Place and Memory.
I have two separate memories of every place I’ve been to — one geographical, the other emotional. I have excellent geographical memory, which is one of the traits that I am very proud of. That is something I’ve noticed a long time ago — it’s enough for me to be at the particular place once to form a clear and persistent memory of it. Like last year, when I visited a site of a summer camp I went to numerous times as a kid and a teen (sadly it’s now built up as a high-class hotel and spa). Even though all surroundings had changed in the thirty years since I was there last time, I remembered paths through the forest and was able to find the place easily. That is my strong point, and it seems to actually get sharper as I get older. My mind creates a map of all I see in a geographical sense that stays with me forever, no matter if streets were changed (or new ones created), if buildings are different now, or if there is a housing development where there used to be a forest — I recognize all from my memory, and I am able to adjust that internal map with new features for the future.
I went on a trip to Bielsk Podlaski today (a town of 25,000 people in a rural area about 45 km from where I live now), I lived there for 4 years when I had my previous job nearby. It was pouring down, so I only went for a short walk around the center and went to see a house where I lived for four years (I rented the downstairs apartment there). A lot of memories came back to me — about that particular apartment and the town. Some good, most of them bad. Nothing against the town (a little dull though) and the apartment (a little run down though) — I was going through a bad time in my life then and was lost as a person. But, I lived there for four years and that will always stay with me. During that time, I met three people at work who were very dear and important to me. Even though we no longer are in touch, I still remember them and think about them once in a while. I remember how they helped me and cared about me. And that is something that will stay with me as an emotional memory forever. Piotr, Amanda, and Barbara — thank you, I hope you are doing well, and I will always remember how good and understanding you were for me when I needed companionship and a good word.