I’m sitting in the California Coffee Company near Kálvin tér, in Budapest. I come here to have my morning latte, and to use the free wifi. The latte here is very strong, the strongest I’ve ever had. A Starbucks latte is not in the same category.
I haven’t posted for a long time, partly because I’ve been so busy and partly because my life feels as though it’s in such turmoil right now. Have you ever had times in your life when you’ve felt as though you’re in transition? Well, that’s where I am right now, only I don’t know where I’m in transition to. I know where I’ve come from: finishing my PhD, moving into the city. Changing my life in a fundamental way. I remember what it felt like before that, while I was still finishing the PhD: the sense of stasis, as though I could not get out. The stillness, and the desperation that accompanied it. And now I’m in the storm, it’s not still anymore. Only, I don’t know where this particular craft is sailing. There’s new land somewhere, but I have no idea where it is or what it will look like.
These thoughts were prompted in part by looking in the mirror this morning. It was the hall mirror in my grandmother’s apartment, and it had been there since I was a child. Which means that when I was four years old, I looked in that mirror. Who could ever have imagined, then, that I would be back, at this age? Looking into that mirror again, so different and yet that little girl, all grown up. I could never have predicted my own life.
Which means that I probably can’t predict what’s going to happen either, even in the next year.
But right now I’m sitting here, having just drunk my latte and feeling a little shaky (it’s so strong, and I’ve been up since 4:00 a.m. Budapest time, because the birds at dawn are so loud). I thought I would post some pictures of the apartment. If you want to see more pictures of my trip, go look at my Facebook page. I’m posting a bunch of them there.
So first, let’s walk down the street. Do you see the coffee shop on the right? That’s where I am right now.
We enter the apartment building through this corridor, large enough to admit carriages (which may be what it did at one time). It leads to a central courtyard, but we’re going to go up the stairs.
They are stone stairs, and have looked exactly the same since I was a child. Getting my suitcase up them was probably the hardest part of my entire trip! (Of course, I was exhausted by then. I hadn’t slept all night.)
Let’s pause in the hall and take a picture of me in the mirror. Yes, this is the hall mirror that caused such introspection.
And here we are. The apartment is furnished exactly the way it was when my grandmother was living here. (She died several years ago.) Sometimes I think about how beautiful it could be, with those high ceilings. It’s not beautiful now, but it’s nice to be back here.
This morning, I called the shuttle company and reserved my shuttle to the airport tomorrow, when I’m heading to London. I will spend a week there, and then go to Oxford, then Glastonbury, then a small village called Chagford in Devon. Whenever I complain, and I certainly do complain, I remind myself how fortunate I am to have the life I do, to be able to do the things I do. There are things I want that I don’t currently have: safe harbor is one of them. But I think they’ll come? I just have to wait. And hope.