What is your picture?

Today is a post in response to Marie from ‘Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer’, who found the idea from Jen of ‘Keep the Calm’. The challenge is to post a photograph of yourself (or something that represents you) which captures the ‘you’ of the past little while.

So this is my photograph. It’s so peaceful looking and calm, but in reality we were travelling across Hungary in the backseat of a car, and I was trying not to vomit from the motion sickness. Zsolt thought I looked pretty. 🙂 And I think so too, in my no-longer-nauseous reflection on the photograph.

But that’s not why I chose this photograph. The past six months . . . okay, the past NINE months (gag!) have been both wonderful and difficult. We are searching for ‘the big break’ in terms of careers & living on our own (cause yes, we’re still with my parents), feeling as though we haven’t settled, desperate, once again, to find a sense of home. And yet I am home with my family – something I’ve lacked for many years. We can get together for dinner, go for tea, share a beautiful day . . .

Both wonderful and difficult. All the while, I’m there in the back of that car waiting for resolution. With little bursts of success like my freelancing (at the detriment to my creative writing) and Zsolt’s consulting, we move forward. We are moving forward. I am saturated in the family I’ve been missing so much. Things are good. Things are a little hard.

But what you don’t know is at the end of this car ride we pulled up to a home where there were dogs in the yard, pigs in the pen, chicken running round, and a family with open hearts and tables filled with food. The good stuff exists (and much of it is already here), so I can tolerate this ‘ in-between’ness, because I’m certain it won’t last forever.

(Though displacement does appear to arrive in waves. That is the life of a person who travels, home is where the heart is . . . except we leave bits of our hearts wherever we go.)

Would you like to join the challenge? Post a photograph of yourself, or something that represents you, and let us know the story (or don’t since a picture is already speaking at least a thousand words). You can post the link here, or on Marie or Jen’s pages. I’m sure we’d all love to see.

Take care,

Catherine

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It’s totally my birthday!

Happy birthday to me! Yes, it is my birthday and I could hardly fall asleep last night because I was so excited. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? But there you have it: twenty-nine and still excited about birthdays. Beside, every marking occasion that takes me forward in life is a good thing. Further I get, the better the news.

This morning Anna and Laszlo sang me happy birthday while carrying a large plate filled with raspberries and two candles (in shape of a two and a nine), they sang in English, they sang in Hungarian, and I cheered in the universal language of two hands slapping together.

Last night was so excellent (quick jump to the topic of language learning). Anna and Laszlo were saying how they never study English since it’s so easy to get distracted (tell me about it, I’m meant to be studying my French lesson right this moment, and yet, here I am typing up a post instead), so then I said, ‘no problem, I’ll just speak English from now on’, though I said it in Hungarian.

Which of course isn’t true – I won’t stop speaking Hungarian, everyday my skills are improving, and it’s nice to be understood, but last night I did feed them some slowly spoken English sentences

“Tomorrow is my birthday”

“Tomorrow morning I will wake up early”

“I will go to the city and eat ice cream”

“You have a nice house.” – to which they immeditatly protested, saying it’s way too small, and the conversation spun off in another direction, until I reeled them back in with:

“What will you do tomorrow?” and they both answered, one at a time, listing what they’ll do tomorrow (now today). Shopping. Cooking. Accountant. Eat ice cream. More cooking. Sleep.

Anyhow- it was wonderful to have that exchange. They have way more English than I realized and, even though it took time, understanding was there.

So that was one thing, on top of my birthday, that had me all keyed up last night as I flipped and flopped in bed. The third thing (it’s no wonder I didn’t sleep immediately) was this crazy dance urge I’ve been enjoying lately. It all started when Zsolt was like, “come on, stay up and watch music videos.” And I was like, “Ah, but I’m so tired. Ahhh, fine.”

It was a countdown, and mostly (honestly) totally crap music – except for this song. This song has been running through my head, picking up my feet, and I can’t stop wanting to dance. Therefore, I’ve been playing excessive amounts of Just Dance and loving every second. When approached with a ‘workout’ mentality, it’s really effective.

And so, as a birthday gift to you, I leave this music video. May it pick up your feet too.

Take care and have a great day!

Summer of wonderfuls

This is me on the beach in Balaton. Have I told you about Balaton? Most likely. It’s the place I named when the anaesthesiologist asked: “Where’s your favourite place to go on vacation?” right before I was knocked out and wheeled into surgery. So this is me, here in Balaton, writing to you.

It’s off season, everything is quiet and the stores are all shut (little kiosks actually, where you can buy langos and soda and burgers), but the water is a very comfortable +23 degrees – or something like that, I just went in up to my thighs no problem, so whatever the actual temperature, it’s most certainly a good one.

This morning Zsolt and I boarded the slow train from Budapest and rode the rails to this little village on the lake (Balaton is the lake, and it’s spotted all around with villages).  Riding the train was excellent, serving as both research for a story I’m writing, and just a great way to have fun. The windows were all down and we had a berth to ourselves – I was like a dog in puppy heaven with my face out the window, waving to the garbage man (etc).  Trains in Hungary are slightly antique, not all of them of course, but many, and before they arrive at any station – if you’re standing on the platform waiting that arrival – the rails ring out with a metallic snake-slithering kind of sound that announces it’s approach even before that lady’s voice makes a speech over the intercom.  Since it’s off peak and a Monday, the train was essentially empty. This, believe you me, is the way to get around Europe. I suppose we should have trained it from England, but – while a great ride – it’s also expensive. Not as expensive as Canada trains, mind you, but still costly.

So here we are in Balaton. I totally dreampt of this place during chemo sessions – imagined myself floating on the water with that hot sun beating down. Hmm, well, I’ve waded – not quite floating, but it’s a start.

Zsolt suggested that I’m getting everything I had wanted too quickly – goulash, Balaton, smoked cheese,  train rides, paprika chips, swimming – but I say, can’t get them fast enough. What’s the use in pacing yourself, when good things are available – right there in front of you – just asking to be enjoyed? Can I over indulge in this experience? Frack no. When I’m full of summer rest, then I’ll start diving back into my writing projects.  Today on the train I did some writing, not blogging, but story writing, and maybe tomorrow I’ll do it again. Time is this summer’s ultimate luxury.

Anyhow- one year has passed and I’m in Balaton. That’s reassuring. One year, and the whole world can (will) change. But not everything, I guess . . . not this place, at least. Maybe it’s good that I’m here alone today (Zsolt is at the cottage building an IKEA shelf with his father). This way I can say hello to the water, and hello to a piece of me that’s been waiting to come back. Feels good to be here – feels like home. I’m so damn thankful to have made it this far, and I’d like – I want, and I will – make it much, much further.

One year since that stupid dirty frustrating (life saving) diagnosis. Thank goodness. Thank GOODNESS, gracious, and golly gee. And thank you for your support, your kind words,  your thoughtful comments, and your excellent company.

Okay, now I’m getting off this computer and am going to stare at the sky. Why not? This is my summer.