Thoughts on a Plane

-written on the plane-

Hemingway once said: “Write hard and clear about what hurts,” and the pain I am feeling surpasses the definition given by written words. So let me be quite clear: this sucks. This fucking sucks. To know this raw, authentic, best friend, soulmate love, only to have the universe throw thousands of miles between us is a cruel, cruel joke. And I am not laughing. I am mad. And you know what I do when I’m mad? I destroy. I bravely face and overcome the challenge with unrelenting strength. And I prove to the problem that they are nothing in comparison to me.

The world is a lot smaller than it seems and for me to have traversed the ocean just to find my perfect match, my puzzle piece, my soul-mate, and best friend is complete magic. And it’s not something I will risk losing. This is not a passing or fleeting feeling. This is true. And a truer passion I have yet to experience.

He drives me to be better. He drives me to succeed. He drives me to be compassionate without expectation. He makes me laugh, especially when I need to laugh the most. He holds me and the world disappears. Our conversations expand my mind. He makes me feel beautiful. He makes me feel desired. He makes me feel truly loved and does so many little things to express this to me. How lucky am I?

I’m having heart palpitations as I write this and I worry that it’s because my body is manifesting my internal pain in physical ways. I need to sleep for a bit. I want to cry. Again.

–[slept on plane]–

I woke up. I had two beers. I cried. I slept again. I woke up. I cried.

6284 km between us.

I know we need to figure shit out. I know we need to do that independently to succeed. I know we will come back together when the time is right for us to work out. We met at a time when both of us needed it without realizing we needed it. It will continue in the same way.

He came in like a storm wind and he shook me right up. He’s left me changed. He’s imprinted on my soul and I can no longer let him go. I have seen his soul and I can no longer look away – it shines too bright, pulls me in like a moth to the flame. Like his eyes: they have a fire that I will willingly let burn me alive. What a beautiful way to die.

I am sure we have spent other lifetimes together. How else could someone know me so thoroughly in so little time? How else would I be so innately aware of his likes, dislikes, pains, needs?

It’s so interesting because we are the same person, like two wild children, best friends with the same mindset and goals. And yet all our differences also bring a perfect balance to each other’s lives. We are truly a perfect match.

But above all, our compatibility soars with our wanderlust hearts. We both want to find “home” – we both have no attachment to a certain place, and we are willing to explore and discover what’s best for us (independently and then together). But one thing has changed for me now: home is a person. Jordan Alzraa is home. “I have been shot down by love: you’ve got my heart now.”

It’s truly frustrating that this stubborn and strong person (me) is now completely hopeless and helpless against her feelings for one man who came into her life by chance. “No reason in getting attached, no?” –  I said this before we met. LAUGHABLE statement! The morning after we met I was texting friends, “Well, I am doomed.”

And what a glorious doom, what a magical destruction this past month has been. It’s so insane for me to say, “One month,” out loud when I swear I’ve known him all my life. I am happier having my best friend, Jordan, in my life. I have a teammate now. I have a partner ready to take on the world with me. I can’t fucking wait for the battle. I can’t wait to storm the field with this man.

But right now, I just need to share a bed with him again. Tonight will be hard.

Now my only concern is that I am not living in a town/area that makes random meetups with friends very convenient and I worry I may isolate myself in my sadness.

F*ck — the tears come in waves. And I am drowning. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

I am putting on ‘Flight of the Conchords’ on my plane television in an attempt to laugh. J was always good at getting me to laugh when I was down…

xo
C

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Day 101 – Departure

Hey there,

I leave in three days.

This is such a bizarre sentence to write because it honestly feels – with no exaggeration – that just yesterday I was writing about my third day here. Where did 104 days go? It seems as though I blinked and they vanished. It’s truly hard to believe all that I did in the time I was here and it’s truly hard to comprehend how I will have to let go of Paris.

I am only human – I said I was ready and I said I was prepared for moving onwards to my next adventure (and I truly am! I am always eager to see where life takes me) but it’s only now as I wind down the days that I look around me completely taken aback by the fact that I will not be walking these streets anymore and I will not be riding this metro anymore and I will not be strolling over cobblestones, hand in hand with my partner anymore. There is magic in this city. There is inspiration everywhere you look. There is a great big sigh that seems to resonate through every street. And I fear going back home and not feeling that same sense of wonderment and happiness that I felt while I was here.

But I need to be reasonable: if I want to stay in this city, I need to find work that doesn’t just pay my food bills but allows me to live. And, yes, success in this city is difficult. But that depends on how you measure success, of course. Blah, I’m rambling. I’m just lamenting the loss that I will be faced with in three days. THREE DAYS. Where did time go? Did I say that already? Three days! I am so conflicted with what I am feeling in my heart. I am ready to move on. I am not ready to move on. I am excited to see my family and my animals. I am sad to leave my lover. I have loved Paris. But have I truly loved her the way I had hoped? Bring on the next adventure! But am I ready for it? And what will it entail? Where will I call home?

And the problem is that I’ve fallen in love (not really a problem, but you understand the conflict it presents). If you know me, you know I don’t revolve my life around other people. I’m pretty selfish like that. I don’t let relationships stop me from moving forward with where I need to be or what dreams I will follow. But, alas, this one is different. He is not stopping me but he is presenting me with a new perspective: what it means to make decisions in your life with another person in mind. Compromise; is that the word?

This is my honest to goodness soulmate. The only time I have been so sure about something was in my persistence that I needed to move to Paris and live here in order to be happy (I was right). I am just as sure about this as I am sure that Paris was meant to be a part of my life (and perhaps her role in my life is not fully actualized, I’m not sure – it doesn’t really feel as though it is).

It is weird to me to think about the fact that I will no longer be telling people, “I live in Paris,” but, “I lived in Paris.” It seems like such a minor adjustment on a sentence but you don’t understand the way it makes my heart ache. Just writing those sentences made me distort my face in discomfort. It’s not a pleasurable feeling by any means. But, listen: I found myself in France, without question. I discovered so much about myself in such a short amount of time. I actualized my dream of living in Paris, realized my purpose in life (to write) and I lived a life of true independence and adventure and I found my freaking soulmate. Who can say they’ve accomplished all that in their lifetime, let alone in 104 days? My thirtieth rotation around the sun was the most magical I’ve ever experienced.

I already miss Parisian breakfasts. I already miss French butter (seriously, there’s nothing like it). I already miss the blue rooftops. I already miss strolls by the Seine. I already miss the smelly (but convenient!) Parisian metro. I already miss the magical late night walks in this historic city. I already miss the drinks and dinners on the warm terraces, people watching and staring off at historic buildings. I already miss the silly French behaviours. I already miss the smell of Paris in the morning and the smell of Paris after a rain. I already miss my cube of an apartment. I already miss my partner’s more spacious, homey apartment with the view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I already miss my fingers linked with his as we laugh down different Parisian streets. I already miss walking into old used bookshops and being greeted by old Parisians who take their bookselling jobs very seriously. I already miss the grocer greeting me when I got my nightly baguette. I already miss the smell of baguettes in the morning. I already miss the cheap cheese. I already miss the lights of the Latin Quarter and the smells of Mediterranian food that coasted down every street. I already miss the bells of Notre Dame. I already miss it all. I don’t know how I’m going to do it when all I miss about Canada are: my family (and closest friends), my animals, cheap prices, good pay.

I don’t know if Canada will be where I set my roots down, but I know it will always be home. And while it’s nice to go back home to somewhere familiar, where everyone speaks my maternal language, where I was raised and feel exceptionally comfortable, where I know exactly where to go to get what I need, and where family and friends are waiting for me, it’s still, as of right now, not where I picture myself in two years, five years, ten years… Where those roots may be set, I don’t know. But now I am no longer finding that out on my own, but with a partner. And that’s exciting to me.

Anyway, I figured I’d write a little something before my trip is up, and I imagine I’ll be in the mood to write when I return to Canada and I feel the absence of my partner or I am craving cobblestone streets and blue rooftops, but in the meantime, let me just take a moment to say that these were the best 104 days I could have asked for. And more adventure is around the corner. And I’m thrilled.

xo
C

Day 87 – L’amour

Hey there,

My time in Paris has been immensely transforming, and just when I thought I was done having my soul completely reinvigorated by all this city and living here has to offer me, the universe chooses to bless me with more, flood me with love, and show me, now, what true happiness is.
It is not destinations checked off your list, it is not visiting every building in a city and filling your phone with photographs, it’s not jumping off the top of the Alps and floating back down to the ground, but it is a human connection that transcends explanation and ultimately leaves you breathing a great sigh of relief as every atom in my body says, “Yeah, this is it.”
 
I had said that: “When I am old they will say, “I hear she lived in Paris and it changed her forever.” but I did not anticipate it to this degree. I did not imagine it might be /like this/.
 
I have 17 days left here and as time winds down, I wonder if I’ve truly let go of the city as I said I had in blog posts, prior. But, let it be known, that no second will be taken for granted, as I savour what truly matters to me in this city.
 
I thought I loved her {Paris} but oh, I did not anticipate what love she intended to show me. She is still my favourite city in all the world, but now, for reasons beyond just her beauty. 
She brought me to my muse.
xo
C

Day 70 – All Things In-between

Hey there,

I apologize. There are vast gaps between each of my posts. When it feels like a job rather than pleasure, I am deterred from sitting and doing it. And, truthfully, going through my numerous Japan photos is what deterred me completely. So I haven’t. Sorry, not sorry. More mindless banter, instead.

I don’t think there are enough words to describe how Tokyo wowed me. I don’t think I could find le parole to speak to how uniquely robotic it is while simultaneously being so full of life, passion, positive energy, and genuine, compassionate people. Unfortunately, there was too much to see in Tokyo alone so I long for my next trip where I intend to explore Osaka and Kyoto. I’m not done with Japan. I’m nowhere near done with Japan. I loved Japan, I love the Japanese people. I cannot think of something about it that I didn’t like. And I like what it did to me, how it changed me:

I’m ready to go home.
Home to Canada, I mean.

Paris served its purpose. Paris met the needs I was seeking to have fulfilled. Paris was everything I could have dreamed of and so much more. But like two lovers who have exhausted one another through intense moments of longing, desire, and, consequently, complete passion, I’m ready to let go of this one. I’m ready to discover the next and to see what that lover will help me discover in myself. I always said that Paris felt like my long-distant partner and every time I left her streets felt like being ripped from their arms, but now I got to truly taste her, revel in her, explore her, discover her, and find myself in her veins, and now there’s nothing to miss anymore. There’s nothing to long. I am completely satisfied. In such a short time, I was shown the world through Paris. I was shown who I truly am through Paris. I no longer need to desire her because she is a part of me. We are one. We will always be one.

But I drifted through Paris and very quickly, I am drifting out of her. Like a kite caught in a gust of wind. She reeled me in, and now she is setting me free. Onwards. Onwards to new adventures. Onwards to new homes. Onwards to digging my roots into more solid ground and building myself somewhere more stable. Paris is wild, a tornado’s wind, but I am searching for the calm winds that feel like breath on the skin.

And how did Tokyo help in all this? Well, it showed me how blinded I was by my passion for this city. And I cannot funnel all my desire into this one place when so much of the world awaits me. Paris was the start. Paris was the gas fueling this drive to live my best life. Paris was exactly what I needed, everything I could have ever wanted. But, what’s next? I’m ready, ready, ready. Because I got to fully experience Paris as I hoped to experience her, I am no longer wearing blinders on my eyes and won’t miss any opportunity that another place in the world may provide to me to discover, adventure, and truly live.

I am glad I still have 34 days to call this place my home and henceforth it will always be my home, but I’m grateful for Canada and ready to face her again. I don’t long for Canada, I don’t have any homesickness, I don’t feel sad, uncomfortable, lonely here. I’m totally happy. But I’m ready for Canada. It’s kind of like when you leave a partner because you just aren’t right for one another at that moment in time, so you come back together when you’ve bettered yourself. Canada, I’m better. Treat me a little kinder, yes?

This move was the best thing I could have ever done for myself, truly. It showed me how capable, strong, brave, and relentless I truly am. I won’t settle for anything but living my best life. I won’t settle for putting dreams on pause. I won’t settle for not pursuing what will truly bring me happiness in life. I did this to prove to myself that I could. I did this to prove to myself that I really am not scared of anything and nothing in the world can stop me.

Paris brought me back to life. My comet tail. I am ready to set the world on fire. Thank you, Paris.

xo
C

Post Scriptum: let it be known that Paris is still my favourite city in all the world. There is something about it that I cannot and have not found anywhere else. There is so much about it that leaves me shaking my head, especially when you experience this city as a resident and not a tourist, but in terms of how inspiring it is, how beautiful it is, and the endless mystery (and history) it holds, nothing levels up to it. But I’m still ready to move onwards.

Day 60 – JAPAN : days one & two

Hey there,
(Firstly: I can’t believe I’ve lived away from Ontario for 60 days, now.)

What can I say about this amazing city called Tokyo in Japan?
That it feels like I’m living in an anime, like I’m walking through a video game?
That the blend of old (so, so old) and new is a powerful reminder that growth and success doesn’t mean having to completely cut out the past?
That the people are so beyond polite, kind, helpful, respectful, and neat that even Canada could learn a thing or two (or seven, or twelve)?
That it’s the safest I’ve ever felt in another city, as a tourist or resident (even more so than Oakville, Ontario)?
That it’s so organized that it’s practically robotic, and adhering to this structure becomes almost innate as soon as you start walking the streets?
That it’s the cleanest city I have ever seen, despite not having any garbages (anywhere – unless I can’t see them) and I haven’t seen a single homeless person (and have read that the government is assisting extensively to lift people out of homelessness — in 2016, out of a population of 12 million, there were just over 750 homeless people counted)?

 

Tokyo is truly the wildest place I have ever been. I expected culture shock and I expected being overwhelmed by the language barrier but it’s nothing like that. This place is amazing and it’s hard to not fall right into place with the residents here because it’s not only expected that tourists be respectful of Japanese customs, but it’s also structured in such a way that it’s hard to do the opposite.


Here are some interesting things I’ve noted over the last few days:
– Money isn’t placed in the hands of a seller – that’s bad luck – but in a tray (credit cards too)
– Metro lines have letter names (along with Japanese names) and each station has a number, making it impossible to get lost or go the wrong way when using the metro
– Metro cars are so spotless that I would eat off the floor and not be concerned — but eating, drinking, or talking on your cellphone while on the metro is frowned upon
– Metro stations play a musical number moments before the train doors close
– Everywhere you walk – outside or inside – there are dividers and arrows on the floor that indicate which side you should walk on for what direction you are going
– People don’t rush here; I have seen maybe two people running, and as for the metro during rush hour, people stand in a line and wait their turn to get in the car and don’t crowd to push themselves on
– Metros are so safe and trusted that I witnessed 6/7 year olds riding by themselves, and people put their purses or bags on racks above the seats if they don’t feel like holding them or are standing and want the relief
– Most signage is in Japanese and English so it’s not hard to read (and worse comes to worse, use the Google Translate app to translate anything you may not understand)
– Despite having about 12 million residents, I haven’t seen too many people other than the downtown Shibuya neighbourhood, and the traffic is pretty standard (I would say it’s better than Toronto) — speaking of traffic, I’ve heard one car honk, total
– As a vegetarian, eating here was a big concern for me. I have found that owners are very receptive to my needs and I have also found many restaurants that state they’re vegetarian as well as numerous “North American” food options if I need something that’s tried, tested and true (and pizza – an abundance of pizza places!)

 

Day One
Sunshine City – This is a really lovely indoor mall with a just-as-lovely eatery area. After a 12 hour flight and maximum 3 hours of sleep on the plane, I decided to start my adventure with the Pokemon Center which was 10 year old Claudia’s burst-into-tears-heaven.

Akihabara – My evening was spent in this “geek district” of Japan. It was filled with video games, nerdy stores, lots of bright lights and big screens, and about a thousand claw games with prizes varying by the price of the game! The best part, in my opinion, were the used video game stores (urge to buy them all, fading… fading… RISING!… fading…).

Cat Cafe – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! So cute! It’s all you can drink for 350YEN but you also get charged by the minutes (200YEN for 10 minutes). If you need a place to work all day, get a day pass for 2,400YEN and you’ll have endless drinks while you waste time on Facebook as well as be surrounded by like 15 adorable kitties.

Ate
Delicious n00ds with insane tempura veggies on top for 900YEN
Delicious veggie patty thing over rice with soy sauce, and udon n00ds that tasted not so vegetarian so I stopped after a bite (lol) for 510YEN
A waffle shaped like Magikarp stuffed with insanely good custard for 350YEN

 

Day Two
Imperial Palace – admission is free to enter the grounds of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, which is surrounded by a moat! It was neat to see skyscrapers behind landscapes of ancient grounds. The place is huge and it’s easy to get lost. My favourite part was the garden of fruit trees!

 

Rikugien Gardens – a hidden (and silent) gem between really unappealing apartment buildings, this garden was 300YEN to enter and worth every penny. Insanely stunning. Like something of a dream. Best part: visiting the tea house and drinking a matcha while contemplating how gorgeous my life is, as I look across the still pond…

 

Senso-Ji – the capital’s oldest temple that is actually older than Tokyo, itself! This is easily my most favourite spot in Tokyo, thus far. It was stunning. Even the walk leading up to the temple is so picturesque and beautiful, and all the shops are selling authentic goods and food. It was just a lovely atmosphere and insanely gorgeous, to-boot. It’s free to enter, but most shops and temple visits close at 5pm. Best part: Put 100YEN in a slot and shake a silver container until a stick falls out – I got a stick with the Japanese symbol for #2 (happens to be my lucky number!). Find the corresponding drawer that matches your number and open it to pull out a fortune. Bad fortunes are apparently common, but I got one that said, “Better fortune”! And be careful if you get one with dai-kyo which is “Great Curse”… but, don’t worry; if you hate your fortune you can tie it to a string outside of the temple and the gods will whisk it away for you… and then you can always insert another 100YEN and get a new one!

 

Owl Cafe – Sad, avoid at all costs, expensive too (1000YEN). They say the owls and animals are rescued from pet shops and owners who can no longer take care of them, and that they live long and happy lives, but an owl that can’t fly because it’s tied to a post doesn’t sound like a happy life, to me. Also, it smelled bad.

 

Shibuya – this is the Japan everyone sees in the movies. It’s like a massively-upgraded Times Square but with ten times the people. Shibuya crossing is insane, the music blasting through the streets is wild, the illuminations coming from every store is so video-game-like, and the livelihood of this neighbourhood is definitely unique. Best Part: Honestly, it was just a visually appealing space. Everywhere you looked had new lights to make your eyes go wide. But I am not a fan of crowds so I walked through and walked out rather quickly.

 

Ate
Coffee and a Jam Sandwich from Caffe Veloce for breakfast (310YEN – cheap breakfast)
What could have been the greatest Japanese curry dish I’ve ever had from CoCo Curry Palace (which is apparently a chain, as I saw a few more through the day)… sticky rice, vegetables in a curry gravy, sweet pickled onions, for 710YEN
Ramen noodles in a soy base which was FREE from the hotel I’m staying at
Pokemon cookie snack things (110YEN from the Pokemon store – delicious and worth every pen-yen)

Alright, listen… you’ve been suckered here and you’re not getting any photos. I’m only a little sorry. You read all this for nothing. I’m cruel, mean, the worst, etc!

I’ve got photos by the boatload but my desire to upload them is at a level zero right now. And I’m planning a trip to DisneyLand Tokyo Sea tomorrow (it’s going to be rainy in the morning which means fewer crowds and a happier Claudia) so I need some rest. For now, you’ve got a lot of words to read, but next time, I promise, there will be a post of all the god-knows-how-many photos! And they are SO worth it, I swear! In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram (@darthclaudia) and see a few collections of photos, there.

Thanks, as always, for following along with this crazy dream of a life I’m living. I won’t fool you next time, I pLomise…

xo
C