In Amsterdam, about to board my plane to Budapest. So many emotions all at once -- it's been so long.
Wrote the above three weeks ago. Haven't been able to access the internet since -- my laptop seems to have a mind of its own and having forgotten my password isn't helping.
Anyway, my third week in Hungary and I still can't believe I was actually born here -- in such a perfectly beautiful country. Overwhelming is the only word that comes to mind when attempting to describe the many things I am feeling.
Budapest -- I think this was the night I landed. To be honest, these last three weeks have been but a blur, and an intense blur at that. Definitely consuming it all faster than I can digest it and that's just fine by me. I feel so at home here.
Couldn't sleep the first night or stop staring at my favorite bridge (Chain Bridge). There are about 10 bridges connecting Buda and Pest (and the islands) and honestly, with a view of the Danube who wants to sleep.
I get to speak Hungarian here which I love. Such a great language. My family is rather international though -- I counted conversations being conducted in five different tongues at my father's birthday dinner two weeks ago. Two of them were only needed if you didn't happen to speak the other three. Sounds confusing I know. I only speak two languages fluently, plus two others embarrassingly poorly. My dad's Hungarian is virtually as good as a native's and my stepmother has learned it amazingly well too.
My friend Adri and I took a couple of trips down memory lane. We last saw each other in our teens. Never a dull moment with this fine lady, that's for sure. We pretty much picked up where we left off a million moons ago.
It doesn't look like much to the passersby, but this is the site of many skipped classes. Having lunch with Adri here, reminiscing over the good old days was one of my favorite highlights.
Then we stopped here for the night. I had such a good time road tripping with Adri. Really have to find the time to upload the rest of our photos. It's just that uploading photos doesn't seem nearly as exciting as spending time with my family and friends. I did however manage to spend the last hour or so scanning in a few old photos I haven't seen in a really long time.
Hard to believe it's November again and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
Then Christmas. Then another year, another Thanksgiving and on it goes and before you know it you're on the wrong side of 40, just like that. Or who knows, maybe the other side is the right side? …If you've been there let me know.
I had such a good dream last night. I was in Sweden and ran into Michelle and Helen at a mountain ski resort which I think was also doubling as a small airport (in my dream this somehow made sense). All three of us were in transit en route to somewhere, Helen to Cape Town, Michelle I think to SE Asia and me to Africa. We were having fondue and tea with brandy in it (again this made more sense in my dream) (it was real cold and dark) and soon there was an announcement that my plane was boarding. At my gate was Geoff, waiting for me and asking if I had his ticket and I was thinking to myself oh my god I never ever want to wake up from this dream. At which point of course I realized it was a dream and woke up.
I loathe waking up from dreams that have Geoff in them. It's like losing him all over again.
Gloomy way to start the day… but it is the Day of the Dead today after all.
When I was little, we always spent Nov 1 (Day of the Dead) going to the cemetery… autumn leaves and candles everywhere. We brought flowers to my mom's sister's grave every year, cleaned the leaves off her tomb and stood there silently while the candles burned down. She died two weeks before I was born and there is an old photo of my mom somewhere, 8 1/2 months pregnant at her sister's funeral. Years later, my mom would tell me that her sister was only 19 when the love of her life was killed in a crash… she followed him the next day and asked to be buried in his grave. That story used to give me the chills when I was a kid. Her name was Agnes.
I've never been to Odessa. Or anywhere in the Ukraine for that matter.
But of all places, that's where my mom and dad met, back in the day. Neither of them is from there but they happened to be living there at the same time. My mom got pregnant with me in Odessa but she had me in Hungary. Globe trotting seems to run in my family's genes in case you haven't noticed.
A few years after my mom died, my dad went back to Odessa, just for that bittersweet trip down memory lane. He fell in love again, with his now wife. Who is also n-o-t Ukrainian. No one in my family is Ukrainian but they all seem to gravitate there for some mysterious reason. And fall in love! It must be really beautiful there.
Ironically, Geoff's great-grandparents were from Odessa. They decided to come to America in search of a better life but when their boat dropped them off in Liverpool telling them it was New York, they couldn't tell the difference. I am guessing at some point they must have realized they were in England, decided to stay and that's how Geoff ended up being British for the first 13 years of his life.
My good friend Lucky's parents are Ukrainian.
What is it about the Ukraine?
Why does something Ukraine-related keep popping up everywhere I go?
I wanna go there.
EDIT: I think it's technically "Ukraine" not "the Ukraine" but for some reason it sounds funny to me without the "the". Weird.
If I had a Harley, I sure as hell would have taken it out this weekend. Maybe longer than the weekend. Maybe I'd just take Geoff and Smokey and only come back when I had enough.
I don't actually know how to ride a bike and and tattoos just don't seem to be my thing, but I am pretty sure there's a tough old biker trapped inside me somewhere who loves the open road, dirt and being dirty, boots, a low maintenance life style, truck stops and bonfires. You know, like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.