Delft...darn darling. We were in culture shock upon arrival to Holland, with the memory of the Ukraine still stuck behind our eyelids. Bikes took their owners onto the train platforms and then folded up to fit into a briefcase. The public was fit, well-dressed and without the chimney ways of their fellow Europeans. Thankfully, Alexis had a connection to someone in this countriette, enabling us to visit an Amsterdam atmosphere without all the red lights and herbal clouds. Delft was a web of canals, a modge podge of architectural styles, and all the more charming with the company of Malou, our host, Caro and her friends from the area. It was one of those days with a strong taste of finality. We were all quite aware that Caro and Alexis were days away from the United States. And I was only hours away from being alone on this journey. We had top notch beverages in the crisp air of the town square and shocked two Dutch boys by our blunt and unrestricted American girl talk. What? You guys didn't think girls enjoyed bathroom humor?
Amsterdam involved a lot of quiet walking. It's interesting when people who spend so much time together near their end and find little to say in the last hours. It seems a waste of time to bring up ridiculous anecdotes for giggles, and minds are finally drained of new reflective thoughts. In the midst of our quiet thoughts, we decided to see the Van Gogh museum and spend time in the nearby park. Some people arrive at this museum and become aware that they don't even like the painter. I arrived in need of some paint-coated meditation.
One thing that has aggravated me throughout my life is that I've been all too aware of the inadequacy of language. When I speak, I need to launch my arms around. When I write, I mix lines around and combine odd word pairings in search of a distinct expression of my mind. Most people follow the textbook examples of message-relaying in order to bridge the inner mind with the world outside the skin. In the process of using already uttered phrases, already choreographed moves, already mixed colors, and already composed music, the pure words of the internal landscape hit mirrors and accumulate filth on their gleaming surfaces. We are not all made of the same vibes, so our languages need to be blended to fit the input. The confused complexity of that previous sentence is evidence of this problem. For this reason, I like Van Gogh. He found a way to make his mind and latent thoughts things that he could see and others could learn from. Standing in front of his canvases, I could imagine the real world image he was painting from and reading his internal landscape through the contrasts. No wonder he went crazy...he sought to fight a battle that cannot be won with pre-existing methods of communication. It was food for my mind to be in the time-vanished presence of such purity. I honestly sensed my mind chomping on the strong colors and visual images. I'm not just saying that. Get it?
The next morning, the door of my room at Durty Nelly's Inn shut behind the lumberjack, and I was instantly alone. Tears spouted as I contemplated the last two months and the reality in front of me. Alexis left for her trans-Atlantic flight, and I no longer had a set of feet next to mine. It was a weird sadness, one mixed with thrilling speckles and open air. I took a shower to reemerge an independent woman. From now on, I wasn't able to be a floater as I had previously been with my travel companions. When decisions had to be made, I stood back knowing those less indifferent than I should be the ones making the final yeah and nay. Now it was all me, and I could feel a massive shift in awareness. I suddenly always knew what time it was and who was walking behind me. I actually heard music in my head while I strolled down the street to the train station. Like Peter Griffin's personal theme music, I had the daily soundtrack of a cartoon. The mental orchestra accompanied me onto the train and off on my first lone voyage of the journey.
The next week, I traveled to Rheine to see Victoria, to Kiel to see the Hillmanns, and to Copenhagen to see Mikkel and his girlfriend. If you read that and think, "Great, I don't know any of those people," don't worry. If you read it and click your heels thinking, "I know some/all of those people!" excuse me for disappointing you with my following statement. I had a WONDERFUL time visiting old friends at their residences, following them on their local errands and enjoying their daily vices alongside them; however, I feel it is better for me to refrain from charting each day and path as I do with the rest of my trip. Those nine days were a recovery period, therapeutic to my exhausted frame and feeble heart, and I experience great contentment when I think of the public viewing of the Germany/Portugal game, Kiel Week, and night walks in Denmark. The memories are more felt than written, and only Van Gogh could hit close to home at conveying how nice those moments were in the grand mix of this journey. It was so different to feel at peace with the destinations and worry little about seeking the heart of the city when it came right to me. I appreciated the hospitality beyond my own anticipation and regretted not a moment of those side trips. Thank you, friends. People sure are cool.
It's not enough to say that every day of the last two years I thought about Italy, namely Florence. What some people feel for their hometowns, significant others, or prized possessions, I experience for this dot on the globe. I boarded a train in Copenhagen at 7.00pm for a seemingly endless string of connections to Florence. I was never bored in those 26 hours of travel. Hardly talked to others, somewhat looked out the window, stood up only to switch trains, but I rolled, wallowed, and waded in the warm thoughts of my soul's homecoming. The train proved inadequate for such an internal symphonic celebration. I needed my MV Explorer and the transformation of Florence into a coastal city. That is truly the best/only way to approach your destination with pizzazz. The little regional trains that pulled me into Santa Maria Novella station were holding me in from my desires to feel the nearly 90°, sweet, orange air of this Tuscan valley. Were there no rules, conductors, or electrical wires, I would have asked the nearest young fellow to strap me on top of the train engine like a hood ornament. These are the times when I long for a trampoline and pompoms.