Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

A sense of the European

Image via  (not mine)

Image via (not mine)

A strange thing has been happening now that the sun is setting earlier and the weather is turning colder - all of a sudden, I'm having intense Russia flashbacks brought on by the sights and sounds of Finland in the fall. The most common and potent occurrences of this happen when I'm out and about in Turku and encounter:

- cold temperature + cigarette smoke from passerby

- cold temperature + bus exhaust

- cold temperature + petrol smell

- view of old buildings + autumn foliage

- dark outside + carrying home bags of heavy groceries on foot

- dark outside + coming home from work

- frozen pee streams on the sidewalk (this has only happened a couple of times and unlike in Moscow, I'm pretty sure it's usually dog pee)

Today as I rode my bike across town and back while doing errands, I got to wondering why the "cold temperature +" bit would take me directly back to Moscow in 2002, rather than, say, Ithaca (the last cold place I lived, in 2009), or even American Fork (in 2003). I can think of two reasons:

1. Moscow was the last time I lived in a cold place in an urban setting, and thus was exposed to these sights and smells during cold temperatures; and

2. Maybe the cigarettes and bus exhausts and petrols of Europe carry a different tang than those of Upstate New York.

I'm inclined to think that both of these factors are at work, since it really did get quite cold in Syria in the fall and winter and our apartment there was plenty urban, too.

In any case, I'm enjoying the flashbacks, but also reveling in the greater dependability of the buses here, at least. And I imagine some day I'll be somewhere really hot and the smell of Turkish coffee will waft by and I'll be right back in the Emirates again!

October 30th, outsourced

Other Bridget 2015