parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Friday, August 10, 2007
    The Youth on the Train
    We took a train from Paris to Amsterdam.

    I liked the train. It was over 4 hours, but felt like 2 (unlike the stupid nasty wretched awful Iceland Air flight). We had packed some food to eat, and enjoyed nibbling on cheeses and meats and little wafer cookies with milk chocolate sexy zodiac figures stamped onto them. I spent the time looking through Amsterdam travel guides (I didn't have time before the trip, due to that pesky test that consumed my life), and reading my novel (which is outstanding).

    Across the aisle from us were some American hippy-kids. They were probably 20. The girl said that she had just spent a month in Turkey, and the boy mentioned having been in Prague. I eavesdropped a lot, I will admit. They were a foot and a half away from me, so it would have been hard not to. I wondered where they were from, and didn't detect any accents, but based upon their free-spirit attire and behavior, I guessed Northern California.

    I was struck by just how young they were.

    When I was young, I did not travel. I went to a very small-world college, where foreign things were feared and demonized. The farthest I traveled was from Lynchburg, VA to Washington, D.C. And so in my mind, the people who spend time during college, or even high school, traveling are wise people. They are mature beyond their years. Their experiences and exposures make them exude a peacefulness and understanding. Right?

    I think I've seen that in my friends who I know to have traveled in their youth, but I see it in their 30 and 40-something selves. Not their college-age free spirit selves. Because I didn't know them then.

    So it was slightly surprising to me that these well-traveled independent kids were kids. They were 20. Everything they said, everything they did, screamed: I am very young! I do not understand the world yet! I think that this boyfriend who I hooked up with on my trip to Turkey is my soul mate!

    And I realized that just because they're traveling now, on their own, while young - does not mean they get to just skip over the growing up part. This is one of their experiences that will feed into their adulthood, and once they reach that point, they may (or may not) have that wise and well-traveled bearing that I foolishly expected from kids in their position right now.

    To be fair, though, they reminded me so much of my friends from CA who did hook up on a post-college trip to Eastern Europe, and who now have 3 children together, their oldest being E's age. Even though they were undoubtedly young on their train from Moscow to St. Petersburg, while staring into each other's eyes declaring each other soul mates.

    Turns out, toward the end of the ride, the girl saw that I was reading Snow, by Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish author, and therefore found me relatively approachable. They asked me if they could see our Amsterdam books, which I gladly shared. While they leafed through, an identifying bookmark that my local independent bookstore sticks into each book they sell fell out. The kids handed the books back with the bookmark on top, and said, "That's a great bookstore. We're from Boston." I said, "oh yeah?" and told them where we live. They said, "Yeah, we go to [undergrad of the school I just graduated from]." Holy shit! We all got a good laugh out of that one.

    On a train, in Europe, we're sitting across from people who live around the corner from us!


    posted by Zuska @ 7:31 AM  
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