The Absolutely Last

This is the absolutely last blog entry before we take off on the Lufthansa flight today for Frankfurt, then to Johannesburg, but it has to be done. My fantastic LP 3 students insisted that I have one more coffee with them before departing, so I carved an hour out of the stress filled days of planning, packing, and preparing to meet with them yesterday. As it turned out, it was good therapy for a number of reasons. The day before, I had problems with paying bills online, one of the documents I had scanned for next semester had to be done over completely, the “To Do” list kept growing instead of shrinking. Conversely, my nerves kept shrinking, not growing. I needed an hour of pure socialization.
We met at California Coffee Company. Seven of them were able to make it. We shared stories of Christmas and I was asked to retell stories of my childhood celebrations, which I did giving the versions from early childhood to later ones. They shared stories of their holiday celebrations too, which enriched the conversation, learning more about each other than classroom time ever allows. Best of all, we had lots of laughter, always the best medicine for stress. The last story was perhaps the best, as I was about to leave, Imola had a confession. She somehow thought that we had class today; consequently, leaving a present they had for me at home last Thursday. This was the urgent need to meet with me today. They presented me with a pink crepe paper package with a purple ribbon and wire decoratively holding it together. The wrapping looked like a swan, but I had no clue what it could possibly be. To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement. It was a bowl by a ceramicist who I have loved since first coming to Hungary. We have bought many of her pieces of work for gifts, but have never bought one for ourselves. It always seemed like an indulgence we could not rationalize at any moment in time, but always made the promise that ‘some day…’ I was given a beautiful bowl with the colors and style that I would definitely have chosen myself. It could not have been more perfect. I was so taken aback, it was astonishing. Usually, in instances like this, I start bawling like a child and I actually felt it trying to push its way out of my tear ducts. I think the fact that we were in a café allowed me to have some control. Coincidently, two weeks ago, I was thinking about American Christmas ribbon candy and how traditional that was growing up. The other present they gave me was a little metal box with ribbon candy in it. It was amazingly perfect. After thanking them sincerely for the gifts, Balazs and I ran back to my place, I walking a light lighter than earlier in the day. Balazs had to run to ELTE’s main campus and took Ron with him to have some papers signed. I grabbed some Euros, ran to the currency exchange to change enough to pay for our annual transportation passes. This year, the cost was 80,850 Huf each. That was 660 Euros, a big chunk of change. I made it to BKV at 3:31 and they close at 3:30, but I snuck in and bought them. The guard was standing at the door to unlock the door for me and let me out, locking the door behind me. We had translating for Balazs to do, so he stayed on when he returned with Ron and then joined us to meet up with Fulbrighters at the Christmas Market. There, we had a cup of hot wine, then continued to Govinda’s, a vegetarian restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we all went to the laser light painting show that was on display. They do this outstanding light show on the walls of buildings and on the ground. It is truly amazing and artistic. The artist is a woman named Dóra Oröm and the show will be on display until January 1st. It was a
spectacular event, an incredible day fill with great people and a wonderful start to aholiday season and our trip.Photos by Ron.
Happy Holidays to all and a Healthy, Prosperous, Educational New Year.

1 Comment

  1. to my favorite buda boys: safe travels and enjoy your holiday break! I’m just back from West Africa – Togo and Ghana. Only 2 near death experiences and lots of sweating. jealously missing you and my beloved Bp. all my love, Linda Huang-McCullough

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