Tuesday, January 17, 2006

it's strange what the mind chooses to remember. sometimes I walk around neuchatel in my head. I can get from home to the train station, or from school down to place pury. I can trace the lake all the way to the tram station, and I can follow my entire running path through the forest in peseux. I can walk around alperto and point out where the yogurt, the milkshakes, and the cheese should be. I remember that madame's breadbox was blue and that I could never close it properly. I remember what her plates looked like, how monsieur used to hang a shriveled sausage from the light in the kitchen, and how heavy the doors were. I can still pronounce "bonjour, madame" and "au revoir, merci" with the intonation of the neuchatelois and I can still hear the voice on the train announcing, "mesdames et messieurs, nous arrivons a neuchatel. prochain arret, bienne. meine damen und heren, wir treffin in neunberg ein. nachste halte, biel."

however, I can't remember the name of my favourite yogurt. I can name only two bus stops between vignoble and place pury. I can't remember the name of the champion skier from neuchatel that the kids mentioned at least four times a day, and I can't even remember if he was from neuchatel or le chaux de fonds. I could draw a map of the gare in neuchatel almost perfectly, but I have no recollection of the one in berne. I have forgotten the song my pension sister used to put on repeat for an hour at a time in the room next door, and whether it was cheaper to buy train tickets from the guy at the window or from the machine. I think I have even forgotten what my house smelled like.

it's hard to believe that I've gone two and a half years without 3.8% milk and crazy pesca iced tea and les tommes de fromage. prochain arret, neuchatel!

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