‘Tis the season…

It’s snowing in Budapest. It’s like living in a fairy tale. Beautiful. And bloody cold! Temperatures today hit -7 C. God be with my Alaskan days when I would have considered that positively balmy! My blood has thinned and I’m older now – I’m feeling the cold.

But as I look out my window at the snow-covered trees of Ulloi út, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love loving here. I love my flat, my friends, my work, my life. I couldn’t ask for anything more… well… maybe just one thing, but that would be telling!

Assuming the planes are flying tomorrow, I’ll be winging my way home to Ireland. I still consider it home strangely enough and I wonder how long that will continue. Our choice of words can be quite telling. The last time I was home, I spoke of going back to Budapest. Never of going home to Budapest. Remember when I thought that buying a flat would settle me? Would give me roots? It has, in a way, but not in the way I imagined. Although I feel very much at home here, the Irish in me will always win out.

I’m happy; happier than I’ve been in a lot of places. There’s an energy in this city that makes you climb out of your box and do things. It makes you want to try stuff. It makes you get off your arse and get out there.  Despite the ups and downs medical wise , this year has been a great one for me. The speech slam is up and running and going from strength to strength. I’ve given a number of public presentations, competed internationally and have even tried my hand at stand-up comedy. My Carrie Bradshaw dream has been resussicated in the form of a bi-weekly newspaper column. Through the ministrations of the indubitable GM, my podcasts are publishing regularly and are slowly taking root. Although failing miserably, I even auditioned for a couple of voice-overs. I’ve gotten out of the city and into the countryside taking road trips towards the Ukraine and Slovakian borders. My voluntary work with the ESR has taken me to Slovenia, the Czech Republic,  and Belgium. I’ve visited Slovakia, Spain, Wales and England. Visitors still continue to drop by for extended weekends and I get great satisfaction from showing them my city.

I’ve met lots of interesting people from all walks of life. Can you believe that I now network! Me, whose worst nightmare took the form of a conference coffee break. Hey, I even started exercising and scarier still…I enjoy it! My Hungarian is much better than my Russian (which is non-existent). I’ve laughed and cried; I’ve been angry and sad; I’ve been fortunate and unfortunate. But most of all, I’ve lived. My needs are few, my wants even fewer. I am truly blessed. 2009 was a great year. 2010 is shaping up to be even better. I can’t explain it, but I can feel it in my waters. I have no idea what’s in store, or where I’ll be this time next year, but no matter. It’s the journey that counts and this one is going to be a good one!

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Nollaig shona daoibh go léir

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