When you’re an expat, you need to come back to places of good memories:
Walk the streets of the city love of your life, slightly puzzled that people keep smiling at you then realising you have this constant, possibly goofy, smile on your face yourself that you somehow can’t wipe off.
The same streets you trotted in your singlehood, thinking fondly of the Bridget Jones-you of yore.
The streets you walked with your newborn when a nutty-professor looking guy screamed “long stick” in your face and made you laugh all the way home – making you the nutty one.
The streets where you pushed the pushchair through one metre of snow (no winter tyres!), desperately trying to keep up with your maternity-leave-friend and Champion of the World Winter Marathon with Pushchair and Other Obstacles. The crazy sisterhood of motherhood…
Take a break on the park bench by the pond where you sat when all of a sudden you were asked to be an extra in a movie and all you had to do was sit there and be a mom with a baby, the perfect role at the time, and you obediently sat there for two hours even after you discovered that the lead actor was your least favourite actor/person of all times and even after he thoroughly confirmed your perception of him. The finished result was 90 min. of suffering and then they’d cut you out. Lost seconds of fame…
Along with the imprint of your bum from that time, that bench holds many memories, like marvelling at your baby taking her first steps, aiming for the very same pond.
Walk past your old apartment, the one with charme fou and a huge roof terrace, the major-life-events one (two pregnancies and one marriage), and stare at the doorbell as if to hypnotise it into changing time. Never mind if you scare the neighbours.
Pass your favourite coffee place (everybody needs to have one) and let out a sigh of relief that it’s still there, same coffee, different people, thinking if one day it’s gone you’ll hammer your hands on the door, slide down on the pavement and gently weep.
Stop by the restaurant where you once went on a special date, tears in your eyes when you discover it hasn’t changed one bit – except the menu and the vitello tonato brings tears to your eyes too. Nutty nostalgic meets food lover.
Take your children to your childhood summers; lazy islands, wild strawberries on a straw, the same ice creams, same waters to swim in, new crabs to catch, freedom. Memories in the making.
Isn’t it great and reassuring that some things stay the same?
But as expats, we might be talking one heck of a marathon – the Marathon of Memories. First steps of baby #1 in one country, of baby #2 in another and so on (let’s face it, hubby #1 and hubby #2 etc isn’t quite the same)…
Good thing then that it’s a relatively small world and we’re often able to run the distance, back to our Places of Good Memories.
Text and iPhone mem’ries collage by Unni Holtedahl, September 2014