giovedì, ottobre 20, 2011

The toilet that is Brussels

Or black hole? I don't know. I do know 90% of the jobs advertised in my field are there. I guess the cheap cost of living - cheapest west of Germany, until you get into places like Portugal and Spain where they don't have enough trains - and the tax regime for expatriate workers has helped them sew it up. There are the odd jobs advertised in my field in warmer places. I saw one in Barcelona the other day and almost drew tears from myself, resisiting applying. The truth is I'm not looking for a job. I have a really splendid job. I mean, I'd be hard-pressed to think of how this job I have could be improved. I don't even really want a raise. And I'm going to India soon, for heaven's sake. It's an awesome job. It's just . . . Australia and I are really not bonding.

Malcontent is an ugly word, but it's me. I have a lot of ingredients for happiness here - splendid man, splendid job, some friends - more friends than a malcontent like me deserves, to be frank - nice house, big garden. And I'm not unhappy. I have been this last week I've been sick, because being sick here feels a bit entombing, especially coming off a two-month jag of being with my family, who cluster around and fill me full of pills and concern when I'm sick. Now I'm not unhappy. But I'm malcontented.

I think if my 30s have something to teach me - and I reckon they have a shitload to teach me - one of the things will be how to live well as a malcontent. A year ago today, when I was in Italy with the F-word and we were preparing to move here, I thought moving here would teach me to be contented; that when I had a huge paycheque, a nice house, fresh air and my best man by my side I'd stop being such a bloody little strop. Well, no. Now I'm accepting it's not outside factors that are going to content me. Being a bloody little strop is just who I am and I could be ensconsed in a fucking 50 foot statue made of gold and I'd still be a bloody little strop about it. 

I think I'm leaning towards returning to Europe for a couple of reasons, and these days the dominant one is certainly that Australia is too far away from my family. Europe's far too, yes I understand that, and I understand that with the life I've built for myself here I'm probably going to end up seeing more of my family than I ever did in Europe. But I can't tell you how unsettling it is to know I can't just pop home for the weekend if there's an emergency. Not because it's financially impractical, not because of the jet lag (though there's no arguing with that) - but I literally can't. The journey home is a minimum of 24 hours, if everything runs swimmingly, as it so rarely does. 24 hours is radically different from 8. My parents are getting old. The prospect of those extra 16 hours and what could happen in them just makes me want to vomit.

So there's that. There's also - okay. I haven't let go of the importance of externals. There's also just missing the piss out of Europe. During the F-word's and my time in Rome I think we were both already realizing that we'd confounded our utter impatience with Belgium with an utter impatience with Europe. Rome is dirty and uncomfortable and inconvenient like Belgium (though actually in those days I'd say it was rather cleaner, which surprised us) but people were so different, and rather warm. I don't want to move to Rome - the F-word would in a heartbeat but I won't raise Italian children - but I guess it was lovely and different enough that it was a reminder that getting sick of Europe is pretty much getting sick of life. It's all so strange and different.

Anyways. Blah blah blah. I have a lot to think about these days. And it's all thinking. We're not going anywhere for years. Except I'm going to India in December, that's pretty awesome, and we're planning trips to Cambodia and Bali soon. Yay! Why am I such a bloody little strop when life is so exciting?

2 commenti:

e.f. bartlam ha detto...

It is excruciating to be in a place you can't feel comfortable...a place you can't make peace with.

I've mentioned our time in connecticut before...there are things you write sometimes that I can immediately identify with. We were only there for a year though.

I just remember trying to stop myself from being so miserable about it. I was there for a very good opportunity....but I couldn't.

At least you can cry in a pile of money...I was miserable and broke.


I'm rootin' for you.

Dread Pirate Jessica ha detto...

Thank you buddy. Your sympathy, and being able to wipe my tears with piles of money (albeit Australian money, which is plastic and not absorbent) will help get me through.