East meats West

 

4:45, the sound of my alarm clock. With sleepy eyes I get up. After a great struggle I get down on my small ladder. Hm… this is one awful bed. It’s too high. One of these days I could break my neck – I mutter in myself… I head towards the kitchen… Everyone is still asleep. Somewhere in the vastness of the North Sea the Utrecht Sun is enjoying its sweet slumber… The remains of yesterday’s apple pie on the table. My first apple pie was a success in the dorm… I cut up a trash bag. I need an improvised rope… The bell rings. I see Adela’s figure near the door. Are you ready? – she asks me, her eyes craving for sleep… I loosen the chain and in an instance jump on the bike. Chilly morning. Utrecht’s narrow red bricked alleys. Together on a bike… A package from home… Traces of the Friday night party on the streets. Here and there drunken blond Dutch students bracing each other wondering home. The homeless appear… Jarbeursplein – the package should arrive here. According to typical Eastern European fashion, with a delay of two days. We don’t care. We’re in Holland. Tolerance, tranquility, friendly people… Adela runs to a telephone booth and asks for directions. A junky. We go on and search for the square… Wondering junkies and homeless people took over the streets… After a few minutes of searching we find the bus station. No one says a word. We wait…We meet another girl from home. She too is waiting for her package. It’s a good feeling to meet someone from home. A couple of minutes late, but the bus finally arrives. East meats West. Two bus drivers. An older and a younger one. Problems appear. The last two weeks’ stress free days vanish in an instance. Unfortunately the idea that the costumer is always right didn’t quite get through the King’s Path (the entrance into Transylvania) and if they bring your package with to days of delay, probably the bus driver is not the one who should start shouting. And this is when your Eastern European way of being comes into help, because you got used to another world. The package wasn’t paid for!!! – the elder driver shouts. Of course it is out of the question that probably they mixed something up back home. My seemingly disappearing temper surfaces again. Probably because something in you has gotten fad up with this rotten mentality; self control and a couple of moments separated my fist from reaching his face. East meets East. The only thing that could’ve topped this of was calling me a bozgor (discriminating term) because of my accent. The answer followed with his departure to more “warmer climates”. A couple of minutes of quarrels and silence took over once again the streets of Utrecht. It makes you wonder, that a cocaine sniffing junky in a telephone booth shows you the directions with a smile, but with one of your country men you have to play a morning circus… My shaky grey bike became an ideal luggage carrying mule. East goes back to West. A package strapped to a bike with improvised ropes made out of trash bags. I steered the bike and Adela carefully held the package so it wouldn’t fall of. Peace came back to the streets of Utrecht. A homeless stops us; he needs money. Believe me brother we need it too and we move onwards. The sky’s dark blue mantle is slowly being broken by a yellow mist. The Utrecht Sun wipes his sleepy face and slowly climbs on the sky. The North Star glitters on… We’ve arrived. The doors of the Parnassos, the cozy and warm bed, the sweat sleep. The Sun opens its sleepy eyes and looks at us….

Utrecht 15th of Sept. 2007

 

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