Last ofs

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
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When you start to get a few last ofs, you see where you are with moving away from a place. In North Wales it was not difficult at all. Last day at work. Last day in the buddhist meditation centre I was staying in at the time. There was perhaps an admixture of feelings including sadness, but nothing big. Winding up and preparing to move on I no doubt felt a lot of trepidation, maybe even the near terror panic I have got so many times in my life, the anxiety I get for weeks at a time every big change – and I’ve had many – but the closest I got to feeling sadness was perhaps going on a last run in the hills, coming back home to the hanging strings of lights on my street parallel to the seafront.

But now it’s winding down here in Prague and suddenly it feels I’ve not bee here long at all this time around. If I go home on the 11th of July and don’t come back, then I’ll by now have had my last Czech lesson – an informal skills trade with a Czech teacher and proof reader who wants to improve her English – and by this time next week I will have had my last lesson at my school where I teach in the mornings.

How do I feel about that? Well, now that it’s finally sunny. Now that I’m finding half-decent places to eat. Now that coming back to the biggest tower block housing estate in the country, which means no doubt, one of the biggest, if not indeed the biggest in Europe proper, and it’s looking rather less gloomily communistic in the sun, and with the swallows darting around. Now that I’m getting invites to go to friends’ cottages and going kayaking at the weekend. Now that I’m slowly finding some more acceptable places to eat. Now that it has sunk its claws into me a little again, I don’t much feel like going home to stay. And it doesn’t much feel like I’m going back home at any rate. It hasn’t felt like that for getting on for twenty years.

I can’t do it like I’ve done it until now. I do need a change. But if I can find a way to stick around, it seems to me that I should. I’d only be drawn back again. At school I used to do that thing of fractionalising my identity. I had worked it out and worked it out sometimes over and over: my parents are Irish, I was born in England, I was half Irish, half English. Later the one half changed to “British”. If I’m not now half Czech I don’t know what I am. Proud of it too. By next week I’ll know if I’ve got a job that may mean fewer hours and more time to myself, to write and so on. Either way, the fact I might now be here for less than a month now seems odd, perhaps even wrong somehow.


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