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After 4 years, Budapest welcomed Claire and I back with a big, sunny Hungarian hug. With happy tears in our eyes we got on the metro from the airport in Budapest and soaked up the wonderful sound of the voice through the speakers telling us-  in Hungarian-  the names of the next stops. After dropping off our stuff at the hostel, the first thing we did was take the 4/6 tram to our old ‘hood, Blaha Lujza tér, and as we got off the tram it was like we had never left. We walked down to 16 Nyár útca where we felt an overwhelming urge to go up to our old apartment and snuggle up on our velvet couch to watch Euro VH1… if only we could’ve remembered the code to get in…

Although my tea house is now a sports bar (tragic), just about everything else is the same in our lovely city. My first meal was a gyro from the turk food restaurant window, and then Claire and I pretty much just ate our way through Budapest for the next three days. Csigas at the market, crepes in Buda, Hungarian wine and picnic on Margaret Island, paprikas csirke and gulyás leves at Kék Rózsa… we were never hungry in Hungary, let me just put it that way.

We are probably a little bias, having lived here 4 years ago for a semester, but we cannot think of a more beautiful city than Budapest. The history of its people, the architecture, the food… it’s all indescribably beautiful. And the best part of this trip was that it was so relaxing and comfortable. We knew how to get to everything, where everything was, and we felt so at home. And to top it off, Szabi and Jen, two people who were in our study abroad program with us in 2006, are living in Budapest at the moment and made the time to hang out with us for lunch and drinks Tuesday evening at the coolest bar around the corner from our old apartment that we never knew about but wish we had- Szimpla. The whole trip was perfect. Perfect weather which allowed Claire and I to wear dresses (without sweaters OR tights!) and delicious food for CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP and a lovely, nostalgic visit with old friends. Maybe no one else besides Claire and the other 2o people who studied with us that semester will ever be able to understand just how amazing this city is. But that’s alright I suppose. It’s a gem.

I’ve recently realized something. In being worried that going home would equate to me failing somehow, I’ve realized that ‘home’ is not just one place. I have homes in many places and in many people. The Woodlands is what I think of first when I think of home because I have lived here for 19 years. College Station is also my home where I learned to whoop and gig ’em. Edinburgh is another one of my homes, where I spent countless hours on cobblestone roads eatting curry and listening for the bagpipes. And in my recent trip back to Budapest, I’ve seen that city as my home as well. Four places. Each with memories and familiarity and comforts. So I have not failed in coming ‘home’. Whatever voice inside me that tells me this- is not making sense, so will henceforth be ignored. I have lived many places and done many things that not everyone gets the chance to do and so I am alright with this, with coming home. However, since this blog is about my life in Edinburgh, this will be the last entry. I dinnae ken when I’ll be back to Scotland, but from inside the Edinburgh airport yesterday I watched the city blanketed in clouds and rain and Claire concluded the city was crying for me leaving. I liked this, and so I think perhaps I’ll have to go back someday, just so that our last encounter did not end in tears.

Thank you for reading this! It was nice to have someone to share it with.

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sushi party.

 

 

 

 

Don’t you wish you had a Japanese flatmate to invite you to homemade sushi parties? 

 

Mariko’s pretty much amazing. She also makes me earrings for my birthday, so really, it’s perfectly alright to be jealous.

Since January, my classmates and I have been working on putting together a curated exhibition for our final postgraduate project. So voila!

“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” – L.P. Hartley

We worked so unbelievably hard to formulate a coherent theme for this exhibition and then find relevant artists that would be able to bring our theme into fruition. Each of us had a different role we were in charge of: marketing, finance, gallery management, education, art design, etc. I was in charge of creative writing. My main contribution was our exhibition’s catalogue. I wrote 3 short stories illustrating our theme’s concept, which also became our audio tour of the gallery. Let me just say, when I first heard Rocca’s English accent and her friend’s Scottish articulation coating the words of my stories as they read them aloud, I got tears in my eyes.

The show opened Friday night and was a massive success. SO many people turned up- fellow students, showcased artists, our tutors, mothers, fathers, babies… There were times when I would just stand in a corner of the gallery and look around and above me at all the groups of people

talking and laughing together

leaning on the upper balcony railing quietly observing

interacting with the artworks.

I wish you were here in Edinburgh so I could show you around. I myself want to go in one day this week and spend a few hours in the space as I haven’t had the chance yet to have the full gallery viewing experience.

Now, I may be a wee bit bias, but this show is hella fantastic.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

"beacon", thomson & craighead, 2005

works by lorna macintyre and david raymond conroy

 

"dance, dance, dance", stuart david fallon, 2010

"musique d'ameublement", raydale dower, 2010

“fragment”, ailsa lochhead, 2010

Il fait si beau ce soir. Je peux voir la lune.

My window is cracked open and I can see exactly half of the moon. French music makes me homesick for Paris. If it is possible to be homesick for a place you only spent five days in… je pense que c’est possible.

The cool summer air (yes ‘cool’… be jealous) comes in through the open window and I feel the inconsolable urge to fill up the last remaining pages in my notebook. As well, my pen decides to expire with the pages and start to run out of ink.

I read just a few days ago that some writers write to prevent their experiences from disappearing and being forgotten. (or something more poetic than that) Perhaps that’s what I am afraid of as well. So here. I share this with you.

affirmation.

I think too much. It’s true. I think so much that my head can’t contain all my thoughts and so they usually spill out onto pages, onto keyboards, into eardrums until other people too come to see that I think too much. I would say 90% of my time here in Scotland I have spent thinking. For anyone who has been away from home for more than a few months, you will know too that what you left behind of yourself eventually finds you again with time. Set out to reinvent my life I have only discovered I cannot paint myself. Things that make me ME come from unexpected experiences, discoveries, circumstances… Perhaps opening up the curtains after 4 days stuck in my sickbed has made me appreciate myself and my world more. I could learn a lot from this little girl:

Ultimately, life is silly. It is silly to be scared of meeting new people. It is silly to judge people. It is silly to be practical.

I am aiming for an approval of my younger self from my older self. When I near the end of my life, I do not want to kick myself  for not seeing things in the right way. Just imagine yourself 50 years from now… do you want to regret not doing things because at the time they seemed impractical? I don’t. No ma’am.

Music can often put things in perspective.

The past was once the present, you know. It’s comforting to think how similar they are. There were once people just like us who had the same problems, the same questions. Then they got older, received answers to their questions and saw the reasons for things happening the way they did. There was wisdom and hopefully, clarity.

To affirm that life is what it is, it goes, it ends, and then new life begins.

And in between, there’s big band music.

snip n sip

pre-snippage

Pretty much since we moved here, Ali and I have been dying to get our haircut at the Snip N Sip. I have had the business card tacked on my wall for months and months. Since Ali is leaving in a few weeks, and since the accumulation of hair in my shower drain is getting ridiculous, we decided to bite the bullet and make the appointment so we could finally check it off our list. After a few wee coffees in the Forest cafe we shuffled next door and met Magda, our Polish hair designer for the afternoon, who promptly offered us two shots of honey vodka. “Na zdrowie!” She told us of her humble beginnings cutting hair in the stairwells of hostels and of her many Edinburgh Fringe Festival lovers and her yacht and her tree house. She snipped, we sipped, and then Ali and I took our sexy selves to the mosque kitchen for some sag aloo and rice and then parted ways. Ali and her flirty bangs strolled off back to her flat as I rambled home only to happen upon a spontaneous parade coming from the Meadows. I’m still not sure what we were celebrating, but I enjoyed the drums and flutes nonetheless.