Sunday, August 3, 2014

Midnight Tramway Walks


Today, on the 3rd of August 2014, we are exactly nine days away from the one-year-mark. And today brings us to part three of the Everything Isabella Can't Have Trilogy - Stuff To Do And Feel. This one's about everything that's not as simple as eating some food or hugging a person or going to a specific place. This one's about all those things you can experience and feel, like, deeply, in Austria but that in Trinidad and Tobago you just can't quite get. 

List time: 

--- I feel the absence like a phantom limb. Literal, physical pain. 

The four seasons. When November rolls around all I want to do is drink tea, because my internal clock keeps telling me I'm cold, even though I'm not. But I have to have tea anyway, I can't not have it. In the summer I'm confused, because how can it be summer if it was never winter? I don't understand the months, because half of them seem to be missing. The leaves are the wrong colour, the air smells wrong, the sky looks wrong,... does not compute!
Cold nights. I miss waking up in the middle of the night because I'm cold, climbing from under my duvet out of bed onto the chilly floor, getting a pair of my grandma's knitted socks to put on and crawl back into bed, happy. Or simply not having to run at least the fan or sometimes even the A/C almost all day every day. I miss not being drenched in sweat. 
Walking. And by that I don't just mean putting one foot in front of the other and moving towards a destination, obviously I can do that here. I mean going for a walk, anywhere, any time of day or night, especially night. Here, I'll probably soon stop trying walking home by myself from friends' places or bars, it's always a heated argument and I always lose - somebody will drive me or walk with me. The same goes for the bicycle, I used to ride home from El Dorado in a dress and heels at 5AM. I miss the freedom of being able to say "I can't sleep, I'm going to go for a stroll even though it's 1AM" or "I'm not taking the night metro, I'm walking home from this party" and so on. 
My family and friends. Duh.

--- I wish this were possible here, but it won't kill me that it's not. 

Unlimited-ness of stuff. I miss having a phone that, even though it's pre-paid, and cheaply so, includes so many minutes/texts and data volume that it's practically unlimited for me. Here, I do have to think about running out of credit and make sure I have enough money on my phone in case of emergencies. Also, having a student's ticket for public transportation and not having to find small change for every single bus or tram or metro or train I get on. I acknowledge that this is very #firstworldproblems. But hey, all my life is, lucky me! 
That kind of rain on that kind of street. When it rains in Austria, most of the time it's not a problem: umbrellas suffice, drains work, the streets are clean enough that getting your feet wet is not a health hazard. In fact, as somebody who loves the rain, I used to deliberately go outside during thunderstorms, especially in Illmitz. Here, after months of mocking them for it, I have become one of the people who say things like "I can't go to the grocery store, it's raining" or "Can't you come to me instead of I to you, it hasn't let up yet and you have a car" and so on. 
Driving. Not that I owned a vehicle or even did a lot of driving when I was living in Austria, but I did have access to a car almost all the time and if I wanted to, I could take it and just go somewhere. Here, if I want to get anything I can't carry on foot or with Shadowfax's help, I have to find somebody who has time to take me there and back. 

--- I'd almost forgotten, but now that I'm reminded I kind of want it.

Snow. Because cold and snow-cold is not the same. 
Swimming in a lake or river. Yeah, sure, we have the Caribbean sea here... but, you know, you need to let me be a spoilt brat for a second and not be content with that, ok? 
Pest-free living. I never would have thought I'd ever be able to deal with ants, mosquitoes, spiders, moths, cockroaches, millipedes and even rats the way I am now. I mean, I'm no Crocodile Dundee when it comes to creepy crawleys and company, but I also don't panic anymore. Or, not as much. 

Local substitutes that are keeping me sane for the while. 

Skype. Also, WhatsApp.  
My two fans and the A/C in the bedroom. 
The proximity and walkability of campus. 
Shadowfax, my beloved bicycle. 
Picking Ziya up from school. 

After writing this I feel the strong urge to go upstairs to my bedroom and sit under the blasting air condition, wrapped in a blanket. I won't do that. But I am going to make a cup of tea and then sit and dream of ice cream that doesn't melt instantly and walking from the main library side of the Gürtel to the part of the third district where I used to live, after work, via El Dorado or Habana Club. Oh, and riding a bike through vineyards in the rain. 

Here's the food list
Here's the places list.
Here's the list list, as in the overview. 


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