How Karstee got her "griffe" back


Though Griffe literally translates as “claw,” Parisians have redefined it to mean “stamp,” “label,” or “signature.” it describes the pattern of favorite cafes, shops, walks, meeting places, which each of us imposes on the city and which makes it uniquely “our Paris.” a Griffe is no trivial thing. As surely as a passport, it identifies one as a bona fide resident, with loves, hates, tastes, and prejudices.”-John Baxter

As of today, this blog is no longer titled "Once Upon a Time"...  oh no, no!  Say goodbye to the blog of yesteryears... this blog is all about forward movement.  What does this "griffe" have to do with anything you might be wondering?  Well, let me tell you!

Tonight I gave a co-worker a ride home from work and during that car ride we started talking about London (talking about places with my co-workers is not uncommon seeing how they are all very well traveled and it is what we do for a living:  we are in the business of sending college students all over the world).  While talking about London, my friend asked me what I did when I lived in England.  When I told her that I used to be a housewife--- that my days and nights were filled with bowling leagues, book club, bunco, bible studies, and weekly coffee engagements with my other neighborly ladies of leisure I almost couldn't believe that used to be my life!  Trust me, there are things I miss and I'm not looking down upon that life, it just seems like another lifetime to me; so very foreign.

What I do realize is that in those years, I lost myself.  My goals and my dreams went out the window while furthering someone else's goals & dreams became my life.  In the years since that time period; there has been a lot of recovering, acceptance, and learning taking place.

When I read the passage above it was like bells going off!  I'm a person in search of my griffe.  I don't mean just my favorite cafes, shops, walks, etc.  I am looking for my label!  My signature!  I want to be a resident of this world!  I'm looking to find me, not the me before the years that I gave up to someone else; and not the wounded, scarred person in the years right after; I want the me that has learned from those lessons, accepted them, forgiven myself for them, and grown from them!  Accepting every little inch of who I've been so that I can love who I'm becoming!!!

I feel like I did when I was 18, I'm on the cusp of graduating and there is a whole world of possibilities before me.  I feel strong, limitless, and rejuvenated!  I wonder what my stamp on this world will be?

Life at 31 on the eve of 32 sure looks different than what I thought it was going to be 10 years ago; but even that thought is so refreshing!  I love that there is no predictability... While I'll admit there are times that I have mourned that my life didn't go the traditional way it was supposed to, those days are over; now all I can see is that wherever it's going it is going to be unique!  

Last night I went to a talk on campus given by an NPR correspondent that has spent a lot of time in Turkey reporting on the Arab Spring, particularly in Syria.  She said that Syria is facing a "humanitarian crisis of epic proportions".  I left there feeling on fire, impassioned, and like I sometimes feel in church when I get that gnawing feeling in the back of my mind or in the deepest chambers of my heart that tell me that I'm not living the way I should be or that there is a higher calling for me.

Before I ever got married I was so in love with History & Politics.  Every now and then I am reminded of this... I just know that this is the time for me to delve back into my passions and to pay close attention to what my heart is telling me and to be open to all the possibilities that life may hold.  I'm listening world!