I’ve been living in the same place now for the last 4 and a half years. That’s not far from being the longest period that I’ve ever lived somewhere. That’s long enough to look forward to my next haircut mainly because I’m curious to know how my hairdresser’s trip to an Ayurvedic wellness resort in India turned out. Long enough that even the normally somewhat grumpy ladies who work at the local post-office have been known to show on occasion a smile and even to make a joke with me (well it happened once). Long enough to have struck up a pleasant acquaintance with the owner of my favourite toy shop (‚klein aber fein‘) after buying so many presents there that she pressed a small Christmas present in my hand on my way out of the store in December. Long enough to recognise every face at the butcher shop and the greengrocers. And long enough to enquire tentatively about the wellbeing of the elderly, slightly rheumatic and slowed lady normally in charge of the bakery stall at the Saturday market, as her stand today was unexpectedly usurped by a new bakery firm. And to sigh with relief when a fellow regular customer standing in line assured me that she was fine.
I’m not exactly afraid to move on to a new place. But I know I will miss so many of the familiar faces here around my neighbourhood; the names of most I do not even know, but who all the same make me feel somehow at home.