🌆 Pieces Of My Nostalgic Puzzle 🌆
Traveling has always been a way of meeting and getting to know other people and their cultures, their languages, their cuisine and their homes. At least, that is what traveling has always been for me, until I realised one day that it’s also a way for me to search for what I imagine to be the perfect home.
I have been struggling to understand whether or not I have ever felt like home anywhere at all for a few years now. Perhaps feeling at home is just the idea of getting used to a place. I was born in Bucharest and have lived there until my 19th. I was used to living in the small flat of my parents, to the eight minutes walk to the metro stop that could take me anywhere in the city centre, to the dusty and dry city air during summer, to going out to the same places with my cousin and friends, to walking on the street and bumping into people I knew.
When I think about it, I realise that instead of being nostalgic about my life there, I somehow miss a feeling that I have actually never truly felt: feeling at ease. Is this what being at ‘home’ means? At least, my memories have helped me create a reference point for how a home should feel like.
I have not found this ‘perfect home’. However, I’ve come up with an idea of a ‘perfect place’ by putting together pieces of places I’ve been to. Once I collected enough pieces, I was able to create a place where I would perfectly feel at home and could live forever.
Let me tell you about the pieces I have collected so far:
My perfect city
I’m nostalgic about a non-existing home that based in a big city by the sea. The city is vibrant, modern and inhabited by people from all over the world. It’s a clean place, with wide avenues (like Montreal), beach bars and rooftop restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. Everyone speaks English as a first language and shops at huge fresh markets with all sorts of fruits and veggies. There is no need to use cars, as you can cycle or take the metro anywhere. You can see people going around with their pets or kids in the public parks. The weather is always nice; not too hot, nor too cold.
Some highlights of the city include Rome’s area from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia. Most buildings have balconies with flower pots (Paris). The hustle that you can find on a sunny weekend when everyone is out in London makes the whole atmosphere of the city, spiced up with some of Crete’s ‘chill vibe’ of a summer evening. Florence’s Arno river with its gorgeous banks runs through the city to sea, so that everyone can enjoy the sunset while walking alongside the water. And lastly, I would add all of Marrakech’s palm trees and gardens.
My house is somewhere very close to the city centre. I would love having one of those Moroccan style houses, with a rooftop terrace and an interior court. Possibly a perfect replica of the Maison de la Photographie of Marrakech. From my window I can see the sea, as blue and clear as you can find it at Sardinia, with seagulls hovering lazily above the house, just like they do now above my current flat in central Rome.
My ideal weekend starts with a visit to the Sudului Market (Bucharest) to buy fresh fruit and veggies on a Saturday morning, followed by a pitstop for some poutine from Montreal and a glass of cold Pimms from the bar on the banks of Thames. Later on, I meet up with my friends from Bucharest, New York and the UK for an aperitivo at a bar like Caffe Oblate from Florence, sipping cocktails overlooking the Duomo of Brunelleschi or at a beach bar like the ones near Chania in Crete. Dinner is most definitely in a hidden restaurant somewhere on a narrow street, like Gulou East Street from Beijing, while I spend my Sundays relaxing at the beach with my husband, our son and our French Bulldog.
Sadly though, I know that the notion of a perfect home is very subjective. The city I’ve put together piece by piece makes it impossible for me to become nostalgic, but I also know that each of my friends and family members might be longing for something else. It wouldn’t be fair to have them live in what only I believe to be the perfect city.
However, cities’ cultures are becoming more and more intertwined and open to new ideas. If this development continues, then all of its inhabitants might be able to add pieces of their perfect homes that together comprise a diverse and modern city. Let’s hope our future cities will indeed be comprised of pieces of its inhabitants’ nostalgia. Maybe, at some point in the future, I will be able to visit a Sudului-type of market in Rome...
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by MYSHA PAVEL