Friday, September 14, 2007

The last days of the old life

It would be too long to describe the feelings and what was done in the last days of what is going to be my life of past, to which I will probably never return. Friday the 14th, against all roman superstitions that say that you should never get married or start a travel or begin a work on tuesday and friday, marks the beginning of a journey that will keep me away from what has been, so far, my world, a travel that will last at least until 2009, but that many suspect will go further than that.

In the 10 days leading to the fateful moment, many things went wrong, many went incredibly well and some were unexpected. Just the few that come to my mind now I shall list, sure that many I must have forgotten already.

First of all, some things had to be closed. So it was that I organized my last, for now, VCN ethnic dinner, going back to where I started, at the Eritrean restaurant. I will have to find time to write the report of that dinner and to post pictures, but I shall just say that it was a very pleasant evening.

Then, and most important, my job. And the closing days were intense and rich of unexpected things indeed. On a friday that should had been a day off, I was instead running at the airport, shaving on the way, to pick up the CEO of an important american firm my company was signing a crucial deal with. The day saw me so busy in a hundred different things (among which, chaperoning the host, translating a news release, taking picture of the event) that at the end of the day my boss was patronized by my own CEO about having me doing everything. So it happens that almost at the every last day of a 3 years and 7 months experience I not only get to do an interesting job, but I get even noticed directly by my CEO. Irony.

The next wednesday, last wednesday, it was my last day at work and I offered my colleagues, old and new, a buffet. Most notably, of my previous department's colleague, only 2 did show up out of 13, which generally left me unsurprised, but in at least two cases was upsetting. On the other hand, the attending one, together with my full department and a tenth or so of people I have been close in the last years, did not only show up, but showered me with unexpected farewell gifts (among which, an Ipod shuffle and a number of books) in a way that, I must admit, together with the evident sorrow in most of the faces around, moved me. I hope I shall get a copy of the pics that have been taken that day, I'd like to show their faces.

Friends did, on the other hand, let me down. Admittedly, they had returned from travel abroad just days, or even hours, before, but finding myself alone on my last week-end in Rome was one of the most depressing experience of my life. They make it up on my last day, when we finally met, and yet the atmosphere was not merry at all. I suspect that, as some of my colleagues at work, they suspect I might not return from this experience, settling either in Germany or Italy.

And then, there was family. The farewell to my family was made of a number of rites and of understatement and had started as far away as a month ago, when I went to pay homage to the elder member of my family, my grandmother, and was closed with the one to the youngest one, my one month old cousin, Elisa, whose baptise I shall miss. And then there was the cleaning of the room, the packing (during which not once my mother entered my room), the evenings in front of the tv with my father, the installation of skype on the various computers and the dinner at my favourite restaurant the last night, the summerlike evening of a september day gifted with the most splendid light ever.

And so, the morning after, my father, and he alone, took me to the airport and, unlike all the countless time when he had delivered me there for my week-end visits to this or that country over the last 10 years, he parked the car and came with me on the check-in line, gave me the last recommendations and let me go, unconvincing smiles on both our lips and, at least on my side, an almost inhumane effort to keep my voice straight.

And now I'm here, in Mainz, alone (Susanne is in Berlin for a summer internship in a court of justice), to think it all over and wondering once again, but in a much stronger way than usual, if I've done the right thing after all. I hope so.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Guido, I saw your comment of JB's Mainz blog and then you sent me a message. Of course, I then went to your blog to check you out. I haven't had time to read much, but this entry is quite an interesting narrative. I hope that you continue with photos, too. I'll be back! Come visit my blog, too!!