Why do birds fly in a circle above tall buildings?
I ask myself this out loud and tweet it in my feed – with a lipstick stain on my glass, paired with a white sundress – I’m at a fashion party looking for existential answers. Coming back is never easy.
Bucharest is a stage of the old and the new, a cracked mirror of lost times hit by a Technicolor ray of light. I think the word that most likely defines this city is nostalgia. Nostalgia of the young for the youth of their forefathers, nostalgia for pastimes and the glamorous vibe of the 1930s, nostalgia for a life that is always someplace else. We are past-ridden in so many ways, and yet, we embrace the trend like there is no tomorrow. It’s a city of contrast, and one of the lost-and-found desks of the continent, where so many foreigners come to revel at yesterday through the eyes of today.
Bucharest was my playground love. Being away from it for two years taught me we don’t have a home unless we make one, inside ourselves. Being away from home hasn’t filled me with hopes and dreams, like in the songs we listen to because they give us serotonin uplifts. It rather put me in a bubble where – between being a traveller and a work seeker – I lost touch with who I was in some points. The things I miss are unrelated to geography, people and places but rather to moments. I miss drinking Texel’s beers in Leiden, sun bathing in Holland and writing on my terrace as much as I miss waking up at 7 a.m., working for the fine print and having a club where to dance myself to exhaustion. I miss my friends, who are now scattered all over the world, but when you walk alone, eat alone, take trains and planes alone, you just learn to believe that the kindness of strangers is sometimes more valuable than the frailty of long lasting relationships in your life. Distance brings people and places together. It offers the understanding that broken phones, lost money and missed connections are truly nothing compared to gained friendships, touched milestones and empathy.
A friend told me that after turning 30, she understood she no longer has time to do things she doesn’t like. I thought about it while boarding a flight to a place where I had to start a new life.
“Is this the life you’ve always wanted?” my friend asked me that day.
“I’ve only wanted to feel alive”, I replied.
I’m always scared of flying, so I close my eyes.
But I can’t sleep at all.
So I count my blessings.
And if the plane falls, then I know, I always know I did feel alive.