Sunday 26 September 2010

Ghosts from my past

This picture was taken in Grasmere in the Lake District and it is barely related to the topic of this post. But I thought that since the title was about ghosts, well tombstones would be the next best thing to put. And Halloween is coming after all, so it is sort of related to my general mood.

Today, my wife and I went to a nearby city, where we used to study and where me and her met. We went there to do some clothes shopping, something I hate to do, especially when it becomes a necessity. Surprisingly, we enjoyed ourselves quite a lot. Maybe it was partially because of the nostalgia we have towards the place. Anyway, we saw successively and at total random two people I knew from my early years at university in this country. Both are former housemates of mine, one from my first year in England, the other from my second, both are Greeks (and my wife and love Greeks for one particular reason). It was so strange to see them after all those years (more than ten). It was like seeing ghosts , I had lost touch with them before I even met my wife. We switched phone numbers and promised we will call and meet for a few drinks.

These two chance meetings made me realise a few things. First, that I literally cannot escape my past: I live near the same place I did ten years ago, I end up seeing the same people. The same thing often happens when I go back to Chicoutimi. That said, if my past haunts me through the faces of people I knew, I have moved on. And this is something else I discovered today: I might often think I am stuck at the same place, but I moved on, for better or for worse, in a number of ways. One of the persons I saw today was still studying at the same university. There is nothing wrong with this, but hearing her I discovered that I have had my share of studies and that it was now done for me. That is partially why I don't think I will teach anymore: because I do not want to go back in a classroom as a student. I had my dose of student time, even at university level. I was lucky enough to know academia from both sides, first as a student then as a teacher (which was by far my favourite job), but this is now a shadow that I can sometimes see, feel the presence but that I cannot touch anymore. At least those people are friendly ghosts and they will not bring bitterness.

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