I awoke on Saturday morning to snow. Not a great amount of snow, but a gentle falling that covered the ground and even clung to the steep alpine roofs. I took Tyson out for a pee and we returned rosy-cheeked with slightly damp feet.
I then had some porridge. Porridge is something I had when I was a child and, for those of you who don't know, is hot, thick and glutinous. My mum said it "sticks to the ribs." Frank and Sally are partial to porridge and so I had some and I felt like I was, once again, in a children's book. Frank and Sally have built a version of England that I thought only existed in my head. It is a common ex-pat trick to think of England as a place that's really just an amalgam of childhood memories and old movies: I thought of England that way, and ex-pats in Greece did too. Now I discover that that England, that Shangri-La does exist. It's in Frank's house in Slovenia. They prepare food, play music, lay the table, watch TV all in a way that makes me feel like I've fallen down a rabbit-hole into my past, but with mountains.
They have made me feel incredibly comfortable. I don't know how I will feel when two weeks have gone by -- that point when you are forced to acknowledge that this isn't a holiday, a vacation, a skiing trip. When two weeks have gone by and there is no packing of bags it hits you that this is it. I don't know how I'll feel then, because at the moment it all resembles that imaginary England, like Shangri-La, like a brief visit to my childhood. I am chatting with Sarah on skype as if she is upstairs and I am in the basement. There's no sadness in our chats. She's just upstairs, and I'm downstairs.
Tyson isn't dreaming and he doesn't think he's having an excursion into a land of make-believe. Tyson is still wondering where he is and shaking when he has no reason to. We all hug him, and still he shakes. I think for Tyson the opposite will happen. I think after two weeks he'll settle down just as I'm realising that Sarah isn't just upstairs, and I'm not packing my bag to make that return trip. That's when I'm going to need him more than ever.
Moving with my dog to Slovenia.