QKids (a TESOL Chinese online company). I’ll still do QKids when able (another good supplementary income that can follow me to Amsterdam), but I would minimize my current schedule.

But, until that schedule is set and the contract settled, Mondays are: graduate course work + Qkids + Groceries + cleaning + dinner
Tuesdays: graduate course work + Qkids + Groceries + cleaning + dinner
Wednesdays: Strasbourg English School (in person) + (come home exhausted/break time) + write programming for SES + groceries + cleaning + dinner
Thursdays: graduate course work + Qkids + Strasbourg English School
Friday: graduate course work + Qkids + program writing for SES + Strasbourg English School

… so I don’t want to add “Developing a thesis” to that list, or the writing no longer becomes an escape but becomes work…

And! Soon we will be adding a puppy to the mix: Poe. We went to visit him this weekend and he has changed so much. He is (unbiased) the cutest puppy in the litter, and he is already so blue! We already miss him so much and are counting down until we get to bring him home (another month to go). Life will certainly get a lot crazier/busier/more full of love once that day comes.

But… I’m back where I started at the beginning of this blog: writer’s block. I don’t know where to focus my mind, and I’m not sure how to fill it into my schedule without making it feel like work.

Alas, I suppose this was enough writing for today, anyway…

xo
C

The Day Has Come

This is it: today I fly to Strasbourg to begin my life with my soulmate.

Most people run off to another country to escape their life back home, but I assure you, I have nothing to run from.
I have a family that is loving, supportive, compassionate, and selfless.
I have the most outstanding set of friends who bring out the best in me.
I was working a job that paid really well and had me in a role working with the most vulnerable students; a passion and a daily reward.
I was in Canada, a country of opportunity.
I had no complaints, except for the fact that I was uninspired. And I was not with Jordan.

I always felt European (which makes sense, having been born from immigrant parents), and I’ve always been drawn to building a life on that side of the ocean because I find it endlessly inspiring, breath-taking, and the mentality of Europeans on what it means to truly live was the mindset I always kept for myself. Not to mention, all my favourite American writers – the authors that inspire me to be a writer – became expats in Europe and wrote some of their greatest novels while living a life on that side of the planet. My turn!

When Jordan was given a professional opportunity that would set him on a path to the success story he truly craved for himself, the decision to move was an easy one. I wasn’t done in France, and I have had (and continue to relish in) my own professional success; I was ready to see him smile, be more proud of himself, and feel more secure about the life we were building together. He earned this, he deserved this, and I was so proud of him and excited about all the growth opportunities that appeared to him. How could I not support the man I love?

When you love someone and want to have a prosperous, content, and amazing future together, you both take turns making sacrifices. My sacrifice, this time around, is stepping out of Canada and leaving a family who, while happy to see me following my heart, are themselves heartbroken at not seeing me once a week, as we usually do, at not being a drive away if I need them, at not being able to hug and hold me whenever they desire. And my friends all made me feel so loved as they held me tight and told me how much they will miss me, as well. There are people here who love me (and who I also love) who I am leaving behind.

But making the sacrifice was not a difficult decision, because I am so sure about a happy future with Jordan. It’s just so easy and comfortable with us. It has been from the very start. It has always felt normal and right when we are together. He is my very best friend, and we encourage one another to be better every single day, we push each other to be our best selves, we support one another in all our endeavors, and we both want the best for each other. And, ultimately, we want the best for our relationship.

This is really the best for us right now, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m going back to the country I love into the arms of the man I adore, and we are going to start our forever.

Not to mention, my friends who know me best always told me I wouldn’t stay in Canada for long… I’m a wild, free-spirited bird, after all.

Who in life can say they’ve had all their dreams in life come true?
Who can say they followed their heart without fear, and jumped in with both feet?
I can say it with certainty. I have. I did it.
And I am so blessed.

xo
C

To New Visitors

First time reader or long time lurker? I’ve noticed a spike in my stats and many of them are from countries where I don’t even know anyone!

Let me give you a bit more information about me:

My name is Claudia (cloud-yuh, hence ‘Cloud’). As of the date of writing this post, I am 31 years old. I was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (about 40 minutes from Toronto). I love being Canadian! I have an endlessly supportive set of parents (as seen in my Featured Photo) and an older brother who is 39 and is my best friend.

I have a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English & Philosophy (License Professionnelle in France).
I have a Bachelor of Education with Primary & Junior Specialization, and Senior English Specialization (Masters 1 in France). You can read about more of my teaching certifications here.
I am currently working on my Masters of Library and Information Studies (Masters 2/Specialized Masters in France). I’ve been in the program since 2017; it is all online and part-time and anticipate completion late 2020/early 2021.

I worked in education for nine years with a specialization in Special Education (working with highly intellectual students, and ending with alternative education, where I was working one-on-one with an expelled student). I was given a role of Special Education Resource Teacher (leadership role in Special Education that oversees a team of Educational Assistants), but I just recently had to step down from the job in order to begin my life in France with my love. I have worked with children of all ages (3-17), but I will always have a special place in my heart for Special Education work, both with Gifted children and High-Needs children. It is one of my passions.

In August 2018, I moved to Paris, France to fulfill my dream of calling myself a Parisian. I ended up meeting the love of my life, who makes me a better person every single day. At the end of June 2019, I will return to France, specifically Strasbourg.

I have a lot of tattoos, but unless you meet me in the summer time, you would have no idea they even existed. Most people I meet in Fall/Winter are completed shocked then they discover one slipping out of my sweater! Tattoos are not as taboo these days (especially in North America – everyone has one!), and I am walking proof that they’re just another form of self-expression, like a beautiful accessory piece or an eye-catching handbag. My tattoos do not define me, so do not define me by my tattoos. Human beings deserve respect and compassion without compromise, and a tattoo should not be a means for criticism and judgement.

I love to write, I love to read, and I’m very much an introvert – though, again, most people find this fact about me to be rather surprising! That is because I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable so I go out of my way to talk to strangers or bond with the friends of others. By ensuring that they are comfortable in an unfamiliar or otherwise not ideal environment, I am also forcing myself out of my comfort zone and teaching myself coping skills for my social anxiety.

I am a Francophile, through and through! Though according to a DNA test that both my parents took, I am also:
90% Italian
7% Turkish
1% French
1% Spanish, and
1% Greek

Italian was the first language I learned how to speak, English the second (and my strength), and I speak at an A1/A2 level of French.

I am not religious but I am extremely spiritual. I believe that the energy you put into the universe is the energy you will get back. As such, I make an effort to be endlessly positive, optimistic, compassionate, supportive, and understanding. Like all human beings, I often falter. But being able to recognize where you fall short and making an effort to move forward is the best thing you could do for yourself. With my students, I always told them that the goal of the day was to become a better version of yourself than when you walked in, in the morning. I am constantly on the path to betterment. I am consistently trying to improve who I am and the Claudia I put out into the universe.

Some interests:
I love to travel! My parents started traveling with my brother and I at a young age. Some of my favourite cities I’ve visited include: Tokyo, Japan, Milan, Italy, and of course, Paris, France.
I absolutely adore fashion, but what I adore even more is getting great deals on brand name items! I love to thrift shop and shop at consignment shops.
I also really like nerd/geek culture and used to cosplay!
I am a vegetarian and passionate about animal rights; I’ve adopted three animals and I chose vegetarianism because I love animals more than I love eating them.

My dreams in life were to own a home (I did it on my own a day before my 25th birthday; I sold it 5 years later), and to live in France (I did that too!), and my goal in life is to be a professional published author.


Has that given you a little bit of intel into who I am? Do you feel like you better understand and know the woman behind lifeofcloud.net? It’s important for me to state: you don’t really know me until you really know me. Just like the game telephone, impressions of me can be distorted through others or through assumptions of my character.

If there is anything else you’d like to ask me about myself, do not hesitate to comment. And if you’d like to make it easier to follow along, you can “Follow” this blog at the bottom of this page (it’s a blue button) – you’ll get an e-mail every time I post.

xo
C

Half a Year

It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a significant length of time for him.
It doesn’t seem like much, but half a year with the man of my dreams is a beautiful thing.

6 months and two days ago, the wonderful family that I worked for, in an attempt to keep me in Paris said to me, “Let’s set you up with our friend ‘Jordan’! You will like him, he is a really good guy Claudia, and he is so handsome.” Yeah, he sure was handsome (they showed me photos) but, ugh, I just wasn’t interesting in dating anyone. I told them, they persisted. I told him the same via text, but we agreed to meet regardless.

And I’m so glad I did.

Six months ago, my life was forever changed, the moment our eyes met, after 20 minutes of conversation and feeling like I’d known him for 20 years, after a shared kiss that truly felt like I was reuniting with part of myself I had lost.

6 months and most of them have been spent apart. But yet I feel as though I am with him, always. I feel connected to him, invigorated by the thought of him, I feel safe and I feel found.

He has had my whole heart for 6 months; he will have it for 6 more months, 6 years, 60 years, 600 years, until the end of time itself.

I have found my soulmate.
I found my heart in Paris.

I am so grateful for the best 6 months of my life, and I cannot wait to see what adventures we go on, next.

xo
C

Consumed

It’s amazing, this love.
On the International Day of Happiness, I certainly have a lot to be happy about…

The connection I have with Jordan continues to amaze me. The conversations we fall into about our feelings for one another never cease to touch my heart. We often wonder: do other people have this connection like us? Will it fade as time progresses? Or will it continue to become more powerful as it has shown itself to do over each month?

Sometimes I see videos on the internet of old couples who are so dedicated to their partner and they still have a light in their eyes when they talk to someone about their lover, and still show such pride and appreciation for the person in their lives. I am sure this will be us. Without a doubt, I know it will be. The connection is too real, was too instantaneous, and to authentic and honest to be anything other than this over-powering experience of pure bliss.

It is honestly difficult for me to remember a life before Jordan was in it. I don’t know that girl anymore. I have no recollection of living a life without him. He has consumed me with his endless love, his unwavering support, his pride in me, the laughs he brings to my life, and the excitement he floods me with when it comes to thinking about my future with him.

And one would think the long distance would be hard – and yes, some days when I could just use his arms wrapped around me, they are hard – but it’s just so simple, so natural. No thoughts sway from him. No others catch my eye. No sense of distance exists. No lack of trust, jealousy, or insecurity even touches my heart. I believe in us fully and completely and our constant communication, video chats, and moments of word-affections fill me in the time we are apart. It is like he is constantly with me; I carry him in my heart. It sounds so corny but it is so true!

And yet, simultaneously there is an emptiness we both feel when we are not together. There is a sense of strength knowing we have each other and love each other and the intensity of our love can overcome the distance, but at the same time there is an incomplete feeling that is completely cured when we are together. And we don’t have to be doing anything! The moments I value the most are those minutes after waking up, sharing a coffee, sharing morning affection, and making small talk. Or the moments before bed where we have our arms wrapped around one another and are shaking from laughter, diving into the most intellectually stimulating and passionate conversation, and then just slow down, quiet down, and fall asleep with our heads resting against one another. It is pure magic. It is so comfortable, natural, authentic… it is like we were created to be beside one another.

He tells me he always dreamed he would have a “wife” like me but I tell him I didn’t believe anyone like him existed. I could see myself alone forever and I was okay with that. I was done settling for mediocrity, I was finished with being in unhappy relationships with people got on my nerves more than they made me laugh, where drama was rampant and tensions were always high. All connections I have made had a negative, had something that stood in the way, felt incomplete. I saw romantic comedies and read romantic novels but didn’t believe that could be real life, until life brought me Jordan.

He says I have transformed him more in the past four months than anyone could ever achieve in the last four years. The things he tells me, the way he talks about me to others, I have never had a man show this much appreciation, respect, and adoration for my existence in their life. He consistently makes me feel valued. He continuously tells me how proud he is of me. He always makes me feel wanted and important to him. It is such a beautiful, confidence-boosting, happy feeling to be this loved and respected by a person you adore. I feel so lucky to know he feels this way about me. I feel so blessed to be loved by him.

And now, after another week together, we will have more time apart as we figure the next steps. Plans have changed. Career directions for the both of us have as well. It’s just a matter of powering through the next month (or two, or three) until we begin to build that home together. And I cannot wait to see where life takes us!

I always said my heart was in Paris. I didn’t realize how precise this statement could be! The Universe has a funny way of doing things… I am so grateful.

xo
C