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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home, Bitterness Forgotten

Today, for the first time after 15 years, I met one of my best friends age 7-14. We had a great time together and for me it was a very positive reunion. One of the things he shared made me think quite hard. He said he liked my blog post about our town, its positive mood and the memories it awakens and it made him remember the past in a nice way. However he can't help being disgusted by many of the things that are happening here (I am still here) which spoil his memories.

As I don't want to be cheesy and present a distorted picture of my town I would like to list some of the things I don't like:

- the fact that a big number of the Amsterdam prostitutes and pimps come from Sliven;
- the fact that the current mayor (ex-football player) is known for conflict of interest and a quasi dictatorial way of managing the town thanks to his past glory;
- the painful fact that one of the rich business women (ex-MP) managed to get a permission to build an office building on one of the prettiest and symbolic squares in town;
- the fact that for some safety reasons (admittedly) they cut hundreds of beautiful poplars that lined the small river for kilometers on end. These poplars have been painted by local painters for hundreds of years and...yes, they fall easily when the strong local wind blows.

And I am sure there are many more things that I simply don't know of because I don't want to be immersed in the local press.

I am looking for some kind of forgiveness or at least an excuse for not mentioning (this is the least) and not thinking or trying to change any of these things. I feel my powers are so limited and I am not in a position to change any of the above. How can I make a local teenage girl read a book and not dream of a well-paid job in Amsterdam? It's impossible and it is so fundamental.

I also need this place in my thoughts as we all need our Ithacas. And I cannot hold it in my thoughts with its negative everyday problems. I need my happy memories, the lightness of my childhood, the enthusiasm of my father as a young local poet and doctor, the impeccable home of my mother, the small cottons of the poplars in May, the smell of the linden trees in June and as long as some local pimp does not force me to go to Amsterdam, I will chose to have a selective (and no-doubt one-sided approach to Sliven).

And for the rest, no doubt that every little effort in the right direction is praiseworthy. I learned some time ago that we are all like Sisyphus pushing our rocks uphill. It seems that this is the normal state of affairs and I will personally not dispair as long as I know that this is at least the right hill.

1 comment:

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The way of life that you describe for your hometown has largely disappeared from a thousand towns and ten thousand villages as the world modernises. Modernisation is not always for the better. It is wise to remember the simpler things that brought joy and mattered and to resist change that makes us more enslaved and less happy. Life is to be enjoyed. Modernisation should serve us and not make us serve it with all its attendant ills.

Wow. Didn't mean to be so solemn. Have a great new year.