I feel like Alice in Wonderland!
Not more than eight hours have passed since I started the so-called escape from the realm of ice and snow. It was the beginning of February and the cold wind of the north felt like I was trying to fool him and started blowing fiercefully as I approached the Chisinau Airport hill in Moldova. It was so cold that I could no longer feel my hands and toes and the air was almost hard to breathe.
Somehow frozen and a little bit dizzy I followed the airport and Duane personnel hoping that I would soon feel the air of spring. I was hoping for spring as I arrived in the train station in the heart of Britain, London Kings Cross, where fast trains were spreading the crowd to all the farthest places in the country, places that, in time, have become so close and familiar. After months of intense grey, from buildings, trees, fields and even people, I arrived in an explosion of colourful life and a sense of spring in the North Yorkshire, even though night was approaching.
In the early morning of the second day, I was awaken by the birds. It was so new to me to be brought back from the realm of sleep and dreams by singing birds so early in February. They were singing their hymns as if it were summer and the sun was shining happily through the windows. As I went out to salute the places, the country and the fields, the heat of full green grass, the colourful houses, imbued of personal histories of those who have lived there, warmly greeted me back.
In Moldova, the country I come from, the stones and the trees, the hills and river heads are the ones telling you about history. Here, you could also see it in the houses, the roads, the ports, the bridges, all of which are respectfully cared for with love and consideration. Unfortunately, our history did not give us the same opportunity.
My short trip from the stylish cottage in Kirkby Fleetham that was about to become from house to home for me for the two coming months, carefully set up by my colleagues Dianne, Sarah and Clarkie, it was yet another explosive experience. One of my Moldovan colleagues was anxiously looking for the speed change gear around the right door of the car, and the fact that our car was going on the other side of the street (at least according to our custom), rendered futile the purpose of the morning coffee…we were all wide-awake!
The Kerfoot Group premises, an olive coloured building with the Moldovian flag hanging, made me become emotional as my eyes were bursting in tears. As I went in, Sarah, Mary and Dianne were waiting and down the stairs Jennifer was rushing to greet and hug us. The smiles on their faces as well as the cinnamon aroma floating around the office (it’s so nice going to work in a place that smells like cinnamon or going to the factory where your hair gets filled with smells of lavender, sandal wood or myrrh) never goes away during the whole period. I get the feeling it was not that sort of smile you address to somebody in particular but rather that sort which people around here use to cover their personal sorrows, not wearing it as a mask, but showing it as a sign of respect for human beings, as an impulse to joy. I found that same smile everywhere during the past six weeks, queering in stores, crossing the street, accidentally bumping into somebody on the street. I believe that even when you are given a fine the policepersons smile at you…
I have had six weeks of spectacular new experiences, while aiming to grasp the mysteries and specificity of oils used for the most delicious salads as well as delicate perfumes, admiring the splendour of the castles in northern Britain or the tremendous seas and being initiated in the success of this country and these people, their discipline and hard work, all of these combined with the fine flowery fabrics of dresses and skirts you can buy around the corner (you can easily imagine what three girls do during the weekends), the approach to the European and British lifestyle and business as well as the long walks through the fields and herds of sheep, made up a tasteful cocktail.
I am intensively living this new beginning in spring. Personally and professionally, I am getting ready to bloom, thank the Earth for nurturing and caring for me. Soon, I am leaving for another spring back in my home country… what an extraordinary chance to have two spring seasons in just one year.
Aliona Mocanu, KSO Technical Administrator