The Sprinkled Pepper Diaries Archived
Friday, August 16, 2013 How my world began to grow (, , )

July 2001. Paris.

The train rushed out of Paris at a speed that made the lights of the suburbs blur, or at least that’s how I remember it to be. We stood by an open window with the wind on our faces and the thrill of being there rushed into my heart at a similar speed, making the fear and the worry and the loneliness that had been residing there blur as well. I was on a train leaving Paris at midnight. That fact alone was enough to send goosebumps down my arms.

You could, somewhat arbitrarily but no less truthfully for that, say that this was the moment I was born into my new life — tired, heartbroken, and excited. For years, this had been the kind of thing I didn’t even dream of but longed for occasionally; the kind of thing that I considered out of the reach of my young-university-student-in-northern-Greece self; the kind of thing other people did, people I sort of hoped to grow into one day. And suddenly there I was, in France, on the train, moving oh so fast into the night, my old life in tatters all around me, my new one as yet unknown to me.

A few weeks before that I had sat in a patch of struggling grass in my northern-Greek-hometown with my young-university-student friend and asked him to come on a trip to Europe with me. “But wouldn’t you rather we went to a Greek island?” he replied, which I very much wouldn’t. That day I walked home in the heat feeling forlorn in every sense of the word –sad and lonely and abandoned– because for once I had the money to go on my dream holiday, and, as usual, I had no one to go with.

Twelve years later –a few weeks ago, in fact– he reminded me of this moment and all I could do was laugh and thank him sincerely from the bottom of my heart, because without his refusal to come with me I would never have been desperate enough to make plans with an almost-stranger on the internet, an almost-stranger with a story that was different-but-similar to mine, an almost-stranger that apparently shared enough of my dreams and my craziness to be found next to me in the dark corridor, as the train rushed out of Paris at a speed that made the lights of the suburbs blur, as we stood there with the wind on our faces and years of yet-undreamed-of adventures ahead of us, as my world began to grow.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:14 pm [say something]
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 Halfway across the world (, , )

June 2001. Thessaloniki.

He ran to close the windows because of an approaching thunderstorm. There is nothing special about this in itself: thunderstorms come, people go and close windows. It’s an ordinary enough experience. What was not-so-ordinary this time around was that he was in Boston, halfway across the world from where I was sitting, and we had been having a conversation. I had struck a conversation with a perfect stranger on the internet over a song by a band I did not know, and it had turned out to be lovely.

In fact, in a display of serendipity or generosity or grace on the part of the universe that was as spectacular as it looked unremarkable, all of them turned out to be lovely, the song and the conversation, the band and the stranger. The song captured something of the pain I had pushed to the back of my heart, and so made it a bit easier to carry; I would grow to love the band so much I would end up naming a three-year-long adventure after another one of their songs; the stranger would end up inviting me to visit him across the ocean, which I would never do; and the conversation, oh, the conversation was my first encounter with that inexplicable, miraculous experience of truly meeting someone on the internet — of how, against all odds and expectations, this can work better on the internet than it does in real life.

Michael and I didn’t become best friends. He didn’t even stay in my life for long. He hang around for a while, said something lovely things, then faded out; a year later I sought him out again and we repeated this —he hang around for a while, said some lovely things, faded out– and that was the end of that. But despite the briefness and the ephemeralness of these connections there was something in them: something in the way that they sprouted and blossomed, so unexpectedly; something in the way that they sparkled and shone, so brightly; something I didn’t know existed but which I seemed to have been looking for nonetheless. Something that made me smile widely to myself as I sat alone in front of the computer screen, as he ran to close the windows.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:53 pm [2 people said all this]
Friday, August 2, 2013 How I made my mind up (, , )

Being able to stand outside at night time without a coat on felt as such a gift after the kind of never-ending winter we had been having in England. As I stood outside the airport in the dark, with the wind on my face and the smell of the Athenian March night all around something within me yawned, stretched, and started to slowly unfurl.

On a long, meandering walk on a chilly Sunday afternoon I took photos of trees, of rooftops, of churches with their crosses, of skylines, of the way the sunlight fell against it all; I came home sunstruck, grumpy, with my head full of colours and and the phrase ‘reaching for the sky’ on my mind.

For my birthday we travelled a short way south, to the seaside, and found ourselves sitting on a little concrete pier as the sun set, as dusk fell, as the lights of the stars in the sky and the boats in the sea came on; and in that space created between the departing day and the approaching night I could feel myself expanding, waiting, listening for something I could not make out yet.

There came a night when life seemed to be made up mostly of suffering, of little else besides it. I lay in bed unable to sleep, unable to do anything but catalogue the disappointments, the missed connections, the uncrossed distances — and I waited, half-patiently, half-gratefully, for the tidal wave of sadness to recede. When it did, late the next night, it left me suddenly, temporarily so awake to the wonder of this world that I was lost for words, breathless and trembling. It hurt almost as much.

Sometimes you simply fall in love. It is as if love is a puddle waiting patiently for you to come around the corner –skipping with joy, perhaps, or walking fast, intent on your feet and yet absent-minded, or, as was the case for me, unfurling, sunstruck, waiting, breathless, trembling– and step into it. One moment you are dry and unaware and the next you find yourself with wet feet and sparkling eyes, suddenly awake to a new world, and nothing will ever be the same.

Unfurling, sunstruck, waiting; breathless and trembling; wet and sparkling and awake; I think I’m going to stay.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 9:46 pm [say something]