March 16, 2009

The Destination

Source: ADAA 2008, Matt Sartain

I was thinking about what I wrote yesterday and while there are words there, it doesn't really say anything.

We watched a French film in class today - L'auberge espagnole - which translates literally as The Spanish Apartment but is a French idiom meaning something more like The Melting Pot. It looks at the journey of Xavier, a French graduate who goes on exchange to Barcelona under the Erasmus program. In Australia we just call it an exchange, but in Europe, the word Erasmus gives birth to all sorts of knowing looks and the common "Ahh, you're on Erasmus..." We're every local authority's nightmare, apparently.

The movie is based on Erasmus' famed "In Praise of Folly", a literary work that sounds familiar but of which I have no personal knowledge. Je ne connais pas! Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus was a 15th century humanist and theologian and the European exchange program is named after him.

For what injustice is it that when we allow every course of life its recreation, that study only should have none? - Desiderius Erasmus, 1509

So Xavier was on a journey. Before getting out 'in the real world', he went abroad for a year. He took off to another country, he barely spoke the language and he was surrounded by all sorts of crazy new people. Maybe they went into his objectives for the journey, but there weren't any subtitles so I missed them if they were discussed. But I was beginning to feel reflective.

I sat in the dark auditorium and I barely understood a word, but at the same time I did understand. I wondered how many of the same experiences would pop up in my journey, how many I'd be able to relate to by the end of this year. Hopefully not all of them. Particularly not the having-an-affair-with-a-married-woman one.

Somebody help me out, please. It's all turning into clichés. Listen to your parents, kids. Turns out they do know a thing or two. I don't have many specific goals for this journey. The Destination is really a lot less important than the experience itself. If I can say one thing when I get home, it will be: Je sais qui je suis.

I know who I am.

Reading #FrenchSafari: The DestinationTweet this!

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