When the outlook looks bleak head to the Bleecker Bar
I've been on vacation for the last couple of weeks. Far away. To escape the bleak greyness of France. While I had the greatest intentions to keep everything going, I found that my vacation quickly took an Eat.Pray.Love turn and went all "rediscovery" on me. What is it they say about the best laid plans....?
Anyhow, any of you who have spent any length of time out of your home countries can commiserate with that feeling you get when you do go home. The birds are suddenly chirping, the sun is shining and, generally you feel like you're starring in your own rendition of "The Sound of Music".
The funny thing about my home country, besides it being the country of my adolescence and not birth, is that you're not eased into the welcome, having the time to take in the views and the culture. All of it comes at you all at once. Here is a rundown of one hour of events from day 2 in the Land:
We headed up the mountain from my parents' home to a town known and loved for its mix of mysticism and religion. It is also the town where I worked to bring English ALIVE to my classes. It boasts the best pizza in the world (according to a sign), a Bagdad cafe, and it's a go-to place for scarves/head coverings etc. Eclectic it is.
Being a very old town its shop-lined streets are one-way and narrow. So we were only mildly surprised to see a car parked in the road with its emergency lights on. The lights were to tell you that the driver would be back in a minute, or two, or actually-see that guy going from shop to shop? That's him. He has some things he needed to pick up but his kid fell asleep so he's just left his car there while he shops.He's oblivious to the inconvenience he's causing the delivery truck and several cars waiting to get through. Every couple of seconds he responds to the beeping with, "wait a minute, I'm coming!" or "didn't I say I was coming? Wait a minute!" This goes on for some minutes until he finally decides to move his car with an indignant "would you mind letting me pass" to the truck driver that has now driven onto the curb in an attempt to pass. The car moves and calm returns to the little street.
We enter a store. Like many of the stores here it specializes in formal wear, lingerie, and anything lined in fleece. Hey, it gets chilly up there.... The silence is broken by the voice of an older lady saying "wait a minute, I'm checking if they have socks." As she shuffles into the back I peer out the door to see who is beeping and calling for her. It's her friend, of similar age, sitting in the back of a taxi that is no longer held up in traffic and wants to go. "Just wait," she tells the driver, "she'll be right out." I look to see if the lady found her socks. She hasn't, but the taxi has driven off and she shuffles out to the sidewalk with a "where are they?" Someone tells her the taxi drove off, but she suddenly exclaims "oh! There they are!" and shuffles out of sight down the road.
We can now focus on the handyman in the store. He's fixing water damage caused by a leaky ventilation system in the ceiling. He has an electric drill plugged in and is standing on that part of the ladder that usually reads : This is not a step. He's both scraping and plastering which is fine except for the part where the system is still running and still leaking. Oy vey!
It's time for lunch. It starts to rain, then pour down buckets. We duck into a lovely organic food store and pick up some things. I traveled 4000+ kilometers to get here and I'm loving every minute of it. Go ahead and rain- it won't ruin my parade!