Friday, 1 March 2013

You Can't Take Brno from Me

Nature has gifted me with an incredible ability to find my way in new places with absolutely no sense of orientation at all. My grandma lives in a city slightly smaller than Brno and I have spent considerable amount of time there both as a child and as a grown-up. I can remember the cosy cinema club when standing on the right street, I can remember where the litterbin is when standing on the main square, I know where I am when I get out of the tram no. 9 and I even know where to look for bus stops (always hidden behind the corners). What I successfully fail to remember is all the ways between these places. It's as if you had pictures of places in your head, but could never draw the map between them. So it happens that I say “I know where I am!” and suddenly I realize it helps me but a little, as I do not have a slightest idea how to get some place else. Buildings? Okay. Parks? Okay. Streets? Okay. Building on a street I have been to before? Okay. Building near the park I have visited before? Sure. The way to get from building no. 1 to the building no. 2? Nope. 

With this curse upon me – my nonsense of orientation – I came to Brno. First, a three-day summer trip. Hitch-hiking through the country, sleeping in a hostel, and rambling night streets as if life could end in an instant. Second, my studies. Hitch-hiking through the libraries, lacking sleep in general, and still rambling night streets as if life could end in an instant. My delightful nonsense of orientation must have loved Brno from the first moment, because I haven't seen him since. It was like an illumination. Suddenly all streets made sense, buildings kept standing where I saw them last, even the places I saw for the first time felt familiar. I don't know what it was, but it made me feel like a first-rate champion, walking masterfully down the Brno pavements as if I have spent a lifetime here. Not only did I remember all those social institutions where they serve you a good pint of beer, but I also smartly got from the point A to the point B, both being truly desired (and reached without undesired going through C, D, E, F, G, and my other favourite spots)

My beloved orientational nonsense had thus disappeared and I regarded this cruel abandonment to be one of the great fortunes of my life. Although it came without calling, I did not believe it came without a reason. Thus, I decided to invent one, as I did not intend to seek for any. It took me but a few seconds to fully breathe in the breeze of absolute comprehension, and so the reason was born. I gave it the name 'Brno'. For the first time in my life I entered a city whose streets did not cross accidentally and differently each day as I walked past. Imagine that you stand in the middle of the city where you spent months of your childhood looking for the best sweetshop with your grandma, and you still faintly guess which way to go. Now imagine that you come to Brno and after a week you become the one, the advisor, who knows which direction things are and which way the trams go. A miracle! Champion! Master of the streets! With only one map (that always stayed forgotten in the room)! How could it be…

Well, the reason stays simple - I found my city. It must be it, as I do not feel like looking for anything else. My university offers everything I want; it even offers a lot of things I don't really want (you know, those exams and research papers, thesis and state exams, and many more luxurious time-consuming, but rightly required annoyments…). What is more, there is this park… It is a place where all the wonders of Brno and the world that came to live in Brno flourish. One day you come and play hackies with a bunch of students, another day you drink sweet wine while having philosophical debates with scholars who stopped by. Then it looks like a maternity peace garden, a dog park, or a place where the whole spectrum of circus performers show off, but only to themselves. It's my summer home – a home within my second home when I'm away from the original home. Just a small park in Brno. It is only one place amongst tens, hundreds, of others, which attract you but manage not to fail your expectations. Were I a sportswoman? I would be running satisfied all around Brno. Were I an artist? I would sentimentalize in the galleries and beyond the blue skies of the city. Were I a scientist? I would deliberately lock myself within the vast and freshly new laboratories of the uni campus. Were I a musician? I would spend nights at clubs performing and watching others perform what comes to their hearts. Were I a student? I would be overwhelmed with the crazy amount of courses offered at all the faculties of all the universities there are… I may be all of those people in a part, or I may be none, but I stay satisfied. 

There is life blooming in front of my eyes behind the city gates of this student's paradise. It may not be as big as London, New York, not even as Prague, but it is mine. And it is hers, his, theirs, and maybe yours as well. It is the place where I came wondering, swimming in tiny fears and colossal expectations, and after a while, with my hands shivery from excitement, I embraced the city singing quietly… you can't take Brno from me, 'cause there's no place I'd rather be…

No comments:

Post a Comment