Kasha, London, UK


I live in London, but if I was to chose one, close to my heart, place it would be Warsaw. I spent my university years then, but back then, I considered it to be a dull, grey city with cold winters and sad people rushing around. It’s only now, that I’m an occasional visitor in the city , I’ve really started to”get it ” .

It first started when, several years ago, I had to climb to the roof of one of the highest buildings in the city, in order to check on some technical issues related to a TV signal transmission, (don’t even ask…..). So here I was, slowly treading in my killer heels around the roof on the 42nd floor of the building – trying to convince my vertigo that it didn’t exist. I carefully examined the view in front of me. To my surprise, I saw colourful building façades of the old town, next to completely new skyscrapers popping up around the city centre. I saw streets lined with long rows in different shades of green, and huge park spaces covered in colourful patches of, what might have been, rose and lilac bushes.

I mentioned to my companions how different everything looked from what I’d remembered. Suddenly there was a piercing sound of sirens in the air. The sound was really haunting. I realised it was the 1st of August, the anniversary of the Warsaw uprising. One of my companions looked at me and commented – ‘it’s Warsaw, we’ll always get through the worst to the other side ‘.

And he was right – Warsaw is one of the most resilient cities that has ever existed. No matter what happens, it always manages to come back from the dead. The 1944’s Warsaw uprising, which was the city’s attempt to get rid of the German occupation, saw 200,000 people killed and over 80% of the city turned into dust. People were travelling through the sewers in order to get out of the city. Whoever survived was taken away to the concentration camps.

Warsaw in 1944

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This is my second blog on love… or rather on acceptance against all odds. I had a phone call from my sister a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to talk about her daughter. Her daughter is a very intelligent and creative person. She is a very good student, speaks several languages, and is a talented website designer. She’s also very strong headed and opinionated – not an easy person to convince about anything.  She helped my sister through the marriage problems and subsequent illness. Sometimes I thought my sister relied too much on the girl, but they have very close relationship and, besides, who am i to judge?

 

The girl has grown up and gone to university. She was always a tomboy and last year she cut her hair really short. I thought she was gay but reality turned out to be more complex. My little niece wants to have a sex change operation!

 

When my sister told me, I became speechless (as probably most of you would). You are not really prepared for this kind of announcements in your family. My first thought was – what’s next, is my father a cross-dresser? (That would probably explain it).

 

I went to see niece and to talk to her. I tried to look at it from her point of view. What must be going in that little head to make her so unhappy about herself? When I talked to her I realised she’s very strongly convinced about her decision … and very naïve about it. She’s read a lot on the subject from Internet and she knows really well  how the operation looks. She also occasionally goes  to psychological workshops, what, eventually, will lead to the full sex change operation. Yet, she never met any transsexual person, and she believes her psychologist when he says that, once she becomes a boy, she’ll have to cut herself off from most of her friends and hide for the rest of her life. (My homeland is not particularly famed for a progressive approach towards sex change issues).

 

I suggested she came to London and spent some time in a transgender community here – she refused. She says she’d feel exposed. I tried to at least suggest a meeting in her town with another transgender person, who’s already went through the sex change, and whom I contacted through a friend – my niece went ballistic. According to her I try to meddle in her private life. She’s stubborn, defensive and suspicious. She almost threw me out.

 

My heart goes out to her- the road she’s chosen is so difficult – nobody should travel it alone, and yet she thinks she’ll manage. I just have to be there when she’s ready to ask for help. What else is there to do?

I’ve been going around it in my heads for weeks now. I love her regardless who she is. No matter if she grows a beard or has breasts implants – the essence of her remains the same, doesn’t it?

Kasha, 33, currently in London

I’m sorry for abandoning this page for a while, but I’ve had some family issues to think about– more about it later. Right now I want to write about my take on love. Having read Amanda’s and Angie’s posts, I can really relate to them. I’m 33 – spending my life out of suitcase, chasing new rainbows and avoiding mediocrity (by avoiding mediocrity read avoiding responsibility). I’m postponing the moment of growing up as long as I can. Love is not something I know a lot about , but I wanted to tell you two stories.

I have a friend who was married with children. He was handsome and charming; and he knew about it really well. He didn’t love his wife and cheated on her constantly; and women were falling for him right left and centre. He dated models, lawyers and even his own assistants – it didn’t really matter. Lots of beautiful girls fell for his charms. His wife chose to close her eyes to it. I never had any respect for him until one day he fell in love … and he never looked back. The girl loved him back. She was pleasantly average and didn’t stand out in the crowd; yet, she was different then the others. He divorced his wife and married the girl. They have a child on their own now, and he couldn’t have been happier. He’s changed for good. He worships his new family, his other children took to their step mum and really like her. He’s a really different person.

My second story is about my own experience. I used to date a man who fell in love with me the first time we met. (or so he said). He was charming, intelligent and travelled the world. He pursued me passionately, and I finally gave in. Within a month the charming prince turned into a boyfriend from hell. As I later learnt, apparently he was deeply disappointed in me because I didn’t meet his original expectations. (And he was really serious when he said this to me).

Why am I telling those stories? My own story, (when it was finally over), made me realise that sometimes we are so stuck in our own imaginary world, that we actually fail to notice the real person. We force them to wear an uncomfortable suit called “my vision of love” and we reject people not because they are bad for us, but just because they don’t fit into this particular suit.

And as for the first story- it opened my eyes to fairytales. Love has happened to a guy who deserved it least; a guy who was cynical, selfish and used people. However, love has found him and it has changed him in an unimaginable way.

So we stumble on; we try and we fail, and we try again- as long as we keep on trying, we are fine.. because at least we are getting closer to our destination.. And just like Amanda says, I keep on buying those bloody tickets… if I only knew where the ride is – never mind if it’s the right one or not…

 

Kasha, 33, currently in London

Not much happened this week, so I decided to place this list of English mistranslations instead of regular post. Enjoy:

 

 

 

 

 

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: WHEN PASSENGER OF FOOT HEAVE IN SIGHT, TOOTLE THE HORN. TRUMPET HIM MELODIOUSLY AT FIRST, BUT IF HE STILL OBSTACLES YOUR PASSAGE THEN TOOTLE HIM WITH VIGOR.

On the faucet in a Finnish washroom: TO STOP THE DRIP, TURN COCK TO RIGHT.

Sign in Japanese public bath: FOREIGN GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO PULL COCK IN TUB.

In a Bangkok temple: IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN EVEN A FOREIGNER IF DRESSED AS A MAN.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: NOT TO PERAMBULATE THE CORRIDORS IN THE HOURS OF REPOSE IN THE BOOTS OF ASCENSION.

On the menu of a Polish hotel: SALAD A FIRM’S OWN MAKE; LIMPID RED BEET SOUP WITH CHEESY DUMPLINGS IN THE FORM OF A FINGER; ROASTED DUCK LET LOOSE; BEEF RASHERS BEATEN UP IN THE COUNTRY PEOPLE’S FASHION.

Dry cleaners in Bangkok : DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR BEST RESULTS.

In a Nairobi restaurant: CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.

In a Japanese hotel: YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.

In a Yugoslavian hotel: THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID

Tokyo hotel rules and regulations: GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED

In a Leipzig elevator: DO NOT ENTER THE LIFT BACKWARDS, AND ONLY WHEN LIT UP. (more…)

So here how it goes. Following the menopausal change, my mum developed a major behavioural problem – she believes my father is cheating on her. She suspects almost every woman they know of trying to seduce him (this includes our neighbours, my mum’s widowed sister, and my dad’s niece). At some point she also had a theory that my dad had a girlfriend – a Bulgarian prostitute. I have no idea how he would have managed to conduct an illicit affair since my mum doesn’t let him out of her sight and follows him everywhere. I’m also not sure where the Bulgarian angle comes from, and what language she’d communicate with my dad. My dad is seventy, bold and suffers from heart problems.

A couple of years ago, on Xmas day, my mum read a very silly horoscope “who you were in your past life”. According to that horoscope my dad was a Renaissance nobleman who loved women and parties. To my mum this was a proof that she was right all along. (My sister and I checked who our mum had been in the previous life. Turned out she was…. a Genghis khan’s soldier). So here we were, having a family dinner on this most important night in Christian tradition. My mum sat in silence refusing to talk to my dad. The rest of us actually had a blast. We got happily drunk and ignored mum’s poignant silence. My dad was sticking his tongue at my mum and saying “blah…. you Genghis khan!!” This was the last Xmas I spent at home – following year I went to Mexico!”

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After almost a year break, following a disastrous relationship, I decided to get back in the game and start dating again. I never was a huge fan of dating. The whole idea has always felt a bit strange to me. Whilst a lot of people treat it as a nice opportunity of expanding their social circle (if nothing else), for me it’s more of a torture to put it mildly. I’m left in the dark by the whole concept of seating in front of a stranger, desperately trying to find things in common. I can do it as friends – no problem at all. However, as soon as the word “date” is mentioned, my mind goes blank and I do a panicky retreat. I’m more a “meet accidentally and click” kind of a person.

 

This time around I’ve decided to show more courage, and become more active in the dating game. ….And the result? My dating partner (or should I say victim) is a lovely, relaxed, Australian man, who is persistent and resistant enough to try and woe me…. and I’m simply horrified. I can’t really put my finger on it. I feel really relaxed in his company, he makes me laugh, the chemistry is right, he calls when he says so, he makes me breakfast in bed… yet, I’m in a complete state of panic. No idea, if it’s him, me, or my past, bad experiences. One of the co-bloggers on this side wrote how she moved countries to join her new man… I can hardly make myself pick up the phone and call my date. So… here’s my question to all of you, dear ladies….. What makes people click? Does it have something to do with age and/or experience? The more knocks you get in love, the more experiences you collect, do you become more cynical and more resistant to romance? And, on another hand- what make people fall in love? What is this moment that you suddenly know you want to be with the other person for good? What is this mysterious switch that makes you either turn up the volume, or switch it completely off? If any of you know the answer, I’m desperately looking for it…..

 

Kasha, 33, London

 

PS. For the time being I quietly hyperventilate to myself before my dates and just keep on persevering hoping the life solves this puzzle for me.

 

This week just a quick note as I still need to unpack my suitcase after 2 weeks of voyages before hitting daily office routine tomorrow. I decided to treat myself to a new bra. I went to a shop where I was asked if I wanted a fitting lady to help me chose the right size. Out of curiosity I decided to try the service, and believe it or not , my regular 80C size turned out to be in reality 75 E ! I spent half of my life walking in a badly fitted bras. Too big around my back, too small a cup. All clicked into place – no wonder that, by the end of each day, I always end up with bra cups squashed underneath my boobs, instead of gently enclosing and supporting them. ..And this got me thinking… How lucky we women are nowadays and how we take small things like this for granted. How many centuries we spent tightly squashed in heavy corsets and petticoats.

 

So here I am, coming back to London after Easter. The weather is amazing as if the Nature has decided to give up on spring and jumped straight into summer. Two weeks ago I was leaving the city wearing winter jacket. Today, I went for a walk in a T-shirt, chest forward, my boobs clad in a comfy, non-bouncing bra; and I was thinking that, even if feminism would have brought no other change, and least it has given us a freedom of walking around in well fitted bras, or just burning them if we chose to!

Kasha, 33, London

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