3 months old today, the love of my life…

Your feet bear the promise of freedom
as I rest my lips on them.
They carry so many stories of faraway journeys,
some of them that have passed,
others that will come to pass.
What roads will they roam?
And will they bring you back to me?
We have the same birthday,
my dear time traveler,
35 years apart.
Meet me again. And again.

baby feet

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And absolutely adorable

baby in wrap

Late autumn is the season of death. I can very well remember my previous deaths. Caring for a baby this autumn is a totally new way to die. The best one so far, I’d say. You truly have to kill whoever you used to be. The new you needs none of your former selfish endeavors. The new you has no time to waste. The new you is just happy to be of service.

I’ve read some of my former writing pieces and I wonder if I’m ever going to be that good again, if ever again I can focus on something else than diapers, breastfeeding and the lack of intimacy in what used to be a (more or less) romantic relationship. And still, as I’m writing this, I feel it’s not entirely accurate. It’s just that I’m going through changes and until the storm has settled I cannot find my new voice (too much noise to hear myself write). Old structures are falling, new ones are being erected and all this time I’m taking long good looks in the mirror.

“Look at you”, a friend says when she comes to visit, “You don’t even look like you’ve given birth! You’ve lost so much weight!”

And yes, that’s so comfortable. I put on very little weight during pregnancy and in the first few days after delivery I quickly went back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I do feel somewhat attractive, but still feel my whole body is just being used by this growing creature, losing its former glory and attractiveness. Nevertheless, it has gained tremendous force trough birth, I think. And a newly found respect for its wonderful strength and endurance.

“You’ve really got someone now, you’ll never be alone again”, she continues as we’re walking out of a shop late in the afternoon, in the noise of the crazy rush hour traffic.

Then what’s with the lump I keep feeling in my throat? What’s with the chest pain? What’s with the longing? I wonder… There must be something wrong with me. Where is my beloved? Who am I still waiting for? What/ who is still missing from my life?

It’s nothing, love, it’s just baby blues. Yes, again… You should be glad it’s not postpartum depression, my inner shrink goes off as soon as I’m quiet again.

Fuck it, I break out. I’m tired of this. Fix me already! Am I not over this already? I’m getting bored of this shit. I feel too much.

I decide to end my blog post here, but I open my pdf copy of Forty rules of love at page 300 (I decide it’s the number for October 30, my and my son’s birthday) to see what Elif has to say about it:

“The town had finally gone to sleep. It was that time
of night when even the nocturnal animals are reluctant to
disturb the reigning peace. It always made me both
immensely sad and elated to listen to a town sleep,
wondering what sorts of stories were being lived behind
closed doors, what sorts of stories I could have lived
had I chosen another path. But I hadn’t made any
choice. If anything, the path had chosen me.
I remembered a tale. A wandering dervish arrived
in a town where the natives didn’t trust strangers.
Go away!” they shouted at him. “No one knows
you here!
The dervish calmly responded, “Yes, but I know
myself, and believe me, it would have been much
worse if it were the other way round.”
As long as I knew myself, I would be all right.
Whosoever knows himself, knows the One.
The moon showered me with its warm glow. A light
rain, as delicate as a silk scarf, began to fall on the
town. I thanked God for this blessed moment and left
myself in His hands. The fragility and brevity of life
struck me once again, and I recalled another rule: Life
is a temporary loan, and this world is nothing but a
sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would
mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human
beings either become infatuated with the toy or
disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this
life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they
will destroy your inner balance.
Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always
remains mild and moderate.

As I’m bouncing on the fitness ball with him in my arms at 3 am this morning, I’m going through my memories of labor again. He’s one month old today. I take one more look at him and all my complaints fade in the face of his perfection.

October is my favorite month

“Come here, stand like this, closer to the lady, yes, I want your hand here, good, lower the bouquet, smile, yes, now a little kiss, hold it, hold it, ok, now here, like this…” the ‘military’ lady at the city hall is directing everything so that she can take “just a few pictures, not many, just a few!”

As soon as we get inside the marriage room, she takes over and informs us she’s going to take photos of us whether we like it or not.

“It’s ok”, I try to stop her, “we already have our own photographer, so it’s not necessary, thank you.”

“That’s why I’m telling you it’s just a few photos, not many, and it’s gonna cost you just 100 ron, not more.”

We later laugh when we remember her, in her military style, giving us orders about how to stand, where to look, when and how long to kiss for the camera. Eventually, her photos didn’t turn out bad at all, though. But the military lady’s style is in such a sharp contrast to our dear friend’s, who’s actually a lawyer and took a day off from her office so that she could be with us and give us this wonderful gift of taking our wedding pictures in such a loving, soothing and embracing manner! And she’s a very talented photographer, indeed!

Oh, I got married, yes. It happened on a perfect Indian summer day, 17 October, in our 37th week of pregnancy. Only 7 guests (what a number!) – our parents, our godparents and the very good friend who took photos. I’ve always had a special connection to number 17… And it was one of those days when you are so happy and truly believe nothing can ever go wrong again, everybody seems friendly, you feel great and look your best standing up tall in your pink shoes matching the pink flower in your hair and the rose bouquet in your hand and basically can’t stop smiling.

He proposed in May, under a very special tree, with pink flowers grown right on its bark, in a garden where we often used take long walks. My ring has a small emerald stone, embraced by a loose silver knitting. We’ve been through so much since May and it does feel as if the relationship had to grow and ripen until autumn so that we could take the big step. I didn’t feel fearful at all, which is such a blessing after so much inner turmoil, anxiety and so much questioning.

Not bothered by other people’s expectations and projections, I am enjoying the freedom and confidence a higher level of maturity brings. Having gone through a lot of comparing and feelings of inadequacy, getting the urge to run away so many times, I feel stable now, I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, where I have chosen to be, with my new partner, taking a new name that I love, living in a new house that we’re making into a home, wearing new clothes and new shoes, on a brand new day, in my brand new life. Exactly what I was dreaming of.

Nothing is what it used to be. Before the wedding day a lot of memories from my past lives visited and even haunted me for a while, making me nostalgic, sad and even regretful at times. It felt as if all the past ghosts wanted to visit and say goodbye before I stepped over the threshold and into my new life. No, the whole thing was not just a formality (as I initially thought it might come down to).

When we first stepped into the church, exactly one month and a day before the wedding, I knew that was it – we’d found the place. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, still quite warm, and we had an ultra sound appointment at the medical center next to the church, on the same street as the university I attended more than ten years before. The receptionist told us the doctor was late, so we went out and decided to visit the church. Such a pleasant, quiet and warm atmosphere! When the priest – white haired, kind, smiling and sociable, probably in his late fifties – came out and gave us a brief introduction in the history of the church (dating since the late 1700s), I was sure.

Among other fascinating pieces of information, he tells us it’s the only church where a woman has ever been allowed to preach in the orthodox church – Olga Greceanu, who also painted part of the church. It’s my church, I’m thinking, feeling happier and happier about the discovery. “When I first entered the church, more that twenty years ago, I just knew this was my church.” the priest adds, and I know for sure he’s one of my kind. Which later proves right, as he performs the wedding ceremony and then comes out of the church with us to tell us more stories and we are all amazed at so many coincidences, which make us exclaim one more time: “It’s such a small world!”

I was happy my parents were there, although I admit the thought felt a bit irritating in the beginning. Their presence, with their warm smile and affection, their hearts pounding and palms sweating, their discretion and decency, their respect, strong support and warm love – everything made me feel I am so lucky to have them as my parents, despite the more difficult childhood years and the conflicts we’ve had. It all melted away in the light of new love and newly found common ground – a magical place where I felt our hearts met.

This week, the 38th week, I’m feeling slower and I’m getting tired more easily. It’s an interesting feeling – not being able to rush. Slowing down always brings me closer to myself, helps me become more aware of my breath, the sensations in my body and my thoughts. I notice the rush around me as I’m walking in the street and I’m feeling so lucky to be in a totally different world. It’s as if I were the center of the tornado sometimes. Still and heavy, a pregnant whale floating in the vastness of the ocean casting its waves on faraway beaches. Sometimes the heaviness of the belly or the sudden baby kicks hurt, but they’re still so beautiful. Well, a whale is luckier since she doesn’t have to take toilet trips every two hours (be it night or day), like I do… I’m still feeling so beautiful, in spite of the heaviness.

On the other hand, the nesting instinct (of which I used to think was a mere marketing invention or at best a pretext for bored housewives) having taken over me, I can’t stop making preparations, although I know the best way to spend this time is simply to rest… “Maybe you can find the time to stop and enjoy the last week you’re carrying your baby inside you… It’s a miracle you have there.” a friend writes and I decide to follow her wise advice.

So… I’ve made lamps for the entire house, a felt and wool raining cloud to hang over the changing table, I modeled angel wings and houses out of clay and started planning Christmas gifts and decorations (the earliest I’ve ever started preparing for Christmas.!), I’ve sewed a felt ball and stuffed it with wool for the baby to play with, washed all his clothes, of course, ordered the closets, drawers and shelves…

And so much more. I keep thinking after I finish preparing, we can just relax, take naps, cuddle and enjoy the nest. And that after the baby comes, we can focus on him and not worry about anything else… I know it doesn’t really work like that, but that’s what I’m dreaming of.

You know, I’ve discovered that even when you are in charge of your own time and you can set your own rhythm and schedule, if you’re used to being busy, then you’ll be busy all the time, you’ll always have a long to do list you just can’t get to the bottom of because every day you add more and more tasks to it. I feel like laughing at myself for that, but still cannot help overdoing it. And walking long distances, which still feels great.

taking long walks in the third trimester of pregnancy

My birthday is coming up this Monday, so I’m evaluating the time since my last birthday and find it amazing! It’s been the year with the greatest changes ever! But this is for another blog post, coming up soon unless the baby decides to come out sooner that that. By the way, I expect birth to be the most amazing experience ever, intense and smooth and also funny (why not?) and moving and rewarding. Oh and then Christmas as a new family… I’m feeling so grateful for such precious gifts!

PS Photos of the big day (taken by our friend) are still on their way.

 

 

Third trimester update, with a brief look back at what was before

love and happiness to come

Did you know that “gift” in Swedish means married and that the same word used as a noun means poison?

My pregnant belly is growing and the nesting instinct has taken over me, so I’ve been burying myself in doing all sorts of stuff and can hardly find the time, but mostly the disposition to write. After a summer full of travels and emotional torment, the urge to settle down has come over me and I seem to be preparing my nest for the little cub on his way. As autumn was approaching and it became increasingly clear to me I cannot travel such long distances anymore, cannot climb mountains or ride my bike, I felt sad for a while and scared. What’s happening now? Am I going to be left behind? Then the desire to cuddle and nest, making plans to redecorate, putting together the birth plan, shopping for the baby, making plans for our new family – all replaced the former travel plans and plane ticket shopping. I can’t say it’s been a smooth transition.

After a very active year, full of journeys (Sweden twice, England, Amsterdam, Greece, mountains in Romania, Bulgaria) and changes (becoming pregnant, moving house, leaving my job), settling down for the autumn and the third trimester poses a bit of a challenge. Especially with that leaving feeling bugging me every time things go different than I want them to go. So I’ve had to convince myself to stay and create tasks to fill my suddenly dilated time, round and spacious like my ever growing belly. Cooking, shopping, cleaning, redecorating, planning, exercising, taking long walks, sewing etc. Reading and writing have proved a little difficult for my agitated mind… Though I’ve always loved the beginning of autumn, calming everything down and lending the eye such warm and soothing colors after the loud and sharp summer notes. There are moments when I feel I have become way too domestic and fear I’m gonna bore myself to death.

I check my body every day and every day I notice changes: my skin is brighter and more beautiful, I am losing much less hair when I brush, my belly is getting bigger and changes shape as the baby changes positions, my breasts have grown two sizes since the beginning of pregnancy and are now letting out drops of colostrum that mark tiny wet spots on my T-shirt in the morning. I haven’t become fatter though and have only put on about 8 kilos in the past 8 months, which is ideal. Still, I feel heavier and the weight of the baby pressing on my bladder makes walking fast a thing of the past. As it does to tying shoe laces or wearing high heels.

On the other hand, I must confess I fear the postpartum transformations – the bleeding, the exploded veins on my legs, stretch marks, cellulitis, my stomach looking like a deflated balloon, milk leaking out of my breasts, dark circles around the eyes from lack of sleep, messy hair, manicure and pedicure, tiredness and depression.

I miss jogging and writing poetry while jogging. Sex is still fairly good, fortunately, though slightly more complicated due to very obvious reasons that we have to accommodate, but I cannot complain. The increased level of hormones has been a bit of a challenge, nevertheless. People in the street never miss my belly and every time I cross the old town I am offered food at the local terraces. When I ride the metro I either get offered a seat right away or not at all, depending on the route and the time. I am amazed by the level of autism the use and abuse of technology has created – everyone is always checking their phone, looking ever so busy and extremely disturbed by the presence of the others.

Speaking about the presence of others, our relationship has been growing alongside my belly and will mature together with the baby we’re raising. I can’t say we’ve had the time to get to know each other too well and this lack of benchmarks on a carefully mapped and controlled territory is making me quite uncomfortable and I still have trust issues. I am a control freak deep down, it’s true. But who asked for adventure?

The latest ultrasound picture, showing my baby boy smiling, leads me to believe he is happy. I wonder what lessons he has for me, what it is that he is bringing with him from back home, what his personality is like, and what he’ll turn me/us into. He’s been modeling me/ us like clay ever since his arrival, so I don’t expect him to stop once he’s born. Quite on the contrary, actually.

I believe it must have been roughly ten years ago when I was actively trying to get pregnant and nothing happened except frustration and disappointment. To be totally honest, I was so scared it might actually happen that every month as  my period was approaching I felt so much anxiety. I couldn’t tell which perspective felt more frustrating – getting my period or not getting it. I got it every month, with the strict regularity of the sunrise, much to my partner’s desperation.

My partner back then really loved me, though. There was absolutely no doubt about that. I was on top of his priority list, I was number one. That made life easier and more comfortable, as I felt relaxed and wanted and special. He used to express his love to the best of his abilities, telling me he loved me all the time, bringing flowers and gifts, writing short poems, preparing surprises, making sure I lacked nothing. And still, we didn’t appreciate our life together. We were so critical, so sarcastic, so sloppy and we gradually grew apart and unhappy. Eventually lack of communication and lies crammed up between us, driving us apart, each with his own separate life, longing for love and authenticity. So, having spent roughly half of my life in that relationship, I left for fear I might wither and die otherwise. And leaving that life behind was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Then my two years of freedom followed, travelling on my own (Hungary, a nomad month in Romania, then England, Sweden,  Norway, Thailand, Cambodia, Turkey) dating, making plans independent of other people’s ideas or desires. Just me and myself and my dreams. It was awesome, I confess. Though it felt lonely only too often, that feeling of freedom was something I just had to experience before committing to a new life. I am not nostalgic, I can still remember very well how my dating life went and what a nightmare it could be at times. Yep, it’s been published in The dating nightmare – and by the way, in the meantime the friend of a friend got married, the two friends I was confessing to have totally disappeared from my life, along with the Turkish physicist, the creepy Canadian (thank God for that!) and the schizophrenic stalker, while the cancer guy with the job interview communication style proposed.

Life has such funny ways! And now it’s all new. ALL of it. So I still get cold feet from time to time and wonder if I’m on the right track. Who can tell? And what does “right” mean, anyway? I’m on the track that I am on, becoming someone new. No turning back. We’ll see where it takes me. From time to time, I am shaken by little earthquakes and start questioning everything again. And still, the baby is here, I can feel him moving inside me and that is the most special thing I’ve ever felt in my life. Maybe it’s weird, but sometimes I still find it hard to believe it’s real…

I am grateful for a beautiful and easy pregnancy so far and I’m so scared more often than I like to admit… But I can honestly say this is the greatest adventure and the most special journey I’ve ever been on. And I still think it’s absolutely miraculous how life goes on, in spite of everything. No matter what you’re going through, the earth keeps moving, the sun keeps rising and setting, people are born and die and life continues through the happiest times and through the most painful dramas. Miraculously.

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PS Took the photo at the National Museum of Literature.

“Have you ever felt the ground falling from beneath your feet?”

The thin, short haired lactation consultant asks the three of us, sitting with our hands resting on our bumps at this white, round table in a shabby chic corner tea house in the old city of Bucharest, the only customers this sunny summer morning.

And I’m suddenly back twelve years ago.

“I want us to split”, my boyfriend tells me bluntly, sitting legs apart in the small, torn armchair by the balcony door in our rented studio five bus stops away from the University square in Bucharest. “I don’t love you anymore,” he adds, stretching his long legs across the Turkish carpet in dusty shades of blue on top of the worn out linoleum covering the floor.

I’m mute for a few seconds and I feel my throat exploding and wonder if I’m ever gonna be able to utter a sound again. At the same time, I remember our love making the night before and the goodbye kisses that very morning and the “I love you” before he closed the door behind him and went to work. They all seem like faint memories from another lifetime. What’s happened in the meantime? When did I die? I have no job ’cause “you’ve just finished university, don’t get hired just yet, let’s travel this summer” and nowhere to go. I can’t breathe.

Five months later, having spent about a month apart, we are married. Too afraid of loneliness, both of us, to pass the opportunity. Nine years later we are divorced. On our ten year wedding anniversary we sign the bank papers so I’ll no longer be part of the mortgage contract on our commonly held apartment – a home so hard to leave behind. That same day also happens to be the first day of my last menstruation before I get pregnant.

The two lines on the pregnancy test, on March 8, at around 3 am leave no ground beneath my feet, nothing to hold on to,  and force big tears out of my eyes like in a manga comic. Happiness and panic, two long and slippery snakes mating in my solar plexus. Another burial awaits – the girl I used to be is struck dead by two pink lines on a white background she’s just peed on, alone in her boyfriend’s bathroom, the whole universe spinning around her. Yet never again alone, to be accurate.

Then the phone call I get when I am 15 from my first lover, announcing me he’s cheated on me and “I need to meet that girl and discuss our feelings for each other… I’m sorry. Please don’t cry.” I can’t talk. The dirty receiver is heavy in my right hand and my thighs are getting wet as I’m kneeling by the bedside cabinet of my ground floor neighbors, who keep poking their heads around the door to check up on me from time to time. We don’t have our own phone, you see. I have to go down two floors to take the call, leave my corpse on my neighbors’ bedroom floor and then carry my ghost back upstairs again.

Then it’s early morning again, last year in spring, and I’m standing in front of the bed in that scruffy hotel room in Sultanahmet in Istanbul, dimly lit through the thick and brown heavy curtains. Ten years younger than me, short and handsome, amber skin, light brown hair, thick eyebrows and long lashes, full lips covering his tobacco stained teeth, my Syrian lover seems perfect. I’ve taken a shower, put my makeup on, got dressed, packed my suitcase and I’m ready to leave. And I can’t. I can’t wake him up. I can’t open and close that bloody door behind me.

I can’t stop looking at him sleeping there, so vulnerable, his bare chest moving up and down with his soft breath, a bent knee resting over the white sheet, his toes almost reaching the wooden side of the bed. I feel my chest exploding in a thousand pieces at the sight; silently and deadly. I’m perfectly aware I’ll probably never see him again. “Don’t make it difficult”, he says, seeing my face as I pull myself together and wake him up,  whispering his name while running my hand over his face. “Take care of yourself, Dhana”, he advises, knowing I’ll never listen. “Just go…”, he adds when I go back the second time for one last kiss. Minutes later, in the car seat taking me to the airport, I say goodbye to the sea.

“How do you know?”, the Cancer boy I’ve met using a dating app asks me, his big, beautiful eyes resting on my lips, unable to look higher. Lying flat on my belly in his bed, I tell him exactly what he did on a specific day in December last year, precisely one week after our first date. “I hate lies”, I warn him. “Please forgive me, I promise I’ll never lie to you again. Can we just leave this behind us? We have so much to do together…” I know I can’t trust him about the first part, but I am perfectly aware he’s absolutely right about the last part. Still, a leftover from the innocent me dies in this scene, too.  About a month and a half later, in the same bed, a strong light warms up my womb as if a comet hit the earth and I describe the whole experience in my diary the next morning, so that five weeks later, holding the two lined test in my hand, I find the exact conception date: Valentine’s day/ night. Three weeks after that, manga tears again as I’m listening to my baby’s heart during the first ultrasound in the doctor’s office.

“Yes, I have…” I answer when the lactation consultant says it’s my turn. The other two expecting mothers have already spoken while my memories were flooding my brain like a swollen river on a sunny day in mid spring, when the snow melts all at once.

“And? What can you share with us?”

“You know, my life has changed so much and so many times… And there have been moments when I felt I couldn’t breathe, when there was absolutely nothing familiar to hold on to anymore, nothing to cling to, seemingly no one and nothing to rely on… I’ve felt driven out of my own life. I’ve died. And I’ve survived every time. The hardest thing, feeling suddenly suspended in mid air, was having enough patience to get to the bottom of the pit, having enough patience to fall all the way, to hit the ground. Then crawl and cry down there for as long as necessary and climb back up again. To a new life. I’ve survived all my deaths… Every time… All of us do.” I answer, giggling at the revelation, an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and confidence filling me up as my left elbow reaches behind over the bentwood chair back, to make room for my growing heart.

There’s a short silence as the three smiling women are all looking at me as if I’ve just said something important.

PS Attachment is the name of the monster I’m learning to tame.

PPS Took this photo in Văcărești natural park earlier this week – felt like early fall is creeping in…

sunset in vacaresti natural park

A journey with the little fruitarian runner on board. Day ten: Alexandroupolis – Bucharest

The next morning, though we’re sleeping in a tent and hear the birds chirping, other campers snoring, still others zipping and unzipping their tents, others starting their cars and so on, getting up doesn’t seem the easiest thing to do, so we keep postponing, although sweaty and hungry, until around 9 o’clock.

It’s another hot day when we leave the camping, having said goodbye to the sea, the island a little bit hidden behind clouds, making it easier for us to go home, of course. We do some shopping for the road (mainly fruit for the little fruitarian runner, of course) and hit the highway. (Oh, yes, the supermarkets are open today in Greece, it’s Tuesday.) I realize only now how close we are are to the Turkish border and that partly explains the large number of Turkish campers who were our overnight neighbors.

I get a lump in my throat as we’re leaving. It’s been like a honeymoon in three and perfect just the way it was and I don’t want it to end. Ever.

We resolve to speak English on the way back and there is a short delay before we start. Stalling is something we are especially good at, by the way. English between us is awkward and I’m thinking about the little fruitarian runner overhearing our conversation and imagine he’s feeling a bit confused.

Sunflower fields are growing on the side of the highway and I can’t imagine why I didn’t notice them a week ago. For mysterious reasons, the GPS takes us on a detour through a narrow road in a fir tree forest before taking us back to the national road. It looks beautiful and deserted. Only later will I find out about the stories of the Bulgarian robberies and hijacks. I can only be happy I had no worries on the road.

We make a stop in Velko Tarnovo for a hot walk, to stretch our legs and see the castle there on the outside, before getting on with our trip, making plans for the time ahead so that the return doesn’t seem purposeless, pointless and joyless.

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A journey with the little fruitarian runner on board. Day five: A special day on Samothrakis

It is my travel companion’a birthday today, so it’s a special day. We are kissed by butterflies in the morning, both on the balcony and outside the bakery while we are having our ice cream. The kissing continues in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, a very special ancient place of rare stillness and worshiped rocks, as well as numerous wise olive trees, where we see baby olives for the first time.

The archeological museum is closed for repairing work, so we just visit the archeological site, of which I have read is one of the most important archeological sites in Greece and the place where the statue of the Winged Nike of Samothrakis was discovered. But that’s now at the Louvre, so I guess I’ll have to go see it there some day.

It is a very hot day today and we need time in the shade, drinking plenty of water, resting and talking. We take a long break at the spring outside the archeological site and then go to Fonias River, a truly wonderful place, a fairy tale valley going up the mountain, in the soft music of the waters on which dragon flies are dancing tirelessly, their wings shining in the hot sun filtered by the leaves and sent back to he sky by the water’s mirror. We are too hot and take a bath in the first ‘vathra’ we find.

Then we go and watch the sunset on Panagia Kamariotissa beach, on this long and narrow stony stretch of land going far into the sea. Everything is perfect here, at the end of the world, where we collect stones and eat cherries and pears washed on the sea (slightly salted this time, for the little fruitarian runner). I don’t take any pictures, but watch that perfect red ball of fire tonight diving into the cold waters of the sea. I just want to remember, I want it forever in my heart and mind. Here and now, with the perfect color of your skin, your boy’s face looking up at the sky and my proud, round bump under your hands.

I imagine watching the sunset together with our kid and telling him how the sun goes to sleep in a land faraway, beyond the great sea. And later his dad telling him the truth: “Son, it actually goes to the other side of the world, to wake up the Chinese; because someone has to work in this world.”

 

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For photos from this journey, follow “A lover of the road” on Instagram and Facebook.

A journey with the little fruitarian runner on board. Day three: The magic forests and the waterfalls of Samothrakis

I love the silence this morning. I can sense it in the semi darkness, before I completely wake up in the warm arms that I love. Then, when we later open the balcony door, cries of peacocks pour into the room, along with the baa of the sheep in the garden separating us from the sea.

I remember I had dreams of the bakery and pancakes and discussions about sensitive issues and I am amused by the reminiscence. The sky is clear this morning and the sun is shining. It’s a warm day and the bakery is waiting: warm bread, kritsinia, spinach and cheese pie and ice cream for breakfast, as well as mountain tea with lemon and honey, served on the balcony.

We are going to Therma today and up to see the waterfalls. There is just one sign pointing to the waterfalls and you have to guess or ask the way if you can speak a little Greek  (otherwise, I suppose you can just use your hands to explain). Carlota told us about a crowdfunding campaign on the island to mark trekking routes on the mountain and there are posters of it on the ferry too. “Samothrace walk with me” – check it out here and of Facebook here, as well as on Kickstarter here. As far as I can tell, it’s an admiring initiative and I do hope it works out for them.

I love climbing the rocks up the trail, the fresh view and the gurgling, crystal clear water, kissed by ultramarine dragonflies, butterflies, toads and lizards. Nowhere before have I seen such love between two different kingdoms. The trees and the rocks. The lovemaking seems to have been going on for centuries. They are perfectly fused together. Hard to tell which part is tree and which part is rock. A connection that breeds a new species into this enchanted forest.

copac

Having gone up to the last waterfall, when coming back down we stop on the side of this rock pool and, since no one else is there, we take off everything and get in. The water is freezing cold, almost like the ocean last September in Porto. When we get out, a few minutes later, I enjoy  lying like a lizard on a rock in the sun, my proud bump looking up,  feeling so beautiful and free. No longer bothered by my imperfections, I am now free to simply enjoy the power this gives me. Speaking of power, the little fruitarian runner is meditating. He has every reason to. He is in the perfect place for it.

Back in Therma, after having apricots, sour cherries and wax cherries from the trees on the side of the road (fuel for the fruit runner, of course), we are searching for the thermal baths.

“This way, five hours up, four hours down. To the peak. But maybe is hard for you, with the…” the middle aged German tourist says, rubbing his belly, happy to finally have someone to talk to. “I am old, kaput”, he adds.

Rain starts so we head to the car and drive to this empty beach at the end of the road along the northern part of the island up to the most eastern point. The water seems too cold to take a swim, so we doze on the towels lying over the pebbles. The music comes from bells, goats, soft waves, crows (not seagulls) and the wind. The little fruitarian runner takes notice of the pebbles. I can’t help thinking it’s almost the end of our second day on the island and we still haven’t swum in the sea…

When it gets too windy and too cold, we get back to the car and drive till we get to a sunny spot. We stretch like lizards and enjoy the view of the setting sun. Having rested enough (i.e. having pressed my ribs against the pebbles to the point of pain), I assume a meditation pose and start a small meditation exercise. The little fruitarian runner suddenly leaves his usual meditative state and starts a series of swims. Perhaps the sound of the waves is reminding him of his swimming adventures in previous lifetimes.

In the middle of my meditation I get a strong craving for watermelon. No, I don’t have cravings, actually. I just think it’s a great idea. So I convince my travel companion it is the perfect spot and time for having watermelon. He eventually gives in and takes a trip to a nearby shop. He comes back victorious. I can’t help laughing at the image of him holding the big watermelon against the warm light of the setting sun.

I then come up with a newspaper article in my head, while eating the cracked melon, its sticky juice running up my fingers:

“Romanian couple savagely devour a watermelon on the shores of the Aegean Sea

In Samothrakis, the island of the great gods, a special place with pure waters and  high energy, having spent the day stealing fruit from locals’ gardens, a Romanian couple crack a watermelon against a sharp stone on the sea shore and savagely devour it, using their bare hands.

Witnesses state that the woman looks visibly pregnant. Authorities have expressed their concern about their parental skills. Social services have taken notice of this case. The Romanian embassy in Greece is expected to formulate an official statement for the Greek authorities.”

I must be crazy. Halfway through my first pregnancy, I’m going on long road trips, camping, trekking on mountain peaks, climbing rocks, skinny dipping in mountain pools, cracking melons on the sea shore. Which actually makes me confident about the next two (hopefully), to be perfectly honest. Brutally honest.

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