“Would you like to read here?” the nice lady at the university library asked. Frankly, I would love to be asked this question more often, and the answer would generally be yes. I want to read everywhere. But I especially wanted to read in the beautiful library I had been eyeing on social media for a while now — and which I’m glad I was brave enough to ask about until I found it. Nobody mocked me for inquiring shamelessly about “the pretty library I saw on Instagram.” In fact, several people, including parking attendants, students, then university staff, helped me locate it. Then they helped me take out a library card so that I could indeed sit in the beautiful room and read.
Another landmark I had been admiring on social media and which I wanted to see is the beautiful Belle Epoque mansion in my drawing above. It was recently lovingly restored and it looks amazing.
The city itself is bursting with energy, traffic, and people. It has grown tremendously. Counting the suburbs its population is now 4 million people (with almost as many vehicles, much to everyone’s horror). Without the suburbs it’s about 2.5 million, which is still a lot – and still involves more cars than there should be.
The city feels both familiar and foreign to me. I know how to find my way around its center, but there are new things everywhere. Or old things I probably passed by a million times without discovering them, such as the beautiful library.
Jet lag has been a bit vile, as usual, but I’ve been walking around and enjoying myself. There are still more things I want to see – and yes, some of them are things I’ve seen on Instagram. I pride myself with having a very well-curated feed.