the other stages

iulie 28, 2008

these past 2-3 days i was alone in cluj. i know (i do?) it’s not supposed to happen, especially when you have friends at a few buttons’ distance and a nokia recharger. but also, it was the weekend. it rained. there were weddings. there was cleaning and shopping to do. in my room (coffee, then one more coffee, in my cracked cup; salad in my glazed bowl), i started to remember, and tried to see how it was, what exactly the taste of spending one sunday afternoon in bed, the light (the air) coming in through the (so large) window. also, i listened to my old tapes. it wasn’t sad, most of the time. all those things are just pretence, i can listen to anything without flinching. i can even stand nothing and i won’t flinch. much. also, i walked. i walked home at nights, alone. the straight route. i didn’t smoke. i didn’t drink. i wrote something small and unexpected, but mostly i tend to be concerned with who i’m dedicating my book to, and the acknowledgements, and the order of the stories…which is supposed to be wrong, since half the stories don’t exist, not even in their shadiest form. also, right now i’m at cla’s (yes it’s 5 a.m. and since i happened upon a computer and it’s mine for the night i’m not sleeping yet, what’s the big news, i’ll sleep at noon). i saw 2 great kids these days – miruna and maria. better and better. i should say something about escu maybe – but no, the village and the scarf i knit in the village and the colors on the scarf i knit in the village and the 2 kittens in the village (miranda and frida) and my attempts at work in the village deserve their own post or nothing at all.

(meaning, nothing at all, probably, right now. it’s 5 a.m. and tonight i took a big step, i think, towards acting casual. facebook did it to me again, and i’m safe and sound and smiling. the truth is, the old trick of ‘reward comes post-despair’ is starting to piss me off).

so yes, i had to be alone in cluj. it’s as if nothing has changed. the textures are the same, and they might’ve cleaned up and straightened it, but on sunday it’s a damn small and empty town. the wedding claxons start by 10 a.m., and afterwards it’s just wedding claxons and party music, and the echoes of them in everything that’s said or not said. i’m out of here tomorrow. people who make children here are planning to take them out before school age. i’m thinking right now, what a weird generation it will be, of european citizens. and us, wishing them freedom, denying them this bitterness, let them find their own. this is ours – ours.

actual work, haha

iulie 14, 2008

ok, so the previous bistrita days i did pick raspberries twice (=2 small buckets) at my aunt’s place (they just have sooo many), and they also have a westie dog (ronnie) whom yael would love :). but today i’m wasted because i worked with my mum in my parents’ vegetable garden ‘in the country’. it’s a beautiful place – except we expected the day to be cloudy, acc to weather reports, and it was the hottest day since i arrived. i am sunburnt, with a band of tan on my back, a slight headache and the satisfaction that today i earned my meals. really: it should be so easy: you do stuff, then you stop, eat and sleep, etc. except on top of that, i get to do my french, chat on messenger and complain about the latest new yorker cover –

it’s better now

iulie 13, 2008

it’s better as soon as it seems to me (however wrong i might be) that i’ve got a bit of an insight into all the dark corners :), as well as the overall superficial look. a second meeting with the same people, one layer of puzzlement and/or surprise stripped off, when instead of being asked about NY or just generic „how’s canada” i am beginning to be asked about specifics; when instead of the approved, gold-plated „yeah – i’m fine” someone starts detailing the ways they are fine, or not. all these paths, different and intricate for each individual – the ways my friends have changed and stayed the same. after the bumbling and negotiations on the phone – things falling into place for these short seconds. romanian prices, and second stores, opening up to me again, revealing potential. the new cafes and terraces, by insider tips :), all looking like part of a charade, while i sit by and laugh, while i step in and out of belonging there.

scorchers, ovidiu and i walking the rounds of his neighbourhood, once, and again, all that dusty feeling where i don’t even really have to keep up or find a thread (you know, there’s this other aspect to ‘slide’- one can slide back into the old ways like in a hot tub – but there’s not more than one blink allowed for that; walking like that, i’m at a loss for new words, not for new thoughts). giulia at zorki-and again, just for one moment the idea that this could work – on a day-to-day basis, if i return to cluj next year i could trudge along a work week, knowing i’ll end up in a nice place for coffee with friends; not true, of course, not real. alex at the insomnia, really-really ‘something old something new etc etc’, then out of that, in the street, on the new central benches where it seems to me no one has sat before, we’re the first people to sit there. then we enter sora, and without thinking i ask „why is it so small?”. lari on the balcony at le general (a new place), pointing me out to the clock above the door – one of those clocks saying „grand station terminal,new york” – and hailing the statue of liberty in my pictures. cris after midnight, after drinks, not wanting to let me go ‘home’ to my former place where i’ve said i hate to sleep alone. one night spent (wasted?) on playing youtube music clips. everyone sees me, and i’m free, with no immediate task ahead, with an aura of postcards and shells/stones from two oceans, carrying my backpack studded with buttons, and they’re grown people, who like me, and want to make me feel welcome, if not at home. but they used to be my peers. my life for the past year must be in their eyes as extravagantly odd 🙂 as the respite they take in one day with me – and afterwards?? as long as i don’t settle on my own beeline, they’re not my peers any more. 

but it’s better now, because i see the common sense in all of this, the fairness of their lives (not all of theirs, ok) falling into place and growing solid, wreck-proof, undeniably anchored. of course it’s not envy. but it is sadness. i look at the cleanliness and light in my place, knowing i’ll never live there again. i pass by the sincai gate. i still have my dentist in cluj, my favourite shops, my dining spot, my regular walk. yesterday at 6 when i exited cris’s flat going to the tram, the light was so good and the honeysuckle in the air. i thought, it’s saturday morning, if i lived here, what would i do next? and i remembered what i would do.

and no,  it’s better now.

cluj 08

iulie 11, 2008

this will be short/breathless because i’m in an internet cafe and the keyboard’s horrible, amazing how i can still get the words right. shorter carmen’s first days back to her country: i have no reason to be here. i mean of course, i knew people were busy and that – and they still graciously offer to pause a bit for me – but it’s just not the same. even my writing something, anything, sounds superfluous here, (it does sound like doing nothing), but no i’m not writing. my journey back was awesome (nicest moment: at the airport i discovered that air canada had no idea i was going to fly with them; consequently a nice check-in guy invented a reservation in my name and sent my bag straight to bucharest. then again in toronto the other check-in people were like „you are not flying wih us…but how ever did you get here at all???”). anyway – after all that, and the subway/station in bucharest and the subsequent 9 hour colorful train ride, at night, ‘home’ in bistrita seemed pretty lame, and my parents got tired of me in 2 days. that’s all it takes, i tell ya. (my mum has her exam tomorrow, so that’s a huge fuss) – so they sent me to cluj.

i was afraid of this, and i get what i was afraid of. i’m stuck here for extra 2 weeks, cause otherwise i couldn’t afford the plane ticket; so i’m back august 27. my place in cluj looks still good, and accomodating (in spite of the re-do with plush toys, which i promptly exiled in a closet, and with flowered-calendar pages stuck on walls, to which i shrug often. the weather is gorgeous, not too hot; stuff is almost on-a-par-with-canada expensive, all my friends are making money, buying cars, planning weddings, planning immigrations, planning holidays, planning something; everyone is nice and welcoming.

i shouldn’t have *** returned.

then it got better, though still bitter-sweet, because ovidiu walked with me for a whole day, and he said never return here, he said we’ll meet abroad next, this place is doomed, and he said i grew up a bit (smile if you’re reading). it’ll take days and days to distill all the good in this. if i ever need to. and, cluj is better than bistrita to my body image, because i eat a lot and i still can find cheap jeans to fit me. i cried. i smoked my rest of ‘canadian classics’. i bought my way london-vancouver. (i’ll have 10 hours in london between the 2 airports – or not?). all the things (pastry, forza flakes, coffee icecream) that i thought i missed (tomatoes and cheese) – i don’t really feel like eating them; that pure craving is lost on the way, i’m fussy and nitpicky. next, i have to meet my students tonight. (i only talked to 2 people really really since i came – and my mum – but that was the point, no?) maybe in time (at least 2 more weeks here) i’ll find out what’s missing, what it was that i was doing on summer days. cinema? SUs? what? tomorrow i return to bistrita and my family’ll take me somewhere out of town – no idea what their plans are. here people work on assumptions and my logic has shifted even more from theirs over this year. then to the countryside a week.