Coffee Dates

Between travel adventures and the discovery of new junk food, my days are pretty normal (bordering on boring). Sometimes I feel like a visitor; sometimes I feel like a resident. My lack of social connection reminds me that I’m a visitor, but the pile of dishes in my sink says resident. I better understand what Edward Said meant when he wrote about having a “resident alien” status. I’m in limbo, struggling to settle into any kind of useful routine. It’s like being in a constant state of not quite belonging. I feel like a guest, but my host has long grown weary of entertaining, leaving me to fend for myself. I find the remote, settle in, and wait for something exciting to happen. This is not sustainable. 

While I’m ecstatic to be catching up on shows most of you have long ago forgotten, I recognize that this isn’t the most productive use of my time. I’m lonely and bored and binge watching The People Vs OJ Simpson will not cure that. (But that series is THE BOMB, you guys; WATCH IT IF YOU HAVEN’T.)

A few weeks ago, I revisited some of my Norway goals, and I made some adjustments to my schedule. In terms of travel, I’m doing/planning about as much as my budget can take. So, we’re good there. My time on Duolingo has stagnated a bit, but not dried up completely. The problem lies mostly in my reading and writing habits. (BECAUSE WHY READ WHEN YOU HAVE TELEVISION AND PICTURES CAN TELL YOU STORIES INSTEAD OF WORD.) See? It’s already happening. I’m devolving.

In an effort to stagnate my devolution, I’ve started taking myself out for coffee dates. I’m more of a tea drinker, but the coffee here is very tasty. A few shots of espresso a week won’t kill me. I pack a book, my Moleskine, a pen, and I spend an hour or so nursing one six dollar beverage and feeding my brain. It’s been productive. I’m working mostly in poetry, and I have a lot of new stuff percolating. (Anybody want to workshop?)

For those of you not on my Instagram, here’s a compilation of coffee date photos (If you order a coffee, and don’t put a picture on Instagram, did it really happen?)

To be fair, that last one is from today and hasn’t made it to Instagram yet. WATCH OUT, PEOPLE.

I’ve filled the Moleskine that I brought from home, and I cracked a new one today. I’ve also finished (almost) two books (two chapters left of Invisible Man). Maybe I’ll get really ambitious and start reading some rhet-comp journals. I’m fucking wild.

I also downloaded a brain exercise ap called Peak. If you’re wondering who’s good at hitting numbers in order from lowest to highest…it’s not me I only scored in the 50th percentile for that game. BUT if you’re wondering who’s good at putting one smiling face on top of another smiling face, yeah, I’m a pro at that one.

The emerging theme of this blog post is that I’m actively working against letting my brain go to mush. I’m not sure that’s physiologically possible, but why risk it? Besides, on Friday I met IVAN who’s the “head of schools and adolescence and growing up” for Moss (his title doesn’t translate well), but he informed me that I should be speaking Norwegian by now. (Maybe if I weren’t watching TV all the time…)

Evidently there are only 30,000 words in Norwegian (compared to about 300,000 for English, so says Ivan) so two months of residency is plenty of time to be fluent. I mean, I HAVE been here for 64 days. Learning 460 words a day isn’t UNREASONABLE. Maybe he would have thought differently if he’d seen my Peak scores. He was a nice fellow though, and it was refreshing to be OVERestimated, for a change.

Anyway, my outings have nice–clearly a much better use of time than going zombie in front of the TV or computer. When I get back into UND full swing, I’m sure I will long for languid days. But having a little productivity penciled in can’t be all bad. If I get any of these poems published, you’ll be the first to know!


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