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Some dreamer's stuff

by Loane

My name is Loane Granger. I am 18 years old but don't feel like an adult yet.

I was born on the 17th of January 2000 in Rome. My father works at the Bank of Italy, as did my mother before joining the ECB in Frankfurt. My father likes his routine and cares about the past whereas my mother does not like to stand still and is in search for adventure. Their opposite personalities led them to separate when I was only one and a half years old. On my part, I inherited my father's attachment to the past and my mother's need to travel and have new projects. This contradiction between the past and the future seems to be the guiding thread of my life.

For the rest of my life I lived with my mother. In Rome, I used to see my father every second weekend. He helped me a lot for school so I did not think of him like an absent father. I used to go to a private catholic school, where the leading values were rigour and discipline. Girls were even separated from boys in secondary school. I was a quite reserved child but I had friends. I had my own group, with boys and girls. Progressively, I built my personality, keeping the sensitive side under a thin layer of self-confidence.

Looking back now, I realize that this school favoured values I had been looking for ever since I left Rome and that I found nowhere else: competition spirit and team spirit. Then I found out that these could not evolve without the feeling to belong somewhere.

As a born and bred Italian, I used to complain all the time, especially about the amount of work one can have in S3 in Rome. So, when my mother got an offer to work at the ECB for one year, I was released to move away from Rome for a while and thrilled to discover a new system. Here I was, at the European School of Frankfurt, ready to build a brand new social life and to pursue my academic success. Except that my integration in the ESF did not end up to be as easy as I thought. For once in my life, I was the new one, the one who needed to prove something. And as much as I wanted to say things, I could not, because I did not speak English or German.

There it was. The paradox between past and future. Should I go back to Italy and stay in my comfort zone or should I stay and go back to fight. As futile my fight could seem compared to large scale political issues, I decided to fight. I tested all kinds of English courses: private lessons, group courses and computer-assisted correspondence courses. I spent three weeks in an American family in Orlando, with five children. While my English was getting better, I needed to work on my behaviour. Indeed, to fully live the European experience, one needs to become European. This implies being open-minded and devoted to projects. On Wednesday the 14th of February 2017, I found the perfect opportunity: the Valentine's day bake sale. I put my heart in chocolate cakes coated with milk chocolate and crowned by flower-shaped almond paste. Then I had to sell them. Speaking English ended up being productive and thrilling. I had forgotten how it felt to be social and I liked it.

If the language barrier was halfway down, one problem remained: I still could not relate to the majority of other students. As much as I wanted to become European, I could not, because this feeling of nostalgia kept arising. Each time I was going back to Rome, I was feeling like myself again. The greatest journeys are, indeed, the ones that bring you home. I could hear the hubbub of people in a street café and look at passers-by. I could observe the way they dressed and the way they behaved. Fashion indicated where one was from as much as it represented the possibility to reinvent oneself, to be someone one day, and someone else the other day, it meant freedom. After all, it meant everything. At that moment I felt so confident that working in the fashion industry seemed obvious.

Back at the ESF, I had started my S7 year. The year that would sum up my European experience as a success or a failure. It is also the year to make choices. How to choose between fashion marketing and politics, between thinking about studies or thinking about friends, between past and future? 

After all, who do I want to be? In times of doubt, you become paralysed in front of all the choices you have because, as a French writer said, choosing is refusing. This is precisely what makes you sit hours in front of your homework, knowing you have to hand it in the day after, but so frightened to start and choose that you give up and ask teachers for extra days. This spirit of competition I had felt years before had vanished. I was giving up. I was no longer passionate, no longer thrilled.

When passion leaves you, hopefully you are left with reason. You know it is better to succeed than to fail, you know it is better to finish that piece of homework than to give a bad impression to your teachers. Even if you don't feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins, you keep fighting because you have to. At 18, it is time for me to take responsibilities. Past or future? That is not the question. So from now on, I will stop thinking and start doing.

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58 Reviews

Points: 36
Reviews: 58

Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:08 pm
SofieR wrote a review...

Hey Loane! Sofie here.

This isn't going to be a review so much as just a general response, so apologies for that. Firstly, I just wanted to say how impressive it is to come into a foreign country, adjust to the culture and learn the language. That takes so much dedication and discipline, and you should be really proud of that accomplishment. It sounds like you really made an effort to get through those language and culture barriers, and that's all anyone can ask for is effort. On another note, I can relate to being a kid of separated parents, that is definitely not easy to deal with. I can also relate to finishing high school/secondary school and suddenly being forced to decide what you want to do with your life. I was in that same place not too long ago. Here's what I've learned; When you turn eighteen and "come of age", it can feel you're a failure unless you have a foolproof plan for the next twenty-years of your life. But you shouldn't. Very very few people actually have that twenty-year plan. The majority of people have no idea what they're doing, and no one should feel like a failure for being one of them, or for taking a few years after high school/secondary school to explore different paths before deciding what to choose. Its not a race, its a journey.

Anyway, rambling aside, I think you have a really compelling voice. If the assignment was to write an autobiography I think you did a good job. It might have been good to get more background information on certain things, like the parent's separation, but at the same time I can understand why you left some of those details out.

Good job, keep writing, keep practicing and good luck!

- Sofie

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553 Reviews

Points: 30367
Reviews: 553

Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:48 pm
Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey there! MJ stopping by for a short review.

Your story was inspiring and packed with important lessons, and your writing style overall was strong. There were a few spots where I believe some improvements could be made. They are as follows:

Their opposite personalities led them to separate when I was only one and a half years old
The lack of information about the details surrounding the separation make it seem slightly unbelievable. I know many people whose parents are complete opposites, and yet they are able to reach compromises and find ways where they are both happy. Having different interests, if it did not keep them apart when they were dating or engaged, does not seem like a strong enough reason for two people to separate.

I was also unclear on where Loane lived. She didn't speak German or English, and yet her mother worked in (I assume) Germany, so where did she live? You mentioned that she visited her father every second weekend in Rome, so did she live in Italy? If not, you might want to reconsider whether it's realistic for a school-aged child to be traveling internationally twice a month.

Overall, however, I enjoyed your message of continuing to persist even when things get hard. As a general pointer, your message might be more powerful if you acknowledged that it can sometimes feel impossible to continue and that there are certain situations where one cannot simply "power through". To say that all situations can be overcome just by trying hard undermines the struggles that many people face, and thus can achieve the opposite of your effect (rather than comforting someone, it discourages them). Thank you for writing and publishing this piece, and most importantly, never stop writing!


Loane says...

Hey MJTucker,

First of all, thank you so much for reading this first piece so carefully. It really means a lot to me.

Here are some explanations regarding your different remarks which, by the way, I found really constructive.

To start with, I think it might be helpful, in order to fully understand the tone of this text, to know in which context it was written. Actually, one of my teacher asked me to write an autobiography because she wanted to know more about my background. Although I was keen to reveal my personality traits, I prefered to keep the relationship between my parents a little bit secret, since they are quite reserved and private. Apart from that, I totally agree with the fact that two people having opposite personalities can make their relationship work by finding compromises. Some of them actually find their companion attractive because of their differences rather than in spite of them. The opposites attract, as they say. In the case of Loane's parents, it didn't work out, unfortunately. Anyway, in my next piece, I will try to add a little bit more detail, even if it implies more fiction or more transparency.

Regarding your second remark, I wrote in the text "when my mother got an offer to work at the ECB for one year, I was released to move away from Rome for a while" which was meant to imply that Loane followed her mother to Germany. And it is precisely because she did not speak German that moving to Frankfurt was a challenge. Also, it is only when she was still living in Rome that she used to see her father twice a month. Again, I will try to make the details clearer next time ;)

As for the idea that we can overcome the challenges that we face by persisting and fighting, I tried to give a positive and inspiring tone to the story for several reasons. The first one, I have to admit, is because I did not want to alarm my teacher. The second one, and I think the most relevant one, is that I needed to feel sort of liberated after writing this piece. Acknowledging that some challenges are impossible to overcome would have meant to give up on the many efforts that I had made so far. In my case (or Loane's), I identified the problem to be "overthinking" so I thought that following the idea "stop thinking and start doing" was a logical way and accessible, not to say easy, way to cope with it.
However, I totally agree that undermining the scale of someone's challenges can be discouraging as well as annoying. To be honest, I could have written parts of this text in a more dramatic way since my writing depends on my thoughts and therefore on my mood. There are times where I think nothing is possible, but at the end it is never constructive, so I try to "keep calm". For the next time, maybe I will try to add passages where the main character expresses his doubts and his feelings more deeply so that the reader can identify and feel understood.

Again thank you so much for your review and your advice, which I will use for my future writings.


Tuckster says...

I'm glad I was helpful! Thanks for your explanations, and happy writing!

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56 Reviews

Points: 4997
Reviews: 56

Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:07 am
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aulyasela3597 wrote a review...

Hello, I'm Aulyasela3597! :)

I could say....we had a same situation. I'm majoring in English Literature, a-21-year old student and I had a bunch of college homeworks and facing up responsibilities which I found it quite boring to do and probably I lose all my passion on it, you know....there's a phase where we all at first got thrilled and interested, and suddenly we stopped when we feel there is no longer a passion when doing it. I've been through tough times before, dear friend. And I know what it feels like. I've tried my very best to keep doing it because I wanted to make my parents happy with my works and efforts. I keep writing and writing until my mind and fingers got tired.

Oh and one thing, whenever I don't feel like doing my homework...I went out for fresh air and going somewhere, doing such like watching a new movie and reward myself a nice dishes, playing at the game arcade with friends, buying cute stuffs and seeing animals at the Pet Shop. That's somehow made me feel better and quite refreshed my mind. And if I have a problem while doing a homework, I could always call my friends to help me out and their solutions are quite helpful. When I feel stressed out with life, I went out with my friends and told them all my problems because I trusted them and I love them, they are so glad to listen me and hearing me out. They made me feel better. They gave me a full support.

Remember, as long you have your family and best friends, always keep in touch with them while you're away from home. Even saying "Hello" will make them a happiest person in the world.

Warm regards,


Loane says...

Hey Aulyasela3597,

It is nice to see that someone could identify and understand the character (who is acually me :,) in this case).
Also, since I passed through quite rough times this year, I am always glad to hear some real concrete advice.
Oh! and by the way, I think that your idea to write about the folklor of a country is great! Yes I looked at your profile ;p
Thanks again

You're welcome, @Loane :) I've already made a new essay and it's about an urban legend of ghosts in my country, are you fond of Horror/Supranatural stuffs? If you do, you might want to take a look at it >> Indonesian Ghost Mythology
Have a nice day, Loane :D

"I feel like if men sent unsolicited dragon pics instead of *other* unsolicited pics they’d get a lot further in life"
— ShadowVyper