If Tuesday’s kisses on the cheek made me realize that this town is becoming more comfortable with me, yesterday showed me that I am becoming more comfortable with it. For once, dear readers, I am happy to report that everything went right:

Both subway trains came right as we walked up to the platform, so despite having left the house late, we arrived at lunch just as Gabe’s colleagues were sitting down to eat.

I negotiated the trip from Gabe’s work to my hairdresser’s without incident — and without getting rained on. (The lack of rain really helps things, especially my mood!)

I even got there early, so I stopped in to the store next door, where I admired a long necklace with chunks of colored stone set between big rings of silver. When I asked its price, it turned out everything in the store was on sale. The man took first 20% off, then lowered it even further, so I got a beautiful necklace for 13 euros, or about $20.

The hairdresser once again did a great job, dying my hair so dark that it’s almost black, but will fade to a dark brown with a few washes. Just the other day, I was looking at old pictures and wishing for dark hair again. Now presto! It’s back. What’s more, it cost literally half of what I pay at home.

I got out earlier than I’d expected, and walked back down to the other metro station, across the famous railway bridge that it took me so long to find last time. This time I found it without incident and crossed confidently, knowing exactly where I was going and how to get there. As I did so, I looked out over the tracks and the buildings beyond, all lit in the soft afternoon sunlight, which is glorious to see after so many weeks of clouds and rain. I thought to myself, “I’ve beaten you this time, railroad tracks. This place is mine.”

Once again, the train arrived just as I got to the platform, and I swooped right in without even breaking stride. When I came back up to the street at the other end, I took a deep breath of the cool clear air, and looked around myself at the still-bare trees lining the boulevard. I was — wait for it — happy. More than that, I was content: with myself, with where I am, with what I’m doing.

Back in November, I crossed some invisible line between being miserably homesick and accepting that I was no longer at home. Now I think I am crossing the next one, which lies between mere acceptance of where I am and feeling like that place is home. Finally, living here is starting to feel like less of a constant uphill battle. I for one could not be happier with this trend, and very much hope that it lasts.

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