There is this slow, almost sensual rhythm of life in Bucharest. I open my eyes in the morning and smile. For days in a row, the sun is shining at the window. No clouds in sight, just fluffy green trees on the ground, among blocks of flats and along car lanes. I walk to the kitchen barefoot, and make myself a Turkish style coffee.“What would you like to eat?” my mother asks. Feeding me is her number one priority. “I’ll just have coffee,” I say, taking the cup to the living room, and closing the door behind me. I turn on the stereo, but it shows no signs of life. It’s the cable again. For reasons unknown, my sister unplugs it in the evening. I plug it in, and the stereo comes back to life. My British boyfriend is amused by the kind of music they play on Romanian radio stations. “Too cheesy,” he says. But since when are Romanians ashamed to show their emotional side anyways? There is even a saying that “Romanians are born poets.” And, because my boyfriend is in Amsterdam, I feel less guilty of listening to cheesy music this morning. I also feel like smoking, so I light a cigarette. I rarely smoke in Amsterdam, yet the first thing I did when arriving in Bucharest was to buy a pack of cigarettes from the convenience store downstairs. I guess I already knew I would give in to the Southern European lifestyle. Sun is still up on the sky, I have no plans, I have the time, so there is absolutely no reason to rush. And I love not having to rush. But the city is calling me. This is, after all, my last day in Bucharest for the year. I will go for a walk no matter how high the temperatures. And so, comfortable and carefree, in my parents’ living room, with coffee, cigarettes, cheesy music on the radio, and the view of Bucharest at my window, I feel as if I have never lived anywhere else but here. And I could maybe persist in this illusion if it weren’t for the feeling I get – a mixture of loneliness and nostalgia – whenever I think of the people I know in Bucharest. There are, in fact, quite a few people I’d like to meet and talk to, but there is something preventing me from contacting them. I realise that my contribution to their lives is minimal, so why bother? The fact that I sometimes feel lonely in Bucharest makes me realise that I do have a life back in Amsterdam. So today I will go for a walk by myself, which is not exactly bad considering it’s the first time I have some time only for myself in the last ten days or so, since I arrived. And I don’t care about coffee hotspots and trendy lunch places. They mean nothing to me. What I am interested in each time I visit is a street, a block of flats, a theatre building, a bus stop, a fountain. It might sound strange, but these city elements have shaped my life, so my yearly pilgrimage to them is the least I can do. After all, this is my Bucharest, and it will continue to be so, year after year, even when all coffee hotspots and trendy lunch places would have long closed their doors.