mercoledì, agosto 26, 2015

Life/life balance

After five weeks back in Canada it's almost obscenely nice to be back home, and to feel like I have come back home. It's a first, actually. Going back to Australia from Canada always felt like eating a big plate of ratshit, and going back to Belgium not much better. And my peregrinations before that to Italy and France and the UK, though years long in some cases, never felt and were never planned to be permanent. Back to the F-word and to our lovely new kitchen full of fully functional appliances and excellent knives. Back to milky European air, forests, and bakeries all over the place. Back to mattresses we spent a lot of money on. Back to a place where all the problems on offer are my own, and are modest.

Some of my close family members aren't in terrific places at the moment. One is living out the end of the chapter of what could have been with his estranged child, who is suddenly grown up and leaving town; it hasn't been loud or messy, but I think the way things have turned out over the last three years has made this the great tragedy of his life - let alone the child's. It's something I used to be angry about, but now that it's resolved as a tragedy it's just unutterably sad. You can be mad at a drunk driver for causing an accident, but seeing them living with a missing limb afterwards is pretty pitiable no matter how it happened. Another close family member is going through a gruelling decision-making about where to be living, and another is dealing with the deep and fairly crippling depression of his spouse.

It could all be much worse and I'm very grateful it's not. And I'm very grateful that I was there for a good long stretch to share in these problems. But when you're out of your own element and fully in someone else's, the immersion is quite complete. It's the only way for me to do it, of course. And it's not a bad way to do it. I think I probably get more quality time with my brothers and parents than most people my age, because of these long visits. And because it's vacation time, it's fun, and doesn't feel like dragging myself dutifully to holiday get-togethers I'd rather not be at - God knows we got enough of that shit in Australia. But it is so nice, physically and emotionally, to be back in my own space, without caring any less about what's going on with my people. 

4 commenti:

aglaiketstirk ha detto...

That's the perfect comfort of family. The comfort of home. Of knowing. Just knowing.
And it's the pain too.
There's a drunk driver in our family (that is the best description I have ever read). I love them and hate what they've done, furiously. Though mostly it's resolved into this grizzled sorrow.
I have a nephew I've never met. One who'll most likely never see my parents. I don't even know if he knows who we are.
But that's what a bad angry messy divorce and piss poor choices will do.

It's good to read how settled you are in Germany. Funny how good knives make a good home.
Meg leaves for Hannover in 4 weeks. I'm going to drive over the week after. Ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and an airbnb rental.

Dread Pirate Jessica ha detto...

Oh! We're not on your way but if you are taking your time and happen to come through Cologne let me know and we can get a drink!

aglaiketstirk ha detto...

I didn't see this DPJ. I like the thought of a drink in Cologne with a Dread Pirate. I'm sorry I missed the chance. We went via Hull and Rotterdam in the end. I can be mean - especially when it involves something as essential as mode of public transport (though not when it involves luxury non-essentials). Amsterdam was £150 dearer - and only cut a few hour of travel off. I have a stinking pride too. So this meant we were screaming like rats in a sack within a hour of leaving and re-entering Rotterdam - I'd taken the wrong route because the satnav directions 'didn't feel right'. Wtf. Clearly in addition to the stinking pride and the utterly fucked priorities I can add: thinks she can navigate by intuition (it works here in Scotland - honest). Hannover was not beautiful exactly. It was 'familiar'. In the way that a northern English town is. All red brick. But the reliable public transport system gave it away as entirely foreign. I got a bit weird about the 7 concentration camps that had been housed in and around the city - and Meg's lactose intolerance (part of our Jewish inheritance) had started going into meltdown around the same time. But I loved it. Modern Germany is astonishing. A far more progressive country (yes, I know, Dresden and Pegida...) than here. Curious 'silence' around 1930s and 40s. But maybe that's how a country copes. Look at Spain and the mass graves from the Franco years and the decades of silence that followed from both sides. So I'll be back for 5 or 6 summer weeks next year. Though currently it's looking more like a Northern European summer. Meg says we need to go to Berlin and Prague and Warsaw. Poland is tempting as I have friends in Katowice and Lodz. I want to visit Denmark and Sweden. But stay in Hamburg too. And visit Cologne. Fuck. Maybe I need a year just to travel.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Yep! Just take the full year off! Anyways, we're not going anywhere, and neither is the offer of a drink, although I can have more than one if you time it while I'm not preggers.