Nieuws - 7 augustus 2019

Back in Wageningen: a matter of scale

Donatella Gasparro

Maybe you know the feeling: coming home from holidays and things look and feel a bit different. Blogger Donatella Gasparro just came back from homeland Italy and she suddenly feels smaller. Among other things.

© Sven Menschel

When we arrived home in Wageningen at 1:00 a.m. last weekend, after seven hours of travelling with seven different means of transportation, the first thing we did was turn on the phone-torch and give curious looks at the garden on all sides. Zucchini plants created a one-metre-and-a-half tall jungle, tagetes exploded in orange petals, and slugs got fatter than ever before. So instead of dropping our backpacks and go to bed, we started collecting slugs. Priorities.

Suddenly smaller
Every time I come back from holidays in Italy, it takes a little while to re-adjust to life here. I’ll never get over the fact that furniture is bigger in the Netherlands. Higher tables, higher cupboards, higher stoves. I suddenly feel smaller, and I’m glad that Wageningen friends came to visit me in my homeland so they could realise that when I say I grew up convinced of being tall I don’t lie, although they’ve been calling me ‘tiny’ for the past two years.

It felt like naturally unveiling something mysterious about me to both sides

Less two and more one
It was the first time someone from my world in Wageningen came to visit the place where I was born and raised in the South of Italy. These two parallel lives suddenly clashing and merging into one resulted in a surprisingly comfortable situation. It felt like naturally unveiling something mysterious about me to both sides, revealing my other half to those that knew only one of my two selves. Some knots were unravelled in this simple process, and I’m less two and more one, just spread a bit, maybe just geographically bigger.

Being elsewhere for someone all the time does not feel like absence nor distance anymore. Because it’s not about uprooting oneself and transplanting. It’s about a forest that grows from the same tree; it’s about stretching one’s reach, enlarging one’s sight. It takes time to make peace with one’s personal betrayals, because there’s no betrayal at all – just constant expansion and evolution. And it doesn’t matter how far we get and how different we start to think: the temperament of our family will follow us forever.

When we got off the plane in the Netherlands, the air smelled like trees and the temperature was unexpectedly warm. A subtle forest smell accompanied our return till the gates of Droevendaal and made the bitter-sweetness of ending holidays a bit sweeter and a bit less bitter. It feels like the time is right and the place is just a matter of scale.