Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Letting Go...

Here's my post from yesterday after I tweaked a few things:

Two years ago, I moved to Romania. In that time, I've had to apply for permission to live here 3 times. The first two applications needed to be be renewed every year. The visa I received last year was good until the year 5010.


Customs had a good laugh at that.

Since I married a Romanian citizen, this year I was eligible to apply for permanent residency. Which means I don't have to go through the hassle of applying for a visa every year. Which means that now seems like a good time to share the evolution of my residency card photos.

First year. I sat down to have my picture taken and smiled big.

The man taking my picture laughed OUT LOUD.

Romanians don't usually smile in pictures.
Not wedding pictures.
Not birthday pictures.
Not family reunions.
Not million dollar winning lottery ticket pictures.
And definitely not ID pictures.

So, I stopped the smile and just tried to sort of perk up my lips around the edges. I think I look sort of squeaky clean in this picture, you know? Wide-eyed, innocent, idealistic.
I probably thought I'd show them all and try and smile for next years picture.

This is last year's ID. I'm still trying to hold on to a smile, but barely. Look a bit dazed...
This was the year when some of the other staff were having a contest to see who could win ugliest ID picture. I decided not to play. Really, I didn't.

And this is my most recent attempt at achieving full-on Romaniancy (I just made that word up...)I'll carry it with me for the next 5 years because it won't expire until the year 2015.

Notice, no smile.
Looking pretty darn tired.
It was a Friday.
Bags under the eyes.
Haggard? Maybe.
Older. Definitely.
And certainly a contender for ugliest ID picture.
Most of us on staff had a good laugh at it.
Maybe because we all saw ourselves in this run-down-no-smiling-allowed photo and our progression from wet-behind-the-ears Americancy (yes, another made up word)to I've-left-it-all-behind-and-can't-smile-about-it culture adaptation.

Sometimes, it's hard to smile at what we've left behind.
There's grinning-and-bearing-it because we've given something up.
Or, laughing-until-it-hurts because, honestly, it really does hurt to let go.
To what we were. In order to embrace what we are. Where we are.

I'm not embarrassed of this photo. I'll show it to you in person if you like. And not just because it's funny. But mostly, because in some backwards Kingdom way, it's lovely.

Maybe one of the best pictures I've ever taken.

All facades washed away. Just me. Not even trying to smile because I didn't feel like it. I was tired. It was Friday.
Me, not trying to hide anything.
Me, letting go.

What have you been trying to let go of?


John Shumate said...

April, very nice, thank you. "Americancy" goes into the dictionary, as in, "We all need to know if our Americancy runs deeper than our faith."

Jeff and Aimee said...

I'm glad you made the changes you did from yesterday's post. When I was in Bucharest, my team posed in front of the famous fountains and took a "Romanian" picture. (One gal couldn't do it; there's a definite smirk on her lips.) I'm glad you're embracing Romaniancy, but please don't forget that you have a lovely smile that should be seen often. :)

jo said...

you always make me smile.

Linda Onita Hardin-Atkins said... html


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Linda O. Hardin-Atkins

Mary said...

you look more than tired...that looks more like the "april has had it" look. i am laughing as i write this...too funny!

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