Saturday, 16 May 2009

Budapest - and what now?

I am reading this most delicious book called Wild: An elemental journey which a good friend of mine gave me when I told him about my fascination for the four elements. The book, in the very few pages I have read so far, and in particular below, captures so well a calling that I think most of us felt at some point in life and which made me want to set off and explore for some time.

“To me, humanity is not s stain on wilderness as some seem to think. Rather the human spirit is one of the most striking realizations of wildness. It is eccentrically beautiful as an ice crystal, as liquidly life-generous as water, as inspired as air. Kerneled up within us all, an intimate wildness, sweet as a nut. To the rebel soul in everyone, then, the right to wear feathers, drink stars and ask for the moon. For us all, the growl of the primal salute. For us all, for Scaramouche and Feste, for the scamp, tramp and artist, for the furious adolescent, the travelling player and the pissed of Gypsy, for the bleeding women, and for the man in suit who, his eyes kind and tired, gazing with sad envy at the hippie chick with the rucksack. For us all, every dawn, the lucky skies and the pipes. Anyone can hear them if they listen: our ears are sharp enough to it. Our strings are tuned to the same pitch as the earth, our rhythms are as graceful and ineluctable as the four quarters of the moon. We – every one of us – a force of nature, though sometimes it is necessary to relearn consciously what we have never forgotten; the truant art, the nomad heart. Choose your instrument, asking only: can you play it while walking?”

Last weekend just before taking off, I spent 2 full days in a forest in Devon. It made me feel very alive and happy being with the trees and learning more about how support the natural habitat. When I think back, the last time I spent some time in the forest was in Brazil and it feels to me that back then it was my first fragile and precious experience of nature being my teacher (at least in adult years) and I remember feeling bliss being surrounded by the forest and its richness, being held by untouched and untamed nature. It certainly set something off for me then, most likely even the seed to go away for some time and explore more of that.

So here I am now in Budapest. The first day was sunny, warm welcoming and it was a happy arrival same as any other first sunny day of holidays…while the whole trip started dawning on me, also the weather turned grey and surprisingly cold with a fresh breeze the last days. Overnight the temperature dropped from around 28 to very wet and yucky 15 degrees. With the cold outside I increasingly felt sense loneliness, the loss of just having left behind a wonderful community of friends, playmates and beloved ones who I share much enthusiasm, a somehow common journey with and who have supported me during all my recent randomness, inspirations and romantic excursions of life’s adventures.

Now that I am being here and weather same as my mood is turning back to normal I am looking forward to actually getting to know the country a bit better, learn more about Hungarian traditions storytelling, maybe even dances? I will look out for some woofing and try to grasp Hungarians identity as much as my own, somehow feeling home and still being a stranger here.

Everything takes more time than I am expecting – the first couple of days I spent my time setting myself up, organising a mountain bike, finding some NIA dance classes, a Hungarian sim, but also setting myself up with a framework for personal reflections (being a learning designer – I set myself with high expectations in finding the right structure to reflect and capture the experience). A bit driven by the desire to deconstruct myself, to become more aware of how I am spending my time, my attention, my money… and to help to sloooow down …to actually notice, like a lens that needs to be hold still for a long time to get the really sharp and pictures.

I am amazed and intrigued - once again - by the diversity of people here – Hungary indeed is a melting pot. Different cultures and ethnics are coming together (from very dark skinned and dark haired people, to light skinned ginger (as my father) or very blond ones, but also a large span of ideologies, social classes with an increasing gap between poor and rich as it seems. At least I seem to notice a lot more homeless people in the city.

There is a lot of creativity and energy. Similar to the power-to-the-people movements in the UK, there is a good community movement here, wonderfully created spaces like caf├ęs or city corners, newly planted trees with awareness raising commentaries, demonstrations to stop the arcade culture (malls) etc…I am still exploring and not speaking the language well enough certainly doesn’t help to dive in more fully.

What's next really is learning a bit more of the language day by day and get to know the country better...

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