Settling in ...

I feel like a cat or a dog, turning this way and that, making my sleeping place comfortable before I settle down.

It's like that when I arrive here in Genova.  I come without language. I usually arrive alone.  And it's rare that things go smoothly for me.  There's always an incident.  I walk cautiously in these first days, breathing the air and loving the fact I am back, while settling into a new rhythm and way of being.

Since I was small I have had to leave.  I seem to be nervous about getting too comfortable and, in doing so, rendering myself unable to leave.  I like to leave.  As much as I hate it and regret the fact of another journey in the hours before flying.  It's an odd thing inside of me but it's always been like that and so ... I leave sometimes.

There's an exhilaration once I'm out.  And it's the same whether I escape on a bike, in a car, bus or plane.  It must be past life stuff, mustn't it?  I've been escaping since I could first climb the gate. And my parents were actually really lovely.  My childhood was normal.

I'm a chicken though.  Don't mistake me for brave. I am cautious.  I guess I am one of those creatures who feel the fear and do it anyway.  And I love being out here.  Sometimes retrospectively.  Cairo was like that.  I cannot tell you how glad I was to take my seat on that plane back to Belgium.  Cairo was really out there for me. I was staying in a local area, no tourists.  And it was a peaceful, non-threatening chaos.  There was only one mean taxi driver and you get them anywhere.  

My hotel was special, with padlocked chains on the fire escape upstairs, and 2 floors of apartments where the stairwell was sealed off so you couldn't walk down levels two and three.  The elevator and jumping from my 5th floor balcony were the only ways down in a fire.  The mosquitoes bit me and I decided to tough it out, slightly worried about the fact I was a mere kilometre from the Nile.  Did this mean malaria was a possibility.

Later I found it was a possibility and I should have gone to a pharmacy however that was one of those times when I gave myself a good talking to and did nothing.

But mostly, once I'm on my way, I'm the happiest creature in the world.  Although there is some tension.  Obviously.  I travel light financially.  That has caused me some potentially interesting moments but I think I have an angel or someone who watches out for me.  Maybe it's mum.  There's always enough for the 10euro airport bus home. 

I live simply but intensely.  Tonight I had my traditional Napoli pizza for dinner, the one with anchovies ... the pizza  that tells me I have really arrived.  Red wine washes it down.  I've only been here 24 hours but have already talked with some interesting people.   Genova's like that.  They all tell me that they are closed to outsiders and quite conventional meanwhile I have nothing but respect for them.  I like how they are and I appreciate any kindess that comes my way.  And there has been so much kindess.  It means more somehow.  You have to earn it.

So, the first 24 hours is done.  I was out and wandering today.  The rain stopped and we were gifted one of those divine deep-blue sky days that I associate with Genova.  I wandered all over the city and it was 2pm before I questioned how strangely dizzy I was feeling.  I hadn't eaten.  Just an espresso for breakfast and a slice of focaccia that the artists on Via San Lorenzo shared with me.

I forget to eat here. Anyway, I loved the name on this sign.  I was up in an ancient part of the city ... which is saying something when people have lived here for 2,000 years or more.