February 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’m enjoying my slow discovery of this city, which feels like an old friend that speaks another language. But when troubling news comes from home, the heart yearns for what’s familiar.

It was good, then, after a week of stressful calls from home, to reunite with a dear friend in this place where nothing yet is familiar. Friends are familiar wherever they’re found. It was good to escape the frantic student-world of living out of suitcases, to spend an evening in the settledness of a family home. In a grand old house, up a painted staircase, a cozy apartment with whimsical clocks and crowded kitchen countertops.

Even the world changed its face, stark grey in the afternoon, soft white in the evening. Before dinner we took a walk into a perfect fluffy snowfall. The trees around us were old and grown tall and made perfect cathedrals where their branches met the sky. The quiet streets were aisles to skate down, and the snow was deep enough after an hour to cushion our falls. The white made the grey of the houses gentle, and set off the warmth of the light from the windows. It was so beautiful.

Thank you J and J and J and B for welcoming me into your world. It was the hum of life and the bank of memories that make homes out of faraway places, and it was like a pillow for this tired and homesick spirit to fall into. I believe that in German this is called gemütlichkeit.

My grandmother is recovering in California and today is birdsong and church bells and a lazy brunch time with a lovely flatmate. It’s amazing how quickly life can turn — and all it takes is friendship.


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