Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A short break - Friendship and stroopwafels

I have had no time to write lately, also sometimes just not the inspirations and at most time just not the energy.  But it is Easter holiday now and I am writting from Amsterdam while stuffing my face with stroopwafels. It is my fourth visit to this city, and everytime I arrive I am happy to be here, I love this city.  People on bicycles (the air here is way cleaner then in Milan), a language where I recognise the words and well this city with its canals is just so picturesque.  But the best part of it is that I am vistiting my besty Lise who has been living here since 2008.

One often has very romantic ideas about travel, and in a lot of ways those ideas are true, but when one moves to a country for a longer period then a touristic visit one is also faced with the harsh realities of dislocation. It is not a temporal sense of dislocation that one enjoys and then returns home and put in a photoalbum to look back on. One is living alone far away from home, with people often being so different from you in culture, language and belief which hard as it forces you to confront you own ideas, beliefs, culture. While this is not a bad thing, the process in itself can be quite disruptive to the system, it is a series of breaking things down and building things up, finding an idendity in another space. One does not have the same luxury of quickly calling a friend who believes exactly the same as you to call when you are experiencing an exitstentialist crisis. It is a challenge one can not foresee or understand unless you have done the same.  And one that will not leave you unchanged.

By then one has this realisation that by the time you will return back home, that home will probably not feel that home anymore. One has this fear that when you get there you will be so different that one wouldn’t find your space there either.  One also has a fear to somehow betray yourself, and its a violent process of holding on to things and letting go of others.In this half way there space is a longing to just touch base somewhere.

 What amazing thing a good friend is. We have not seen each other in months, and in the time we have been changed.  We share a tiny mattress sleeping “kop voet” (the skill of sleeping with on head on the one side of the bed and the other on the other side) like one needs when one doesn’t have enough beds, something we learnt already in the early years of our friendship at University. One can be happy with so little. And now many years later, older, two very different people from our original wide eyed days, we can still find honesty, I can still feel like myself and I am able to piece together little pieces of myself, albeit a little rearanged. And we can still laugh at each other’s jokes; we still understand each other even though we are different. A good friend brings home, no matter where you are.


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