lunedì, luglio 17, 2023

Not so silly now, huh

 So, she asked, my 87-year-old aunt, the one who all the other aunts and uncles called silly. Why did the baby die? She asked of my cousin's baby, who had indeed died. Was the mother too old?

I don't think so, I said, not wanting to get into other people's bodies, especially the dead bodies, especially the mourning bodies, and resisting the urge to tell her it was none of her business, none of her silly-aunty business. Most new mothers in Italy are around that age. I think the baby was just born too early. 

Yes, but, said silly aunty, and then a little silence. My baby's heart wasn't working properly when she was born, she continued eventually. She died after a week.

Oh, aunty. 

I gave her a bottle, and she was too tired, you know. To drink. Pause. She died before I could go home with her. Anna Maria. Such a pretty baby too.  

When was that, aunty?

After S_. Anna Maria was the youngest one. The last one. Pause. We had a little funeral. 

lunedì, giugno 19, 2023

How many times have I left a place? I can't even count them all up anymore. And it has taken until *this* time, this umpteenth time, to realize the funny feeling on the way out, even if it's a move you're chomping at the bit to do, is fear. Or a lot of it is fear. There's a lot that pisses me off here but they're all known quantities. This is a familiar place, and soon I won't be in a familiar place. That's frightening. It'd be frightening for any animal, let alone a human animal with a consciousness of mortality. Because I know who *I* am here, and whoever I am next, wherever I am, I will have different challenges and be older . . . . eventually frailer . . . that many more minutes closer to death. If you don't have these life stages all harshly chopped by a complete change of environment maybe it's easier to ignore that. Probably hadn't realized that until now because me at 18 vs me in my 40s haven't felt much different health- and energy-wise. But these days as soon as a mirror pops up it's clear the crone stage is on her way. Fair enough but it does take getting used to. 

Sometimes I get a feeling that every feeling we feel, all that bewildering and subtle range of emotion, is some exacting cocktail of maybe four things. Fear, joy, love, hunger, and sleepiness. Is there anything else happening up there in our spandrel-ly little brains? Maybe not. Honestly, that's already a lot. 

As I stuff my face with red currants and gooseberries on my way out of Day-to-day Northern Europe, I'm having a moment of intense nostalgia for Yorkshire. I was having drinks with a Midlands friend in Brussels last week who asked me if I was reverting when I said I was thinking of buying the family some pet ferrets. Hah hah. I haven't been there since I was pregnant with Godzilla and Granny was still alive. Nigh on exactly 11 years ago. But it struck me as soon as we got to Deutschland - how familiar it seemed here. Not like northern France or Belgium or the Netherlands. Here and northern England recall each other a little. There's something intensely similar. The rooks probably, or the red currants. Or the gooseberries. The brambles. The language. I don't know. But I think my grandparents would have felt something comfortable here, if they hadn't absolutely detested Germans as was reasonable for their generation and many others. I will miss that - the rooks especially. Fuck me, will I miss the rooks. Oh well. I'll visit. Perhaps not here, but I'll visit rooks somewhere. 

mercoledì, giugno 14, 2023

Truly blogging into the wind now. Oh well. Forgot my diary in this country I'm leaving behind. I act like it didn't strike a chord with me, I don't believe there's been a big emotional attachment, but I haven't spent this long in one country since I moved out of my parents' house. Curious about what I'll miss. I'm guessing mostly the green - at least we get one last June of it - and the desperate bids to salvage the bits of pre-war architecture, even the industrial stuff, that hasn't been knocked down yet, while allowing enough renovation to make it livable. Let's see. At the moment, with so much admin done but so much grunt work to do to get to the next place, I'm thinking harder about what I'm leaving behind than what I'm getting into.

martedì, giugno 13, 2023

Just turned down the boys' school places here for next year. It was the hardest bit, emotionally, of this whole process, which is ironic because this whole process wouldn't have started unless we hadn't decided they shouldn't be going to school here. The childhood-ending Gymnasium Godzilla isn't going to is really nice, for a childhood-ending institution. It has a vivarium in the atrium. Nice big one. Recent total rebuild. Looks like well-lit Star Trek. And the Monkey King knows what's going on too, and he's sad about it. The pandemic really fucked up the years we've spent here, but it's still their place, their friends, their sense of everything. What are we doing dragging them out of this sense of place? 

I thought I had accepted it, but I hadn't: parenting is choosing your poison. Not for yourself, because that's just life once you move out of your parents' place. I'm totally comfortable choosing my own poison. It's choosing your poison for other people, for the people you love most in the world, the people who you would literally set the world on fire to protect. But you still have to choose a poison. 

lunedì, giugno 12, 2023

So last week was a pretty big international life admin week - safe to say biggest of my life by some measures and the groundwork for my whole midlife crisis, which should last about 15 years, minimum. And at the point where I bought my fifth piece of real estate - second that week, and fourth country - the agent congratulated me, and it caught me totally off guard. I mean they're very nice people for real estate agents and I was absolutely polite back but honestly, when someone blows all that measurable money on something with such a basically unmeasurable value all at once, isn't the correct response "good luck" rather than "congratulations"? 

All of which contributes to saying, things are trucking along. The F-word's studio got packed up and shipped last week. Everything else gets packed up and shipped in a week and a half, including the boys and I - off to the family to wait all this out for the summer, and let the F-word repay with the sweat of his brow all the admin work I've been doing for the last year or so. It feels good. Weird. One of the things that went with the movers at the same time as the studio was my bike, so when I got back from all the international admin work and I realized I wasn't going to ride a bike here anymore, I got a little misty. I really liked riding a bike here. Keep thinking "oh, I'll just pop on my bike and go get some pasta cheese" and then think nope, nope you aren't. It's a little like when someone who you still need to tell something dies, and nope, nope you can't tell them. I've often thought that moving was a bit like a little death, a practice for death maybe, and the older I get the more I think that, with growing horror. 

Nevertheless, she persisted. Hahahahahahahahah. Idiot.