the last december day

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Clear blue skies with the sun making the sea shine bright, the sea is always in front of me. It brings comfort to me; waking up to this view, seeing it all day long.

All the blue. From top to bottom, always engulfed in blue, surrounded by mountains and quiet.

Bosnian coffee with cinnamon; always first thing in the morning.

A thick silence that comes with a small, seasonal town, where in winter there is no one to be found anywhere. But it is home. This is home.

Overlooking the bay, the quiet calm sea, with reflections of the past year in it and everything that has ever happened because that is what home means. Because that’s who I am.

Home is a place that remains unchanged so that you can find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

adieu to twenty-fifteen

Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria

In lieu of writing, I have been traveling. I haven’t felt at peace, and the only thing that could keep me from fading away at the edges was to keep moving. I spent an afternoon in Poland, in Slovakia, a weekend in Germany, and a weekend in Austria. European cities collect in my memories and notes with comfort as a side effect. There’s more to come and it’s one of the things that keep me afloat.

Words, more oft than sentences, penned absentmindedly in a café with a warm cup of melange or a flat white. People-watching, picking up conversations with random strangers, having apfelstrudels with vanilla sauce as a balanced lunch, feeling the structure of cobblestones beneath my feet, trying to keep my mind at bay. Mostly that. Trying to keep my mind from wondering and wandering and getting lost in the tangle of thoughts and memories, which can only hurt me.

Contemplaiting life

I would hate to think that I enjoy descending into miserable states of mind, but seeing how often it actually happens, I cannot help but think that it’s what I am inclined to do. Being and staying present has been strenuous, and sometimes I worry that the only thing I have accomplished is to create more distance between the person I want to be and the person that I am.

I moved back to Prague four months ago, into a glorious one-bedroom apartment at the heart of Žižkov neighborhood. And still, in all that time I have only acquired a handsome double-bed, a couple of chairs and a table to keep in the dining area. A typewriter, I’ve barely had the chance to use, sits atop my kitchen table where I never dine. Or spend any time whatsoever.

Keeping the apartment empty, airy, and free of possessions makes it easy for me to disappear on the weekends with nothing or no one to tend to. I slip out at a moment’s notice. I prefer the minimalistic lifestyle. Simple colors. Hard floors, wooden details, and an abundance of white.

Instead of possessions, I collect memories, books, handwritten journals, albums upon albums of images, late night conversations over delicious bottles of wine, scrumptious breakfasts, dinner, and lunches, walks in nature in southern Bohemia, flight ticket stubs, ticket stubs in general, coins and notes of different currencies, and most importantly friendships.

Of all the revelations, I’ve had this year this one has made the most profound impact on the quality of my life: people are the most important aspect of my life, more than any things will ever be.

At the start of the year, I chose the word focus for twenty-fifteen, not knowing it would lead me to simplicity for twenty-sixteen. It turns out I might have been right after all.

the secret

No one forgets what happens. The secret is to learn to live with it.

I have felt no need to write. Not recently and not for a while. And as for why?, there’s no definite answer, either. I am afraid of revealing too much. Of saying the wrong thing. Of saying the right thing. I am afraid that you will see that I am still hurting. That I still fall apart every once in a while. It hasn’t gotten any easier. Expecting something to happen does not guarantee it. In fact, quite the opposite.

I am struggling and I have been struggling. Recently and for a while.

There. There it is. Inhale; exhale.

I was going to write letters during the festive season but managed none of them. The typewriter I brought home a month ago sits on my kitchen table, collecting dust. I stored it away in a suitcase that it came in. It’s huge and heavy, and moving it around isn’t an option. The same way I am unable to move the heavy feeling that has settled into my chest three years ago. It has not dissolved since then and it isn’t any closer to dissolving. The sadness, mostly the grief and guilt, accumulated with time. It hardened into a block of concrete that I carry around with me.

I wish they’d told me this would happen. I wish I knew then what I know now.

But that isn’t quite how it works.

notes of november | on the road

Dear November,

next time, could you please slow down? Thank you.

But of course, it cannot. Of course, it won’t. Time doesn’t wait. Twenty days have passed. And they have been full twenty days.

I am trying hard not to push it. Writing, relationships, friendships, everything that matters. Sometimes I slip up; leaving traces of anger and impatience everywhere I go. Thoughtless messages and words. I did okay in November – at the beginning. At least for a while.

November. I spent a lot of time on the train. To and from Prague. I finally headed out east where I had never been until now. Where the industrial areas are, where there aren’t as many trees, where the fog hangs low much longer than other parts of the country. I could barely understand anybody in Ostrava, and there was too much talk about football for my liking, but if you’re around and in desperate need for a coffee (as I always tend to be), Ostravanka makes a kick-ass flat white.

That week alone I traveled within four different countries. Prague, being centered in the heart of Europe as it is, makes it easy. I popped over to Poland one Sunday for coffee and breakfast and warm white wine served in champagne glasses. Everything was quiet, closed, deserted. Cieszyn was a reflection of my own feelings. Although, I love getting out of the capital, I realized over and over that I could not live anywhere else in the Czech Republic but in Prague. There’s something about all the other places that makes me cautious and bored at the same time.

I spent five days walking around Vienna, drinking melanges, and eating my weight in apfelstrudels with vanilla sauce. There were mornings, afternoons, and evenings spent with my namesake over authentic Bosnian coffee with an Egyptian spice. My dearest friend from this year, someone I had forgotten before. But she came back into my life this summer, and I am grateful for her friendship. Summer wasn’t enough for us, so the fall saw us again, and so will winter. One afternoon, I hid in the Albertina Musem with Monet, Picasso, and Munch. The last morning in Vienna saw the most glorious sunrise I have seen in a while. As I boarded the train to Bratislava, everything fell right in the world.

In Slovakia, there wasn’t enough time for anything but breakfast and lunch. With the right people, it’s all you need. Brothers Coffee did not disappoint, and I walked away with two issues of the Standart Magazine. I am now a devout reader.

November. I watched as the trees lost their leaves, all the color fallen on the pavement. Then the wind came and took it all away, leaving only skeletons of nature on the ground. Everything is different now. Winter is nothing like the summer. It’s okay, though. At least, I keep telling myself that.