24 September 2013

Thoughts on the Fall

I've been thinking about this entry for a couple weeks now. I've been writing it in my head every time I walk through the rainy streets of Moscow.

It's the fall. I woke up one morning and all the leaves had changed. The city became quiet again, like the way I had remembered it when I first arrived. So I've been thinking about the fall, and all my falls.

The fall was always my adventurous time. Things always happened in the fall. I always fell in love in the fall. I was always brave and excited. It was my time.

I think back to my freshman year of college and that fall. It was brilliant and dingy and magical and cracked all at the same time. I allowed myself to be myself in all of it's forms. I made new friends, wild, crazy friends, and my nights never seemed to end. I listened to this song and wore feathers and glitter in my hair and I didn't care at all what anyone thought of me. I never felt so open or so in love with every single person that passed by. It was a beautiful time.

I healed a lot that fall. I recovered from things I didn't even realize I needed to recover from. Things that had once been so much apart of me suddenly seemed so wrong and I buried them deep and far away. My first college was an arboretum and I never learned the names of any of the trees, but I looked up at them happily when their leaves burned red.

My second fall was darker. Things weren't sitting right anymore. I didn't notice the changing leaves and spent a lot of time staring out windows and listening to this song. The first boy I had kissed in college had given me mono and my body shrunk and shrunk and I hallucinated in my classes, desperate for sleep. I didn't like where I was anymore. I felt mediocre and the people that had used to make me feel so excited and alive now made me feel insecure and worried. I sat outside one day in the arboretum, smoking a cigarette on the phone with my mother, and I decided I would leave and find a new home at the school I had turned down my senior year of high school. And that's exactly what I did.

When I arrived at Beloit, I was at my physical weakest, but my emotional strongest. I said yes to everything. I felt confident and mature. I didn't need my long hair anymore. I wasn't afraid to show people my writing and I raised my hand in class. By the times the leaves changed again, I was new.

My first fall in Beloit was a dreamy mess. I took an intensive writing class that made me lose my mind in the best way possible. I sent my dad my poems and he told me they were the best things he'd read all year and my heart soared across Wisconsin. I listened to this song and sat on benches in the quad, writing letters to my old friend, a writer in Chicago. We began writing everyday and I shared everything I could. He pushed me to write down everything and to write it well and I thrived on that. That fall, I sat in my room for hours with pens and paper and I never felt more creative or more perfectly in tune with the thoughts in my head.

The next fall, I met Ben and I felt so in love, but so unsure. I remember giving my mentor shitty writing and telling him I didn't know the difference between love and infatuation and he told me he didn't believe me. I listened to this song and wondered where I really did want my life to go. School was ending and my life obligations were up: choices needed to be made.

Then came the next year when the time for choices were made. And we choose Russia one fall night over a bottle of white wine in my parents kitchen.
"Where will I have a better time?" I asked Ben.
"Well... everyone is really nice in Japan. Like, really nice."
"But you'll never be one of them. You'll just always be an outsider. Not that that's a bad thing. But in Russia--you'll have real conversations. You'll make friends that will last a lifetime. I think you'll find a kindred spirit in Russia."

And that's really what he said and that's really why I'm writing this from my Soviet style apartment in the south west corner of Moscow.

And now it's this fall. Three weeks ago it began to rain and it hasn't stopped yet. Everyone keeps telling me this kind of weather is unusual, but I think all weather is unusual.

Ben and I have had some hard talks. We've had to be very honest with one another where we'd like to spend our fall next year. Part of me wants to go home--I love Moscow and all it's been for me, but it is a difficult city to live in. Sometimes I just ache to like, go to Trader Joe's or something. To just tell a joke to a cashier or have someone bump into me and then apologize. Really, when you're away from home for a long time, the things you miss are so small and strange. I miss my easy life.

But then I, like Ben, want to stay abroad. I want to see more of the world, before life really happens and it's harder. I don't want to look back and have too many what if's...
Everything was feeling difficult. The rain was so cold I couldn't even appreciate the leaves. I don't own rain boots and probably never will.

But this, like all things, like all my falls, worked out. We finally had a conversation that solved our dilemma and left us both excited about the future. I'll reveal more as our plans finalize, but I have a lot to look forward to. Lots of hard work, but lots of good things ahead.

The fall has been good to me again. I've been listening to a million songs and appreciating the leaves. Things are happening.


  1. You are such a beautiful writer. I love reading your posts.

    I always felt really similar to how you described feeling in the fall. Actually, the other day I was just thinking about how any time I fell in love, it was always in the fall. Funny you mentioned the same thing.


    1. Thank you so much Sam.

      I think it's so beautiful that you share the same thoughts. There's just something in the air...

  2. Hi Lisa,
    Like Sam said above - you are such a beautiful writer.
    I enjoy and appreciate every one of your posts, they are so interesting and well written.
    I look forward to reading about your next plans, and what next fall brings you.
    Elise xo

    1. Elise, thank you *so* much. I'm so glad you're enjoying my posts. I'm really happy to have such a sweet reader.

  3. Lisa, you should write a book. I would buy it!

  4. Always interesting to read blogs by writers in different seasons (its spring here), but change is relatable despite the weather, love how you've described it here. You mention India vs Thailand in an earlier post, had to give my two cents, Thailand was alot of fun but India changes you:) If you're interested in reading lindia60.com - I was friends with her daughters and lived with them for a bit in Delhi, her blog is pretty awesome.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I really want to spend some time in India- it's just been calling my heart for a long time. I think I'd like to go to Thailand on holiday and go to India to explore and experience. And I will definitely check that blog out, thanks girl!


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