I haven't written anything for almost two weeks. My normal attitude is that I only want to write here when I have something substantial to say, not just write for the sake of writing. Yet I have tons of things to tell. It's just that I haven't had access to internet. You would expect that visiting a civilized country such as Sweden would not imply electronic limitations. But this time I stayed with my daughter, and she took her laptop to work every day... Lame excuse. Try better.
Well, actually it feels weird to be in a place that isn't your place any more.
During many years I used to have the same nightmare. I am in Moscow, have been in Moscow several days, but haven't met any friends or relatives, they don't ring, and I cannot remember any phone number. This is how I felt last week in Stockholm.
To be fair, I had a horrendous cold and spent most of my time in bed. But I have contemplated the options. After I have met all the grandchildren, after I have met all the grandchildren several times, met some friends over lunch or midmorning coffee - what am I supposed to do in a big city that isn't my home any more? Go to a museum?
The reason I stayed in Stockhlm for a week was that I had an event on Friday, Dec 5, and then another in Finland, last Saturday. It seemed so natural to combine these and enjoy a whole week with friends and relatives. But friends and relatives work on weekdays and are too tired in the evenings. Bad planning.
Two friends came to visit me while I was in bed. It was also strange, receiving visits in somebody else's home. Making apologies for the absence of coffee and sugar. Julia says in her blog that I wasn't too disturbing, didn't make much noise, washed up the dishes and didn't move anything. (She doesn't say that I took care of her cats).
I had lunch with a friend. I did see one batch of grandchildren before I collapsed. I met Filip to buy him a Christmas gift that needed trying on. I took myself to the Children's Books Institute to have a look at a book that isn't available at Cambridge University Library, and amazingly, they didn't have it either. I know for sure I've held it in my hands, must have been in the US. It felt very peculiar to come to the Instutite more or less as a foreign guest. They were as usual extremely helpful.
I also went to my old working place, because a younger colleague had her doctoral defence (that was one of the two reasons I made the journey). Some people drowned me in questions, others pretended they didn't see me. Did I really look ghostlike? I browsed through the remaining books in my old office and decided that I needed some of them after all. I am sure I need many books that somebody has taken. Too bad.
Also - I seem to have supressed it altogether - I have signed the final papers and submitted the keys to the house. Somebody else will tend my garden in spring.
To be continued...