The last two days I spent in Austria. I visited the old house, some family and friends. I didn’t really want to go, and the experience met my expectations.
First thing I went to our old house. It feels cold and abandoned. Some furniture is still there, some random bits and pieces, but it appears like a shell thrown aside, unneeded, unwanted. I took a few of the things left over from the move with me, tidied a bit here and there, but in the end it made me feel too depressed to be there alone, so I called a friend to pick me up.
Meeting members of my family was not too pleasant either. So far, everybody I have told about my plans was encouraging. Of course I got some tough questions and the occasional blank stare, but the vast majority of responses was of a positive “you go girl” fashion.
Not so my family. It’s not that I was surprising them with my decision out of the blue. I started talking of going to Japan for good about 6 months ago. And for some 10 years already it has been clear that the chances of me returning to Austria are minuscule.
And still, now that I go there to bid farewell, what do I get?
Thinly veiled accusations of “you’re leaving me behind alone – how dare you”, not even an attempt to understand what I’m up to, topped up with tears that may or may not have conveyed a genuine feeling, and hugs that were all but suffocating. The general sentiment was one of “I cannot possibly understand why anyone would want to do something as crazy as that, so I think it’s better if you don’t do it either”.
Where other people have their families as support- and safety network, I got a spider’s web controlling me with ought to be’s and do’s and cannot’s. Fascinating what is visible once you take a step back.
I’m done there. No more.
No more coulda/woulda/shoulda, no more supposed to do, no more pretend to be to pacify others.
Only my life with people I choose to have part in it.
Speaking of such people – and to end this post on a positive note – I had most amazing time with my friend. As she knew this would be my last time in Austria for quite a while, she decided to pamper me.
It was wonderful: We made my favourite sweets – in perfect division of labour she did most of the cooking and I did most of the eating. We went shopping in case there is nothing to buy in Japan. And we both drooled over McDreamy of Grey’s Anatomy with a bottle of sparkling wine and ended up talking until 2 am.
That part of my trip was perfect.
I’m glad I went.