Thursday, January 31, 2013

borta bra

Saint Sava’s Day on January 25th 2012 marked my first visit to the Serbian-Orthodox Church in San Francisco. My memories of it are less fuzzy than this picture indicates…

On January 27th 2013 I was once again sitting at the table marked ‘clergy’ after the Saint Sava’s Day celebration in the same church. It is strange – but beautiful – how much difference a year of life can make…

After the service last Sunday I bought an iPad mini for my sister at the Apple store in San Francisco. I’m still trying to figure out what would be the best way to get it safely to Sweden in time for my sister’s twentieth birthday on February 15th.

 Last night I reorganized my books and made an entire shelf devoted to books by or about Shalamov in my room – together with some other works on the Gulag. I especially like the artistic tension created by placing Chekhov’s Sakhalin on top of Dovlatov’s Zona.

Having one thematically organized book shelf in my room meant that there is now a considerable mess on the book shelf in the living room. But for now Dostoevsky will just have to live with being so close to Mimesis.

Underneath my at-home-altar I have a rare piece of original art signed Mrs S – one of two real paintings in my home here in California.

Today I came home to find the roses which the boyfriend bought for me two weeks ago in full bloom. The orchid which I got for our Slava in November is still going strong even though I have hardly even tried to take care of it.

I am one of those people who really like to be at home. I like to come home and I like to stay home. This makes little sense considering how much I travel and how much I have traveled in the past but it is a fact. What I love the most is to be among my books and my clothes. Whereas I would never ‘clean out’ my book shelves [especially considering that one can so easily buy a new one to accommodate new books which one never grows out or tired of], I realized upon my return to California that I need to clean out my closet once again and donate some items that I rarely wear. I already did this in August – and now I cannot even remember what it was that I gave away – but obviously I’ve changed a lot in the past couple of months and I need to get rid of that which no longer corresponds to my state of mind. About two weeks ago I went shopping with the boyfriend in San Francisco; we didn’t just buy new clothes for him but also something unprecedented for me: a pair of jeans. I rarely wear pants and up until this moment I only owned one pair of jeans which I acquired right before moving to Siberia in January 2005. I was happy to find that I had bought a pair of jeans with a waist measurement [25 inches] lower than my current age [27 years]. That made an impression on me at least, especially since it was never my goal and thus a sudden blissful surprise which I’m not sure if it means anything but I’ll take it and run with it.

Even though I’ve managed this week without staying home from work I did also manage to catch the cold that’s always inevitably going around at the beginning of every semester at a large university. Lucky for me I have all but one class every week before lunch – and I teach every day at 11 am – so I can basically survive my daily work duties on the sense of recovery one experiences after a good night’s rest. It is all downhill from there of course. So during this week I’ve been recuperating at home in my bed every day after lunch, trying to get better but at the same time knowing very well that full recovery only comes after an entire day of rest. But at least I get to be at home, and that is what I love the most. I love the fact that I have made a very beautiful home here in Berkeley together with Critical Companion [who today realized she has also fallen ill] after which I always long when I’m not here. There is a certain peace which comes with being at home – at least in my opinion.

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