1.Something about today’s weather reminds me of Ljubljana in July 2005, or the Silk Revolution
London’s just been hit by bombs, but pretty much all I can think about is the girl in room 315. A blonde Croatian girl in white pants.
Am at a summer course for Slovene in Ljubljana.
Hundreds of students from all over the world are staying in a big dormitory.
I share a room with Mojmir, a skinny Slovak giant, very catholic and very reserved, very diligent, an expert in the history of the Habsburg empire.
At 6 am I get up to do something like 500 push-ups in ten different ways, and then I go running for exactly 60 minutes on the race track. Then I take a shower and go and eat bread with sugarless peanut butter. I’ve dragged several jars all the way to Slovenia from Belgium.
I’m 22 years old and I don’t know myself.
An other Croatian girl on the bus from Antwerp to Belgium has done some psychological test with me, and the result is that I run myself as some kind of one man army.
I’m so fascinated by war that I do two things on internet every day, I check my mails and I check how many US soldiers have been killed in Iraq that day.
These are the pre-Facebook times. I spend half an hour on internet per day, tops. I don’t have mobile internet, and until quite recently I carried a phone around that could receive smsses but not send them. Try and imagine that today.
For some inexplicable reason I’m reading a French book instead of a Slovenian book, because focussing on Slovene alone would be too easy or something.
In class I fight with classmates over the proper use of some English words.
I run around telling my Slovenian professor that the girl I like has said that he dresses really nice and that she likes him.
He’s flattered, but I don’t know that he’s gay.
At night I go out with a Bulgarian girl. We sit on a bench in a small park.
I insult a German classmate by asking what his grandfather did during the Second World War. After pushing on, he says that he thinks he served in the Afrikakorps.
One night a bunch of us end up in room 315.
I’m not sure how it happened, but everyone leaves and am suddenly alone with the Croatian girl.
She says: ‘You know, I think you don’t want to touch me’. (If you’re reading this: THANKS)
Then the revolution breaks out.
The same week I date a Slovak and a German girl.
The German girl ends up travelling all the way to Belgium and we meet again.
I never see the Croatian girl again, and regretfully I also never see Beata, the Slovak girl again. I lose her email -and her last name- when I lose my university email.
All the students leave for home, I miss the bus home, and go out with 4 British girls. They write me a poem that I still have in a box in the attic in Belgium. The exercising, the sun, the running and the spontaneity that came with not knowing who I was, combined with my interest in people did that.
Something about today’s weather reminded me of that time. Perhaps because it’s the first day in a long time I could go out without a coat and started sweating -the pleasant, endorphine producing kind- walking to Liddle and back which reminded me of a time I exercised a lot and was blissfully oblivious to many things.
Now I do know who I am and it’s more complex than I realized. I don’t run anymore (but I know I should), I certainly don’t have such a tight, brutal, yet fulfilling, daily routine anymore, and my mind is much more chaotic because internet doesn’t take up half an hour of my day, but easily a couple of hours each day. When I’m blown away by a woman now, it goes way past looks, and I actually know why it happens.
When I look back at that kid I was in the summer of 2005 I see how very green that boy was, how uncorrupted, how very simple, but intense his daily routine was, how he even wore the same red T-shirts every day, how driven he was to please his professor of Slovene whom he wrote stories for in Slovene and his drive to learn Slovene, I don’t really know what to make of that. It’s only quite recently I’ve discovered who or what can give me the peace and taste for life I had back then.
With my professor of Slovene and an ex.
2 The power of beliefs
Allow me to pass the microphone to Sasha Daygame who, presently, explains it with more zest than I can on camera:
3 Hey, I can’t feel the tiny, but nagging shard of glass in my chest when I’m with you
Imagine carrying around an ache, a nagging ache, let’s say it’s a bad toothache, let’s say you’ve carried it around for as long as you can remember, then imagine you spend an evening with someone and to your great big surprise, you notice a change, you can’t pinpoint the change right away, but then it hits you, the pain has been lifted, it’s gone, you feel euforia, ecstasy.
Imagine also the burden that puts on the other person, if it’s someone with empathy. And wouldn’t you hope that you could do the same for that other person and give all you’ve got, unconditionally?
It gets a little harder if that person consciously chooses to live with her head and not with her heart.
But hey, it’s going to be fine, more than fine, all those happy ending Hollywood movies must be getting their inspiration from somewhere.
4 Sometimes you wish someone would simply throw it all out, swing open the gates
Talk to me, in your own language, babe.
Nirvana performing Talk to Me, in the only Belgian city I feel any love for
5 And now I’m going to do it
I’m actually going to go running with the best running partner I could wish for, a fireball of Motivation. I won’t be able to keep up, but that’s ok.