I have been to the library a lot, these last 10 days. Today is a feast, I'm not sure what is its exact name nowadays, it's Dia de Portugal and something and something; it used to be called Dia da Raça, but of course the things have changed a lot since that time. Perhaps great time to say quite simply it's Luis de Camões' birthday. And there is Corpus Christi tomorrow, so it makes two lazy days to wash my clothes, pay the bills and write on my blog.
I have been to the library, thinking intensely what kind of texts I might produce, texts fitting Oxford. I have been reading the poetry of São Tomé and such things. I'm not really sure. It lacks true depth, greater interest, complicated issues on which I might comment brilliantly. My Lusitanist profession is the source of a permanent crisis going on for years now. Of course, I might narrate all those things, compile them, as I'm doing in a chapter for a Polish book on African Lusophone literatures. But that's Poland. And there is something else I have in mind.
Yeah, Poland... There is clearly a hope, even if some people still believe those in power will do something violent in the last moment. I'm really puzzled how far I should believe this. I attribute a certain probability for such violent turnover, something like 10 to 30%. So there is a 70% or even 90% margin to say that Poland will survive. But I am by no means convinced by my own calculations. Survive? Certain things never survive, because they never truly lived.
And even if things get back to normal politically, I still don't know how I might return to it. How I might put up with ambient mediocrity. Teach at one of those universities where I used to work, in the shadow of that couple of fallen angels: Ignorance and Delusion. I know there are places healthier, sounder than my old Faculty "Artes Liberales". But still... And the perspective of returning to salaries equivalent to little more than 1000 euro would mean to abandon forever those dreams of a little house in the Netherlands. I would never have a little house in Warsaw; it would be hard to have it in Kraków. Perhaps, eventually. But it would never be a dream to make me go. I would remain in my old apartment, that apartment that I used to miss so bitterly when I was abroad. But now I know it contains no luxury nor beauty to speak of. It might feel good, for a moment, to be an ordinarius at a university, but I anticipate my immediate frustration, the end of all things that I would see very soon. The end of my dreams, my hopes, my ambitions. Materially and intellectually.
I miss the Netherlands, its enchanted cities, its rough and ugly sounding language, its flowers. I miss my home to be. Even if everything were OK with Poland, just a perfect, stable Europe, I would still apply for Dutch citizenship. Even if it meant no additional right whatsoever, and more taxes to pay. Just for the pride, for the dignity of it. Just for the Kingsajz.
If the survival of Poland truly means anything to me, it is because of Europe. Because I wouldn't like to see its power diminished, its structural founds sucked into a black hole, its frontiers shrinking in front of the encroaching East. Some people say there is a ferment even in Belarus, and it makes me dream how beautiful Europe might be, if its buffer zone of democracies extended between the Baltic states, throughout Belarus and Ukraine till the Crimea. If Middle Europe was ours, forever, undisputed. If I could wander unhindered through Roumania to the Balkans, Eastwards from Prague and Vienna, in my endless academic peregrinations. That would be a dreamy world. But what about Budapest? Will I see it free again?
I would be an ordinarius at a Polish university, if I never truly lived. But now it is too late. I went out, I flied, I felt the wind under my winds, I saw several thousands of euro, not just one, landing on my bank account. I saw true scholarship, true competence, truly intelligent things on my horizon. This is why there is no return. Any return would be the end of all things. There is no other option than to go on flying.