Here I am, after almost three months. I will stop pretending to be surprised and think instead of all I’ve done since then, which is a lot, but nothing really worth mentioning, sadly enough. The topic du jour is an especially sensitive one for me, as I have struggled with it on and off for the better part of the last 14 years. It came to me a few hours ago while listening to the song The quiet things that no one ever knows by Brand New, which was no 5 on the album Deja Entendu and which came out in 2003 (and which kept playing on repeat after song no 3, Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades).
nostalgia (noun): 1. a bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past. 2. the condition of being homesick.
Having studied abroad for several years in two different countries has been an amazing experience, but, at the same time, it has also been at times emotionally strenuous. In fact, the expression about a grass and it being greener on some other side was especially prominent throughout those years. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time, especially during my sophomore and senior years at university, but there was always something: a friend I’d left behind, my family which I didn’t see for months at a time, my hometown which kept going about its business without me and was always a little bit different when I returned, making me feel like a stranger.
The six years I spent in Ottawa, ON, Canada were… formative, to say the least. They were also freaking cold, nerve-wrecking, beautiful, depressing, exciting… as they should have been I suppose (oh, did I mention cold?). As the years passed I began to leave little pieces of myself behind whenever I visited home, and Athens, although familiar and homely, slowly started to feel like a home that didn’t really feel like home unless I literally was at home. Yet, throughout my stay in Ottawa, I always kept this idealized version of home in my mind, which made me whine at times (to the dismay of people around me), but mostly made me feel incomplete in both cities.
Coming back to Greece (for good) in 2004 was yet another romanticized event whose reality was beyond what I had imagined prior to leaving my temporary but actual home in Autumn Ridge Dr, Pleasant Park Road, Chapel Street, and finally, Metcalfe Street.
The memories made in those 6 years are possibly the ones I cherish the most, and although I don’t like to think of or define my mistakes as regrets, there are a few things I would have done differently the second time around, or maybe not, who knows. The one thing I do know is that every time I think back I get this stupid look on my face which is unavoidably followed by a deep sigh of pure nostalgia… not to go back in time and relive everything, but to get a better glimpse of some of the events in my life that have made me who I am today. To clearly see what my memory has intricately and cleverly tarnished in an effort to beautify moments that back then seemed ordinary and even mundane, but now appear to belong to another era, and sometimes, even a different person.