Once I watched 23 children Swim in a crystal blue pool For maybe the first time. I have seen a lot of nice things in life, like the spread of a city out underneath my palms, head out a window on July nights, boys with dimples I’ve cried my heart for months out over leaving behind I’ve seen first breaths and held hands and felt your car and Eric church underneath me in that magical summer air And I have never seen Anything as beautiful as the color of that sunshine on a little girls laugh As she experiences something as simply Valuable As a Sunday swimming pool.
But the heart has many chambers, please recall. There are atria, vitria, valves and electrical wiring all leading through passages festooned with photographs, books, clippings from dreams and memories pinned and taped and annotated cryptically. It’s like the tower room of an ancient professor of humankind. Here an old pipe, there broken shoe, a stack of periodicals long out of print. Only she knows whose chew marks the pipe bears, what miles wore the holes in the shoesole, only she recognizes the echoes of names rippling through the fleshy walls.
“At first, heartbreak made me beautiful. My skin fluoresced. I hypnotized trees. The orphans followed me around town, drunk on my pain. I ate only my own hunger, gave off a scent like bitter oranges or chlorine. Loss left me strangely whole, as if my sadness, were it strong enough, could turn your ship around. That was back when I aged. Now, like an astronomer who seeks no first causes, but only to map the connections pinned out over the sea, I want to diagram the light that shines out through the holes you pricked into me.”
"Late twenties, long blond hair, pink cheeks and lips. You wore a light, cream-colored coat over your dress and a white Chanel purse with a gold chain. You held the hand of a little girl, a miniature replica of you in a pink dress. We watched you both sit in front of us, smiling as you spent five minutes reading her the menu she held upside down before ordering tea for you and ice cream with lots of chantilly for her. You did not speak much. You watched people pass and sipped your tea, and oohed and aahed when your daughter offered you a spoonful of ice cream and chantilly. I couldn’t help it. I took a mental picture.”
Walking streets alone and eating dinner at tables for one — maybe with a book, maybe not — you’re left alone for hours, days on end with nothing but your own thoughts. You start talking to yourself, asking yourself questions and answering them, and taking in the day’s activities with a slowness and an appreciation that you’ve never before even attempted. […] Yes, the country and its people will have their own effect on who you are and what you think, but few things are more profound than just starting over with the basics and relying on yourself to build a life again. I have yet to meet a person who I didn’t find calmed by the experience. There is a certain amount of comfort and confidence that you gain with yourself when you go to this new place and start all over again, and a knowledge that — come what may in the rest of your life — you were capable of taking that leap and landing softly at least once.”
— Thought Catalog, What Happens when you Live Abroad