Stuff

It’s been quiet here for a while. That’s because I moved. I left the capital city, I even left the continent, and I am now in Ö. It’s a big difference, but likable nonetheless. However, I wanted to share an incident that had happened back in the capital city. I lost my laptop. And my hard drive. With photos from about three years, loads and loads of documents, university stuff, more than 9000 titles of music, hundreds of movies and all the other things that are washed up on a laptop during the years. And I lost my precious diary where all my friends from both continents had left beautiful drawings and greetings. And my camera. All gone. I never cried. (I cried some days later when things that I had borrowed from others had gone, too, and when my favorite dog had died.) So I was left with two weeks to start the final paper all over again and managed it. Then I went back to the office, where the internet is free, and I found myself collecting stuff again: downloading episodes from a series, downloading music… just because it was free. I continued collecting bus tickets and pieces from newspapers and things that might come handy one day. And then I realized, that losing all the stuff was an opportunity to stop collecting, or at least, balance (which I always try to aim at, in any circumstances). Starting from zero. So before I left, I copied about seven important documents to my e-mail account, the rest I deleted. (Only the final paper I parked on the favorite human’s laptop.) Then, when leaving the capital city, I didn’t clutter my new diary with all the tickets, boarding passes and excerpts from the plane’s magazine. I just kept one luggage tag as a souvenir. I took the free newspaper, that was offered, read through it and left it there. Even if you can have news for free, you don’t really need them. Not having to take pictures and not being accessible through phone was a liberation anyway.

I got the little little sister’s camera and school bag, an old-school phone from the cupboard with the old phones, a music player and some half working ear phones for it and a part of an audio book from the internet. It’s an adaption from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and I like it. And I will delete it when I listened to it. The internet will store it for me.

That’s how I came to Ö. With less stuff and lots of space to breath and less things to worry about. With things that are perfect to be used but nobody uses them, so I use them. And with the possibility to try to collect less and find a balance between accumulating and letting go.

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Introducing: The Little Revolutionary

The last three weeks I spent upcountry. Madhe summarized them well with “maandanzi and fresh air”. Now I`m back in town, winding up. On the countryside there is always the Little Princess, whom the favourite human described as my handkerchief because she won`t leave my side for a second. Back in town there`s a new handkerchief with the name of a revolutionary. He`s the son of the Friend, but not the Wife, and on the first evening he took a nap on our bed before dinner and left a puddle of pee. His voice is thin and rough and high, but he can produce quite some strong volume at times. From the moment he sees us in the morning until that evening nap he usually talks in that voice, fifty percent questions, fifty percent comments, in Kiswahili, without mercy, and he won`t stop even if you tell him. He sits on the floor of the living room during meals. He had some stomach problems the first days and he would just stop eating and turn his back towards us, until they bought him medicine and today he ate three plates of almost plain spaghetti, only with very little sauce. He doesn’t want sugar in his tea or cocoa, which is very unusual for children or generally people here, but he says it makes his tummy ache.

Now the Little Revolutionary involuntarily has become a plaything between his father and that one`s wife. It`s complicated and I understand it only partly. However much I believe they are not doing it on purpose, the Little Revolutionary still doesn’t feel accepted completely. At least he senses that not everything`s well. So I took him to the library today. He´s quite smart and wrote down the entire alphabet and red all the numbers and counted up to fifty eight stars in a book about zodiacs without a mistake. On the way back he ran ahead in front of me, meowing like a cat. Back home I watched my Mexican soap opera (more about that another day!) and we peeled peanuts.

Then this story about the thief came up. The Little Revolutionary had to collect a bottle for the Wife but refused because there was a thief in the bedroom. Then he refused to go to the toilet alone because there was a thief. While the sun was still setting he insisted on switching on the light, because of the possibility of a thief. At a certain point he hurt himself to tears and messed the kitchen up with noise and scattered peanuts, because he had entered the dark kitchen and ran out of it hurriedly because of the thief and had knocked something down.

What were we supposed to tell the Little Revolutionary? I remember very well the hippo that was always luring at the dark staircase to the basement when I wanted to go to bed at night and had to pass it. And the dark creature that was standing behind the door of the bedroom until I switched on the lights and it disappeared into thin air. Up to today, during my rare visits to our home, in the evening on my way upstairs, I can still feel the slight presence of the shadows of these creatures. So I crammed all my Kiswahili together and explained the Little Revolutionary how much the thief fears children, and Mums, and Dads, and light, and the TV, and even darkness. And that he doesn’t like toilets either because of the smell. Which means he won´t enter this apartment, he is just not able to do so.

Let´s hope the Little Revolutionary believes me. As I am writing this, he sleeps on our bed again and I wouldn’t like another puddle.