Extract # 1 of „Traveling with a tortoise“

Before I started traveling to look for a new home, I had an idea for a story. A story that combined my two passions “traveling” and “writing”. A travel guide but different from the usual suspects. Very different. I am not interested in historical facts. I also don’t want to write about the best accommodations or restaurants.

I’m interested in what sightseeing attractions have to tell. Their very own facts. Fantastic facts.

And then Morla showed up, a tortoise who has somehow accompanied me my whole life and who I haven’t really been aware of.

 

Maybe this story will never be a book that will be in a bookstore on a shelf.

Maybe it will be a series of stories on my blog.

 

I haven’t decided yet, I’m right in the middle of it. Right in the middle of the story of a young woman who started traveling to find a home, realized that she is seeking a compromise and discovered something that was lost.

In the following weeks/months I will post some extracts on my blog. Please let me know what you think!

 

Have fun reading the first extract from my visit at the place where I grew up. Looking into a new future also means to look back where you come from.

Enjoy! 🙂

 

PS: My apologies in advance for my English. When I write, I write in German. English is my second language, so sometimes it might happened that my translations seem to be a bit bumpy, especially when I write stories and play with my mother tongue…

*****

 

Stopover „Home“

The next day I decide to go for a walk at Petrisberg. A lot has changed in the last 30 years. Only the vineyards remained.

In the distance I see a high-rise building where I had lived the first three years of my life. One time I, according to my parents, almost fell off the balcony. Our flat was on the top floor (may it was the 10th?).

 

One of my earliest memories is three greenish-grey helicopters flew past our kitchen window.

 

My mom was in hospital, my sister Kristina saw the light of the day. I recall that my father told me the happy news but my gaze was fixed on the humming chopper.

Back in the days, the French military was right next to our building. Today you can still see some barracks behind the student homes and supermarkets.

 

My lips form a broad grin. There, between the Geocentre and Trimmelter Berg, Verena and I tried to break our arm during a daring sleigh ride so that we would not have to write a hated math exam the next way.

 

Verena’s shoulder or elbow, I can’t remember, was dislocated.

I had dislocated several knuckles. Nothing you can’t fix.

We had to write the math exam. Stupid attempt.

 

My thoughts travel through the past and I notice that all memories happen at the same time in my head. I see myself as a three year old, as a fifteen year old, as adult.

A thought comes to me that the past is not happening linear. When I look into the future I know that there are many stations and places waiting for me. But I don’t see a timeline which place comes first.

 

Involuntary I ask myself: If the past and the future happen simultaneously, why not also the present? Interstellar flashes up in front of my inner eye. If there are dots wildly buzzing around instead of a straight line and we exist simultaneously, then there would only be infinity and my brain can’t grasp THAT, can’t comprehend. What my brain is able to comprehend is a line and it calls this line time.

 

But if there is no line, there is possibly also no construct with the name “time”.

 

My head is buzzing and spinning and pictures are rushing by that are not part of this moment, not part of here and now. My breath goes faster, tries to understand “infinity”, loses itself in the chaos of visions until a voice says “stop!”.

 

I gasp. Morla is looking at me sternly. “This is not the place, not the time. Let’s keep going.”

The tortoise’s words tear me out of the helpless rigidity and I’m thankful for that. She is right, not here and now. I decide to meditate and explore later what I just had seen and felt.

 

We walk along vines, their leaves beautifully light yellow. At the bottom of the hill I see some small backyards (Schrebergärten) and I remember that the American husband of a friend of mine once asked if there really do people live in. No, it’s just a weekend thing for people with an apartment who want to have a backyard and a small cabin.

 

Completely lost in my thoughts, I arrive at the Dom. The smell of French fries fat is in the air. Hm, Three-Finger-Joe. Mouthwatering the thought of thin French fries with curry sauce. Incredible fast food, especially when you are drunk. Or not drunk.

 

Actually, you can always have Three-Finger-Joes french fries.

 

I reach the Treviris Passage. When I was fifteen, sixteen years old, I hung out here a lot. Yes, I was one of the Treviris Gang. That doesn’t mean that I ever had a physical fight. No, as a well-educated teacher’s daughter it’s just not done.

 

If my parents would have known with who I had spent time with,

they would have grounded me for the rest of my life.

 

I have never experienced a higher level of loyalty and solidarity than in this clique. It was a valuable experience that I don’t want to have missed.

Besides that, it was so to say my first internship in a social disadvantaged milieu. It helped me later when I worked in social and family services because I had witnessed how my clients tick.

 

In the evening I go for a run and let myself float in an ocean of memories, some faint, some so strong that I see them in front of me as if I would be right in the middle of them.

I jog on the pathway to the university, passing playgrounds, some of them don’t exist anymore.

At Treff (a neighborhood in Trier) I look at both flats where my friend Sandra had lived. The disappointment comes to my mind when we had fondue with vegetable broth. With broth! At home we had fondue with oil. Yes, pure fried meat!

 

To the left is the bakery where we used to sweets.

 

Elektro Spang. I ask myself if they maybe have one of those old alarm clocks with a windmill. I would buy one right away. In grade four, Sandra and I were supposed to ask for donations at local shops for a raffle at school. In every store we got two products of the same kind. Back at home, we kept some of it. But there was only one alarm clock. So Sandra’s mom suggested that we could share it and that’s what we do since then. Each of us keeps the clock for some time and then the other one gets it. Unfortunately, it stopped working a few years ago.

 

Ah, Saint Augustinus. The Youth Centre under the church was my second home. Emotions, scents awake. The morning after a party when we, hungover, had to clean. Smell of cold beer. Disgusting.

 

The floor was so tacky, with every step you kept sticking to it with your shoe sole.

 

I arrive at the university, which is now deathly quiet in the darkness. I do not dare to run along the little lake, it’s too dark and abandoned.

 

In the 90’s we were often here, in the evening, at night, mostly drunk, sometimes stoned.

 

The consequence: I still made it. Topic of my master’s thesis? „The process of occasional consumption to excessive alcohol consumption of 14 to 18 years olds”.

 

I walk a few meters and let the university buildings impinge on me.

See myself rushing through the C building, through loads of students. Wander through the library, looking for certain books.

I always avoided the cafeteria, I never liked the food. Only when I started working at the university after my studies, I sometimes went there with my colleagues. It didn’t taste well.

 

I keep running, remember a seminar on the topic „law“ that had taken place on a Saturday in the psychology-building.

 

Ah, the bridge to Weidengraben (another neighborhood). On the other side, memories of my time at daycare and elementary school are waiting for me.

I loved going to daycare and I was actually a bit jealous of other kids who also went there in the afternoon.

 

One time I ran away from home only to be one afternoon at the, to me, holy place.

 

The taste of the wild plants soup in grade three: Bitter. But with a lot of cream it was actually ok.

I arrive at the street where the Saint Martin’s parade always walked through. As a teenager I helped out, it was part of the volunteering work at the Youth Centre. We sold Martin’s Brezel (a special kind of sweet brezel) and Wieners in a bun, took care of the fire and got drunk.

 

When I see the gas station, I recall with a laugh how my sister Kristina and I sometimes came here by bike. On ONE bike (although we both had one), one sitting on the saddle, the other one sitting on the rack. We then bought Flying Horse (because in was cheaper than Red Bull) and laughed the whole way back. That was our way of getting “drunk” on a Sunday afternoon – with too much sugar, caffeine and taurine.

 

All this is me. This is where I come from, it shaped me and

made me to the person I was for a long time.

 

My gaze is looking for the houses in the dark in Trier-Tarforst that are close to a meadow, but I can’t see them, the indoor tennis centre is blocking the view.

Back in the days, in the 80’s, we went to one of the houses and made pizza in a stone oven, it was really delicious. I still remember the thin, crunchy dough.

 

Crazy how much a person is able to remember and all the pictures, emotions, scents we can recall if we want to. As if it would happen right now and all at once.

 

 

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