As I sit down at a small table in a café, on a boulevard, with a river running slowly in front of me – people passing by, clouds gathering for the rain – I try to find words that would properly describe what this blog is about.
It has been more than ten years that I live without a home, moving between rooms, apartments, cities and countries.
It all started with my family owning a small, two-room apartment in the periphery of Ukraine. Our four-storey block house was surrounded by wheat fields. Along one side of it ran one and the only concrete road that made a loop in front of a rickety bus stop. In front of the house there was a yard sparsely studded with cherry trees and neat flowerbeds. Every evening there gathered representatives of all generations of inhabitants of the house, for a chat, a drink or a game of cards.
This place was my home till I was six years old, till the time when my parents decided to build a separate house, one or two kilometers away. Since then, the apartment was considered by all of us an impermanent dwelling, where we lived, impermanently, for another ten years. A home, a buttress of my childhood, turned into a tent and even the new, spacious, brick and clay house was ready to move in, I got already used to a life in a “tent”. Not one year passed in that new house that I was moving out, out of town and the periphery, into the capital, Kiev.
From that moment on started my never-ending movement between houses, countries and cities. One after another, I changed rented rooms and apartments – tiny and bigger ones – hauling boxes and boxes of books and CDs, till they all finished in storage. I checked into houses in the midst of a jungle and into all kinds of hotel rooms, seedy or posh. I slept in feeble tents and in stinky dormitories. I became a professional mover and limited my luggage to the few necessary things: some clothes, a laptop, an e-book, and a camera. A phone was a stray phenomenon.
In addition to those, I carried with me a bunch of postcards. Among them were some that I bought for the sake of a picture, some that I had signed but had never sent, and even some that I managed to receive from my friends, notwithstanding my permanent transitory state. Soon, the postcards were joined by letters, half-written or already sealed, which I was writing to my friends, relatives and fellow travelers. They gave me a sense of company and created a palpable proof that the stream between us kept on running, even after we continued on our own ways.
And here it is, Dear Reader, in front of you, a never-ending collection of impressions, vistas and thoughts, sent from here and there, to this person and that. These letters and messages record my movement around the world, where I have no permanent home but where, at the same time, the whole world is a home and every passer-by is a family.
PS I sat through the whole evening here, in this café, and look – those heavy clouds are colored dark pink and are getting almost violet-black, carrying all that rain. It’s getting humid. The river is quiet and passers-by slow down. Some of them sit down on benches or parapets, and we all follow the sun sinking down, behind the woods and the houses. Ah, wish you were here with us now!