Many expats, I suspect, have faced this exact same emotion. The thought of going to your new ‘home’ fills your insides with so much dread, that even hearing the language again in the check-in mob (queues are for western Europeans, apparently) is enough to cause tears of frustration, disappointment and self-pity to spill from your eyes. I couldn’t even blame hormones (damnit!), or a sad book (usually a good fall-back option).
What happened? I remember flying back into Prague after being in Budapest in December, absolutely THRILLED to be back in my adoptive land. But that was the first trip, and the only one I recall so clearly being glad to be going ‘home’. The excitement at travelling back to Bohemia has been waning with each and every trip away – especially when those trips were to nations where English is a second/third or even fourth language. And where the zygomaticus minor and levator anguli oris have not atrophied to the point of non-existence. On the last trip, we noticed (in the brief stopover in Helsinki) that the facial expressions of the Finns and the Czechs are almost identical. Which is disturbing, given this is the country (Finland) that brought us moomintrolls (they’re painted on the side of the airplanes!!) and salted liquorice (bleeeee! How could they possibly want to make liquorice any WORSE?!). They even smiled in Estonia more than they do here.
And what’s happened since I’ve been away? Madonna is closing off the Charles Bridge for a few days at the end of this week. Acquaintances have committed suicide (I won’t say that I can’t blame them, but part of the ‘running away’ feeling of this place coincides with ‘last chance saloon’ too), others have smashed their legs to smithereens after driving drunk (see, Rowls?!). One of those options is ‘painless’ – the other requires years of rehab (if lucky).
The return to work is a gruelling study in frustration. My progress continues to be thwarted by inability to read/understand/find reports/speak-to-people-who-wrote-the-damned-reports. I need a PA/Research Assistant – who can scan reports and scan them for the bit of information that I’m actually searching for. And don't get me started on the appalling state of filing here...oh for a simple method (i.e. the one that I've developed for my references to be adopted WORLDWIDE!!!).
However, my mood was lifted AS SOON as I stepped into the cemetery yesterday evening: sun shining through the trees lending a dappled light to the stones, a family “hanging out” graveside, swapping gossip, passing around a beer, etc. Was a little confused at one grave though, it’s been totally decked out with fake plastic garlands, I’m not sure whether the person who was recently laid to rest died in some sort of horrible piñata accident…
Lisanne had a piece of very good advice for me, in case I do get moved at the end of this four week purgatory: try to look at the city as though it’s the last time I’ll see it, and see plenty of the friends that I’ve made here. So I’m off to rehearsal tonight with Intunition – not taking my music so that I’m forced to keep my mouth shut – and not wrench my throat any more than absolutely necessary.
Czech lessons have also started with a hiss and a roar (more hissing from me, more roaring from the teacher). Apparently, a ‘cute’ e-mail that I wrote a few months ago was passed around all the teachers (for a giggle) because I’d misused a word in a ‘charming’ way. Ha. Ha. Ha. Last time I make an attempt to write in Czech! But I did find out that there are soft words for all family members (i.e. Mother: matka becomes Mum: maminka, etc) but there’s not one for ‘mother-in-law’. I wonder why not. I guess that some things really are ‘transculture’.
Meanwhile: Dad’s op booked for 12th. So Tuesday crossings of limbs/appendages again please darlings (Monday night for those in EU).
Apologies for laxity in blog writing of late: the sheer weight of mucus in my sinuses is slowing me down. Bleeeee!