I don’t remember the last time I felt at home or if I ever even felt like that at some point. Moving around from one place to another has made me think a bit more about which one of these places can I call mine, and so far have reached no conclusion. What makes us call a place “home”? The easy answer would be the place where you were born, where you grew up or where your family and friends are. So what if you feel you have nothing in common with that place but memories?…

When I get homesick, I usually associate the word “home” with just moments that I enjoy remembering…but that’s not a good enough definition of “home”, because I have beautiful memories from every place I’ve ever seen. And I’m right back where I started. How does one figure out where they belong?

I love Romania. It’s my country and even though I don’t feel connected to it, I can at least call it “my”. That’s where my family and friends are and that fact alone makes it special, but it will never be my home. I can’t call “home” a country in which I have to watch my back (literally) when I get out of my own house so I won’t get bitten by the dozens of stray dogs. I can’t call “home” a country in which 99 out of 100 people you see on the street put on a sad face when they woke up and never took it off. I can’t call “home” a country in which corruption will never cease to exist because of the mentality of the people; a mentality that I shamefully admit sharing at certain times, even though I try very hard not to. Last time I visited, I felt like an alien – don’t know if that was because I’ve changed or because the country changed, or both. I had an eerie feeling nevertheless, and even ignoring that, I don’t dream of ever calling it my home again.

I love England, too. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to go to a university in another country, let alone a British one, let alone one that is so good and that certainly can’t be compared to the ones I would have had access to in Romania. I feel I know how things work and that everything is easy to figure out. People are friendly and I do like hearing “love” at every corner, even if it’s just an empty word. No one is in rush, no one is ever rude to you and, let’s face it, their accent is adorable. But no matter how much I love it, it’s not where I would like to settle, not in a country where every time I wake up the sky is grey and the national sport is getting wasted.

I love Germany. These 2 months I’ve spent here have been wonderful and full of events, full of interesting people and interesting journeys. Bearing in mind that my time here will be a short one, I’ve really tried to enjoy it, maybe not at its fullest, but certainly more than I did in England.  However, it will never be my home.

I believe many people don’t ever find their home because they are simply too afraid to take risks and just follow their moment of clarity, how alcoholics would put it.  You have to be brave enough not to ignore your instincts and completely change your path… because of a feeling, a wish, a person, a dream, a song or a memory. But what if in the end you still don’t end up home?  Then maybe your home can be you… Maybe one does not need to settle down in only one place, maybe we can carry a small piece of all the places we’ve visited, all the people we’ve met, all the lovers we had, all the things we’ve experienced..and just build a home, like a puzzle, in our mind.

We grab a Pan Am Clipper to Caracas, scoot on over to Rio for some fun in the sun,

slide off the map. We could go dancing, and have a lot of laughs, any time we want.

Want to take that ride with me? Train__in_color_by_Parawan

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Zehn kleine Jägermeister or… how I came to actually enjoy the German language a bit, after almost 14 years

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been (trying) to learn German. I think I was 6 or 7 when I first learned how to count. From that point forward, there have been countless hours of how to construct sentences with “weil”, “dass” and so on. Yes, I know the verb goes at the end, but that’s proven to be so incredibly useless to me now.
We’ve been taught the same grammar rules year after year and not once were we given the opportunity to just SPEAK. That’s how, after all this time, I’m finally in Germany and I still ask people “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” for anything that requires more than “ein Bier, bitte” and “danke”.
We’ve learned about “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, about the dreadful concentration camps, about the Berlin wall, about ostalgie, about everything… but it was always a story told without making us feel any connection to their present.
It’s been a month since I first arrived here, and so far what I’ve been doing is trying to get to know as many Brazilian people as I can, to improve my Portuguese and also because.. Let’s face it, they’re a load of fun. Recently, I’ve also met a very interesting German guy. During one of our fruitful talks about cans of tuna and other philosophical matters, he started singing a very popular (apparently) and old German song. We saw that as an opportunity for me to experience a genuine part of German culture, so we listened to many old (and not so old) hits that, for some weird reason, actually made me wish I’d understand what they were so joyfully singing about. It’s not like I haven’t listened to German music before, but it was nice having someone trying to explain what those songs meant to them as a nation and what childhood memories they bring, and frankly, this would be the first time I’ve felt close to anything that can be called “German”.
The first step toward this (still) fragile connection, though, must be the night in which Borussia played against Real and managed to qualify for the CL final. Just hearing the pronunciation of “R” in Borussia made my night. Well, that, and the overwhelming joy that flooded the streets of Dortmund just moments after it ended. It’s not like anyone was actually watching the game.
Germany, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Time to pack

So herIMG_20130324_124506e I am, 10 days before my flight.  I should be excited, but I’m mostly terrified. About packing, about leaving, about German and Germany, quite about everything.
I’ve tried to avoid speaking German as much as I could at Uni here, and every time I really had to do it, it was like the world would come tumbling down. Silly, I know that now, but there’s not much I can do.

Another thing that’s quite annoying is trying to pack 30kg of luggage for 4 months. This is particularly hard if you, like me, are planning to take with you your favorite pillow, your favorite fleece blanket, your awesome espresso jar, your very useful electric grill, and not to mention tons of toiletries. It’s gonna be emotional giving up all those.

But looking at the bright side, apparently it’s sunnier in Dortmund, so…buh bye, Leeds late winter.

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