“For whatever we lose (a you or a me)
It’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
— E.E. Cummings
In a perfect world I’d live by the sea, no doubts. It won’t necessarily be a 20 meters stroll from my door, but it will be close enough so I could go listen to the waves whenever my heart desires. There’d also be a lighthouse. And surf.
But in a real life we can’t have what we want right away. We have to work our asses off first.
They say, you need to visualize what you want and then make it happen. So here it is.
There’s nothing like the feeling when you step out of the shadows, cast at you by the branches and leaves, and feel the salty breeze on your skin. Well, in the Baltic’s case, its rather the strong wind blowing your hair into every possible direction, but come on, there’s certain charm in that too.)
Forests in the Sächsische Schweiz remind me the Disney woods. But while being absolutely gorgeous, this place lacks the iodised air I can breathe and the sand I can bury my feet in. And after ten months of living elsewhere, I still miss the Baltic winds. And everytime I walk through the forest and start noticing that there’s more and more space between the trees, I hope the wind comes and messes up my hair. And then I close my eyes and see the waves crashing against the shore. And the massive amount of water as far as I can see.
One can’t overestimate the importance of vivid imagination.
- Sächsische Schweiz, March 2014
On a night like this, when the temperature outside is down to -14 C (and real feel -20 is no joke), a cup of Madame Butterfly tea (thanks NJ). some ukrainian chocolate and memories of Barcelona warm up my heart.
When you ask people what to see in Barcelona msot of them will say “anything Gaudi”. Which is true – Gaudi’s modernistic creations are unbelievable, but there’s more to Barcelona than Gaudi.
Its all in the details.
Its waking up from the daylight filling the room with insanely high ceilings. Its walking out to the balcony and looking at the silhouette of a mountain on the right, while being still wrapped up in your bed cover. Its making breakfast while planning out the day ahead.
Its the vague planning, you only need a general idea of which direction you’re headed to. You don’t have to see everything tripadvisor suggests. You don’t have to go to museums. In fact the entire city is the open-air museum, what can be better than that?
Its daytime drinking. Its giant pans of paella. Its roasted chestnuts.
Its street performers. Contrabass. Music blending with people’s chatter and sounds of a big city. Its all the languages you could possibly imagine at once. And then you get to the point when you can differentiate the languages. Oh hey, that sounded french. And dammit, here’s german. Oh, Bulgarian. Polish. Chech. Italian. Portuguese. And oh, do you think that was chinese or korean? Never mind, we’ll never know.
Its all the colors that a human eye can distinguish and black-and-whiteness at the same time. blanco v negro, they say.
Its pink Christmas trees and the absolute absence of conventional for my Eastern-European upbringing Christmas spirit. No snow either.
Its the azure of Mediterranian sea. Branchy palms and orange trees.
Barcelona is not just a city where Gaudi has built a couple of weird buildings and then architectors followed the lead. Its not just the city, where the beaches were created from imported Egyptian sand specially for 1992 Olympics. Its not just the city where a strange church is being built for already 130 years and that construction does not seem any closer to completion than a decade ago. Its not just the home city of FC Barcelona.
Its the place where Columbus’s monument points not to America, but to an opposite direction. Its an irrational and incomprehensible city, bursting with life and arts. A great place for a visual addict.
to be continued.
Its weird to not feel the cold Baltic wind piercing through all the clothing you carefully layered to keep warm. Its weird when there’s no snow and its +6 and sunny in the middle of December. Its weird to take long walks by the river, and not by the Baltic sea. Yeah, it still doesn’t feel right that there’s no salt in the air and no music of the crashing waves.
But it finally feels like home here. Even though its not really the home I’ve created for myself, but rather the place where my family found a new home. Still.
Its a beautiful city and I’m glad I made a decision to move here for a while.
I love Dresden’s sunsets. Do I need to say more?
I felt my lungs inflating with clean air, as my eyes feasted on the beautiful scenery.
I could see the entire city, the red roofs dressed in sunlight, the domes of the Baroque churches, the Czech mountains, and the Sächsische Schweiz. On a clear day like that, locals say, you can see more than 30 kilometers.
So I stood there, on the edge of Rockau, making a tremendous effort of looking at the bright-bright world with my eyes wide open.
The landscape belongs to the one who looks at it.
Goodbye, my sunny and warm October.
Prague only about a hundred miles from the place where I live right now, but it took me 5 month and an early morning invitation to share a ride to finally get there. Prague is so strikingly Eastern European and a little magical, with the noble beauty of senility in the air.
nevermind the tourists.
Well, it might have been the time of day we got there – few hours before sunset, which is so often referred to as “the golden hour”.
Don’t confuse travelling with immigration, i’m telling myself over and over again. But I’ve got this idea of spending couple month there someday.
And I am totally coming there when the low season starts, to walk around the cobblestone streets and walk into all those courtyards and churches we passed by this time.
They say, vampires are afraid of light. That makes all of similar to them, doesn’t it? There’s nothing that a human being fears more than the light that exposes all the weaknesses and reveals sceletons in our closets.
We build our entire lives over hiding things we don’t wan’t to be discovered, showing those around us the best version of who we are and – well – conforming to what we call normal. These days claiming you’re kind of crazy and weird became the new normal, just like gold is the new black. But even relative freedom of exposing our weaknesses still limits us to this “don’t stand out too much” box.
There’re things that are not meant to be public, you’d say. I can’t agree more. But don’t confuse the things that are meant to be private with the things you are ashamed of.
Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.
As all of us moved on after graduation, some went on exploring the world and other returned to places where they grew up. But coming back to a place doen’t necessarily mean putting on your old self again.
We all changed so much over the last four years that its hardly possibly to be who we were.
Sometimes people remind me of software. Good software needs to be updated all the time so it will be able to do what it was created for. If the program doesn’t get timely updates its obsoleteness prevents it from functioning.
Over the last 4 years Minsk Ania turned into Klaipeda Ania, and then to my Nantucket Ania. Now she is all those Anias at once, and this is the best version of her I’ve known so far :)
p.s. I’m so glad you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, darling.