People say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. That’s not far from the truth, and even if I really try to be aware of what I have while having it, somehow I start appreciating some things only when they’re gone. I had six very important relationships in my life till now. They have strongly influenced me, each in its own and special way, and I’ll never be able to forget any of them. Some were more passionate, some were more stable, but what I can say for sure is that all of them were extremely important. These relationships taught me how to love, accept, open my mind, open my heart and live.
ZAGREB, CROATIA – my first long term relationship. Just like love between two kids, ours was also cute, pure, safe and easy. I must admit he did kind of spoiled me though. I was a bit of a princess in that relationship. And everything about it was very proper! I did ballet, learned Latin and Ancient Greek, always got straight A’s, went to the theater every week, wore lovely dresses all the time. I was a proper little lady! Who never had to work in the field, milk cows, witness a robbery, or see something different from what she was living. While living in “Princess land” little did I know that my life would change so drastically later on, and that even though cute and proper is nice, there’s way more to life than that. I loved Zagreb, and I still do. I mean it’s my first love, and nothing could ever be as special as that. But as time passed by I realized there were things I was missing out on, and that’s when the proper little lady decided to become an explorer instead. It was like that relationship you have in high school and you think it’s gonna last forever; but then you realize that maybe you have to see how other things work before deciding your first choice is the best one. So we broke up. I was sad about leaving, cause all of my life was connected to Zagreb, but I knew it was the right choice. I remember walking around it, before leaving for new adventures. I touched city walls, benches and trees to be able to memorize how Zagreb feels like. I tried breathing its air as deep as possible in order to never forget the smell of it. And I still do remember, no matter how far away I am. And every time I go and visit Zagreb I get super emotional because most of my life happened there.
FERRARA, ITALY – I was excited about starting my new relationship almost as much as I was every Christmas Eve while growing up (my mom used to send me to bed, to take a nap just before the Christmas Eve dinner. That way she had time to put the presents under the Christmas tree while I was “sleeping” and then once I’d “wake up” she’d be like: “Oh my God, how did all these presents get here?”. Considering the fact that I never had to take a nap on any other day of the year, that was super transparent, dear mother. But I was so excited about the presents that I did not care). Anyhow, in my new relationship I’d have to speak a new language, walk around new streets, and meet new people. And that was super exciting! Till I figured out Ferrara was only like 1/7th the size of Zagreb, and there aren’t oh so many things to do there. Till I fell of the bike the second day of my arrival and broke my hand. Till my laptop stopped working and I had no way of communicating with my friends back home. Till my Iranian flatmate started driving me crazy each and every single day we lived together. So it was not exactly the kind of relationship I hoped for, but we’ve managed to get along way better as time went by. I started noticing there were a lot of upsides to this relationship. Such as – food. Amazing Italian food. Which did make me look like Pavarotti by the time the academic year had finished, but that was fine. I preferred being a happy huge hippo than not enjoying the heavenly food. Another upside – the Italian language – even when you swear, scream or shout – it sounds like poetry, as opposed to Croatian, which is just a tiny bit more rough (my Spanish flatmate would knock on my door to check if I am OK after every Skype conversation that I had with someone back home. She always thought something bad has happened and that I was fighting with someone. The thing is I was probably telling someone how I miss and love them, but to a non Croatian speaker even that sounds like a murder threat). And the Italian people? I completely fell in love with their warmheartedness, with their passion, with their expressiveness. Their way of being, with emotions bursting out of them made me feel more like home than I felt in my home country. In fact I miss the Italian way of life very much. A way of life where love, food, drinks, naps, friends, songs and smiles are way more important than anything else. And that’s exactly how it should be!
PARIS, FRANCE – you know how there’s always this one relationship in which you go completely crazy? Crying crazy, not eating crazy, hopelessly in love crazy. Well, that was my relationship with Paris. We loved and hated each other with such intensity that I don’t know how we got out of the relationship alive. Paris was so arrogant I hated him, but then again it was so chic and fabulous I couldn’t stop falling in love with him. I spent most of our relationship alone, insulted by his rudeness, but when he decided to treat me nicely I felt like I owned the world. I guess that’s just a French thing: one should not enjoy the awesomeness of Paris without getting his ass kicked! So Paris kicked my ass! The French kicked my ass! And I had a really really hard time. But then I learned French, I realized I live right next to the Eiffel tower (which a lot of people would die for), I learned to feel great having a glass of wine completely alone, bought an amazingly chic fur coat, wore it with heels even if I only went outside to buy milk, and suddenly Paris and I started being fabulous together! Up to this day it’s still my favorite relationship. Even if it did kick my ass in the beginning, that’s the only relationship I would ever consider going back to. I still am and will never stop being in love with Paris!
FRANKFURT, GERMANY – even though I had secretly wanted Berlin instead, cause it was way more attractive and interesting, Frankfurt (or as a friend calls it: FrankFart) and I got along very very well. Frankfurt was super organized, there was no unnecessary chaos, drama or nonsense like with Ferrara or Paris, and yet our relationship was not at all boring! Everything was going smooth, on time, without any unpleasant surprises. We loved the exact same music, which I found super attractive! So we listened to a lot of techno, we danced to a lot of techno, and we’ve been through higher states of consciousness while dancing to techno – and that kind of a cosmic bond, my friend – cannot be easily broken! It was definitely a great relationship, however I never stopped secretly wanting Berlin a bit more than I wanted FrankFart.
AKKO, ISRAEL – I can’t say this was love at first sight. Nor love at second sight. In fact, it was more of an arranged marriage. We were not thrilled to be together, but somehow we’ve learned to get along. Or at least to stand each other. Akko was strict, very narrow minded and conservative. He was sort of charming as well, because he was different from anything I had ever seen before, but not charming in a: “let’s wear fur coats and listen to techno” way! Through our entire arranged marriage we ate falafel almost every day (which is why I don’t want to see another falafel in my life)! Being a woman I was not supposed to go out at night, because in a conservative religious town like Akko women ought to stay home in the evening while the men smoke shisha and play cards in bars. On the upside he did show me a world I had no idea existed, he proved that even I – a spoiled city girl – could get used to passing by a camel named Jimmy every day on my way to work, or jump over a lamb that has decided to block my entrance door. Luckily he’d also let me see others for the weekends, so I’d go to Tel Aviv and have a fun love affair. Even though I am strongly against arranged marriages, this was a hell of a relationship, which changed my views on life, love and the world. It completely shook me to the core and I’ve learned the most from it.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – the “opposites attract” kind of relationship. I think we were drawn to each other because we were completely different and curious. He is chaotic and messy, while I’m super organized. He is full of different colors, different smells and different tastes while I am classic and plain. I fell in love with his chaos, he fell in love with my order. But what happens when the “opposites attract” kind of couple stops being madly in love? They start to think and they realize they don’t have much in common. In fact, they realize they don’t have anything in common. He was never on time, he always kept me waiting and it used to drive me crazy. So I’d yell at him, but it was like he couldn’t hear, or maybe he didn’t want to hear it. I got bored of cleaning up after him and waiting, he got bored of my order and we simply had to split up. We don’t regret hooking up in the first place, but truth be told it was never going to work. Sometimes you just can’t help it though. Even if you know there’s nothing that can keep you together for good.
I have no idea who I’m gonna end up with and whether my next relationship is gonna be the crazy kind or the arranged marriage kind but I know I would not change my previous relationships for anything in the world! Those cities are my life and each of them holds a piece of me, just as my heart holds pieces of them.