Siner Says

A blog about journalism, food, shoes and other random thoughts — essentially, a way to casually exercise my writing muscles. If you’re looking for my actual radio work, see my on-air portfolio.

Ten Days (Dix Jours)

You must know about the ten-day phenomenon.

When a big life change is ten days away, it seems like it might never happen. Ten days from today is the end — the END — of next week. That’s practically decades away, and so, you think, there’s no need to start preparing for it yet.

Little by little, the minutes trickle away. And then hours. And then, before you know it, it’s T minus eight days until you leave for France for four months (shoot, I need to fill out my insurance forms) and then six days (do I have the right luggage to start packing?)  and four days (can I still make a hair appointment?) and two (I really should have started packing a while ago) and then VROOM goes the airplane out of O’Hare, and it suddenly doesn’t matter whether you filled out the forms or have the proper luggage or got your hair cut or remembered to bring your retainer, because you are on a flight out of this country whether you like it or not.

That will happen to me in ten days.

But hey, there’s no need to start preparing for it yet.

An Introduction (Une Présentation)

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. Original photo from 2007.

Hello, my name is Emily Siner. I’m just a girl trying to travel the world.

I went to Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and Germany five years ago, and I have been determined to live in Europe ever since. Collegiate study abroad may be the closest I ever get to that dream.

For some students, this is an easy path to take, but mine was wrought with hard choices. In September, I had given study abroad barely any thought, except for this: To spend a semester in Europe, I’d have to give up an amazing job as an RA; I’d have to dip heavily into my savings account; I would be more rushed to finish my degree in four years; and, oh, I’d probably have to persuade my parents to support me despite all these obstacles.

Well, I had given in a little more thought than barely.

OK, fine. I thought about it every chance I got — which was, on average, once every waking minute. I thought of every possibility and made constant pro-con lists in my head. But the fact is, I was starting to care less about these obstacles — job experience, money, well-paced academics — and more about the dream. Living an adventure. Traveling Europe. Finding myself. Buying baguettes.

As I often do when I have to make hard choices, I finally decided to stop internal struggle and, à la Nike, just do it.

OK, again, that’s not completely true. I actually just came up with a cunning self-compromise: I would apply and wait until I got in to decide. But I also knew there was no way I would say no when I got my decision letter.

So here I am, 11 days away from leaving for Aix-en-Provence, France, and quite at peace with my decision. I cannot wait for the change and the adventure, though I am also pleasantly terrified at times. I hope this blog will portray to you the fruits of my budding experiences in Europe. I don’t intend it to be a daily journal of my trip — some stories are best left for parties and coffee dates. Rather, this will be a place to write my musings on travel, change, and life.

I decided on France because I knew I’d be able to speak the language and actually have a chance of achieving fluency. Plus, though I’ve never been there, I’ve studied the culture for almost seven years in French classes. I decided on Aix-en-Provence because I’ve heard it’s really, really cute. And, you know, educational.

The name of this blog came straight from the witty mind of Rebecca Schlesinger. I will thank her for letting me use it with a generous portion of French cheese.