Back to the ancestral Europe
It had been more than ten years since I have had taken an airplane. I was nervous, I was leaving my family and my friends behind for my unplanned trip. The fact that I was going to visit my Italian family first, comfort me a lot though. I was going to start safe for sure. A little warm up before the real struggle. My father had said it; “You will have to take whatever job comes to you, you have no time nor money to be picky about it”. Pure true.
The meet with my aunt and uncle was very nice. Although my uncle looked shorter than I remembered. They don’t have children, so they care about all their nephews as their own. They lived in Italy their entire life except for a few years they spent in Argentina. This time they were based in Padova, a beautiful small city close to Venice. Very convenient because I dreamed about visiting Venice and specially Harry’s bar. Once of the all bars that Hemingway mentioned in his books.
Between road trips to closer towns, walks in the city and escapes to the Casino, two weeks passed in a blink. The time had arrived. I needed to put my best fight. Use all my charming skills, land a house and a job in a foreign country, and in a language I thought I knew.
Welcome to the ring
I left Italy via Ryanair direct to the worst airport in London – I’m not even sure if it’s in London – the fucking distant Stansted Airport. Yeah, it is cheap they said. But nobody told me how far it is from the centre, and how much I’d have to spend in a bus there. Anyway, I did it to Victoria Station. First thing I did when I left the bus was to play the song “Think About the Way” like Mark Renton in Trainspotting. “Fuck yeah, this is it” I thought “I made it”. I started walking to the train station but I couldn’t find it, I had to pause the song and ask to a police who looked like a hooligan. He mumbled “over there” without even looking at me. I pressed play and danced to the station.
I made to Brighton without setbacks. Seat tight, music on and enjoy the ride. For my amazement I spotted from the windows, probably the landmark I fancied the most in London, the Battersea Power Station, there were not smoking coming trough the pipes nor floating pigs but it has its charm.
Brighton, new home
Just to remind you in case you forgot. Marja my Finish friend was waiting for me, or at least that’s what I thought – I thought a lot back then. I had her address on a piece of paper that I showed to the taxi driver who left me just close to the place because he couldn’t point out the house, the address was confusing. I remember only a part of it that said “Dabrina Court”. After walking trough the same street over and over, and asked to people passing by, I figure out which one was the house. It had only two apartments but no one came out when I ringed the bell. I could only contact her trough Skype but I didn’t have connection. My only option was to wait outside. It was early and hot. A perfect day for being homeless.
Eventually she came back. I saw her walking to the door, but she didn’t see me. I sneaked behind her and said her name very casually. She turned around, with tears in her eyes and I shouted SURPRISE! extending my arms. From behind, fireworks explode in blue and white colour and a dwarf landed in a parachute carrying a red velvet ring box. We got married immediately.
Just joking. I sneaked behind her and said her name casually but she didn’t cry. She was incredible surprised. I have forgotten to tell her my arriving date. So she basically didn’t know I was coming that day. My bad.
We got in the house and she showed me around. It was a tiny cute place. Dinning and kitchen altogether. Two rooms at the end of the hallway and a bathroom. She lived with a friend, Finish too. Sometimes her boyfriend was around the house. Marja was working in a vegan/vegetarian shop and her friend was studying and working as well. We had dinner all together that night and next morning Marja showed me town and her working place.
Continue reading in “The Good Old Europe #2” and don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter to get my latest posts.