петък, 3 август 2018 г.

"Before you slip into unconsciousness
I'd like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss"

Woke up with this going on around my head (doesn't happen that often to wake up with a song, but it is a wonderful thing nevertheless). 

"The Crystal Ship" starts with one of the most beautiful opening phrases ever. Not even sure why I love it so much; it's probably the simplicity, the way it draws a complete picture of a feeling with only two strokes. That's how I wish to be able to write.  

Sitting on the floor at my parents' living room right now. It will rain soon, they left the city for the weekend, I have work to do. My high school books are just nearby and I can imagining bringing back to Belgium Morrison's biography. It was the thing that got me into the Doors all those years ago; and I remember sitting in this very apartment, on this very floor, having to study for a test on Ancient Greece's culture, reading about Jim's own curiosity about Greek mythology.

Whenever I've been back home, I always bring something very random to Belgium anyway. In February it was a favourite pillowcase - a blue one, with the sea and a ship. Stole a book with Joseph Brodsky's essays from a friend as well; not sure when I will return it to him, actually. I remember my flight to Brussels that day was a very early one; I remember the moment we landed at Charleroi I received a text from my flatmate (his nephew has just been born - and because the parents didn't want to know the sex of the baby beforehand, it was only upon birth that it was revealed it's a boy; so I had an ecstatic "we got a penis!" message to great me back on Belgian soil, kind of loved the hilariousness of it all, and the fact I was to know about a new life being born). I remember later in the afternoon going for a walk before a meeting with a friend, and sitting with Brodsky's book at the Metafoor, and Doors and the War on the Drugs were again on the speakers there, and it was very cold on the streets, and the coffee was okay, and the new semester was just around the corner. 

“Ultimately, one desires a site as one does a person. Bodies and cities involve the same seduction, give rise to the same tales of love. We absorb them with the same passion: one can literally fall in love with a place.
As “Hiroshima mon amour” shows, crossing the borders of a foreign body - the body of another touched for the first time - can compare to the cluster of emotions involved in approaching an unknown landscape. A libidinal drive moves us to a place and lets us absorb it. One may get lost in the new geography.”

Giuliana Bruno, “An Atlas of Emotions. Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film”

четвъртък, 2 август 2018 г.

First thing I noticed about the night in Sofia the moment I stepped out of the car: there is the melody of the crickets all around, even in my typical "big-city" neighborhood. Whereas in Leuven, for all its secret gardens, and parks, and whatnot, I don't think I've ever heard it. And I guess it's one of the reasons (a weird, infinitesimally small reason, but still a reason) contributing to never actually feeling completely inspired by the city -- the type of all-encompassing inspiration one feels sometimes. I'd go to sleep and wake up to the constant song of crazy birds in the Begijnhof, of course; and I'd love the tiny murmuring of the river near my window; there are also the horrible frogs in the park with the blue bridge. All those sounds around, and I love taking notice of them; mapping my way through a place by a geography of melodies. But crickets? Not even once. 

Probably I'm wrong, and now I can actually see myself going on a full-blown investigation mission once I'm back. The Abbey? Or Arenberg? Or near Adrian's house? Walking around town and paying attention in order to spot a cricket, that sounds too much like me. 

Discovered only recently that every year since my grandfather passed away, my grandmother has been buying a book for his birthday. She writes a simple Happy birthday on the first page, signs it with the first letter of her name, and writes down the date. They are newly published books he would've been interested in: about history and politics, etc. It's a bit of a heartbreaking sight; five books sitting on one side of the  bookshelf, a sixth one is going to be added this September. A mark of time passing, but also a very simple, elegant form of communication and remembrance. 

сряда, 1 август 2018 г.

A fast little note I've taken at 7:38 pm, 29th July.

"I am sitting on a bench, which is positioned in front of a small piece of brick wall, randomly standing in the middle of a garden. Next to that wall there is a dry tree that has spread its only two branches in a way that evokes to mind deserts and Texas, and 90's action movies. I am reading Zizek's "Event", and I'm waiting for my laundry to be done. What will follow afterwards is preparing my luggage and seeing my mother and brother for dinner, and going for a drink with a friend. Then it will be tomorrow, and Brussels, and the flight to Sofia."

This year I've enjoyed keeping a track of the way nights before a flight home and mornings before a flight back to Belgium look like. The sheer randomness of events, the sudden realization how odd the details of everyday routine could seem if they are to be dissolved in observation; the fullness of time condensed, the always present feeling that everything is slightly off and surreal because I will be crossing borders and because I have slowly started to belong to two worlds that rarely converge, but also -- and this is more important -- I don't think I will ever be able again to fully, absolutely belong (to a place). 

понеделник, 23 юли 2018 г.

Льовен: лято

To the three persons with whom I've spent a tad too many hours philosophizing about life this summer. Life will be alright, however ending up in four different countries come September is not very cool. 

То е да надничаме из чуждите прозорци - онези по високите етажи,
отворени към стаи, от които виждаме
само цвета на библиотеките. То е да си представяме какво е
градът да диша тежко някъде далече под нозете ни,
смълчан в присъствието на юли; докато ние се унасяме във сънища,
отвити, голи, защитени от тъгите
на улиците долу. Онези подлички тъги

на ежедневието, преоблечени като големите въпроси,
които така се наслаждаваме да стискаме във шепи.

Ние сме останалите тук през времето, когато
всеки заминава, през времето, когато
слънцето почти ни се присмива, a оси разместват крачките ни
с нагъл полет.

Лятото на нашето отлагане, последен опит
да вземем властта над часовниците. Внезапна
близост, родена с обещание:

някой ден,
облечени красиво, спокойни
в своите кожи на малко уморени
мъже и жени, ще се срещнем отново. Разбира се, най-сетне
безстрашни господари на самите себе си. Нали?

петък, 1 юни 2018 г.

С дни беше лепкава жега тук; влагата е почти сякаш си край морето (и морето действително е на час и нещо с влак, все забравям - и все още не съм ходила до там, а трябва). Днес вали, само за четене е; и колкото и да се дразнех на тия вечни белгийски дъждове през зимата, сега ми олеква. Адриан мина за цигара, пихме чай в кухнята, намерихме диска с Жак Брел на Надя и го пуснахме на стария касетофон. Останалата част от къщата - притихнала, съквартирантите се готвят за сесията. Този тип половинчасови моменти ще ми липсват най-много.

сряда, 9 май 2018 г.

Yesterday evening: found a street that looks both like Sofia (because of the chestnut trees) and like Balchik (because of a wall that reminds me of the old barracks near which I was learning to ride a bike exactly 20 years ago). I was actually on the bike when I found it, and it was enjoyable to think of that paradoxical link between 1998, Balchik, Bulgaria, and 2018, Leuven, Belgium.

петък, 27 април 2018 г.

Recent frustration: 
It feels as if I've lost my words both in Bulgarian and in English. No eloquence possible; not a proper way to actually express what I'm doing, what I'm observing or thinking about.

On a recent night walk around town I discovered that near the canal you can smell the fermentation of beer in the Stella Artois factory. We were together with A. and he told me that when he was still a child, the beer clouds would come as far as his primary school; you could smell them all over the city. It's a sour smell, more like the one of a strange food, and it lingers in the air without being exactly unpleasant, but still somehow manages to leave a sense of discomfort. 

Experienced the city during a heatwave. Felt enormously as if I'm in Balchik. I guess because the heat was sticky and was making my hair all too curly, the way it happens when I'm on the seaside. Spent a whole weekend lying on the grass in front of the house, reading, daydreaming and playing badminton. Have a guilty conscious now, because of all the work I am procrastinating on, but oh well. 

It's lovely to observe how the place I live in is revealing itself layer upon layer as the seasons pass. First, a strange and gloomy winter that never really felt like a winter. Then in January some men from the staff came over and cut the branches of the trees in preparation for an upcoming spring; it looked all naked and sharp. Then late March and the two magnolias blossoming, one of them turned out to be really close to my house. And now is the lilacs time, purple and white, I never had an idea we'd have them around. Sometimes I suddenly remember how these cobblestone streets looked like to my eyes the very first days after I moved here; the sudden rains in the afternoons and the September sun, and that coffee I drank on my very first morning, sitting on the little platform outside my door (same morning when I managed to lock myself out, which in itself was the reason to meet S., who turned into one of my closest persons around). 

I'm happy that A. is back in town. What an unlikely, lucky friendship is ours: we met four years ago in this very city and somehow created a bond over a distance of 3000 km and many Skype calls. It's the first time since we've known each other that we can meet up almost every day; go for walks, go for beer, discuss all the minutiae of being not-so-young-now-but-still-confused, aspirations, melancholies, etc.

A couple of nights ago we were sitting in that little secret park near Groot Begijnhof, and there was a group of people on the other side of the tiny lake, faces and bodies obscured by the dark; one of them played LA Woman by the Doors with such gusto as if almost channeling Jim Morrison; and then something in Russian which sounded a lot like a song by Lyube (I was kind of amazed to hear Lyube over here). Felt kind of important to listen to the songs at that very moment, I guess because of my old obsession for linking different times and places through music. You know, that momentary sense of wonder upon the realization that a 16 y.o. me (discovering the Doors during a weird, foggy winter in Sofia, and listening to them late at night in the room I had at my parents' apartment) and a 19 y.o. me (who had just moved out to live on her own and was falling in love properly for the first time with somebody who would send Doors lyrics as goodnight messages: a childish love that was so right for the next couple of years), and a 25 y.o. me (half way through her first year abroad and feeling simultaneously so lost and so grateful) are all and the same; and that the choices of the 16 y.o. and the 19 y.o. have lead to this very moment, this very bench, park, conversation, etc.; and a thread of the same music is going overwhelmingly strong through it all.

понеделник, 5 февруари 2018 г.

В Брюксел сме с Р. Студено е, понякога вали, решили сме, че ще си търсим някой хубав музей и книжарница с книги на английски, преди да се приберем в Льовен. Нямаме мобилен интернет, та докато пием кафе и закусваме, ползваме wi-fi на кафенето, за да си начертаем карта. Отваряме списък с книжарници, харесваме си една, носеща името Sterling, след което потегляме. Губим се, защото все не хващаме правилния завой. Намираме обаче музей, на чиято фасада висят огромни транспаранти - изложба, посветена на Помпей. Точка първа - изпълнена. Разглеждаме, радваме се на черепа на Плиний Стари (да, точно такива хора сме), тръгваме отново. Аз, впрочем, успявам да се влюбя за минута в млад мъж с бакенбарди, тъмночервен пуловер и сини очи, който обаче явно е на среща с гаджето си - възрастен господин с вид на преподавател в университет и буйна бяла коса. Ах, този свят.

Хайде, отново посока Стърлинг. Знаем, че е някъде наблизо, но картата, която сме си начертали, вече не ни върши работа. Вървим. Оказваме се на площад, изваден от XVII век. В дъното на една от пресечките забелязваме разкошната фасада на бяла катедрала с огромна червена порта. Отправяме се към нея. Оказва се затворена, обръщаме се и отсреща виждаме книжарница. Малка, с име, което не бих могла да произнеса (Het ivoren aapje, после ще потърся превод и ще се окаже The Ivory Monkey, отдавна забравен роман от фламандския автор Herman Teirlinck). Антикварна книжарница, в която за пръв път откакто съм в Белгия виждам действително сериозен избор от книги на английски (защото по принцип са все малко бройки и все по-скоро имена, които не ми събуждат любопитството). Всичко е в книги, от купчини на пода, чак до последната етажерка току под тавана. Фламандски, английски, френски, немски, руски, испански, португалски. А също и картини, статуетки, джунджурии. Ужасно напомня тайна стая на един Стърлинг, който не е книжарница и който си чака на ул. "Екзарх Йосиф" в София (и който открих в края на едно лято преди години, когато се чудех къде да си празнувам рождения ден). А и защо не - така свикнах София да ме отпраща към други градове; какво бе учудването ми, когато осъзнах, че и Льовен го прави непрестанно, а ето и Брюксел - географията се огъва до време, вместо до пространство.

Прекарваме там сигурно час, намирам си събраните стихове на Елиът, намирам си "Падането на Константинопол" на Стивън Рънсимън, забелязвам по етажерките Оливър Сакс и Ерих Фром, но се въздържам, собственикът е с рошава коса и е облечен в карирано сако, говори страшно изискан френски, фламандски, английски, посещават го редовните му клиенти. А от томчето на Елиът изпада картичка, писана в края на март 1992-а, шест месеца преди да се родя (и две седмици, след като Р. вече е била родена), почеркът е четлив, маркерът, с който е писано, все още не е избледнял, напротив, изглежда сякаш е от вчера. Не сме намерили прословутия тукашен Стърлинг, ама хич не е било и нужно.

На излизане търся името на улицата, за да мога да се върна отново. Begijnhof, прочитам на табелата, и почти ми става смешно. Задето адресът ми от миналата есен е именно Begijnhof (макар и един друг Бегинаж, в друг град) и някак е толкова логично, че всичко, всичко, всичко е свързано. 

понеделник, 1 януари 2018 г.


Заминаването и връщането се събират на върха на времето.
А времето, поне понякога, бива игла. И границите се оказват
зашити - хастар от всичките години, в които си обичал,
от гарите, където си подслушвал страхове; география, в която
дишат едновременно
безсолното небе над Фландрия и онзи вятър в София през март,
избистрящ зимата до сол.

Чел си някога за дяволи, танцуващи по върховете на игли;
и помниш смътно, че всичко е по-хубаво в мига преди
да бъде сбъднато.

Опитваш се да бъдеш милостив към себе си, което сякаш
значи да разшиеш сам - и нежно - това, което някога си смятал свое

и да наречеш разшиването свобода.