My Travel’s Aside

“An ASIDE is a dramatic device in which a character speaks to the audience. It may be addressed to the audience expressly (in character or out) or represent an unspoken thought.

Unlike a public announcement, it occurs within the context of the play. An aside is, by convention, a true statement of a character’s thought; a character may be mistaken in an aside, but may not be dishonest.

-Wiki-fuckin-pedia. The homie.


“Write always, even when tired.” I can’t remember where I read that.

And so I’ll follow this advice, sitting in an airplane seat heading to Paris. I’d bent down into my backpack to reach for my eye-cover-face-mask thing (Fun Fact: I can’t sleep without one. Development During Studying Abroad #237) and my hand pulled out my journal instead. My brain says sleep, but my body had something different to say.

Jot this down.

And so I will. I never made it to a secret café in Venice, and I’d say that’s the only opportunity for regret I have. I can’t say regret for sure because I know I’ll be back. I really do. Let me explain such ignorant optimism…by first let me apologize as I need to.

Yesterday Grace accused me of being anti-America. “You’re very anti-America, aren’t you?” asked Grace. (I appreciate redundancy). I blinked, once then twice, invisibly adapting.

There it was, nakedly standing in front of me—a Shame. In her quick comment, I suddenly realized how I sounded these past couple of months:

“Yeah, see, what’s so great about Europe is—”

“You know what, that’s the thing about Americans, we’re so—”

“Thing is, it’s not like this in America. They’re so—”

They. I’d used “They”. Like up until three months ago I hadn’t lived there my whole life.

I used to think:  Damn bro, take a chill pill. We get it. Good music is your Thing. I’m sorry I brought up Taylor Swift, okay?! We get it, we get it. I’ve never heard of that band, I’ll never understand.

But I’ve become the Europe-Changed-My-Life Girl. I’ve unintentionally made it my Thing.

Which is kinda a problem for me. You see…

I don’t want all my great stories to get balled-up under the headline “Pro-Europe.” In truth, my opinions are careful, my observations are thoughtful.

And yet in speech, it can come out so harshly and brutally; my love of change and new comes crashing in…and bashes America. My words become a trainwreck, and all my precious cargo of beautiful souvenirs spill all over whomever I’m talking to. America gets slammed by my love for french friendships, destroyed by my affection for Italian warmth. America gets forgotten while I sing of the amazing food and fabulous clothing styles.

America went from being everything I ever knew… to hearing Awkward, now I’m with Europe. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Girlie, you think going off and staying in a new country for 4 months and then call yourself a new person?’

I know what I’ve been sounding like.

I sound like the girl with the shiny new boyfriend who won’t shut up about her shiny new boyfriend. We’re all happy she’s happy and settled…but lowkey we’d be happier if she’d just shut up. If only she’d just learn the art of holding that love in! We think. We might still be interested to hear about it! If only she wouldn’t go so freakin-starry eyed whenever he was brought up! We roll our eyes.  Most of all, if she could only stop comparing him to her ex-boyfriend all the DAMN time, at every opportunity!

We’ve all said it: Don’t tell her I told you, but I think I liked her better before.

So sit down, bud. I got some things I wanna clear up. Grab an apple, have some coffee—

I don’t share with the intention of shoving it in faces. Does the happy homegirl with her new soulmate try to make everyone else feel annoyed and left out? To be truthful, I really  don’t think so. I honestly just think the gooey  girl just doesn’t know what she sounds like because she’s never felt this way before

I think love makes you forget easy manners—simple things, like sharing happiness responsibly. I think love can be such an ecstasy that we create a free pass for such bold cluelessness out of thin air. Bear with me…. but it’s like when you race other girls to the bathroom because you know (don’t ask how, it’s a girl’s 7th sense) that you need it more than they do. Or like when you curse out the driver who cuts right in front of you without a blinker…but when you almost miss your own exit and veer across the lane it’s because “Shit, but I really needed to.”

Sometimes we let our needs outweigh our manners.

And I think humans inherently have the need to share love, however it’s felt .Some people are just better at keeping their head about it. I fell in love with France—like the hopeless, loud, romantic I am—and forgot my manners a little bit. I forgot how I preferred to sound. I forgot how to speak, and Grace gently and bluntly reminded me (we all need friends like this).

 I don’t want to force people to sift through the rubble of Anti-America rocks to reach my french treasures. I want to open up another world up to people, not bury another in the process.

So I just wanted to say loudly—AMERICA! I, KATRINA NELSON, I LOVE YOU TOO!

Too. As in “also.”

Which brings be back to why I have such ignorant optimism about returning to Venice…because I left a little bit of my heart there.

No really, I mentally ripped off a little corner and stuck it under the ledge of one of the bridges, right by that one red building. I have to go back for it sometime.

Anyway, it’s time go and stop writing – our plane has started it’s descent and the flight attendant asked me to get my shit together. “Can you get your shit together?” asked the flight attendant.

Okay, well, maybe she didn’t. But she’s impatient with me, like most people.

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