It turned out that because of a conglomerate of unfortunate circumstances I won’t go to Poland this summer. It hurts me dearly, as I will miss two weddings that I really wanted to attend. I am also if only a little bit annoyed with my multiple fails on the logistics side of things. Hazards of the job, one could say – or lack of thereof.
The sudden and unexpected outburst of nostalgia made me cook Polish food for whoever would only want to eat it. It also made me realise that Poland is not the only home that I miss. I miss every place that I used to call home: I miss Edinburgh with its winding streets and unpronounceable names. I miss the sunny afternoons in Princess Street Gardens and gloomy afternoons on George Square. I miss the library with the smell of old books and the sound of thousands of fingers tapping on keyboards on the night before an essay deadline. I miss feeling a little lost and inadequate, abroad by myself for the first time, and I miss the feeling of making it home, of making a little place for myself.
I miss Perm, the cultural capital of the Universe, with all its quirks and roughness. I miss discovering its little pockets of absolute unexpectedness: people walking the streets dressed up as anacondas, a myriad of festivals drawing world stars in their niche; I miss Perm’s obsession with Diaghilev and Pushkin, their attempts to prove that they are as good as St.Petersburg.
I also miss Moscow, its ridiculous grandeur, its constant rush, the crowds in the metro. I miss the comforting feeling of getting inside on a wet and gloomy day, the sight of sparkling golden domes surrounded by sparkling snow on sunny winter mornings, the sense of freedom when I’d stroll in the streets at ten in the morning, with everyone else tightly sealed in their corporate cubicles. I miss its pretty, export parts, but I miss its mundane, grey and dire areas even more; the areas much more Russian than the Red Square.
What I miss the most about those places though are the people who I left there – or who left with me, and dispersed all across the globe. I miss curry, wine and complaints about the world nights in Edinburgh. I miss political discussions over the Sunday market paella. I miss Teviot, Teviot’s nachos and conversations I had over them. I miss flatmate-bonding dinners and trying to fit 40 people in our minuscule kitchen (successfully! Multiple times!). I miss having friends over food and buckets of tea. I miss going back tipsy down the dimly lit Buccleugh Street and feeling like a character in a Gothic novel.
I miss being thrown into a desert island of the Russian province with a group of people who I had barely known, but who became my close friends in the end. I miss takeaway sushi picnics in front of the opera, crazy chicken and wine nights out, when too much time was spent in front of the Lenin’s statue; I miss dancing salsa with accidental Cubans, watching games I still don’t understand over litres of Czech beer and emptying pub’s wine reserves. I miss long walks home on white June nights because the conversation was too heated to just be abandoned.
I miss catching the last metro train home in Moscow and wandering aimlessly around the old centre, taking turns deciding which way to go. I miss class discussions with people who I would have never otherwise met. I miss staying up late despite having to work in the morning. I miss film screenings followed by long discussions and crashing unexpected parties. I miss drinking litres of coffee and beer and talking about everything and anything. I miss the friends who were always there for me and I miss being there for them.
I also miss friends from home who I only see when we happen to come back at the same time. I miss going for a beer or eight in the same pizzeria, where once we had been gathering all our change for an after-school treat. I miss Warsaw gatherings, as that usually is a place which is equally out of the way for everybody. I miss seeing people I hadn’t seen for months and months on end and feeling as if no time had passed at all. I miss lazy afternoons in my grandma’s yard and being a part of all the important and less important family events.
And at one point in not-so-distant future, I will miss Mexico in general and Puerto Vallarta in particular. I will miss spending sunny afternoons on the rooftop of the hostel where I live, and watching the sun setting into the ocean. I’ll miss dancing to the immortal 90s music in the most fabulous gay bars and stumbling upon an unexpected drag queen show at odd hours of the morning; I’ll miss people whom I met here, those who came and went and those stuck around for a little while. I already miss friends I made on the way, who I coincided with for a moment or two before we all went our own ways.
But perhaps the most bitter-sweet of all came the realisation that the feeling of longing is what I will never get rid of. Some of those places I will never go back to. Some others will have long changed upon my return. I will never gather all the people I care about in one place: one continent might be too much to ask for. And yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. The thought of settling down petrifies me. There are so many more places to go to, so many regions yet undiscovered, so many people I have yet to meet. There are stars I have never seen before, and elements still beyond my grasp. I often wonder what it would be like to have life centred in one geographic location, to have all the loved ones right there, all friends and family and distant relatives – and I cannot quite imagine. Let constant longing be the price I pay for the constant change.
If you’d like to learn more about the places and people who are dear to me, here you’ll find a picture of Edinburgh right about when I left it. Here‘s a little postcard from Poland. This is one of the Moscow entries that I like and this is the beginning of my three-month journey around Mexico (the journey in progress – and the blog section in construction). If you’d like to hear from me a little more often, have a look at my facebook and instagram, I’m a bit more regular there.
P.S. Fun fact: all of the photographs in this entry were taken with a phone.