In 2018, came my first opportunity to live abroad when I moved to Rabat, Morocco to study the language, politics, and cultural identities of the area. It was the first time I could apply schooling to the immediate richness of living. It was the first time I saw how life could be fluid, warm, and open, revolving around community that treats stranger as neighbour and neighbour as family. In walking through these many opening doors and in joining with these many open hands, I learned that true love given is the same as recieved.
These four months sparked a passion to live in immersion again. So in the fall of 2020, just after graduating from college, I moved to the small town of Montreuil-sur-mer, in northern France, to work as an English teaching assistant. This was one month before the second wave of covid-19 would hit Europe and blanket the country in lockdowns and curphews. My roommate, Paloma (who quickly became family), found us an apartment at a beach town nearby, so with the ocean and its long and windy beaches right next door, we hunkered down for the months of lockdowns to come, only adventuring to work and to the big Carrefour down the street for our regulars-- ingredients for croquetas and fried potatoes and quiches that we would cook, then eat as the tv playing its long trail of French reality shows and as we talked and drank Chti beer until late at night. This time was much more inward than the time in Rabat, with lessons that came from inside myself as I had not much else to do in my chilly attic-room bedroom, but to study my mind and its kinks, and to lay it all out before me like a roadmap in need of some re-designing.
I am very grateful for the time and space I had for self-examination here. I think this is a rare gift, and one to be integrated into everyday life gently.
The following images and words are a working attempt to piece together the journaling and other documentation of that time, as well as more work formed while visiting other parts of France.