At Home

I´m at home for a week and it´s so good to be around close family and friends! Yet I can´t help but feel estranged. I´m gliding in, just not really. I feel so out of place, so obviously different, wearing my sandals (mostly because my ballerinas are golden and I feel they´re too glitzy for a Wednesday morning) when everyone else is wearing a jacket! At 23 degrees! I forgot that 23 degrees is not much here, though, in summer it´s closer to 40 degrees.

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I recognise myself in most of these pretty girls going to school, too busy to look up, too tired to smile, too caught up in their world to be waiting for the light to turn green. The sales woman is grumpy and so is the taxi driver, it´s like expecting them to be polite is asking for too much. I used to think that a crappy wage and a crappy existence would serve as an excuse, but I don´t feel that anymore, now I only feel sorry, for them and for me, for ruining each other´s morning in this way. It´s not worth it, I feel like saying! I´ve always been incredibly polite (as a means of getting by in a country with such complete lack of service), so it´s not me, it´s them, I know that for sure! 😉 haha!

Maybe I´m a bit sentimental now, I always see a city through the lens of my own mood, but however much I love Bucharest, this time I see it as it is- crowded, alien and impersonal. People have started dropping the polite pronoun, yet I cling to it like an old lady clings to her pearl necklace. You don´t know me and until I allow you to, keep your distance! I know, I sound like such a snob and yet I´m not, it´s in the culture, I don´t feel the same need to distance myself in other languages, it has something to do with the way we relate to each other here.

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I´m walking hastily to Paul to buy some eclairs, since I invited my family for breakfast where I´m staying, at my auntie´s apartment, in the city center. I see an old lady selling flowers and I immediately think- there´s no breakfast without fresh flowers- and so I stop and buy a small bunch of them, they smell divine and the old lady is happy, a guy with curly hair stops and buys some, too and we walk in the same direction like that, shyly smelling our flowers, like accomplices to a crime, sharing the same secret. 😉

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My niece jumps into my arms and all my anxiety vanishes with her embrace, she calls my name when I go out to fetch my brother and I feel so loved, so loved, like I´ve never felt before in my life, this kind of love is so new, so tender, it borders to need in such a primordial way, it´s like “if I don´t see you, how do I know you´ll be coming back”? It´s this kind of love I need in my life, it´s this kind of love I feel, too, like a little girl´s, too young to understand how things come together, needing the tangible, the obvious, in order to feel safe.

Oh well, enough moaning for one day, I´ve got stuff to do, like having coffee with a friend and her newborn, making an appointment with the hairdresser. haha! What a life! 😉

xxx, Alina

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