My French host mother (from my 2006 trip to France) isn’t the only person in Europe who calls waking up “standing up.” Christianna, the German student my family is hosting for three weeks, was talking about her boyfriend the other day and mentioned how he is probably sleeping at present (this was at 3:50, or 10:50 their time) because he has to “stand up” at six. It made my day, to say the least. I realized that I will never doubt my French host mother again. But, for the sake of my brain actually remembering something, here was how the discussion went four years prior:
Catherine: What time did you, uh, stand up this morning?
Jenna: …quoi? (meaning “what?”)
Jean-Pierre: (laughing) Wake up! It’s “wake up,” not “stand up.” Funny woman.
Catherine: Oh! Yes…that is right.
Naturally, my saying “quoi” was close to the only time I spoke French during my time abroad. And perhaps you’d need to be there (or know them) to find it as funny as I do. At any rate, there are always those moments where you say something to a person who isn’t fluent in your language (or vice versa) that tends to raise brows. That was my moment, and that was my story.
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for (but not actually), I published a poem this week. The micro-journal at my college, The Yellow Bicycle, publishes work of students and faculty every week in the form of a front-and-back yellow piece of paper. They accept short prose, poetry and reviews/essays. My poem can be found at the first link, as well as HERE and below:
In my Head
I poured two glasses of white, your favorite,
just to see if you’d show.
I set the alarm on your side of the bed
just to see if you’d turn it off in the morning.
I shined your shoes and put them by the door
just to see if they too would head to the office.
I folded your linens and set them on the step
just to see if you’d put them away.
I became drunk off of those two glasses of white
because you weren’t there to drink one.
I remained silent in bed as the alarm rang for hours
because you weren’t there to turn it off.
I watched your shoes gather dust where shine once was
because you weren’t there to take them for a walk.
I let your linens come undone on the step
because you weren’t there to place them in their drawer.
Your last words ring clear in my head
every day when I wake, and when I go to bed.
I will never leave you alone , you said,
I will always be there until I am dead .
I wake and sleep alone now,
your words still ringing in my head.
I appreciate any feedback on the poem, of course. I am still in the process of getting a feel for poetry. I will always prefer prose, but poetry is something that I can write in a shorter period of time to keep myself going with words when there isn’t time for prose. I hope to get back into prose soon, though. Jasmine over at Eat Move Write is having a Short Story Writer’s Challenge this week. I am going to participate if I have time, but homework comes first!
That is all I have for tonight, folks. I need to head home from the coffee shop and get ready to embrace sleep. Before I go, I find it only appropriate to share with you two pictures I took on Sunday night. Christianna (German host student for those who already forgot from above – I know I would!) gave my step-sister, Hannah, a beautiful shawl for a German present. Naturally, I felt it necessary to dress the cats up with it. Presenting…
Have you encountered a language barrier situation?
Thoughts on the poem? Yay? Nay? Feedback?