Monday, February 15, 2010

Packed

Morning dawns in Bratislava as I write this. Weather is finally warming up and the blustery winds have died down. I fly back to sunny Los Angeles on Friday. Beforehand, I'll be spending a couple days in Prague. The company that hired me for this trip has offices in Slovakia, Budapest and Prague. I've blogged before about my love for Prague. It's much bigger than Bratislava, obviously, and buzzes with a special kind of energy. But like my time in New York, another city I long to explore at leisure, I'm never there for more than a couple of working days.

I changed my mental attitude for this most recent trip. I thought of myself as living here for three weeks, rather than simply visiting. I tried not to think of myself as a tourist but instead a new resident of the city. I think it helped me avoid a sensation of feeling trapped a long, long way from home that has come up in the middle of these long trips in the past. Didn't happen this time. I don't know where that sensation comes from. But on my past trips it has lasted for 2-3 days. It's not homesickness, but a feeling of being stuck somewhere. I'm glad I sussed out a path around it this time.

I also took greater care with packing this time. After my previous excursion to Central Europe, when I returned home I tried to make a list of everything I would need for next time. Naturally, I forgot all about it. Typical. But I did spend a couple of days packing and unpacking, rearranging things. I utilized a bunch of old shoe boxes to hold my toiletries and other personal items. That seemed to soothe my mild OCD.

And instead of living out of my suitcase, as I've done for every trip I've ever taken since I was a kid, since I was going to be here for three weeks anyway, I unpacked everything. I hung up my shirts and coats and put other clothes in a drawer as I would at home. This is probably not an original thought, but it really did help ease the stranger-in-a-strange-land sensation.

Onward and upward. Back to the grindstone, etc.

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