My mom was an international flight attendant in the grand age of airlines. Later, me and my brother came along, but she still flew international and sometimes took us along. I remember opening up the cabinet for after school snacks, only to find it crammed with "weird" things like nutella and pignolli and other things I never learned. The bathroom always had that weird British toothpaste. I remember the first time I had sparkling water. My childhood favorites were steak, fries, chocolate mousse and sparkling water. I adored carbonara and refused to believe that spaghetti with tomato sauce was pasta for years. I suppose in retrospect, my name, heathervescent, came 15 years later than it should have. Now I can drink all the sparkling water I care too.
Enter my first European trip in 12+ years. I hate to admit it, but I was a bit over Europe. I spent lots of travel time before I was 18 visiting this amazing place. I walked around Paris, Athens. Was up at 3am in London and visited all the traditional tourist (and non-tourist) places with my mom, sk8er brother and yours truly as proto-punk. I wandered the bazaars in Cairo and Istanbul (Not Constantinople.) I even ran away from Northern Germany with my best high school friend to Brussels 20 years ago.
Here I find myself in Brussels - and Belgium again. 20 years after my little international escapade. Being driven through fields on the way to the office. Fields that feel so familiar and yet completely different.
It's a strange sensation. I'm completely comfortable here. I am loving the cool weather and tall green trees more than I could imagine. I love passing the fields. I feast my eyes on the brick buildings. Brick is not a building material much used in my beloved City of Angels.
I walk the streets, my favorite fluevogs tapping out a rhythm. The boyf would not believe the amount of walking I have done with not a thought. I find myself stumbling through french I had not spoken (except a few phrases I regularly use) for almost two decades. The words and sounds come back. My vocabulary is shit, but I remember how much I loved the way you form your mouth when speaking French. It's much softer than Portugues.
At dinner, the woman at the table helped translate when I didn't understand the waiter asking me how to cool the steak. I think, Bloody in Uma Thurman style, but say rare. Later as we chat, I make the excuse that I am bad at French because I speak much better Portugues. What a surprise, she speaks it too. She with the Portuguese accent and me with my new world Brazilian one. What a surprise. I should be used to these kinds of surprises, but I never am. Delighted every time.
I'm here in this place. I've captured the feeling; but can't describe it yet. The nuance, the difference, the understanding, the comparison. The familiar. The new. It will come. I will describe it one day. I can wait.