Timst’s Happy Place

90 Days

by timst on December 1, 2012

It still amaze me how adaptable we are. Human are creatures of habits and tradition, and yet we have an incredible capacity to change, so incredible in fact that we don’t even think twice about it.

 

I used to spend most of my life in the same 300 km² area, talking to the same people, and speaking the same language. Then all of a sudden, here I am, spending my days talking only in english like it ain’t nothing, cooking alongside Germans and Turks, dancing with Japanese girls and eating fajitas made of tikka masala sauce and meatballs while listening to British folk music. Everything around me is foreign in every sense of the word and yet I take it all in stride, not even stopping to think of how spectacularly different everything here is, when compared to my previous life.

 

 

Bus lights

For instance, I’m still not quite used to be beamed with a 10 000-lux lamp while waiting for the bus.

 

 

Outside it has started snowing. It’s 3 in the afternoon and tiny specks of snow are whirling around in the setting sun. I come from a town by the sea where snow is almost unheard of, and as I mentioned before, being in the dark in the middle of the day is also very strange. And yet it seems normal, somehow. I think of the Asian exchange students that must discover an entirely new culture, or of US people living in a place where politics are the polar (pun not intended) opposite to what they know, but they seems to be adapting well too, eating turkey with chopsticks and watching their college football games via internet.

 

Ramen

But who am I to criticize, I eat my swedish ramen with a fork.

 

 

Everything is a bizarre mixture of local flavor and foreign traditions. I have a roommate from the south of France that still enjoy his Pastis apéritif now and then, only the bottle is labeled in German  because it was smuggled from Hamburg. My local supermarket has half an aisle dedicated to Thai food, and another aisle with boxes upon boxes of frozen salmon.

 

And thanks to Sweden’s lax migration policies and the EU, I’m almost a Swedish citizen. I recently got my very own “personnummer”, a unique number used to identify Swedish nationals. I got a birth certificate in Swedish. For all intent and purpose, my life is here now, at least for the foreseeable future, and yet it seems both real and so fake at the same time. I’m feeling like a foreigner, but not like I’m out-of-place. Like a fish out of water, but not gasping for air either.

 

Also, did you hear the news? Christmas is coming!

60 Days

by timst on November 1, 2012

If you wondered how I’m adapting to (oral) english, the answer is: pretty well. Since Sweden has a less retarded linguistic policy than France’s (ie, they don’t try to push swedish everywhere they can), people and companies routinely use english in everyday life, even on TV during shows or ads. For series or movies they use swedish subtitles, but that’s about it. As a result, everybody – and I mean, EVERYBODY – speak perfectly fluent english. You can walk to someone in the street and immediately start talking in english, because asking “do you speak english?” is completely unnecessary. Go ahead, try that stunt in France. Which bring me to my other point: apart from the occasional Spaniard, we’re the worst at english. Germans, Poles, Koreans, they all speak pretty great english. It must be a very interesting experience for native english speakers (there a few Americans, Canadians and New-Zaelanders, but apparently not a single British, for some reason). However, we’re all pretty much on the same plane when it comes to swedish (although some Germans that I know actually learned it in schools, so, huh, not really again). I started learning it in a non-credit course. It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll hope I’ll be able to make something out of it this time (not like I did with spanish).

And then I’ll understand everything in my supermarket flyer, and that will make me so happy.

Around 10% of the students here come from faraway lands. Most of the time it’s erasmus-type exchanges between universities, but some like me are so-called “freemovers”, meaning they no longer belong to their home university, nor to any kind of system, just enjoying their freedom and the wind in their hair, baby. A lot (some say half) of the international students come from our friendly neighbor to the east, which is awesome, because I don’t speak a word of german and generally don’t know a lot about Germany. Otherwise, we have some Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Turks, generally pretty much one of each European country, and a lot from miscellaneous countries. It’s mostly Europeans and rich Asiatics though, because non-EU students have to pay 15 000 € for a year.

Which is a shame; I was looking forward to the Congolese Dinner Party.

I guess this concludes the presentation of Växjö and Sweden, at least for now. We had the first snow of the year last week, which was great. For, like, 38 seconds, after which I remembered that my shoes aren’t waterproof and that snow is, for some reason, twice as wet as pure water. I’m in between two courses right now, meaning that I have even less lectures than normally (in fact I just realized that I’m in the middle of a two-weeks holidays, although it doesn’t feel that way). I’m mostly using that free time by staying in my room and doing nothing, but coming up next is a one-day trip to Goteborg, the hipster version of Stockholm and second biggest city of the country, and three weeks ago I spent a week-end on Gotland, Sweden’s biggest island, which looked a lot like France’s Brittany (or Morrowind’s Azura Coast). The “capital”, Visby, is a very cute and quaint old medieval city with walls and old timey trading posts. While the scenery is free, the drink aren’t however: I spent 130 crowns on a drink that was 70% ice and 100% disappointment. Speaking of which, I’m probably going to encounter similar prices next month when (if) I go to Stockholm. I’m planning a 3-days trip, but even though going there is expensive as hell, it still seems cheaper that, you know, staying there.

37 Days

by timst on October 10, 2012

Last time I told you that I spend hours at the library trying to understand the mysteries of graph transitive closure. When I’m not doing that (my favorite time of the day), I’m probably off doing one of those things:

 

  • Running in the forest. The surrounding areas are really, REALLY nice. Lakes, forests, nice wooden cottages connected to each other by dirt trails and quaint wooden bridges, and there is a nice tropical swimming pool in the center with slides. Yes, I’m living in a Center Parcs resort.
  • Going to the Systembolaget, the state-run liquor shop, which sells more than 10.000 different drinks, none of them fairly priced.
  • Throwing money away in a fast-food restaurant to eat meatballs (the national dish), or, more likely, hot dogs (the actual national dish)

 

Which I’ll accompany with a nice bottle of Xider Cactus 2005.

 

You’ll notice that I complain about prices quite a lot. That can be easily explained by the fact that nearly everything here is expensive as hell. 8€ pieces of meat. 10€ drinks, in special, low-taxes student bars. 2 euros for the cheapest cup of coffee on campus. Oh sure, there are ways to shop smart (I just bought 3.5 kg of chicken breast for 5€, which, considering the context, is a ridiculously good deal), but when you just arrived in a foreign country with a language you don’t understand and different shop layouts and financial organization, you tend to go for the easiest solution every time, and that’s how you blow your whole month income in a single week.

 

So far, most of that money was spent on either food or alcohol. Alcohol, as I said earlier, is pretty much only available in the state-run shop (unless you can get drunk on 2° cider, but when I tried I think my liver processed it faster that I could drink it), and boy is this place expensive. The cheapest vodka start at 25€ for a 75 cl bottle, and the worst wine will set you back 6 € (but to be fair, it looks like it will still be some good stuff. I wonder what local hobos drink. Wait, now that I think about it, I haven’t seen any since I’m here… Wow. Well played, Sweden). Since parties are common here, you either have to pick your battles, start being “that guy” who only drink other people’s drinks, or go on a special mission to Germany and bring back 100 L of alcohol.

 

(That’s not a joke by the way. Most student organizations organize special trips to germany just for the sole purpose of buying cheap alcohol, which you’re legally allowed to bring back, up to these limits:

  • 10 litres of spirits
  • 20 litres of fortified wine (such as port or sherry)
  • 90 litres of wine (of which, a maximum of 60 litres of sparkling wine)
  • 110 litres of beer

So, yeah, hooray for EU I guess).

 

For the food, the good news is that you won’t spend too much buying delicious local food, because there isn’t any. Not that the food isn’t delicious, but it’s mostly not local. Walking on the street in Sweden, you’re likely to encounter hot dog stands, kebab shops, Indian restaurants and a variety of fast-foods, but you’ll have a hard time finding a salmon-themed restaurant. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of culinary tradition in Sweden, once you’ve tried ligonberries, meatballs and one of the 25 different kind of breads. The most typical thing in my city is probably this:

 

Well if it’s the godaste hamburgare it’s ok.

 

Food isn’t my only concern however (but you know, I’m french, so I’m legally forced to write a paragraph on the topic). Another difference with my homeland come from the sky. Not from the fact that it cycle from sunny to overcast to sunny again to thunderstorm in less that two hours, but from the fact that it get less luminous by the day. We’re losing 30 minutes of sunshine per week, which means that by the end of the month, it will be dark just after 4:15 pm. In December, the day will only last for about seven hours, ending at 3:20pm. Now of course it means that there will be sunshine for 18 hours come next july, even though most of it will be while I’m sleeping. Of course.

 

Well at least I can read by the light of the auroras.
(Nope. Too far south. I need to go north!)

 

Next time I’ll talk about language. It turns out that English is way more widespread that I expected. Good thing french people are all famously proficient english speakers, I guess.

30 Days

by timst on October 2, 2012

It’s been a month now. A month that I’ve wanted to write this post, but mainly a month since I arrived in Teleborg Area, Växjö City, Kronoberg County, Småland Province, Sweden. The seat of the Växjö campus of Linnaeus University, where I’ll stay until 2014, at which point I’ll (hopefully) get a master degree in software technology.

 

Flag of the university

 

The campus at Växjö is US-style. I’m not sure how it works in most countries, but I’ve never seen something like that in France. Basically, the campus is like a miniature city : everything, from apartments to lecture rooms to restaurants and nightclubs, is located in the same park. There’s a small network of roads, sport fields, and even some shops dedicated to the approximately 15000 students living here. This is life-changing. It’s an entirely different approach to student life that everything I’ve seen so far. In France, you go to your school for the lectures, and that’s it. You can choose to have lunch at universities restaurants, and there might be some sport associations where you can work out for a low price, but for most people that’s the whole extent of the student life. You’re supposed to provide for everything else, and notably, if you want to have a social life, you have to work on it, because you’ll most likely never meet anyone from your class outside of the university buildings.

 

Not so much here, where basically everything is in the same place. You study, live, eat and work out on the campus grounds, and you’re never farther than 500 m from anything. This is very nice and convenient of course, but an unexpected result is that you spend your whole day meeting the same people, which is a huge social life accelerator. Now the assignment and exams are starting to pile up so most people just spend their free time in the library or in their flats, but at the beginning of the semester the campus felt closer to a summer camp than to a school. This tight integration of social life and studies is really something new for me, and I’m still getting used it to it, but so far I love it. It’s always awesome to meet new people, and the fact that most of them come from the other side of the continent (or planet) only make it more interesting.

 

VIS Welcome Dinner

At the Växjö International Student’s Welcome Dinner. It’s me in the middle, with the tie (because I’m classy).

 

And it’s a good thing, because I have a lot of free time here. I mean, A LOT. I only have, like, 3 or 4 lectures per week, sometime only over two days. As a result, I go to sleep at three in the morning, eat my lunch in the afternoon and generally live like I’m in vacations all the time. Now to be honest, the time I don’t spend in front of a teacher, I spend it in front of Eclipse in the library. We have a ton of assignment, and that’s not the sort of stuff that you can just brush off in an hour. The fact that there is so few lessons also means that you really, really can’t afford to miss one, since the teacher won’t backtrack and you can easily get lost if you’re not careful. For the moment I’m pretty well ahead in our Software Engineering Fundamentals class. Where I’m not ahead, however, is in the optional Graph Drawing class that I took, which deals with this kind of things:

 

Lecture slide

Yeah huh right, too much computational effort, let’s forget about this shall we ?

So yeah, not as relaxing as it seems. As I said, I still have some free time though, and next time I’ll talk about what I do with it.

Endgame

by timst on August 16, 2012

Alright, this is it, we’re in the endgame now. Tomorrow my internship in Nantes come to an end, Monday I’m taking my driving licence exam, on the 23rd I move out of my flat, on the 27th I come back to the city for my farewell tour (by which I mean, my last exam), and the very next morning I climb aboard a magical train that’ll take me far, far away from here, to the fantastic land of Roissy airport, in Paris.

Then I take a plane to Copenhagen, where I’ll spend the rest of the day (I could have done it in one day, but I have to pick up my keys before 5 pm…). That will be the occasion to walk in the real-life Borgen building (have you seen that show? You have to.), start to immerse myself in the north way of life (have you seen this movie? You don’t have to), and probably lose my train ticket or hotel key or something.

If nothing goes wrong by then, I’ll cross the Øresund bridge (like in Bron / Broen! Have you seen, etc.) in the morning of the 29th, and I should arrive in Växjö, home of the Linnaeus University (and me, as a result). There I should move in my apartment, meet my korridormates (probably not the proper term), and finally, go to ICA and marvel at the tubed meat.

 

Nourriture en tube

Truly, ’tis be thar land of ye gods. (I hope I made my english teacher cringe)

Then I have an orientation day, then three days with nothing, then a visit of the town, then two days of nothing,  then a programme presentation, then nothing, then a course presentation, then nothing, then a lesson I guess. This is a rather relaxed pace.

The univ is 58 euros away from Stockholm with some help from the various student organizations, and there is a train station and even a small airport with flights from the king of all things cheap, Ryanair. I can also take a train to the north, and then I’ll be in for a 20-hours trip.

Map

Or a 328-hours walk.

In theory, it sounds really, really good. Yet I still can’t really see myself there. I guess I won’t know until, say, two more weeks.

Next

by timst on June 23, 2012

As I say on my “portal” (sounds like a 90’s web term), I intend to use this blog as a captain’s log during my next two years in Sweden. But first, I’d like to take a minute just to sit right there, and tell you how I became the student of a town called Växjö.

 

 

Yo homes!
 

In west Europa, born and raised, on the playground… alright, let’s drop the fresh prince impression. I started early to toy with a computer (not “my first computer was a Wehrmacht radar” early, but still, around 8 years old). So I’ve always know that I wanted to “do something with computers when I’ll be older”, although I didn’t know exactly what. It only started to get clear when I entered high school, where I had to choose between the “bac S” (the scientific path, wildly considered the “elite” way that all smart people are supposed to do), and “bac STG” (a management-oriented path, fit only for the lowest peasants. Or so it was described to me). Since I felt that it was the most direct way, and because, yes, I was lazy and didn’t want to be exposed to my own limits, I chose the latter. Needless to say, this is a decision that changed my life, for the best maybe, but mostly, for the worst. Along with separating myself from my friends, this change had a direct impact in my life when, for the last year of high school, I had to leave my hometown and join another school in the nearby big city, Nantes, which was the only place that has the specialty I wanted (“GSI”, Information System Management).

 

La joliverie

When I arrived and saw that, I was a bit flummoxed. Yes, it’s a giant cross back there. No, this is not exactly standard issue in french schools. 
 

After high school, I stayed in the same school and started a sort of associate degree called a BTS (Brevet de Technicien Superieur, “Higher technician degree”), specialized in IT and software development. It was a kind of mediocre program, with some interesting parts (I learned a lot about networks) and some other that were waaay too shallow (the development part, for instance: we didn’t see anything about concurrency, generics, streams, etc). All in all, there was material for one year, not two. After that, still haunted by my high school decision, I tried to join back the Smart People Path, which meant applying to a special engineering degree that the École des Mines, a famous french engineering school, just opened. There was three rounds in the selection, and I managed to get to the third, until they dismissed me because of my poor math skills (now I confess that I hated maths, but 4 years of low-level technician training didn’t exactly help either).

 

So I felt back on a “professional bachelor”, that is, a bachelor without any non-professional subjects (no math, no humanities, no honor). This one was called “Systèmes Informatiques et Logiciels” (Computer and Software Systems), and was specialized in distributed application development. Not bad, uh? Well, in fact it was a rather unpleasant year, for a variety of reasons. One of them was that the program was a bit chaotic and disorganized, with a lot of lessons being taught by professionals from the field, which was nice at the beginning, but, well, they’re software developers, not teachers. There’s only so much they can do. So at the end, it was mostly “here’s an answer to a problem you never encountered” type of lessons, which was a bit confusing (yeah, I guess EJBs and MDA are neat ideas, but… why the hell would I want to use something that awfully complicated?)

 

Gordon

Also, this is what the university mascot looks like. Yeah.
 

Several months ago, as the year was coming to an end, I was exhausted. My private life was a smoldering pile of rubble, and the endless Spring RCP lessons didn’t do much to alleviate my restlessness. I needed to leave far away from here. Unfortunately, the fact that the bachelors was devoid of mathematics and other non-technical lessons meant that I couldn’t start a master program in France, at least not before taking another bachelor, something that I really didn’t want to do. So I found a glitch: foreign schools wouldn’t know about the subtlety of professional bachelors. They will just see 180 ECTS credits. And so came my plan of leaving to a foreign university, something that I had thought about since high school.

 

Nantes. Look at this hellhole! No wonder why I wanted to leave.
 

Regular exchange students needs to be registered in their home university, and often spend half if not more of their program there. So I decided to cut loose entirely and join a foreign university as a so-called “freemover” student. I picked relatively quickly my country of destination. I’ve always admired Scandinavia for its quality of life and advanced democracy, and had already the opportunity to visit Sweden during a trip in 2007, which was pretty great in and of itself (I have to admit that I’m a bit biased by my feelings sometimes). After weeks of research, letter writing and stress, I sent 4 applications. One for Linnaeus University, in the south of Sweden; one for Malardalen University, near Stockholm; one for Chalmers University of Technology, near Goteborg; and one for Blekinge Institute of Technology, even farther south. After additional months of excruciatingly stressful waiting, I got my answer:

 

Final selection results:
Linnaeus University (Växjö, Sweden) – Master in Software Technology: ADMITTED

 

I did it. I pulled it off.

So yeah, next 29 august, Sweden, here I come! And I won’t be back here until 2014, if I ever come home.

It is truly a new era for me. As I said in my earlier post, I’m not leaving solely for the aforementioned issues with my degree. It’s also because I let my social and love life pretty much crumble to dust. I need out. Leaving, alone, will allow me to start over. It won’t be a magical curse. I’ll remain the same, and probably make a lot of mistakes that I should have learned not to do by now. But at least I’ll had another chance.

So this is why I decided to live in what they call a corridor. That’s 6 rooms, around a, well, corridor, with a shared kitched and dining room. The big highlight here is that toilets and showers aren’t shared. While I don’t mind sharing the kitchen (mostly because I’m french, so obviously I’ll mope the floor with my roommates when it will come to cooking), I was a lot more hesitant to share the washroom. This is perfect. I’m really eager to see what it’s going to be like, and whether or not it’ll force me to be a bit more open to others.

 

snowman

Also, I fully intend to spend half my first winter doing this kind of things and this only.
 

My preliminary research (read: my stalking of emails took from the cc field of a mail sent by my future homeroom teacher) indicate that there will be at least 6 other students, including two middle-eastern guys, a Greek boy (or maybe girl), a Dutch, a Chinese dude, and, of course, an Indian guy (it wouldn’t be IT otherwise). This should prove to be interesting.

I might have a car too, and in any case I allocated a part of my budget to local travel, meaning I’ll be able to blow 2000 SEK on a whirlwind trip to Lapland so I can watch the northern lights. Also, be depressed the whole time that I’m doing it alone. But maybe this will change, too :)?

Other than that, I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen. I have some documents depicting the program, some others about the uni, and that’s about all. It’s a complete mystery. I love that.

The life map

by timst on June 7, 2012

Lately I thought up a sort of framework for relationships, their evolutions and life in general. It turns out that it explain / rationalize a lot of things, so I wanted to share it with you.

The basic idea is that life, reality and everything is represented by some sort of map, on a blank sheet of paper if you will:

carte vide

This map represents the whole spectrum of possibilities and realities, for everyone. Our position on this map is our current state of mind, but also our current spatial bearing, ideas, physical state, everything.

But of course, everybody changes. Everyday, you live new experiences, meet new people, taste new things, hear new theories, learn more stories. And then, you move to a new city. You start a new job. You begin practicing a new sport, or a new online game. Every single one of these changes, from the most trivial to the biggest, makes you move on the map. Our life isn’t just a point: it’s a line. A line winding through the map of reality:

un trait

So what’s a relationship, romantic or otherwise? It’s the intersection between two such lines. When you and an other person meets on the map, it means that you share the same ideas, the same desires and possibly the same space. This spiritual proximity quickly translate into an actual proximity, in the form of a friendship or a relationship.

deux traits

But as I (and Keane) said earlier, everybody’s changing. It’s almost impossible that you and your friend will keep sharing the same line, as it would means that you live the exact same things throughout your live. Of course you influence each other, but you’ll end up changing notwithstanding, and each millimeter of separation between your two lines ends up putting more strain on your relationship.

ecartement

Your philosophy changed. Your work changed. Your hobbies changed. You left your hometown, your college, your country. It happens. To everyone. Now the only thing making your relationship stands is the work that you put into it: the phone calls, the letters, the time arranged together. If you’re anal into making it work no matter the changes in the context, you can make your relationship fly for a bit longer than it should.

stress

But soon or later, the gap will become too wide. Then, either or both of you will stop working to keep your relation afloat, and it will sink to the bottom of your memory. It’s that moment, when your calls are returned less and less frequently, when the few time that you spend together is essentially an enumeration of your best (and past) moments, and when it become more and more apparent that this is over. And then come the breakup.

rupture

Contrarily to what the name implies, a breakup isn’t necessarily a sad, emotional or even important moment. But it can be, however, when one of the two hasn’t realized that it was over, or keep wondering why the other person has evolved differently.

unilateral

But more often than not, both persons realize that there isn’t much to salvage, and accept it. With time and new experiences, their lines will keep expanding across the map of reality.

la vie

This simple principle is handy to explain some others phenomenons: what is nostalgia? It’s wanting to return to a former point on the map. But it’s impossible. Things have changed forever. Words were said that could never be taken back. You have lived experiences that you’ll never forget. The quintessential nostalgic experience is those alumnus meeting, when you come back to your school and meet back your former classmates. You come here expecting to relive your teenage days, but obviously it’s not going to happen. You leave feeling uneasy: it was the guys and gals with whom you spent your school days, but they had… changed. They were not the same.
You just experienced disappointment: the gap between expectation and reality. The gap between two points of a map.

SOAP Opera (part 1)

by timst on May 27, 2012

Is it a fact – or have I dreamt it – that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

I wonder how many broken relationships, missed connections and unfinished conversations were due to the carriers’, ISPs’, messenger software developers’ and mobile phone manufacturers’ faults. I never used a single form of digital communication that was entirely reliable (well I could argue that snail mail and even direct conversation is kinda unreliable too, but that’s not the point).

Now, most of the time it is working pretty well, to be honest. But then one day, your message will be lost, delayed, mangled, cut or it won’t be sent to the right sender. Always. AL-WAYS. Now it isn’t too bad if you were texting your friend telling him how much you hate school or how bored you are, and statistically (for the purpose of this article, you’re a boring moron) that the kind of thing that get lost, but once in a while you do, like I do, like everyone does, send something more important. Something like “Do you want to have a coffee tomorrow ?” or “We need to talk” or maybe “Dude seriously don’t do it, this pond is choke full of crocodiles I swear”. Important, potentially life-changing messages that we decided to send via MSN or text messaging for some reason, and that maybe never arrived thanks to a random technical error somewhere between you and your recipient. It’s maddening. Every time you send something important and don’t get an answer, you not only have to worry that the person was startled / indifferent / whatever, but also that maybe it never even arrived. And then you have to wonder whether to wait, or to ask the person if they received the message, which can (and will) be interpreted as a lame attempt to insist on an obviously unwelcome topic. In both way, it completely ruins the dramatic effect and add an undue amount of stress to a situation that probably has way too much already.

State of the union

by timst on May 20, 2012

Today I walked from one side of my hometown to the other, passing along my former elementary school, my former highschool, seeing landscapes that I contemplated for as long as I can remember and smelling the same odors of pine and saltwater that I smelled when I was an infant.

 

God that was depressing. Next august I’ll depart from all this and start a new life in Sweden, where I’ll undertake a master degree in software technology. When people ask me why I do it, I usually answer “to get away from the past”, which never fails to trigger worried looks and hesitant questions afterward. Everybody immediately imagine gruesome tales of child molestation, extreme poverty or close ones’ deaths.

Fortunately, nothing of the sort ever happened to me. I lived an average childhood and adolescence, which was, to say the least, uneventful. But that’s exactly the crux of the problem: I can’t help but think that I didn’t live my life to the fullest. I’m already almost 21, and while I technically completed all the step of an average man of my age (I went to parties, I had a girlfriend, I traveled the world, I had sex, I moved out of my parent’s basement, I had a cat…), it just felt… unsatisfying, somehow. I went to a handful of parties. I had exactly one girlfriend. I traveled with my parents and mostly forgot what I saw, or wished I was elsewhere, or at least with someone else. I had sex… with exactly one girl; I never lived that perpetual orgy that every other teenager seems to live. I live in a dark and damp flat. My cat is… well, he’s satisfying, as cat goes, so I guess that’s something.

But I come to slowly realize that, contrarily to most people, I’m not haunted by sad memories: I’m haunted by happy ones. Rare, fleeting times where I was truly happy, making friends, chasing girls that responded in kind, eating great food, listening to amazing music, laughing, and, as Weezer said, “spending some time forever”. But it didn’t last, and then I was back to where I was.

Where I was being: alone, isolated and hoping that this kind of golden age will return soon. Which, of course, it never did. At the end my nostalgia and my isolation fed themselves, my obsession with the past preventing me from living the present. As things crumbled around me, the pool of things I regretted kept expanding, until I was entirely friendless, single and generally lonelier that I ever was, and then I simply missed my whole life. Those were pretty grim times, proving that it doesn’t take a real tragedy to send someone spiraling down the melancholy whirlwind.

 

But as I said, this period is about to end, and I’ll be able to start over. There’s nothing left to save here anyway: I have but a few real friends to speak of, my ex has completely moved on, there’s no group or club I’m a member of, I guess not a lot of people will notice when I’m gone, which is all the better: I hate dealing with the awkwardness of relationships that have long sailed past their expiration date.

Here’s hoping that my new life will be better than this one. Now of course I shouldn’t be too hopeful, but to be honest, I’m not nearly as brooding as this post will make you believe, so (in Bastion’s narrator’s voice) don’t you worry, don’t you worry…