2014 Grateful 35

It’s been two hours and my face is still the colour of a two-year-old tantrum-thrower. It’s quite horrific. And I doubt that I’ll have the full use of my right arm until Thursday at least. No – it’s not embarrassment that has me this way – few things cause me to blush apart from social indiscretions and boorish behaviour – and anyway, blushes fade quickly. Nor is it the results of a bad facial or too much time in the sun (or on a sunbed). This state of red-facedness can be attributed in its entirety to exercise.

badmintonYes, exercise. Badminton in fact. It’s been years since I’ve taken up a racket and attempted to send a shuttlecock into orbit. And I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it. I hate exercise with a passion approaching a religious fervour. Gyms, treadmills, running tracks – I can’t be arsed. But chasing around a court after a piece of rubber-tipped plastic – that seems to makes sense.

I’d heard vague whispers about badminton in Budapest but other than scope out a few courts, I did little about it. I needed someone to go with me. To take me there. And hopefully that someone would have an extra racquet.

Out and about on Friday night, badminton came up randomly in a conversation and by Saturday noon, it was sorted. Hodos Tamás Tollaslabda Csarnok is in the hundreds out on Váci út – probably accessible by the 96, 196, and 204 (all buses I’ve never seen before). It has ten courts and both indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Prices are reasonable and on Sundays you can play for as long as you like from 1pm to 5pm for 1000 ft. Mind you, ‘as long as you like’ today translated into 45 mins. But next time, I’ll be better.

I had difficulty in getting my legs to move my body to where my brain knew it should be (delayed motion). I had trouble in deciding whether the shuttlecock would actually make it over the net or not (wasted motion). And I had that lazy gene that kicked in every now and then with a ‘can’t be bothered’ (no motion at all). But next time, I’ll be better.

synchronicityThis week, as the results of my sleep test showed only a mild form of sleep apnea (I only wake myself up about seven times an hour – nothing to be concerned about) I’m grateful that I’ve rediscovered a form of exercise that I actually enjoy. I’m grateful, too, for the random conversations that happen just when you need them to, for the opportunities that are there for the taking, and for that lovely thing called synchronicity that pulls it all together. Ta Ms L. Much obliged.


2013 Grateful 40

I’ve had a series of peculiar things happen lately. In Munich airport last week, I picked up my phone to send an SMS to check on dinner plans that night in Budapest. Before I could type a letter, it beeped with an incoming SMS asking me that very same question. A couple of days later, I again picked up my phone to text a reminder to send contact details I needed. Again, it beeped before I could put finger to button and the message? The phone number I needed.

Fair enough. These things happen. I’ve been known to addle a few minds by answering unspoken questions.  This time though, I was on the receiving end. And both involved the same person. Perhaps I’m being oversensitive or am overexposed. Had it ended there, I’d have thought no more of it except perhaps to suggest he add some basic form of telepathy to an already accomplished list of accomplishments.

teaI went to make a cup of tea during the week and found the tea caddy empty. No Barry’s! All I’d left was a drawer of funny-flavoured teas and I wasn’t quite that desperate. As I was dealing in childlike fashion with my disappointment, the doorbell rang. And there stood the postman, parcel in hand. In it? Some Barry’s Tea from the lovely Messes Stein and Nugent. Timing or what?

In Prague on Thursday, wandering the streets, I wondered fleetingly where O’Ché’s pub might be. I’d heard MH & Co talking about it and was vaguely curious to see it. Not curious enough to look up the address beforehand, mind you, but curious enough, nonetheless.  I turned a corner and there it was, as if manifested by magic.

The lovely LN on her last trip to Budapest had mentioned a ceramic phenomenon called the Prague Ladies. I couldn’t remember where she’d found them or which end of what bridge they were on. On Friday evening,  as I reached the top of the steps to Charles Bridge, I went for my phone to text and ask. Just before I pressed the send button, I looked up into a shop window and there they were…

It seems as if things just keep on happening as I need them to happen. You’ll know, of course, that I am in Prague this weekend for a reason. I scattered Lori’s ashes from the Bridge on Friday and cried myself silly. Then, I got back to the flat we’d rented and logged on to find a host of messages from friends sending me good thoughts (thank you all). In amongst them was an e-mail that said: ‘I feel that Lori wants you to know this …..’ addressed to me as ‘Hey Girl’ – just as she would have done herself.

I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today
While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.

At the end of what has been a week of high highs and low lows, I’ve decided to stop questioning why these things are happening. Call it synchronicity or whatever… labels don’t mean as much as they used to.  I prefer to think of it as a guiding hand from heaven. And that thought alone will surely confirm the madness for some 🙂

Note: For a reminder of what the Grateful series is about, check out Grateful 52

2013 Grateful 41

glassI can bitch and moan with the best of them. Depending on the day that’s in it and the mood I’m in, it’s either glass half-full, glass half-empty, or simply a case of too much glass. So when a steady stream of people started commenting recently on how well I’m looking or how happy I seem or that something about me is different, the self-deprecation default switch kicks on and I find myself wondering exactly how drab and dreary I was before.

Before what, you might well ask. Not that I’m going to answer… and not out of contrariness either, mind you. It could be one of many recent changes in my life or a combination of two or three or indeed of all of them. Or it could simply be a growing understanding of just how lucky I am to be live where I live (despite the insane political situation), to work at what I do (despite the ridiculous hours I sometimes put in), and to have such a fascinating coterie of friends.

Earlier this year, in February, I went to Las Palmas.  Not from any great desire to see the place again but because I sought, paid for, and then had to listen to the advice of an astrologer. Something in my life needed to change. I needed all the help I could get and I wasn’t too particular about from whence it came! I was fortunate in that he told me that were I to present myself in Las Palmas at 8.39 pm on 2 February,  every aspect of my life would improve over the course of the next six months.

Now some I told thought me mad. For others it just confirmed the madness. For me I thought – why not! And since then, whatever the planetary alignment did to change the energy in my life, the balance has shifted and indeed, by all accounts, I’m positively glowing.

I’ve noticed a strange domino effect lately, too, whereby ye olde adage of one good turn begets another has kicked in. I was helping a mate (A) find some work using what contacts I have. And then this mate thought that they might be able to help another mate of mine (B) out in the same vein. And then it turns out that (B) was in a position to do a favour for third mate (C)… such linear synchronicity is just lovely when it happens. Perhaps it’s because I’m in a more positive frame of mind that I’m noticing these things. Or perhaps it’s because, set against the worsening political situation in Hungary (has anyone been reading the testimonies at the US Helsinki Commission’s hearing on Hungary?) these types of simple good deeds are more noticeable.

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In any event, as I sit in my hotel room in Malta, overlooking St Julian’s Bay, after yet another successful, energetic, and inspiring Modern Diplomacy Workshop (which, coincidentally, was the subject of my 2012 Grateful 41, and has forever changed the way I look at brown sugar!), I am grateful for the turn that my life has taken, for those in it (both long-term residents and those new to the world of MMMM), and for having the wherewithal to be able to do what I do and to enjoy doing it.

Note: For a reminder of what the Grateful series is about, check out Grateful 52