For many years I refused to visit other countries. It was my way of thinking; I was always saying that first I will see how much I can from Romania and after I will visit others. I have been in Bulgaria twice, but only to the sea side, so it wasn’t really traveling to other countries.
But last year I said that I want to visit something else. We arranged 1 week: 3 days in London and 3 in Paris (in order to travel with the train through the English Channel). It was our first flight and with emotion we entered the airplane. We had transfer in Paris for 2 hours, so we set in the nice chairs in front of the window, admiring how at each 2 minutes a plane was flying away. How stupid it sounds now, how stupid was the fact that I waited for 27 years to see the world. How small I was in my own existence where everything seemed to be perfect. But this wasn’t the end; only the begging in demonstrating my smallness in this world.
London is impressive, beautiful and so clean. For me beauty had another meaning: the smell of fresh grass, the sound of trees in the forest, the innocence on a child face. So when I saw the imposing buildings, the large streets so clean, and the immense bridges; oh I felt the world collapsed in front of my eyes. I don’t know if you can understand. I was the smallest person in the world watching at Big Ben while an airplane was flying above it. And my heart started to tighten; I was the same kid from before, in front with the unknown. Of course I’ve seen London in pictures; of course I know what “outside” means. And don’t get me wrong, Romania is also beautiful, Bucharest has his modern buildings, but is another kind of beauty. London was too much for me. The colorful city, the sound of so many languages in the same place and the technology somehow overwhelmed me.
The image of us, in the train to Greenwich, is so vivid in my mind: we were staying at the end of the train, with the face oriented to the back. There was a large window and you can see everything outside. One train passed us and I managed to see other 2 people standing right like us, but in the front of the train. I’ve started to feel insecure, nobody was driving the train! It was all on a computer and, even if I work in IT and should understand these things easier, I was scared. My mind blocked and I was in another world. And I was for real. Technology advances so quickly and I was afraid of it.
All the things I’ve seen, the open food markets, crazy Camden town (where weed was like in NL), double decked buses, all of them showed me how small I was… in my thinking and in my imagination. Maybe it wasn’t our best choice, to visit London as a first European capital. For me it meant more than a trip. In the 3 days we’ve spent there, I was consuming everything around me. I was paying attention to all that was happening; I couldn’t miss a talk, a picture, a building. London changed me. Now I can’t wait for the next trip, I am always looking for tickets, for destinations. My world changed and this is how, after years in refusing jobs in other countries, I managed to pass over the idea of leaving Romania. And who knows when I will leave Netherlands where I would go to?