It is not every day that you can get up in the morning and see a country’s fate changed permanently. Whilst I continue, perhaps in a state of denial, to tell myself that things may change, that a people’s referendum is not legally binding, that I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will all be over, so far, since Friday, the 24th of June, I have woken up each following day still a citizen of Brexit Britain, confined to Germany and unable to commiserate with friends, with family, with my university town, Oxford, which voted by a staggering 70% to remain – and yet relieved to be abroad, cocooned away from the abuse that seems to have come as a natural consequence, from the prejudice in the form of leaflets in postboxes and of abuse shouted from passing cars. Continue reading
I just love artichokes, and found a poem this morning on the Paris Review about one. I couldn’t resist sharing it. The obsession knows no bounds.
The first time I saw it, I thought what an ugly specimen. It looked like Grandma’s bathing cap, grown green and small after all these years. I sliced it open and tasted the pale flesh. And gradually she offered herself up leaf by leaf. In her depth she held a tiny, faded star, a spark that fell in the meteor shower over Frank’s garden. I developed a taste for her expensive style: fancy restaurants, wines by candlelight. Continue reading
Paris, Paris, Paris. Dates that sat in my head for months on end after a hasty Airfrance booking made at the end of October, calendars with dates being ticked off, conversations, Facetimes, Messenger calls had with a long-suffering David (I say conversations: best to define them as panicked rants) Continue reading
I can clearly see for the first time in my adult life how days, once the right season comes around, really do get shorter. Leaving my office at 6pm and not being overcome by pitch black darkness, mingled with the Bratwurst smells from round the corner, where the Metzger is, is a surprising yet obvious consequence of the aforementioned. It’s hard to believe that I am approaching the 6 month mark of my year abroad. Continue reading
to live within the black blackness is to be in an invisible cage, to star in “blue lagoon”, and to miss connections on a daily basis – even if your ticket is right.
however, the black blackness doesn’t tear you up
(not as soon as it should) no. it works deviously, and it works like this.
I’ll start with an anecdote.
I was twelve years old the first time I went skiing. Skiing was something I’d heard of, and, once my name had been pulled out of the hat to determine who got a space on the school trip, it was something I’d thought about, dreamt about, even, without really having very much idea at all of what it really was. My excited expectations were built entirely on pre-conceived ideas; on glossy brochures and friends’ photos and movie scenes. My daydreams were filled with blue skies and white snow; saloppetes and ski boots. I knew it was something I wanted to do. It didn’t occur to me that there might be more to it than that.
Our first day at ski school started at the foot of the main lift, that would take us from the small Austrian village, nestled in a valley of towering white, to “the slopes”…
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- Home is…? I couldn’t really answer entirely and only in relation to my year abroad to this question! Home is Oxford, St Hilda’s College; home is Florence, in Italy, and my huge bed which I miss more than any other part of the house, home is my old house down South in Puglia, where I grew up, and Cozze, the place I was a toddler and I loved to put logs in the fire, home is the houses in London where my cousins and I played as kids… and home is also, now, in some way, my postcard-covered little bedroom in Stuttgart-Ost, with its missing wooden panel in a corner and piles of books. Continue reading
Europe’s most powerful leader is a refugee from a time and place where her power would have been unimaginable. The German Democratic Republic, where Angela Merkel grew up, was neither democratic nor a republic; it was an Orwellian horror show, where the Iron Curtain found literal expression in the form of the Berlin Wall. Continue reading
It’s staggering to think that the first week of December has already come and gone. November came and disappeared in a flurry of confusion, tiredness, and counting down the days to leave for the two day panacea I had planned on the third day I was in Germany.
November was a tricky month to be me, hence perhaps there being such a long break between this post and my last tragicomical update. Continue reading
in my first year i wrote a very rambling, disconnected list of fifty things I loved about Oxford.
in second year i crossed out some and edited the list.
in third year i found the notebook i’d written them on. Continue reading