Hi, my name is Eva!
I grew up in the city of Sofia – the capital of the oldest country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since its establishment, where we speak and write in the oldest Slavic language in the worlds – Bulgaria.
Nowadays, Sofia looks more like a true European capital, but you can still find easily the traces of the Soviet regime, which supposedly finished some 30 years ago.
But my thought this time is not about Sofia per se, but rather what Sofia lacks to a considerable extent, that I’ve found so essential for my living – water! Yes, the city is full of variable size fountains and artificial lakes, and in the vicinity, there are plenty of natural water resources too (rivers, lakes, small waterfalls). But being inland, the city does not have sea for about 300km in every direction. Nor does it have a river flowing through the city, like London, Paris, Budapest, Belin or Gent etc.
During the two years I’ve lived in Helsinki, Finland – my most favourite city in the world out of home, I’ve came to realise how much I need a relatively big body of water where I live. While the Baltic sea at that part is rather calm and much like a giant lake, I grew loving it so much, that i’d spend at least on day of the week at the very shore, or somewhere where I had direct (and wide) view to the water and numerous islands of the archipelago.
I grew needing the water when I was sad, when I was happy, when I needed to concentrate and when I needed to just be and let go of all the things that needed letting go. Some research has shown that indeed – water in cities increases the wellbeing of people living there (a story retold by The Guardian).
And while I’ve only lived in a city near water for only 6,45% of my life so far, I realised that if I could, I’d do almost anything to live in a place where there’s water “flowing” near enough. Now I live in Brussels – they covered the river passing the city for hygienic reasons so I can’t sit next to the Zenne’s shore and proverbially let my troubles flow with the water. Which is why I try some of the smaller artificial ponds around. Like the one of the picture, in the Park Leopold, or the lakes at Flagey and Bios de la Cambre.
I’m hoping to buy a house soon – top priority is a garden, and a second-top priority (like in co-first authors in a scientific publication) – is having the water near by!
What do you need to have in your city or the place you live to be content?