The lady I met in a sushi place

This is the lady I met in a sushi place.
It’s my favorite photo from Japan. It explains the whole culture and people of the country.
I left it untouched.

We met this lady in a tiny local sushi place in Kyoto. The stuff didn’t speak English and she tried to help us and have some conversation, all I understood she’s from Kyoto and she grew there up and even thought I couldn’t understand what was she trying to say to me, the way she tried to help and the way it made her laugh will mean this place forever.

The lady I met in a sushi place Kyoto, Japan, 29.07.2014.


about coming back home

As you turned this blog on, with quite probably the intention of reading what I am about to write, first of all I need to declare that I haven’t been in any crazy bug-eating, tuc-tuc riding, geisha country recently. I don’t even clearly remember where have I been last time, before I came home, so if you are in a national geographic explorer mood, I’m probably not going to help you this time, and probably it’s a way more smart to turn the national geographic explorer page, which I may do myself.
Instead of telling you about what have I seen and how did I collect my jaw from the ground because of seeing another thing that doesn’t fit in my brain, I just want to talk to myself, to understand my poor stewardess brain, lost in the time and space.

Of course I do remember my last trip before going home. I went Brisbane, and the accumulation of the Australian flights, which I love, in the last month roster successively exhausted my body to the point I thought my ears and full of excitement brain will blow up once finally landing in Dubai. And this is how I went home.

Even though landing in Warsaw international airport, which reminds me of the times when communists were building all the ugliest possible buildings in my country, so now we can look at them and have an excuse for our national melancholy (I didn’t mean to be too critical. But the airport really does look this way, I swear to Lord) in fact made me feel like I delivered a second baby with my left ear (the first one came to the world during the landing in Dubai), but the place I finally found surrounding me, felt just right.

The first thing that has shocked me was, that everybody speaks in a language I understand, with an accent I understand too. I’m not entirely sure whether I was more happy or overwhelmed with all the words coming from every angle straight to my brain. Living in a different continent makes you feel that the ear is the right place for the sounds to finish their, in many cases pointless journey, nowhere further on. Unless the sound is clearly directed to you, in which case you can make a surprised facial expression and at the second try decode the accent from a place on the globe you quite probably have never heard about and may never hear again.

But the thing that really shocked me is, that after almost a year of placing my body and brain on the most unexpected points all over the globe, I finally understood, what is the meaning of the word “home”.
I’ll tell you what is probably my biggest problem as a cabin crew: I have clearly became a gypsy. I am so confused, that I mix up the meaning of familiar with family, cosy with home etc. Basically every time I go to the place for at least second time, and I’m able to recognize the location of the hotel, or even -oh heavens!- the face of the hotel boy, I feel almost like I came for a family party, where I know everybody and everything, and I feel so comfortable, that taking a lonely walk in the night feels like the safest thing to do. When on my flight there is a cabin crew, that I met on one flight, and liked, I feel almost like I’m flying with a childhood best friend.

It must be an empty, magazine cover life, I thought when I looked at what I wrote.

When I go to Germany, I feel almost surprised, that there’s none of my friends that I could go out for a coffee in the evening: Germany feels so close to my hometown, even though saying so would probably get me a problem if I was there. Architecture is so similar. Food tastes similar too.
When I am in the New Zealand, it feels so cosy and warm that I almost believe I am going to meet my grandma there, going on a bike to the grocery store.
In Jakarta there is a shopping center that makes me feel like in my hometown: I remember the chronology of the shops there. If you want to know how to get to the closest grocery store from the Sydney Opera I can close my eyes and draw you a map.
This is probably why going home, which is an actual home has totally shocked me. I would say, it has totally strucked me dumb.

Lying in my childhood, unbelievably uncomfortable bed makes me feel, like none of what I’ve done for the previous ten months has happened. My dog looks exactly the same. He is just as excited about going on a walk to the same forest everyday, as he has been three years ago, when I cried because of my exam session at uni. There is the same stuff in a fridge. On a wall there are vinyls I brought two years ago, 1 zloty each in an old second hand bookstore.
The titles are in Russian. They don’t mean anything to me, but I can describe you the weather, the location of the bookstore, the way back home on the day I got them. I even remember the plastic bag I carried them in.

Places have smells. Have you realized that?
These smells are inherent. They are just as much the part of the place as the place is a part of itself. You need to go faraway, and fill up your nose with a lot of different ones to come back, and realize that what you smell, is where you are from.
It’s stronger than onion, but smells more like lilies.

The smell of home has almost made me cry.
The blanket left on a floor, dog’s food stinging your feet on a way to the bathroom, the sound of the tv downstairs.

What I realized is, that I am not quite sure who I am.
I have probably lost myself a little bit, visiting all these places. I have probably talked a bit too much with people that names I don’t even remember.
World is not a small place at all.
I know it sounds nice, but do not say that.
There is seven milliards one hundred thirty seven millions five thousand seventy seven and seven hundred seventy people on the world. Do you ever thing about this number?
I never do.

On average I am doing ten, eleven flights a month. On each of these flights there are around three hundred faces on the way there and another three hundred faces on the way back. These faces are always different.
Some of these people are very fat, or have mustache, or are very tiny and cry all the way.

On one of my last flights there was a boy who was crying all the way, all the seven hours. When I was passing by, he stretched his little baby hand pointing at cups I had on my cart. He took a cup and threw it at a face of a gentlemen sitting behind. All the faces around, including the gentlemen himself looked with a mix of disbelief and shock when the boy started laughing. Only the tired dad holding him on his lapse was apologizing, but the boy has made made me smile too.

When you go to the places you don’t know and loose yourself a bit in a seven milliard crowd, you realize that home is probably the most important dot on a map. If your room is in a color you don’t like, or some of your friend pissed you off – it really doesn’t matter.

I’m writing this, so maybe you can lie on your bed, stretch your legs, turn off your facebook and shout back to your mum that you are not hungry and that you don’t want to eat her dinner, and stop dreaming about all the other people lives. Because wherever you are, it is quite probably a right place.

This is how I am going to finish this therapeutic guide for myself and stretch my legs too.

Boys and girls, be good to your mummy and daddy.
Wash your teeth and go to bed early.