Destination #2: Montréal (Canada)

May 2nd, 2015

After a very short night wrapped into a modest brown blanket, I got up pretty early in the morning. On my way downstairs I met an elderly man who pointed at me and said, almost accusatory, “Colazione“! That is not my name, Sir, but if you insist, you can just keep on calling me that. I must have looked at the gentleman very doubtfully, so he exclaimed “Uh, breakfast!” – ““? I replied, not in the least less doubtful. “Downstairs, downstairs!” the man excitedly gesticulated towards a flight of stairs, from which I could already make out voices. “Grazie“, I smiled.

When I got to the breakfast area, a small, but comfortably enough room, a small lady with a big smile greeted me in Italian and pointed at the tables. She must have realised that I didn’t understand a single word, so she asked “Español?” Sure, why not. ““, I affirmed, so the lady enthusiastically explained to me that I could sit wherever I want and that I could serve myself as I pleased. I thanked her and chose a spot in the corner, where I had a good overview over both people and the food selection, which was very scarce.

I roamed the room for something edible and decided on hot chocolate from a coffee machine, one of those typical round white breads that you will find almost everywhere in Italy, and a croissant filled with jam. Trying to be as little of a burden as I possible could, I grabbed my breakfast plate, cup and leftovers and asked the breakfast lady where to put them. She looked surprised and said she would’ve taken care of it, but I assured her that it was no effort at all.

Back in my room, I packed my belongings and already dreaded the walk back to that bus stop from yesterday. It turned out that in the daytime, Rome seemed to look like a much friendlier place though, and what had seemed like an at least two-mile walk to me yesterday was really not so much as 400 metres. In the middle of the street a huge, lively market was taking place. I made my way through various fruit and vegetable stands and all that mumbo jumbo, and much to my delight almost immediately found bus number 90, that would bring me back to Termini.

Once inside of the bus, I asked an elderly man of around 70, where I would able to purchase a ticket. He’d start talking in Italian and I would reply in English and none of us really got their point across. Finally he reached out his hand and I put money into it. Looking back at it, I still feel really awkward about it, because the man dropped the money and in an enraged voice said “no!” (I understood that). The money rolled all over the floor and out of the bus, and the man shrugged. Somehow, he made me understand that you had to purchase the ticket prior to your trip. Well, there hadn’t been any biglietterias in, what I am sure was a five-mile radius, so I stubbornly decided to stay anyway.

So here I was on a bus in Rome, without a ticket and praying at every halt the bus driver made, that he wouldn’t call the carabiniere and have me thrown into the Italian jail.

I wasn’t literally praying. I was more like appealing to some higher being that might or might not exist. The elderly man I had addressed before, however, started talking loudly to himself. Maybe that was what Italians did when they got bored on the bus?

When the talking wouldn’t cease and none of the other people on the bus seemed to be imitating his behaviour, I realised that the man was praying. I was ashamed and also somewhat offended. Did this pious Catholic soul pray for this poor, wretched, ticketless Austrian, so his Catholic God would spare me from purgatory?

Arriving at Termini, I once more paid the ludicrous fee of 16€ that made me want to growl like a bulldog on a bad day, but I decided on not looking like the odd one out and patiently waited on the train like everybody else.

I arrived approximately three hours early at the airport and before I could pass through to the check-in counter, a man and a woman asked me where I was going. “To Canada”. – “Do you have a visa?” -“I don’t need a visa”. -“Do you have a return ticket?” Obviously. “Yes”, I replied, somewhat growing impatiently. “What are you doing in Canada”? The man, who blocked my way to the check-in counter, asked. I had to restrain myself from being sarcastic and asking “What are YOU doing in Canada?” and instead replied, “Oh, touristy things and stuff”. That seemed to be good enough of an answer and I finally got my ticket issued.

My destination was to be Terminal 3, which I supposed was used for non-European flights. In order to get there, one had to get into some sort of metro that transported you, not underground but actually overground, somewhat like a roller coaster, but not as fast and scary, to the terminal.

I still had more than two hours to kill before the boarding would start, so I did what any average Joe or Jane would do on their visit in Italy, and got myself some pizza. Don’t judge me, I know you would too.

Two and a half hours later I found myself wondering why the boarding still hadn’t begun and why I was the only one wondering about it. Besides, the screen that I hadn’t paid any mind to for about an hour suddenly said “Moskow”. By now it finally dawned on me that somehing was terribly wrong. I asked the lady at the counter what happened to the flight to Montréal and she said, as calmly as can be, that they had changed the gate. Great. How about informing the passengers? I rushed to the other gate and to my relief found that the boarding hadn’t even started yet.

On the plane, I discovered that I had an entire row all to myself. The itinerary on the overhead screens announced that it would take us precisely nine hours to arrive in Montréal. I hoped I would be able to fall asleep but this seemed to be an impossible undertaking. Everyone around me was snoring and lying around in the most hilarious positions, but I kept staring at the screens that updated the itinerary, watched Veronica Mars and fastened and unfastened my seatbelt, which sadly enough was the only entertainment I got.

Nine hours later, I was already jetlagged and sore, we finally landed in Canada. A couple of hours before that, the air hostesses had handed us declaration cards everyone was required to fill out for the Canadian border agency. Speaking of which, I spent two hours queuing up at customs, just to talk to a bored-looking guy that asked me the standard questions of “What are you doing in Canada?”, “Do you have a return ticket?”, “For how long will you stay?” and without further ado granted me my visa.

By the time I was allowed to leave the customs area, I was worried whether my luggage might have already been transferred to some other unknown destination, because it had been more than two hours since the plane had landed, but again I was lucky.

I told myself not to despair or fall asleep, grabbed my luggage and started looking for a bus that would take me downtown, which was a lot easier to find than any bus in Rome. I addressed the bus driver, a rather sour-looking woman, where I had to get off and she said it was the last stop. Great. That meant I had one less, one less problem. On the bus, there weren’t any signs to indicate where the journey was going either, so the lady bus driver just yelled out every bus stop with extreme annoyance.

I remembered the first time I had travelled to Montréal. It was in 2003 and I was twelve years old. It would be my very first flight, I travelled all by myself and I would never look at things the same after that journey. I remember being impressed by the eternal drives on illuminated motorways, the skyline of Montréal in the background and a heart that was dancing with joy. Back then, I was never able to linger, since my grandfather, this crazy, admireable man I love so much, lived in Ontario, the neighbouring province of Québec.

My grandfather is a whole different story. When he was well over fifty, he suddenly decided that he wanted to emigrate to Canada. Thus far, he had lived in a small village in Upper Austria for his entire life, raising four children (one of whom was my mother) and then he got curious. He started reading books about Canada and ended up being so fascinated, that he just took a flight to Canada to see for himself. Like me, he returned a changed man and his decision was made – he would pack his wife, my grandmother, and oldest son – and move to Canada. I still look up to him for having had the courage to leave everything that he loved behind him and start somewhere new and I owe so much gratitude to him for having given me the opportunity to fall in love with this country in the same way that he did.

I got off at the terminal station and, unsurprisingly, had no clue where I was. I asked every person imagineable, if they knew the street where my hotel was at, and everyone gave me the same answer: “Walk straight ahead, take the first street left and walk down a couple of blocks.” Have I mentioned that I am terrible at understanding directions? I might as well not ask, because I always get lost anyway, like this time. Again, it was getting dark and I was just getting desperate, running down every side road with my heavy luggage, until I finally found the hotel. It was the most run-down, shabby-looking place I had ever seen, but at that point, I was beyond caring.

I rang the alarm at the “reception”, that was basically a back room clogged with various items ranging from furniture to blankets, a fridge and a surveillance camera. I sincerely apologized to the man at the reception for the delay. He more or less patiently listened to my story and then asked me my name. When I told him, he said that my reservation had been cancelled. “What?” – “Well, your credit card could not be authorised”, the man said somewhat apologetically. I explained that I didn’t have a credit card but that I would be able to pay in cash. The man at the reception said that the entire hotel was complet. “Are you saying that you don’t have a single room left?” I was devastated. The man thought for a while and since I probably looked like a pitiful stray dog to him, he said he would try and fix something up for me. I would, however, have to pay twice the price. I was shocked, but I agreed.

“Thirty minutes”, the guy said, “the room will be ready in thirty minutes. Go and have a cup of coffee somewhere”. I don’t even like coffee.

I went across the street to the only shop that seemed to be open and as I was really thirsty, I treated myself to an over-sweetened drink and some water. I tried striking up a conversation with the guy behind the counter, who must have been around my age. He said that he was sorry, but he barely knew how to speak English. I frankly was too afraid to speak French because I was certain I would make a fool out of myself.

I didn’t want to wait outside on the street, because I was too exhausted, so I asked the owner whether I could wait inside. Instead of the owner, a young, dark-skinned man with glasses of around my age opened the door and asked me to come into the VIP section behind the reception counter. I took a seat at the couch and slurped away at my drink. The young guy said he was sorry but he didn’t speak English, so unless a miracle was about to happen, we would not be communicating.

Euh,” I commenced, “mon vol a été en retard et je suis fatiguée parce qu’il a duré neuf heures“. The young man opened his mouth and gave me the same look that a person, who had just found out that they won the lottery, would have given me. “Donc, tu parles français“? No, no I really didn’t and I felt so ashamed that my ears were probably burning, but I was trying. Most of what he said, I understood perfectly fine, however responding was an entirely different story. “People in Québec are very proud of their language and culture”, he explained, “but their French is not easy to understand. When I first got here, it took me a whole while to realise that “ääää” actually meant “un“. I was very much amused. The young receptionist explained that he was from Algeria and that he had a visa that permitted him to stay for ten months. “However, as an immigrant to Québec”, he exclaimed, “you need to learn both French and English. I don’t see the point in that when everyone speaks French around here anyway!” That was a good point. I started telling the guy about my long trip, that I hadn’t slept in forever and that I was dead tired. “Oh, every time I fly”, he said, “it usually takes me around nine hours as well. And I am always so uncomfortable because one can barely move and everyone around me is sleeping but I just can’t!” – “Haha, same here”, I concurred. “Your room is ready”, the owner yelled from upstairs. I felt it was a pity, because that meant that I had to stop this conversation. The young man helped me carry my bags upstairs, said he had enjoyed the conversation very much, and wished me a nice stay. “Maybe we’ll talk tomorrow”, he added.

Cheapskate’s 2 cents:

If you haven’t exactly won the lottery or have inherited a large sum of money that you don’t mind spending, I advise you to do the following things:

– Wherever you go, don’t, I said don’t start scanning the news(papers) for any bad news on the area you are going to. You will find that there are bad news all over the place, and knowing certain things won’t be helpful but will on the contrary cloud your judgement and make you worried.

– Be open-minded. Not everyone speaks your language, but they are not supposed to. With a little effort on your part, which includes not being rude, you will get an entirely different reaction from people.

– Compare prices of hotels online. You will find that they vary from one website to another.

– Compare flights but be cautious of additional costs like credit card fees, baggage fees, insurance fees etc.

– Speaking of hotels, don’t set your standards too high. You probably won’t be spending much time in them anyway.
Stay away from taxis. I mean it. Don’t be afraid of using public transports like buses, the metro etc.
-Find a good balance between splurging yourself and spending too much money. If you spend too little, you will soon feel resentful and if you spend too much, you will soon be out of money.
-Shop in the same grocery stores as the locals. This way you’ll avoid overprized food, water and other everyday items

To be continued…

Advertisements

Impediments

Her biggest wish was to go up to the sky, pick one particularly bright star and bring it down to earth to shed some light into the dark of people’s hearts. As far as she was concerned, she didn’t think she had the means to reach up that high though. Surely, she had been on aeroplanes, but they never took you nowhere nearly to where one could find them. All she could observe from up there were clouds – and people’s cloudy faces. The second excruciating fact that kept her down to earth, she reflected, and she was sure that this would not be the only obstacle that would hinder her from attaining her goal, was how to pay for the star once she got a hold of it. Certainly, she wasn’t poor, in comparison to indigenous people in Africa who had to walk for miles and miles to find a well, however she wasn’t rich either, if she compared herself to the average joe in her country. And even if she were to go the extra mile to the sky, with enough money in her pockets, how would she know which currency they would be using way up there? She didn’t think she was good at negotiating with aliens. Angels perhaps, but not aliens, who might send her right back down to earth. And even if she knew which currency they used up there, she was afraid, that under normal circumstances no regular bank would perform such a currency exchange. And as far as she knew, the circumstances were usually normal. They (whoever “they” were), had always told her to reach for the stars. But how was she supposed to, when the sky was out of her reach?

truth comes in many shapes but never in the form of a lie.

Every day for the past few months I’ve been thinking about putting my story to paper. I’d get into the habit of sitting down on my bed, getting as comfortable as possible as though as I was hoping it would give some sort of structure to the thoughts in my head. I’d mute every sound, and in an almost solemn way I’d focus on what I was going to say whilst staring at a blank piece of paper that kept reminding me of the nothingness I’ve been feeling lately. Perhaps this was due to the subconscious voice within me that kept telling me that I wasn’t much of a writer and besides that, that I had nothing to say and which difference would my words make to the world anyways? Somehow I never accomplished to mute that voice in my head nor could I answer that question for myself. These thoughts were always accompanied by an unknown fear within me, a fear that was more than just a little vague, that had so far successfully prevented me from telling the truth, and nothing but the truth

Sometimes reality doesn’t seem so real if one doesn’t realize it’s real. I mean, you might know that it’s real but that doesn’t mean you realize it. Realization to me is an active process that involves critical thinking. I’d like to give an example: Imagine you’re in high school and your teacher tells you you’re supposed to know, let’s say, a theory of a famous physician if you wish to graduate. Now you can learn the cold hard facts that are being fed to you and in this sense, know. But you’ll never see the theory in the way the physicist saw it. You most likely won’t try to comprehend how the physicist got to his conclusion let alone question the physicist’s theory and after intense study declare it invalid. You might know all the formulas, learn it all by heart, but realization is more than just dealing with facts. It’s about looking behind the scenes, it’s about trying to put yourself in the physicist’s shoes and get a whole different perspective on the matter. Knowing, or knowledge in this sense is passive and as such, will never alter reality. So I’d say knowledge is safe but realization is dangerous, especially to those who realize that they’re realizing.

Once Upon A Time

Wolfgang:

I remember when I was seven and had just started my first year at primary school. There was this boy in my class with the cutest haircut ever that I had a bit of a crush on. For some reason – I have no clue why – we always sat next to each other on the school bus. He didn’t live very far away from me – perhaps a mile – and even less when you took a shortcut. Wolfgang – that was his name, seemed rather quiet and shy to me but I still liked him – secretly, of course.

I remember one time when we were on our way back from school and all the other girls had already left the bus. Two boys that were known for being rascals, one called Simon – which was a neighbour and friend of mine – and the other one called Daniel, took their seatbelts off and started messing around. Wolfgang was still sitting quietly beside me. Until the two other boys suddenly got this crazy idea that I had to be kissed by him. I acted like I was disgusted and turned away so that Wolfgang – who found the idea hilarious and was attempting to plant a perfect smooch on me wouldn’t be able to accomplish his mission (I secretly didn’t mind at all, but of course I couldn’t just show them that I liked their idea), so I struggled as hard as I could to avoid Wolfgang kissing me until the boys figured out I wouldn’t hold still and get kissed unless they held me against my will. Wolfgang then successfully kissed me  on my bright red cheek with the two other boys cheering in the background and I got off the bus the happiest person on the planet.

 

Rene:

I will always remember the first time I met Rene. I was around 8 or 9 years old and my mother told me one day that I should get ready for a party/barbecue we would be having that evening. My parents had invited lots of people over and I would be knowing none of them, hence my attitude towards said event was rather negative. But since I had no say in the matter, I did as I was told. Mother explained to me that there was a society of foster parents that usually met up once a month. One of the members had recently come up with the idea that it might be great to meet up one day and bring the fostered children along so we could all get to know each other. And what, for this occasion, would be a better idea than a barbecue?

I remember lying down in front of the TV set, until my mother exclaimed that the first guests had arrived. I was not excited, but opened the front door. All I saw, at first sight, were plenty of strangers as well as cars. A little boy was complaining that the car ride had taken far too long. Then I spotted him. He was just standing there and wearing a blue jacket, which was nothing unusual. Something about him struck me like a lightning though so before I knew what I was doing, I marched towards him, shook his hand and said “Hi, I am Susanna” and welcomed him. The poor boy looked terribly confused. I left him standing there and started to gather all the candy that the rest of the guests had brought for me and my brothers. Most children – as far as I could see I was the only girl apart from a 3-year-old that wouldn’t leave her parents’ side – ran off to play in the sandbox.

The boy in the blue jacket just stuck around me and followed me wherever I went. There would be a surprise awaiting us in the kitchen, which was why we weren’t allowed to enter the house, so I decided to head for the barn, where I jumped off huge piles of hay along with a couple of boys including the one wearing the blue jacket. When we were alone, I asked him what his name was and he said “Rene”. We struck up a conversation as we both petted a couple of baby cats. I asked him how old he was and he replied that he had just turned 9 a couple of days ago. I congratulated him and said that I was still eight, but that my birthday was only a few months away. We were finally allowed to enter the house and there was indeed a huge surprise awaiting us. It consisted of cakes as far as the eye could see – and we were allowed to eat as much as we wanted to. So me and Rene, who was sitting next to me, stuffed each other’s faces. While we were doing so, I explained that the hayloft above the barn was actually a labyrinth. Rene got all excited and wanted to go there, which we later on did. Up on the hayloft, we  just strolled around randomly. I asked him whether he had ever been to a farm before. “Yeah”, he replied “my grandfather owns one”. Suddenly we heard two voices saying “I wonder where Rene and Susanna are. Let’s go and search for them.” “Come, let’s lie down on the floor so they won’t see us”, Rene whispered. I giggled and did as he told me. “Oh, they’re not here”, the voice said, “let’s go downstairs”. Rene and I grinned at each other and then also went downstairs to where the barbecue had already started. Again, we sat down next to each other. We even shared a piece of banana cake on one plate, as – as his mother put it – there was no dishwasher and they’d rather not waste too many plates. Later, a picture of all of us kids was taken. Rene was standing underneath me which made me incredibly proud. After this, everyone had to leave soon, so Rene and I sat down outside in the backyard at the swings and just talked until it was time for him to go home. I was really sad that he had to leave but his mother and my mother exchanged addresses and she promised me that she’d arrange for us to meet again in summer. My mother later told me that Rene had never gotten along so well with a girl. I also found out that he had only learned how to speak at the age of four.

Throughout the year, Rene and I kept sending each other letters. I remember having received the cutest birthday card from him. As I was told, he would rush to the mailbox daily in order to see whether there was a letter there from me. In summer, Rene was invited to stay over for a week at my place. My parents and I went to pick him up. While Rene got all of his things ready and the adults got into a conversation in the kitchen, I created a huge havoc with his younger brother, Sigi, in the living room. Rene would not participate. To me, at that point, he seemed rather grown up and serious. He hardly smiled too. On the ride back to my place, we sat next to each other but basically didn’t really exchange a word. At home, Rene was tired and ready to go to sleep so we both disappeared into my room, where there was a mattress on the floor prepared for him. When he was fast asleep, I’d turn the lights on and just look at him and marvel at how beautiful he was.

The week went by fast. I don’t remember everything that we did, but one day we took my dog Daisy for a long walk and I showed him around in the little town I grew up in. I even showed him my primary teacher’s house. Another day, we went to the public pool together. I was a bit afraid of the water – always had been – therefore I only stayed in the shallow areas which Rene didn’t understand. He ran off to the more deeper ends and made fun of me with the other boys because I just wouldn’t muster up the courage to jump into the water from a bridge. (I was honestly convinced that I was going to die). One evening, Rene and I were in my room as usual, when he asked me, if I knew what sex was. I laughed, called him a fool and said, of course I knew what that was. “Do you want to do it”? he asked me. I replied: “Sure”. “Well, then you have to get undressed”. Which I did, thinking this was perfectly funny. I lay down on top of him and wouldn’t stop giggling. “You’ll have to take off your clothes as well or it won’t work!” I demanded and we got into a play-fight. We were interrupted because we noticed somebody opening or rather closing my bedroom door.

The next and last time that I saw Rene, was at the next foster children meeting, which took place in his hometown. Rene successfully pretended (or did he pretend?) not to like me, so I mostly hung out with the other guys. One of them, he was referred to as “Richie”, a bespectacled thirteen-year-old that everyone respected, even told Rene off for calling me names. “Stop messing with my girl” he said and invited me to his treehouse where there was a “no girls”- policy, a fact that one of the other boys pointed out to him. “Well, she’s an exception”, Richie declared and that was that. Up in the treehouse, Richie produced a pack of cigarettes. We all sat in a circle and he passed the lit cigarette from boy to boy. I remember my brother inhaling the fumes and some six-year-old that always wet his pants, as well. I didn’t feel like joining in, but I still liked the almost solemn atmosphere.

 

David:

When I was fourteen and in my last year of junior high, I had a crush on about every guy I came across, it didn’t really matter to me whether I knew his names or not. I would keep journals where I’d rate boys according to hotness (if I didn’t know a guy’s name, I would refer to him as f.e.: “the guy with the striped shirt” or compare him to a celebrity). It didn’t help that the students in my parallel class were all boys. Of course, as I was rather plain-looking, the fact of me fruitlessly chasing after guys was met with both ridicule and escape. One week in April, the school had organized a trip to London for some students, including myself, so I was away for a week. When I got back from the trip, Nadine, one of the children that I shared my home with and who always knew the latest gossip, got all excited and said: “There’s a new guy. In the parallel class. His name’s David”. – “Uh-huh”. I said, not even trying to pretend as though as I was actually interested in what she was going to say. “And he doesn’t like fur” Nadine giggled, “he’s a vegetarian”. That’s when I stopped and listened, raising my eyebrows. I was a vegetarian as well.

The next day, I saw a guy walking down the stairs to the afore-mentioned parallel class. I only saw his hair and not his face, as he was walking with his head down, but I immediately knew that this must be the guy they referred to as  “David” aka “The New Guy”. When it was time for Math class, a class that I generally dreaded, not because I didn’t like the subject but because of the fact that the teacher always arrived late and some kids would seize this opportunity to constantly tease me up to the point where I’d be at the verge of tears, the teacher entered the class as usual and behind him, there was David. “We have a new student”, Mr. Wolfgang announced. I told myself I didn’t care and just went back to business, doing some equations. Still I could not help but look at him. There was something special about him, something that I could not explain. David, at that point, had black hair, blue eyes and constantly wore a suit to school which I found very unusual. Even the teachers at my school dressed casually.

We were each told to do our own calculating. The teacher would be sitting at the front desk and we’d queue up if we had a question or needed our results to be corrected. I lined up right behind David, who, when he turned around to me, smiled at me. I got suspicious. People normally didn’t smile at me. Heck, I didn’t even smile at myself, what was his deal? His behaviour both irritated and confused me but still I couldn’t help but smile back – whether I wanted to or not. The next day, I arrived at school at the same time as David. I hung up my jacket at the wardrobe, and David would smile and say “Hello”. I’d turn around to see if anybody was standing behind me but there was no-one. When I wanted to say “Hi” back, David had already disappeared. This kept going on for a couple of days, until we both finally accomplished to say “Hi” to one another.

David soon became a rather popular student. He was cheeky yet charming and knew who not to get in trouble with. Of course he soon realized, that those, that you did not mess with, were out to get me. One of the guys that had turned my trip to London into a living nightmare, his name was Felix, would always say things to me like “Susie, are you going home after class? Oh, excuse me, I forgot that you didn’t have a home”. He was also the author of my nickname “Eskimo”, a title I had earned for going to Canada each summer. “Susie, why do they keep calling you an Eskimo”? David asked me cheekily. Since I knew that he knew and also knew that he was just asking me in order to make an impression on Felix and his gang and earn plenty of laughter, I turned around, stuck out my tongue and watched as the smile on his face froze.

Another day, I was sitting in the back row and putting up with some other guys calling me names, shooting items at me as well as taping adhesive tape to my hair and force-feeding me my own pencil case. David happened to sit right before me. At one point, he’d turn around and again he’d have that cheeky little look on his face that really annoyed the hell out of me. Well, maybe deep inside within me I actually found it cute, but the fact that I didn’t want to find it cute, amounted to me finding it annoying. Either way, he leaned on my desk, stared at me bluntly and chewed on his gum for a couple of moments before pointing at the back of my hand, which had the word “Cocoa” written all over it – I had forgotten to pay this month’s bill. “You drink cocoa?” he asked me. “Yeah. So?” – “I drink Cocoa too”. Good for you, I thought. But David didn’t stop right there. He pointed at my pencil case, which was decorated with pictures of my then favourite band, Busted. “Boo-Sted”, David exclaimed. Although I didn’t want to find this funny, it made me laugh. “Look at this guy”, David continued, “he’s got such a funny face. And this one, just look at his eyebrows!”  David grinned and then turned back around.

Whilst trying to do my English homework one day, I discovered that my dictionary was missing. I saw that in one of the lockers next to mine, there was a dictionary and said to myself  “Oh I am sure its owner won’t mind if I borrowed it for just one day”, so I took it home. There, when I opened the first page, I got shell-shocked. It had David’s name written all over it. I ran over to Nadine’s room and we both marvelled at the dictionary. I marvelled at it even more than her because I had no clue how on earth David’s dictionary could end up in my class. The next day, I’d just put the dictionary on his desk. David looked at me like I was the strangest person he’d ever met and didn’t know what was going on. I tried to make  clear to him that I had found his dictionary, so I just said “Open it”. A part of me facepalmed hard inside of me for getting all tongue-tied. How hard was it to say “I’ve found your dictionary”? David frowned and opened the dictionary just to exclaim “Oh, it’s mine”. (DUH).

Another time, during Math class, David went past me to the teacher’s desk. I don’t even know why I did it, but I coughed. It was not like I needed to cough or that I had anything to say that would require a cough, because I didn’t, but of course David’s attention was all mine. I turned bright red, so red that all I could feel was heat rising up in my face and my ears starting to burn like fire. I didn’t want to think about myself blushing because I thought that would only make it worse, but what was I to do? I couldn’t stop focusing on my face. I also couldn’t move nor speak a word of reason. I felt like the whole class was aware of what was going on. It didn’t help that David actually bent over my desk to see what I was doing. I thought I was going to die, now finding it hard to breathe. I was so glad when class was over and I could go back to my classroom. The whole scenario just repeated itself the next few days. David, if he knew, and I am sure he did, just went about it in the same cheeky manner as he always did. “Who stole the Math book”? He’d ask “It was you, Susie, wasn’t it? Oh come on, just admit it”. I told him to shut up.

It was nearly time for graduation and everyone was heading into different directions. Some would go to Senior High, some would start looking for jobs and others would start an apprenticeship. I overheard David saying that he wanted to go to an art school in Styria because he was one of these people they call “art fanatics”. I found it a real shame that under these circumstances, I’d never see him again because I detested art and really wanted to attend  Senior High School. It was the school that David had flunked out of before he became a student at our school. “I’d never go there again”, he once told me when we were talking about our plans for the future.

It was the summer before I started High School. I had more or less gotten over the fact that I was never going to see David again. Until I found out that his application to art school had not been successful and his second choice had been “my” Senior High School.

Thoughts About Life

Q: What are you really bad at that you’d love to be great at?
A: Sometimes I wish life were as easy as pie. One’d have to make no effort or whatsoever to get good at something. This would mean, there would be no failure and everything that it brings with it: shame, social ostracism or a loss of wealth. Of course  there wouldn’t be be any success stories either. Certainly, this would be a rather monotonous existence. There would be no outstanding people with no outstanding talents. We’d have no idols because there would be no-one we could look up to. We’d just be our own idols. We wouldn’t even have to believe in God because we’d think of ourselves as Gods.
I for one would like to be a genius. I’d love to develop new mathematical or scientific theories in order to improve people’s lives. I’d speak 10+ languages effortlessly and I’d have an eidetic memory. Speaking of effortless, everything would ideally fall into place for me. I’d watch from a distance as I’d get a promotion, perfectly well-mannered children that I didn’t have to raise because they raised themselves, love and respect from everyone that’s around me that I’d never have to return and of course there’d be no-one that would envy let alone hate me. Come to think of it however, this kind of life seems rather depressing to me. Maybe what us humans need is a challenge in life. Maybe we need to try our hardest so we can claim the fruits of our work, may they be negative or positive. Maybe we want to take responsibility for our actions and not let them  fall into place or steered by some outside force. Maybe we want to be in control of our own fate. Or maybe we don’t know what’s best for us and that’s why we don’t get to choose to have it all too easy in life.

Q: When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
A: I think the one question that everyone answers with a lie is the answer to the question “How are you”? You know, oftentimes it is not used in order to make real conversation but is posed rather out of a habit than out of interest. So naturally the standard answer to this standard question will be “Good”. It’s just smalltalk that is supposed to break the ice between two people. Imagine if two strangers met and one of them would ask the other one how they were doing and they’d actually get an honest reply and a long explanation why one was not doing well. In most cases, that would just lead to bewilderment.

A Sisterly Act

Picture me in the tramway, a piece of paper in one and a pen, that I have been abusing as a chewing stick for the longest time, in the other hand. For some reason inspiration isn’t showing up. Perhaps she is cheating on me with Stephen King (That would not be the first time). Or she just doesn’t like public transports. I don’t care either way, we have stopped talking to each other a long time ago.

I know the route perfectly well. I have been here before. I recall that the last time it took me extremely long to get here and when I got off at the desired destination called “Bellevue Street”, I looked all around me in order to find that there was no church let alone abbey anywhere in sight. Before me, there was a steep hill leading to Who-Knows-Where that I decided to climb. It didn’t really help that there were no people around that I could have asked for directions. All I could see, whilst climbing up that hill, were houses. And by that, I don’t mean just any houses. I mean mansions. And not just any ordinary mansion either, huge mansions. I bet each and every one of them had their own postal code. Now I also became quite aware why they called this neighbourhood “Bellevue Road”. From up here, one could get a great view on Vienna. Everything seemed so small, leading me to philosophize about how humans make a mountain out of a molehill. Things like that don’t really matter when  the house you’re living in is smaller than your fingertip.

Having arrived at the top of the hill, I finally encountered a couple of people. By then, I was exhausted and panting. I asked the elderly lady of the bunch if I was heading in the right direction and she told me that she regretted to inform me that I wasn’t. According to her, I would have to go all the way back down the hill. I sighed. The Lady said “My husband and I arranged to meet up in front of the building you are looking for. If you want, we can go there together”. I was really grateful because, knowing myself, I would probably get lost again. During our walk I couldn’t help but marvel at the mansions on both sides. The lady explained that it cost approximately 10,000 € to buy one m² of land in this area. So it would basically cost a fortune to build a house and add even just a small backyard. Most of the houses however even came with a swimming pool plus a garage. We went a little further downhill. The lady pointed to the left and remarked, that we had almost reached our destination. “This already belongs to the place” she added. What I was seeing to my left was a huge park with a neat little greenhouse. When we had finally arrived at the end of the street, I found myself standing in front of a gate leading to yet another park and a complex of huge houses. The lady bid me farewell and I entered through the gate. I was quite stunned and needless to mention, endlessly surprised. I had always assumed that nuns generally led modest lives but reconsidered that there was probably no need for that  if you were a member of a church that still made a great deal of money from taxes.

Due to my getting lost and then having to walk all the way back down the hill, I was about 15 minutes late. Apologetically, I called my grandaunt’s phone. A woman with a thick accent answered. I explained who I was and asked where Sister Adelheid was. “Oh. I think she just went out in order to find you.” “Oh no”, I thought. “Oh no” was later confirmed by the Reverend mother, who, on hearing the news, immediately jumped in her car in order to fetch my grandaunt.

 

Who said I was a poet?

I am confused and lost.

There is pain in my soul
that must find its way out

All I have is silence

Internal eternal suffering
A hole where my heart should be
A  bottomless pit where my soul should be

I’ve lost my trust
I’ve lost my innocence
My reflection is shattered

I don’t know who I am
I don’t know who to turn to
I don’t know who to talk to
Talk.
I can’t talk
I won’t talk
I don’t want to talk

The words don’t make sense

I have lost who I used to be
You tell me tomorrow will get better
You don’t exist
Existence doesn’t exist
You is me
I am you
Am I alone
or divided in two?

I am not breathing
I am catching air
what happens to my body
when my soul dies?

The words don’t make sense
The world doesn’t make sense

I am screaming
can’t you hear my silence?
can’t you feel it?
It is heavy
it is dedicated to you
me
the pain
Why won’t anybody hear me?
I am alone
I am lonely
I am trapped
stuck inside a world with no purpose

The words don’t make sense
Look at the silent tears
they don’t exist