English song title, ‘In order to be happy, I want a truck.’
‘You’re the least patriotic person I’ve ever met.’
I take a sip from the steaming fennel and mint tea and look at my friend who I met in Pret.
‘Mm-hmm,’ is all I manage to reply before I start running after my mind, that has decided to ramble down memory lane to find relevant and recent evidence of my still existing emotional support of Austria. A few hundred meters later, I saw …
1. Taste of the Alps Week, when unaware of this exciting fact, I entered my local Lidl. Nostalgia didn’t hit me hard – bang! boom! bang! – when I discovered packets of Austrian sliced sausages and hams in the refrigerated cabinet, but I did grab, albeit mistakingly, a fellow happy shopper’s arm and pointed frantically at some pink boxes of wafers that sat on a shelf near the freezers, shouting ‘Mannerschnitten!! I can’t believe it. They have Mannerschniiitteeennn!’ I was surprised to hear a friendly ‘Ah, they look nice,’ from a smiling lady with Eastern European accent, who didn’t mind that I’d grabbed the wrong arm.
‘Why don’t you buy some ?’ I heard patient partner’s calm voice from my other side, clearly oblivious of the mixed-up arm affair.
‘Na, not really interested’ I replied quickly. And that was that.
The following day, early evening.
‘Gerdiiitaaa, there are ten packets of that Austrian meat selection in the fridge…um, and six 4-packs of Mannerschnitten in the kitchen cupboard!’
2. Euro Cup 2016. I watched Austria vs Portugal. I have to add that I’m not at all an overly enthusiastic football lover, despite the fact that I’ve been a longstanding member of la peña de Atletico de Madrid of Belmonte de Campos. In fact, I did not have a choice but to join the club when its chairman Luis shouted excitedly, ‘Somos INTERNACIONALES,‘ thrusting a red and white membership card firmly into my hands.
So, after Austria’s second qualifying game my voice was hoarse for a couple of days thanks to all the cheering. What amazing result…0-0 for those who are interested.
3. ‘The’ truck. Late morning last Friday, before walking into the office for the usual language training sessions…
Alas, homeland! Sweet homeland!
How strange is this sigh,
Fifty yards from my
I see a truck stuck
near St. Lawrence church in a narrow lane.
It sure looks impressive:
High sides almost touching
the adjoining building
that’s raised in the City.
A few steps later
I startle and scurry back,
to fish out my phone
from its protective sleeve
and take a picture of
its registration plate: A‘s the Country
Then a double L,
three numbers, two letters –
my birthplace, even
homeland? Now I realise it still is,
and look for the driver to ask how he is.