Things that seem slightly unreal:
Gilded murals on buildings
Everywhere I walk, statues
Floating in a sea of barely-intelligible conversations
Vast pedestrian spaces
Good restaurants in tiny alleys
Roman ruins in the city
Café life, outside, in February
Being able to drink the coffee
Light in my rooms on a rainy day
I’ve spent the last couple of days moving into the new flat, with my brother’s help. We drove up from Montereale on Thursday so that we could meet my landlady a little after noon on Friday without having to come in early. His little car was packed with my things and we parked (illegally) just down the block where there was a little space and hauled things up to my place as quickly as we could. There was no rain, thankfully. In this huge space, my few things rattle and echo. My desktop computer sits on the floor beneath the office window, awaiting a desk, a wireless connection that doesn’t come from a USB drive, and a chair for me to sit on.
Insurance was procured. The registered copy of my rental contract was acquired. All the keys to the place were handed over. My brother installed wall lights in the dining room and hallway. The landlady likes the lights. We still have to deal with lights for the ceiling in each room, and with a desk lamp or three, but they can be handled later. I do want one for the bedroom soon, though.
This past week I got a clothes washer on a deep discount sale (it had a scrape on one corner) that will be delivered on Tuesday. They’re pretty simple to install, and I can do that myself once the driver brings it up here and hauls it into the bathroom. All I need is a screwdriver, and I’m competent to handle one of those, unlike lighting installation.
I got myself a little sound system for the iPod. On the base, it was less than half the cost of anything I’d seen in Italian shops, though I had been looking. I’m glad to have music again. My brother’s taste in music and mine are quite different, so I didn’t have mine playing if he was home, and he didn’t usually have music on or, if he did, he was wearing his headphones at his computer. It tended to be quiet, when the roosters weren’t crowing.
Most of my life at the moment is taking place in the kitchen, where I have chairs, or in my bedroom, where I can lie down and sleep, but there’s nothing in the other rooms yet. In two to three weeks, I should have my library and other things arrive, but there is no furniture aside from a few folding bookshelves. I’m having to acquire things slowly, a little at a time. That said, I’m just as glad I didn’t ship everything with me, as it would have been expensive, and I don’t think most of it would really have gone well in this space. Buildings have personalities, and this one is entirely different than my condo back in Everett.
Nothing moves in straight lines here. The streets might look straight but they are all moving at angles, along the coast or up into the hills, or around the piazzi. Walking in a “straight” line won’t get you to a place you though you were going, and the gps system on my phone gets confused by things. Locations are not where they appear on a map. My brother and I were searching for a Greek restaurant on Thursday night and both our gps maps had it at different locations, neither of which were the right one, even though we had both entered the same address. Sometimes a paper map is still the best answer, even for the wired.
I’m spending time getting lost, and it’s okay. Lost is an all right place to be at the moment, both in metaphor and in the physical space of Trieste. Being in a different country, surrounded by a different language, it is a natural state of being. Wandering aimlessly leads to familiarity and opens up the potential for serendipity. A comics and games shop across from a church whose door is surmounted by the all-seeing eye in a pyramid; the Lupa nursing Romulus and Remus on a building façade; people laughing and talking at tables outside a bar in a tiny alley.
Last night there were fireworks over the water. Neither my brother nor I have any idea what was going on. I only knew there were some loud bangs. I thought someone was hauling something really heavy up the stairs, as the sound was echoing in the building. My brother saw the bursts from his window above the piazza but he thought I was asleep, so he didn’t call me to watch. He asked the barista at the place we had breakfast this morning, but she hadn’t any idea either.
The clouds have rolled in thickly and it’s drizzling. I am inside wishing for a soft, comfortable chair and a lamp for reading. There is tea. Life is good.