Well guys I read my way through a fraction of the box of letters and I shed some tears but what I took away, more than anything, is what a rare treasure I have and that I need to get it all into some kind of fireproof enclosure, STAT. I love email and texting. Those are my two favorite modes of communication. But when I look through my letters, I can't help but feel like I should be writing down everything I feel about every person I love right now and send it to them for keeps. To have this physical proof, the handwriting, the clear-headed thoughts and intentions of the most important people in my life right there, to revisit whenever I want. The paper they touched. The pen they chose, the stickers and asides and grammatical mistakes and misspellings. The words. Those are all mine to own forever, and like I said, I love electronic communication, but this is wayyyyyy more special.
When I did my semester abroad, it was 1996 and though email existed, I wasn't able to access mine, and besides, 90% of the people in my life didn't have it. And so I communicated entirely through mail and once-a-week phone calls with my parents and with Mike. What a different world now. All I'd need to take abroad was my phone and you'd see me on the Eiffel Tower in real time, we could text whenever I felt homesick. Communication, and life in general, would have been easier in a lot of ways. But I'm glad for the experience, not only because the waiting made me stronger, but now I have this amazing collection of words meant just for me. Mike, of course, was my most faithful correspondent. But the most frequent writers besides him--all six--are gone now. And I have exquisite records of our relationship to cherish.
I'm not done writing about this by a long shot. I have so much to say, and I never ever write about my time in Paris, which is crazy, because it changed my life. But for the moment this will have to do. I'm about to go underground for awhile for work-related reasons, and all my writing will suffer for the next couple of weeks, but I'll be back for sure and I'll tell you more whether you want to hear it or not.
Before I go, just a few words from my darling grandfather, who was so thrilled that I was studying French, his native tongue, and that I would have a chance to visit the landmarks he saw during the war.
Pup starts his letter with his typical, simple manner,
"So nice to hear that you're adjusting one day at a time. We know that you will be OK. You're smart and brave."
If you ever wonder where I ever got my confidence, or formed this idea that the world wants to hear what I have to say, or that I'm worthy of love, well, that is just one passage from one letter I've received out of hundreds. Maybe I didn't earn it. Maybe I didn't deserve it. But someone, more than one person, showed me and my siblings and cousins every day, in actions as well as words, and that makes a deep impression. I didn't actually have to leave the country, or even the house, to have it made known. But to be able to look back and have that evidence of the rock solid foundation I was given, it's breathtaking. Like I said, I should be putting pen to paper for everyone who is dear to me right now, just to make sure they know.