Hubby and I are currently traveling in Poland and as we walked along the streets of Warsaw's Old Town today it got me thinking.
I have a friend who used to live in Poland for a long time. I'm not sure were exactly was his hometown but for the purpose of this post, let's pretend it was Warsaw, in which case these same streets must have been very familiar to him at the time.
It always fascinates me the "6 degrees of separation" concept that people are always connected in some way or form despite the distance or any other factor. And yet, however much connected we may be, the perception on that connection can often be radically different.
Here I am for the first time in this city where all is new and different. I find everything I see amazing and beautiful and spend my time taking tons of pictures of every pretty building I pass or street I see because I'm seeing them for the first time.
And there he must have been, walking at some point or other several times over these same streets and seeing these same buildings which after a while he probably no longer even noticed nor cared of their beauty or attraction.
Here I am looking at these places and thinking how I wish I had time to go into each one, taste every pastry I see in the windows, record in my brain the name of every street so I will never forget.
And there he must have been, getting a totally different vibe from these same sights. He probably didn't care about entering in each building because he had entered in enough already. And he probably no longer gave a second look at pastries because, again, over the course of his life here they'd lost all their appeal. As for the name of he streets, I'm sure most we're indadvertedly ingrained in his memory forever, without much effort simply by being attached to memories and anecdotes of everyday life for him.
I think of how I now view Paris against the descriptions friends that have traveled there give me when they return from their trip. Most of the times, the perceptions are radically different. While they excitedly tell me about the cute little street or the quaint little boulangerie they discovered while there, I am instead thinking that was the street my iPhone was stolen on and how I know for a fact that that boulangerie in particular sells crappy croissants made with of cheap butter.
I know that all this is basically the difference of being a tourist and being an expat, but it still fascinates me how perceptions on the same exact place can be totally different depending on the viewer.