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Thursday, April 8, 2010

MAKING THE SWITCH


She was lucky enough to grow up in a house by the beach. Each day she’d gaze at the ocean and try to second guess the size of each new wave breaking onto the rocks. Surfers (also lovingly known as wax heads due to their obsession with their sleek boards) would ride their crests.

It was an obsession she could understand because the wild waves were the only unpredictable element in a land so routine and symmetrical.

There was no pressure in this orderly paradise on earth so far removed from friction. The buses would come at exactly the time stipulated on the timetable. Homework-free happy pupils would traipse back and forth to school with just their pencil cases. Nobody was hungry but everybody felt kind of numb, err tranquil. People were generally genuine and easygoing.

And then she read the word. Many words for that matter and they fuelled her excited imagination with restlessness. She could relate to nothing else in her environment but the craziness of the waves flagrantly flinging themselves on the rocks as if to break the pointless monotony of perfection.

No, she could not be a part of the stifling beauty of this land for there were fragments of the Balkans painfully etched within her soul.

Now she drinks her morning coffee on a balcony overlooking the Acropolis. And as she gazes at the teeny Parthenon (just visible over the cement jungle) she ponders the golden years of Pericles and has imaginary conversations with Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, even Homer...The fineness of  antiquity makes an exquisite juxtaposition to the graffiti, chaos, corruption and pollution. On the one hand, ideology. On the other, human frailty and ugliness. Strange bedfellows co-existing in disjointed harmony. As in every marriage, one cannot help but distort and affect the other for better or for worse.

Is she happy living here in a place so far removed from paradise? The truth is that she does not have time to be unhappy. And at least people can spell her name right when she orders pizza. They could never quite master that in the land of Smiths and Browns.

And of course, she does have this blog.

PS Sometimes she looks at herself as a third person to try and better understand her choices and view them with objectivity. But nope, it still baffles me why she made the switch. Personally, I'm finding it hard to empathise. Leaving Australia - one of the most beautiful countries of the world - was pretty 'stupid' regardless of whether I look at it in first, second or third person! But then again, she and I were never ones to make logical choices.

7 comments:

George said...

WOW. What lyrical prose.

The 'Homework-free happy pupils' who 'traipse back and forth to school with just their pencil cases.' I thought was a lovely image - any attempt on my part to analyse it would just spoil it.
And '...fragments of the Balkans painfully etched within her soul.' I have spent some time in the Balkans (although I don't really know Greece) and that little phrase strangely affects me. And yes, I like your use of the 3rd person here - a device I sometimes employ myself - though not with such elegance
You say you work in the media? I should think you are pretty good at whatever you do.

PS. Thanks for your comment. Not everyone shares my sense of humour, so it's nice to find someone who does.

Purple Cow said...

Shucks...thanks for the compliment. You make me blush. Though that's just your point of view...a teacher back in high school once told me that my writing was so "flowery" that she felt that she had to water it (and I don't think she meant it in a nice way).

Truth is, I do get carried away sometimes. Journalism has nothing to do with creative writing as it needs to be straight, to the point and hard-hitting. Let's say that this little anonymous blog is my need to express myself for the sheer heck of it. And from what I can tell, I'm not the only one who feels the need to do this.

The Novelist said...

Beautiful! You *er* she sounds like a soul that only comes around once in a blue moon. A priceless, restless, ever observant soul. Beautiful!

Farmgirl Paints said...

Greece looks to me like an amazing place to live. But what do I know:) It's on my list.

Purple Cow said...

Greece is a brilliant place if you live on an island, I guess...though that does have practical problems over winter...But in Athens its hectic and full of craziness. Hope to see you here some day! I, too, would like to paint with Farmgirl Paints...;)

Ro Magnolia said...

Ahhh...this post explains so much about this mysterious woman I am just beginning to get to know. I think perhaps I'm just beginning to learn her edges - the outside parameters that define the outer walls of her soul. She is a very intriguing woman - all tension and contrasts and self-examination. Very much like this post as a matter of fact.

It really does make me stop and wonder how much of our beings are influenced by environment and how much are genetic. Apparently our first 6 years are the formative years and if you spent those in Australia, one would assume that you would be most comfortable in that culture - and yet clearly you were drawn back to Greece. Very interesting.

And I can totally relate about the last name thing - we used to have a contest in our family to see who would have the most ridiculous experience with someone mangling our last name.

My oldest brother would get it twice as hard because his first name is "Nello" - a name that apparently was so foreign that nobody could possibly comprehend it. It's so easy to pronounce but somehow if an English person sees it, they go into mad panic mode and he has been called everything from "Nils" to "Nels" to "Yellow" - the only positive part to this is that it's very easy to instantly spot a telemarketer when they phone and ask for you by a totally outrageously mangled version of your name. :)

Purple Cow said...

Ro, I think people who KNOW their roots and grow up in a family where these things are clear-cut are very lucky. While I grew up in Sydney and have a Greek-sounding name and origins, the place where I was born and spent part of my formative years was somewhere totally different. But all that in another post...bear with me.

Thank you so much for wanting to get to know me... And on a FRIDAY, too... your blog hopping day.

Take care of yourself.