A few nights ago a weird thing happened. Tens of butterflies decided that they wanted to die looking into my living room. The window glasses were covered with them for hours. My cat seemed to be very happy with it but I found it spooky.
Things are changing.
Nothing dramatic is happening: only, one of my knees decided it has had enough and part of it broke. I should not have any permanent damage and the required treatment apparently went well. It is not even particularly painful. But it is a huge nuisance.
I am confined at home at the moment, and quite limited in my movements here as well. I can’t walk for the next month, and I won’t be able to do any serious sport activity for the next six. I’m not able to cook. I must also be overly careful not to gain any weight, possibly losing some. I’d be a liar if I said I am not worried. The point is, moving around, living in new countries, is great when you are healthy. But this relatively trivial injury is putting a lot of strain on my family, who is now paying for my life choices. Not having a safety net around means that you always have to rely only on yourself and the few ones that live with you, and if there is whatever problem, then it gets really hard.
It also means that you feel very vulnerable. You don’t know anyone – no acquaintance who can recommend you a good doctor or physiotherapist. When you are not well the smallest cultural problem explodes (I had to listen to a patronizing medical doctor in the emergency room angrily lecturing me on how I should be careful in using health care system resources wisely, while I was scared and in pain). The smallest linguistic difficulty makes you shake and get angry (have a look here for Maki’s experience..). You don’t know what the emergency numbers are, you don’t know how you are supposed to ask for help, you don’t know what and how and why. You try not to get annoying to anyone but you do end up being annoyed. Let us face reality, society was invented to help you cope with bad times. By the way, I guess I was really lucky: probably Germany is one of the best places to be sick. Healthcare standards are quite high, and doctors and nurses were kind and efficient. For a foreigner in Italy, it would have been much worse: but still, for me it was hard. It is hard.
There’s also a funny note on this grim adventure. I found out that motivation for understanding a language is vital. When I woke up from the operation, I was feeling really hollow and tired. My mind was clear but I was exhausted. I did not understand German for a day. I mean, I am sure I had no neurological problem – I could perfectly make sense of the easy sentences and I also recognized individual world in a complex sentence, but my brain just refused to stitch things up, sewing pieces of information together to get a meaningful sentence out of it. I just could not bother, right below the conscious level. On the other hand, while I was under pressure, nervous and stressed I had no problem speaking and understanding.
At the moment I am dominated by the guilty conscience about having chosen to live abroad. But I know it won’t be easy for me to come back (if you read any Italian, this beautiful post perfectly expresses how I feel), and anyway, I guess I should not necessarily go back, just stop moving for a while . A temporary problem I have to face is being blocked at home with basically not much to do. I am a person who is easily bored. I have to give up most of my favourite activities for a while, namely, walking, cycling, shopping for food and cooking. Some of these activities only help myself to stay in good spirit and shape (my knee is now ironically laughing back at me at this point), but most of them are actually useful to the day-to-day chores of the family.
I am not sure where to go with the blog. I love having a diary of the things that happen to me, and I love that it goes through food. I love being in contact with other people. I don’t want to give up on this one as well just because I am not cooking. I need things to do, and blogging has been my thing lately. My me-time.
So, well, I hope you’ll stay tuned. For a while, things will look a bit different here.