Nostalgia

I have been busier at work since it is the first week of inspections, but yet at times I do really enjoy it! I enjoy looking over several matters at once, it keeps me on my tippy-toes of sorts, and though some of the talks and work tend towards IT-acronyms (not the best for a luddite), after last week, I have been indulging in a whole matter of super-user and server discussions, and have learnt more about servers than I think I have my whole life.

I learnt that the head of market surveillance is a lawyer too, so if anything encourages me, if he can do it, I better get my act out and learn all the proliferation of IT words to add to my limited inspection checklist vocabulary!

Just for the moment, I love inspections. I wonder if my colleagues in the banking division feel the same. Its even better when good outcomes arise from it.

I have not been able to do any reading in the past week as a result, but last night, managed to finally have a little moment (and energy!) to settle down to a good book in the train, Milan Kundera’s Identity.

Sometimes – perhaps only for an instant- we fail to recognize a companion; for a moment their identity ceases to exist, and thus we come to doubt our own. The effect is at its most acute in a couple, where our existence is given meaning by our perception of a lover, and theirs of us.

For some years I had been living of a thought, or a memory of a thought, of that moment with someone in my life. And last night Kundera put words to how I had felt –

“Much later, after she had left her husband and lived several years with Jean-Marc, she was at the seashore one day: they were dining outdoors, on a wooden deck over the water; she retains an intense memory of whiteness: the deck, the tables, the chairs, the tablecloths, everything was white, the lampposts were painted white and the bulbs beamed a white light against the summer sky, not yet dark, where the moon, itself white too, was whitening everything around them. And in this bath of white, she was struck by a feeling of unbearable nostalgia for Jean-Marc.

Nostalgia? How could she feel nostalgia when he was right in front of her? How can you suffer from the absence of a person who is present? (Jean-Marc knew how to answer that: you can suffer nostalgia in the presence of the beloved if you glimpse a future where the beloved is no more; if the beloved’s death is, invisibly, already present”.

Some other keepsakes:

“It is always that way: between the moment he meets her again and the moment he recognizes her for the woman he loves, he has some distance to go. At their first encounter, in the mountains, he had had the luck to get away alone with her almost immediately. If, before that one-on-one enocounter, he had spent much time with her as she was among other people, would he have recognized her as the beloved being? If he had known her only with the face she shows her colleagues, her bosses, her subordinates, would that face have moved and enchanted him? To these questions he has no answer”.


“I see their two heads, in profile, lit by the light of a little bedside lamp: Jean-Marc’s head, its nape on a pillow; Chantal’s head leaning close above him.

She said: I’ll never let you out of my sight again. I’m going to keep on watching you and never stop.’

And after a pause: ‘I get scared when my eye blinks. Scared that during  that second when my gaze goes out, a snake or a rat or another man could slip into your place.’

He tried to raise himself a little to touch her with his lips.

She shook her head: ‘No, I just want to watch you’.

And then: ‘I’m going to leave the lamp on all night. Every night’.

 Sometimes I feel pensive, exhausted – reading Kundera.

I realized I haven’t uploaded some shots since the last study session in the airport- and since my last time there (to the other terminals), the place has changed much and is teeming with children. But the viewing gallery is now less romantic as before perhaps, flooded with bright lights and exhibits, running children, a blocked Esplanade like barred windows, and the overall air of consumerism.

I am not very patriotic or modern, and miss the old airport.

I feel like a tourist often, in my own country. But I don’t think so much as I once did about it, anymore. (ps: I actually did no editing with the photographs below, was quite surprised by the mirrored effect, which I quite like about the new terminal, in an Evelyn Waugh sort of way (who designed the concrete house again?))

The little girl I watched for a long while who stared at the plane she could not see in full view.

Swensens, in particular Swensens’ orange sherbert and mint ice cream, is a fond momento of my childhood. And their signature coloured lighs, which also remind me of the restaurant ST and I visited in Venice.

Went for a cat welfare event last night which was good fun. Love the vivaciousness of Maia Lee! Will write more about the event next time. Met some new people, and gushed about cats with a fellow cat lover on the way back to the station, where we talked about everything – our cats’ morning routines, the way they hop sideways when our cats get excited, their jealousy, the way they choose people to love, how dogs compare to cats (but we both love dogs too!) and the way cats never, never understand that weekends are for sleeping in (until you throw them off the bed).

Off for another studying weekend…and I am still in the middle of the same valuation formulas, which is reasonably tragic!

Signalling the weekend: My ‘cabaret cloak’, as YY calls it, and a black/white camellia headband from my collection.

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