One Year Here

Perhaps this is the point of this blog: to demarcate time into manageable plots. To say that we were standing here a year ago, and so we are today. We’ve lived in the city one year this week.


Then, I woke up to brightness, light soaking our white, tall walls over and over. A year ago, light was painful to eyes that were familiar with grays and storm blues and purples. The horizon of the sea my eyes had rested on daily was suddenly vertical, glaring. Paint-dust fell on us as we slept on borrowed mattresses on the floor. Elfish knocking woke me as cobblestones were hammered into place on our street. The air conditioner shook the walls and trains hurled themselves over our place on the bridge.

The sea-change from wind filling everything to the sun in my eyes blinded me for about half a year. But today I am in a room whose beams have listened to my voice say I hate this city (yes, I did, yikes), then it’s ok, and then it’s really not that bad, and today, sometimes, I like. The pang of missing the old country is long gone, and this is now a place where we feel peace.

To name the things I like is why I write here, and so here’s one:
Visitors who come by bus, by plane, by train, by car and stand on our roof to say, after their travel, this is awesome.

And another from just now: our neighbors came home from vacation and we stood in the hall talking, laughing, summing up time, smiling.

And other things that have snuck under the door and each time I notice their shadow, I smile: The smell of our cool lobby. The baskets of gooseberries and red kale at the grocery on Saturday mornings. Wood floors in the kitchen. The possiblities. The smell of grilled gruyere in a café.

A year with a city is not enough to recognize even a few of its freckles. But there are days when I can walk and my thoughts walk alongside, days when I don’t skirt pigeons as widely, when the noise of the bridge is unheard. Sometimes, I even hear my footsteps. Sometimes I just enjoy the light.

p.s. The photo is from a year ago.