26 May 2010

sneaky feelings

i turned my exams in today. it feels good to have my brain back. i hope i never have to write twenty-four pages about politics again.

so it's getting down to the wire and i'm having to do logistical stuff to sort out my last bit of time here, like sending all the stuff that won't fit in my suitcase back to california by boat. i've had this box sitting in my room kind of full of all this stuff that takes up space but isn't really heavy (wool clothes, winter boots, my ukulele, a blanket) for about a week. i was filling it up slowly, considering what i'll need in my last weeks here and what i can do without. rain pants? hopefully i won't need them.

but today i was in get-things-done mode and after printing a hundred and thirty-two pages and delivering them to my department's office, i just wanted to be off with the damn cardboard box, too. so i reconsidered everything inside the box one last time and threw my slippers - which have been indispensable since november - in as well, then taped it up solidly. i addressed it to my parents' house and then kind of just stared at it for a moment. it was a strange sensation to look at the contents of what was just my multi-dimensional life all packed up neatly like that, hidden from view.  looking at my "permanent" address - strangely all-caps - on the cardboard with my little name and soon-to-be-invalidated return address in the top left corner was abrubtly nauseating and i had to stop looking at the thing and just pick it up and carry it out the door before the queasiness overcame me. the wool blanket that i bought at dóra's mom's shop in iceland that kept me warm all winter and has adorned my velour couch for these last temperate weeks, my thermals that i never really did end up wearing because tights were just more sensible under jeans, and my chunky black boots that i've tromped all over europe in, through mud, forests, rain, cities, snow, slush, salt, ice, drunken nights, ambitious mornings, and everywhere in between are all in the hands of the danish postal service now.

it was a hassle to get the box to the post office. it wasn't that heavy - just 15 kilos - but it was awkward. i had assumed i'd be able to roll it down to the post office on my bike but it was far too big to balance on the back rack, so i hauled it all the way down, to the island's brygge posthus in my arms, exercising my paddling muscles for the first time in a long while. i have bruises from the thing banging against my thighs now, but the sun i got on my bare shoulders during the fifteen-turned-into-thirty-minute walk compensates for those.
so this is all totally symbolic. i am not nostalgic yet. but i can feel it creeping up, bilious, and tearing at my insides, urging me to keep my eyes open, like a fresh traveler or observant tourist does, for as long as i'm still in this amazing place.

i mean, i've only just discovered my favorite bookstore. it has extensive shelves of communist literature (all in danish, though) and books of poetry for only ten crowns. my suitcase is going to be a heavy one.


geneviève said...

i just had an impossibly nostalgic pang when i looked there at the picture of a flower-filled branch and thought of walking in the danish summer and finding a branch like it all filled up with tiny golden plums.

yes denmark will bring the nostalgia full-on - for better and for worse. always.

Siovhan said...

Hi Maya! What is this new favorite bookstore called? I've been following your wonderful blog, and am moving to CPH in September from Los Angeles. :)

maya said...

aw genevieve - summer is coming so fast!

siovhan, hi! the bookshop is called oktober; it's a funky little place in a basement (ground floor) near islands brygge. there are also lots of cute bookshops in fiolstræde if you're into that stuff! wow, all the way to copenhagen from los angeles. you'll find lots to explore here - the only thing missing will be the mexican food!

Barbara said...

Another blog soon to end...I just read one from a rabbinical student who just returned from Israel. His professor's observation is that one reason to go abroad is to learn about home. I know you have done this before, so that is not a new idea for you. You are a great observer and commentator and I will miss reading your insights about life in Scandinavia.

Hope the postal service treats your box better than the shippers treated what we sent via container from Sweden!

maya said...

i hope so too, barbara! did you ever get any compensation for your ruined belongings?