I got back to Turin last Monday. Walked through my front door, put my bags down, and thought, I love my apartment.
Partly, I think, because it’s the first place I’ve lived by myself for more than a couple of months (which I enjoy a lot), but conversely because the space is touched the people who have spent time here. Looking around my kitchen now, I can see postcards from friends who have travelled onwards, a beer bottle with my name on it that was left over from a party and I can’t bring myself to put in recycling because umm hello it’s a beer bottle called “Zoe”, a tin of Taiwanese tea that a friend brought back from her trip home there one summer, a pair of rain boots sitting near the door left by a friend who moved away, which I still haven’t used because it still hasn’t rained yet this winter.
My trip back was uneventful in the way you want inter-continental travel to be, but I did get a full 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur in between flights so I got to do a bit of wandering around.
I arrived in the evening and stayed in a backpackers hostel. You know how all those “how to travel” articles carry on about “stay in hostels! you’ll meet people to hang out with!”? I always stay in hostels; I never meet people. But Back Home in KL seemed to magically be a hostel that was social but not a party hostel, and I spent the next day doing a hop on hop off bus tour with a girl I’d met at breakfast, who was from the Netherlands and on her way from New Zealand to India.
Traipsing around an unfamiliar city with a total stranger is definitely an experience I’d recommend — if nothing else it was fun to see where our perceptions converged (“ugh it’s so hot!” “yes!”) and diverged (her: “it’s so clean and orderly here!” me, having just flown in from Perth: “I guess…?” her: “well, I suppose I’m comparing it to Jakarta”)
I’m not totally convinced the hop on hop off bus was really worth the money, but it did take us past the KL Tower, which we went up and which was worth it just for the feeling of looking across the skyscrapers and highways as if we were playing a giant game of Sim City.
Things I have explained about Australia in the past week:
- yes, Random Guy in a Cafe, as far as I know, if you want a longer working holiday visa in Australia you have to work on a farm, but I’m really not an expert on these things and I do hope you manage to find someone better to ask…
- yeah, Work Colleague, you are right to think that pretty much the whole of Australia has been on fire at some point this summer, except for the bits that flooded.
- me: pass the chips
friend: you don’t call them crisps?
me: no, that’s the English
friend: so then you call the other things ‘fries’ like the Americans?
other friend, also Australian: nah, they’re also chips
me: or if it’s not clear from context–
both aussies, laughing: “hot chips”