MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “return”

More than walls

© Brenda Cox

When we finally arrived, it was all there just like in that picture we had created in our minds after so many descriptions we had heard.

It was standing there, frozen in time, as if waiting for its owners to return.

Homes too have a soul. They encompass the feelings and memories their residents confide and build in them. The life we experience, the persons we shape ourselves to be, the laughter and tears we express, they all seep into the walls and are cautiously guarded like a well-kept secret.

It only takes a single breath to remember it all.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Longing to return

©MCD_Velika

On the first day back from a holiday you’re usually overwhelmed with an unbearable denial of having returned. It’s as if you refuse to accept that the break is over and you have to return to routine, because you need to work to earn the money to be able to then have a break.

The extent to which you’ve relaxed and had tremendous fun during your holiday is often linearly proportional to the time it will take you to come to terms with the fact that the break is now over. It’s a harsh awakening, consenting to now having returned to what you’ve tried for months to escape from.

But in truth, why are you doing something you so badly need a break from anyway? Sure, we all need a change from everything once in a while, but shouldn’t you be spending most of your days doing something you like, that fulfils you and which you’re good at? Shouldn’t you be longing to return to this too after your break? If you feel you’re incarcerated and forced into functioning in a job you don’t want to get up and go to, then you should rethink your priorities.

The point in life is to have a job that is more than that. One that you’re passionate about, and even if it is not exactly what you want to be doing, it motivates you to be the best you can be at it. One that inspires you to raise the bar higher, because you can.

Holidays are great. And we all need the time to switch off, calm down, change scenes and rethink many aspects of our lives. But let’s be rational: there are people who can’t afford to take a break, mainly because they have nothing to go away from or don’t even have the financial capacity to do so.

So be grateful: for the work you have, the ability to earn a living, to travel, to escape routine, to have friends to experience things with, but most of all, to have a home to return to after it all.

Conserving the summer vibes

©MCD

It isn’t really the return that hurts the most. It’s the crash landing that you feel you subject yourself to when the holiday ends. Because now you have to return to everything you were trying to escape from, to hide from, to pretend they don’t exist. You have to garner the strength to face it all. The reality, the routine, the “normality” you allowed to fade away while you were enjoying the sun, the sea, the fun, the new relationships and experiences the season brings.

We easily fall into depression when the summer ends and we are forced to return to our “ordinary” lives with whatever that entails. Because “normal” has a different definition to each person.  And we strive, at least for the first couple of days, to maintain that optimism and joy the sunlit weeks brought upon us. We struggle to maintain not only the memories of the most enjoyable season of the year, but the mood it brings along. We hope it won’t fade as soon as our tan-line does.

But the thing is, every season has its perks. There is something to enjoy every month of the year – every day, even. We simply need to have the determination to put all those dreams we make when we’re relaxed into concrete actions at any time. Our goals aren’t really seasonally. We can dream and make plans and set targets all year round. And if we’re decisive and courageous enough to take the risk, we can make them happen. We may even be able to conserve that summer optimism and cheerful mood.

Crash landing

http://media.gettyimages.com/videos/dark-clouds-silhouetted-by-orange-sunset-grenadines-available-in-hd-video-id1B65074_0063?s=640x640Can you see it? That black cloud rapidly approaching. The one you think will bring a shower of rain and will quickly pass. Do you see it? Do you see it turning into a dark blanket covering the valley? It’s the one that won’t go away as quickly as you believe. The one that will stay for days, pouring down and affecting every atom of your being. It’s the same one that will make you feel as if you’ve crash-landed face down after a prolonged period of flying high.

Such clouds usually mark the day after you return from a holiday. When you’ve had the chance to relax, to forget about everything for a while, to turn off phones and social media and just…be. To try and appreciate the nature surrounding us, and connect with people you may hardly see during your hectic daily routine. But just as you’ve grown into this new, calmer and more tranquil, habit, suddenly you have to return to reality.

And that’s when the clouds come along too.

But they become darker once you realise that your expectations of your return are nothing at all like what you actually encounter.

Because life is sometimes too complicated for our own good. It’s filled with questions that will never be answered. With “whys” whose explanation will come when it no longer matters. With dilemmas of whether it is better to have something or not, to painfully know or live in naïve ignorance. They are things we simply can’t control but are forced to deal with and move on.

And that is when the post-holiday blues settle in. It’s when you don’t feel like doing anything. When you master procrastination and postponement taking them to other levels. When you’re overcome with a desire to flee again, because you feel suffocated to have returned so abruptly.

You know that you need to wait out the storm. Because it will all pass. You just need to be patient and show the strength you hide inside of you. We are all much stronger than we know. It usually takes a few dark clouds to make us see that.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Complicated

 

Batteries recharged

Villa Bonatsa, Batsi, Andros - ©Maria-Christina DoulamiIt’s amazing how we spend most of the year waiting for that summer month when you’ll finally take a much deserved break from everything for a few weeks, to detox your system and simply escape from the stress that is constantly hanging over your shoulders. The time arrives and you set off ready to let go of it all and just be. But then… How is it possible that these few days always pass by so quickly? Before you know it, you’re on the return journey to your daily routine, feeling as if your trip to paradise was already so long ago.

No matter how fast time passes by though, one thing is certain – even those few days helped your relax, recharge and rejuvenate your exhausted organism. They made you see how much more there is in this life, which we often waste worrying about needless things.

Sure, the city air hits you in the face like a moist sandpaper once you set foot back, but just think how much less that actually annoys you now because you’re still there on that balcony gazing into the sea and listening to the gentle crashing of the waves ashore.

It takes time to re-adjust to reality, but in doing so you know everything will be better now because you’ve recharged every single part of you.

A porch of memories

Friday Fictioneers - porch

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It had been years she had last visited the summer estate. It was too painful to return after he was gone. But now she could no longer avoid it.

The minute she stepped onto the porch it all came flooding back – the happy memories of a time past; the laughter; the dreams that were made; the expectations that were created for a life that never was.

It was exactly like she remembered – with the Greek columns reminding her of her glorious ancestry.

But now, the words “Forever” they had carved at the bottom were gone. Leaving only “eve”. Her name.

 

Part of Friday Fictioneers

Il ritorno del grifo

1 DSC08984There are few cities that invite you back no matter how much time has passed. Cities where you spent a significant part of your life, your ‘formation years’ and which draw you back to inject in you every now and then that adolescent hope which you had when you first set foot there. Few cities actually have something new to offer every time you visit. And even fewer make you feel as if you arrive at home. Every time.

The highway ends and you can begin to sense the excitement creeping up inside you. As you turn on those winding roads lined with blooming green trees, you feel that you are returning somewhere familiar. 2 DSC09120And the moment you see that first building, that first location which springs a memory to mind, you know you’re there. Where you left a piece of your heart, a piece of yourself. At a place which is filled with experiences and a best friend who always awaits you with arms wide open. It’s a place where you have a family and it feels like home no matter how long it’s been since your last visit. All it takes is a couple of hours to rediscover it all and blend right back in, as if you never left. As if a part of you continues to live here, evolving along with the city and yearning to remain free, independent and energetic, just like your youthful self when you first arrived.

3 IMG_0746Perugia is a city that registers in your mind and heart. With historic medieval stone buildings, situated in the heart of Umbria at the centre of Italy, between Renaissance Florence and the capital Rome, Perugia is famous. It is a well-known cultural and artistic centre of Italy, rich in architecture.

It hosts arguably the best Italian language school for foreigners, while famous Popes, 4 IMG_0739as well as renowned actress Monica Bellucci (among others) were students at its university. The famous painter Pietro Vannucci, nicknamed Perugino, who was the teacher of famous Renaissance artist Raphael, was a native of Città della Pieve near Perugia, while famous painter Pinturicchio lived in Perugia. Also from Perugia was the famous architect Galeazzo Alessi.

5 DSC08995Situated in the Umbrian hills with an elevation of 493 metres, Perugia is a beautiful medieval city where you can go pretty much anywhere on foot. It is actually more convenient to walk rather than try to drive a car through the narrow winding roads, especially in the city centre.

6 DSC09029

With so many uphills and downhills, it is also an ideal city to exercise naturally. Perugia is one of the rare cities that even require the presence of escalators and lifts – hundreds of steps exist throughout the city joining the different levels created due to its very particular geographic location.

7 DSC08989And the most exciting thing is that every strait around every winding corner leads to a magnificent scenery, a stone balcony full of colourful flowers smelling like spring and a series of steps that invite you to follow them to quench your curiosity.

Perugia is a city that inspires and encourages you to enjoy its elegant and interesting lifestyle to the fullest. 8 DSC09145It was only fitting therefore that the city chose as its protector during the Renaissance the mythological griffin – il grifo. With the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, the griffin – found all over Perugia – is the city’s symbol, its emblem, its mascot, and during a football match, the city team’s nickname. It is associated with strength, courage and intelligence. The wings give it speed; the claws give it ferocious power – a proper combination of the king of beasts and the king of birds.

9 DSC09117Even more fascinating is the presence of an old city, buried when Pope III Farnese at the end of the ‘salt war’ in 1540 decided to build a fortress – Rocca Paolina – to keep the Perugians in line. Five levels high and symbolic of the papal domain, it encompassed an entire medieval neighbourhood, complete with houses, towers and streets. It was finally razed to the ground in 1860 and all that remains are the charming and unique basements, crossed through by escalators and used for cultural exhibitions.

No matter how long or how little you stay, 10 DSC09749there is always something new to discover – a small artisan shop, a tasty dish, a delicious drink. With festivals taking place all year round – be it Umbria Jazz in the summer (when the streets fill with music) or Eurochocolate in the winter (when the city is overflowing with chocolate) – the city invites tourists worldwide to discover the fascination of being a Perugino (and this is not only in reference to the famous Baci chocolates).

11 DSC09053In addition, few cities can boast an ideal balance between provincial traditions (the city’s population counts a mere 170,000) and technological progressions. With almost everyone in possession of a smartphone, the Umbria region even offers free Wi-Fi for two hours a day wherever you are in the city. Plus, the Perugini are avid recyclers – with containers separating waste found throughout the town, thus making the city exceptionally clean.

12 IMG_0735The best thing about a constant stroll up and down the city is that you return home tired but upbeat. Particularly since most of the high-ceiling houses here are naturally cooler inside than outside in the summer and in the winter do not require heaters to retain their warmth. This is when you truly feel fulfilled, when you are falling fast asleep in the warm embrace of a bed bigger and more comfortable than the one you usually lie in, to wake up refreshed, elated and safe of being among family.

13 DSC09057Then when the time comes you don’t want to leave. You already feel accustomed to this tranquil life, carefree and stress-free. Why return to the other side of reality? But departing will only make the next return taste sweeter. Because you will return. That is for certain.

 

N.B. All photos are mine taken in Perugia, Italy on 15-24 July 2014

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap

Catching that Zen moment

travel 2It already starts during the return trip. That feeling of melancholy that slowly creeps up on you when you are about to depart from a place at which you’ve spent a few amazing days. You’ve already sort of lost touch with reality, at least for a while having left aside your routine, even if you worked during your trip.

No matter what the reason for a trip, a change of location certainly offers a breath of fresh air. Scientists have even argued that traveling is good for the health because it creates new neurons and it augments optimism and the feeling of happiness. Indeed the fascination of going somewhere else, somewhere you don’t see on a daily basis, triggers in you a wave of excitement that in fact also makes you a much more positive person and brings on more smiles.

Traveling is also good for the soul. It opens your mind to new cultures and mentalities, it allows you to discover new places and meet new people, and it makes you more dynamic and sociable, particularly if you try to engage in the ‘normal’ life of the location and not simply follow the tourist route.

But the worst part is when you are preparing to leave. That is the instance when it hits you that the fun is sort of over. That you have to leave the friends you’ve stayed with to return to your routine, however agreeable that may be. Somehow, whenever you return to your home and familiar surroundings, nothing seems the same. You see everything differently, at first often with an inevitable comparison, and something always seems to be missing. It does take a while to reacclimatize yourself. Especially if for so many days you were speaking a different language, as at home this would offer an additional incentive for people to consider you a foreigner in your own country.

It is difficult to return to base. Just imagine how astronauts would feel. Nonetheless, there is nothing to regret. The trip has certainly opened up your mind, relaxed your soul, and soothed your heart. And that alone is something to be grateful for. For having the luxury to travel. To see other cultures, (re)encounter friends, and reach that Zen moment that escaped you for so long.

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