16 April 2007
The Hong Kong gallery couple cancelled the meeting after arriving at the New Zealand airport. They could not fit me into their schedule. I assume that when they are back in Hong Kong, they will email me again to inform me about the next steps.
Before knowing this I had tried to make the house guest-proof. A big spring-cleaning including hand washing a curtain.
The smell of the detergent brought me all the way back to the first weeks in New Zealand when our washing machine was still in the sea container. Those days I had to wash everything by hand and apparently I was pretty happy with that, because the smell memory of today brought me in a kind of serene mood.
For the same reason I love the smell of the repellent spray against sand flies, because it reminds me of working in the vegetable garden for the first time in my life. The discovering I was able to produce my own veggies had made me happy.
Also the song of the tui (a New Zealand bird that can create the fascinating sound similar to the metal cymbals of a drum set). The first summer he continuously had ‘drummed’ in our garden, but this summer I had rarely heard him. The few times I did hear him, I popped right back to the happy first weeks.
Now I’m wondering … could a person only be happy with retroactive effect? Is it because happiness is made of the same elusive stuff as smells and sounds? I thought in those early NZ days I was not happier than I am at this moment, but maybe I should have to conclude: How happy I am now … I only can smell next year.
The big cleaning was not for nothing, because later that week a family member from the Netherlands came to visit us. It was the son of my grandmother’s sister. We have met 34 years ago.
I’m not sure, but when we shook hands and I automatically turned my face to do the ‘European 3-kiss’ I noticed my uncle shrank for a moment. That’s fair of course. Let’s be honest; the European 3-kiss is quite a stupid habit if you are hardly familiar with the person. I just hope it’s not something worse than my 1 clove of garlic a day 🙂
Half an hour later I wiped a few spikes of hair out of my eyes and suddenly I had a white substance on my hand … Oh fucque! Just before uncle’s arrival I had forgotten to spread out the sunscreen on my skin. I only had squeezed out two round white dabs on my forehead and then hastily picked up the phone to give my uncle directions to find our house.
During that hand shake he must have thought that I had a brutal form of forehead acne. Or I was married twice to an Indian guy, or so.