On (Non)Travels Home


What’s the difference between simply going from point A to point B and travelling?

I have no answer for that (maybe coz there is no answer), but going home to Lithuania from São Paulo somehow felt more like travelling than anything else. So many cool little details got stuck in my head that I have the liberty (it is my own blog after all…) to share with anyone willing to read this (now secretly thinking, “but seriously, PLEASE READ THIS, it’s very important to me and my ego!”).

My trip began on my bus to the airport, where I was thinking, in a highly dramatic way, “Uuuu, I must look through the window attentively and try to take in the last bits of São Paulo…” which was almost instantly replaced by a “wow, this area is actually really ugly!” This observation – sorry, São Paulo! – was even more quickly followed by a mantra-like “Remember other things in São Paulo instead, remember other things…”

IMG_20151214_163836I had been warned by a friend that there might not be individual TV screens on my flight to Madrid, and, dear lord, what a relief it was to see how clearly misinformed my friend was! So, to use my time wisely and to celebrate the existence of those screens, I watched three increasingly better movies. They had to be increasingly better since the first one was the new Fantastic Four… Not that I hadn’t suspected this to be not Marvel’s best, but maaan it was bad!

I realised it had been five years since I left Spain, and so coming back, even just for several hours, to Madrid was such a fun experience. The accent that I was so familiar with and the security girl shouting “¡coño, que no puedes pasar ahora!” that immediately reminded me of the extensive usage of swearwords that I was so used to while living Salamanca. Oh, Spain…

While waiting in the same airport I saw a little girl playing in its playground, spinning on some swings or, well, I honestly don’t know what that thing is called, in any language. And suddenly, like Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, I travelled in time to see my sister forcefully spinning me in the same thing (since I wasn’t able to jump out of it) until I was on the verge of throwing up. This wasn’t 20 years ago, by the way, it was actually last year…

IMG_20151214_162649998My last airport before Vilnius was Kyiv, Ukraine. Here, this absurd thing started happening. My Russian isn’t that bad, but after having been using Portuguese and Spanish more recently, any attempt to say a full sentence in Russian resulted in some weird weird linguistic mix. “Desculpa”, I said to someone waiting in line there, and quickly realised that perhaps Portuguese is not the best language to use here (“Seriously, not even English?” I thought to myself). “Só вода então…” I said to the flight attendant and then looked down and started shaking my head in disapproval of my own attempt. Of course, a minute later these two words that I said in Portuguese came to me in Russian, but, to minimise the level of confusion of all the flight attendants, I have shyly resorted to English instead…

One thing in Kyiv that grabbed my attention was the UNHCR note for asylum seekers: a big poster in four or five languages describing the basic a procedure of applying for a refugee status in Ukraine. This poster wasn’t some inconvenient reminder (“a downer”) of the refugee crisis, something I have been following and writing about myself. If anything, it served as a nice reminder of all these potential Christmas presents we could be giving: donations to a number of organisations working for this cause.

Finally, the last memorable thing from my trip home was a true beam of sunshine on my flight from Kyiv to Vilnius. It was a beautiful baby grabbing onto his dad’s head, kinda beating it like a human drum, looking at everybody with so much love. I couldn’t help but think that this is a smile of a baby who hasn’t yet been taught what people to be afraid of or even to hate, who hasn’t been told by the society how to present himself, etc., and so, spreading that love is still acceptable. I was secretly  and naively hoping I would be that beam of sunshine to my parents when I come back home, which in reality translates into being some kind of a beam of sunshine one day and some kind of an annoyed teenager-y shadow the other. You know, home.

So, what’s the difference between simply going from point A to point B and travelling?

Maybe it’s just the feeling you have, who knows.

(Or  that, after travelling, you can allow yourself to use a cheesy “I will repeat the question I asked at the beginning of my piece and then answer it again” technique…).

Ps. I’m leaving you with a song from one of the (other) movies I watched on that plane. Not gonna say what movie it was, but it was definitely better than that Fantastic Four.


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