Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Nottingham by Galena Sossin-Arbatow

This is an unabridged version of the contribution to the NRHP Exhibition

by Galena Sossin-Arbatow

When I came to Nottingham in the middle of Dec 2006, I didn't know, what Notts had to offer, what I needed to experience, to enjoy, to let go of and which gifts were waiting for me to be picked up along my way....

Life started with LiNkNotts and a lift. A lift to a walking group, a young dyke in her Smart-car, a very early and cold Sunday morning the following March. And the laughing and exchanging and talking until you're dizzy still goes on today...even if some woods and the channel are between us.

Overall it was only 6 months of this life, packed and full of walking groups, very silly home parties, coffee & cakes in Sunday pubs, being observed as the 'lesbians' - look at their hair!.

Dance nights at NICHE, dancing wild and being drunk from fizzy water with blackcurrant juice and the black eyes of the waitress...arts and poems...

And PINK parties with monthly themes - so many lesbians - so many Sarahs - do you remember the Salsa course? Very funny…all these hips…

And the Switchboard, LGB helpline twice a month, trying to support the gay community. Good chats with colleagues about being out, work and gay history. Happy and meaningful times.

Same as our walks in Wollaton Park, which is the perfect environment to stroll around, discuss, shout, laugh, or cry. The woods don't mind. The dogs neither. Only the deer run.

Clarendon College's hair department cutting my hair every 14 days. Funny to encourage the young and sometimes beautiful girls to go for it. Yes, clippers. No. 2 in the back and along the sides, No. 4 on top. They were shaking- not because of me - but because of the excitement of first hand clipper-use.

Not to forget the Cinema with their ongoing movies on the walls. Gay friendly and you still get the important gay papers there.

Besides, I was living in a Buddhist Centre, cooking daily lunch. And I was looking for a job. My friends were looking for a girlfriend for me - tell me, is there any woman in this room you fancy? There wasn't. I wasn’t really bothered.

A study fell through and it felt urgent to go home. To Germany. Which I did beginning of September. Lots of tears and good-bye parties made me feed loved up and missed.

8 months later I came over again. For a week. Feeling familiar, but visiting. The places, the people. No searching for home, job, girlfriend. Again lots of laughing and chatting and cooking with my friends. A writing exercise in the Sapphist writing group. This is our member from Germany.

The waves of good-bye shadowing our times, making it more precious. Another walk, another good-bye party. So much laughter and love.

They came over last December, my Smartie and her girlfriend. 4 days of reconnecting. Thank you LinkNotts, thank you.

© Galena Sossin-Arbatow

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