Budapest | Looking Up

I have a tendency to look up. Anywhere I am, when I first step out of the front door, when I step off a plane and hit the tarmac, I look up.

That classic piece of photography tip has always echoed: find a different angle. If everyone is taking a photo left, look to your right. So while everyone is looking straight ahead of them, my head is tilted back while the Mr tugs on my bag so I don’t bump into anyone…which happens almost daily.

We travelled to Budapest the other weekend. I had no idea what to expect from the trip but it completely surpassed all and any expectations. Budapest is just gorgeous and, of course, I looked up…

Bullet Holes from WWII
Matthias Church
Apartment Buildings
Court Theatre of Buda

Being from Sydney, every European city completely awes me because of the architecture. Sydney has no buildings spotted with bullet holes from a past war, no buildings built before 1800, no obvious disparities in time reflected in its aesthetics. Budapest, on the other hand, is teeming with it. So it’s no surprise my neck was firmly directed to the vertical.

hi | it’s been awhile

So hi.

I feel like I’m going on a first date writing this post. I developed a comfortable rhythm months ago with my posts, well as comfortable as can be but work took over and my time to sit and write and wonder dwindled into nothing. And here I sit, in the kitchen and the need to write, create, read is overwhelming me into this strange bottleneck. It’s there, I can feel it, the flow. You know, the flow  – where everything coming  out of your fingertips feels like magic. Except I think the flow is stuck at my stomach or shoulders or somewhere decidedly not my fingertips. Hence the rambling.

Since my last post, work got kind of crazy. Maybe to justify my absence just a teeny bit, the company I work for is a contractor for London 2012. My colleague and myself for the past few months were recruiting for 3000+ staff. Yep. Crazy. Long hours, 7 days a week, calls and emails that never stopped. There was a moment in July where I received 500+ emails in under 48 hours. Yep. Crazy.

During that time though, I did manage to break away once. Mr and a couple of friends went for a road trip to the Lake District. The weeks leading up to it, we were told by many “oh the rain”, “the weather is really bad,” “don’t forget your brollie!”… come the weekend though the sun shone brightly with streaks of white cloud against the blinding blue.

We were in Helvellyn, just at the base and stayed in a very lovely hostel. The only thing I can fault it with though was no powerpoints. However, I think in the end that was a saving grace for us. Forced to switch off from the digital world, we were able to just walk, appreciate, talk and drink all without the interruption of a facebook message, a tweet, an alert. Our table at the pub had 4 friends interacting with no bright light shining in one of our faces. It also allowed us to talk and laugh with the people around us – we collectively moaned about the mosquitos biting into our skin, we bonded with 3 men in their 40s (?) who had been bestfriends for decades, we munched into pork cracklings whilst drowning pints upon pints of cider with no ping to distract us.

It was a welcome and much needed break. Now that Games is over, I hope to come back. Maybe not in full force. But slowly. Surely. So please. Stay tuned.

The view from the top of Helvellyn.

content | daring greatly

So last Wednesday, I had an emotional moment. I sort of want to build up to that moment when it happened..

Settling in London has not been great. We touched down November of last year and we’ve  struggled. Struggled with money, jobs, loneliness – it’s been an effort. It’s been hard. Mr took 5 months to find a job. The first temp job I had I quit within the first week. Back home, we have a solid big group of friends we saw on a weekly basis – now that we were in London, we had no-one.

There were moments when it felt like we’d be flying home within a few months, when I wondered if this is not all it was cracked up to be, moving to London had been something I’d been wanting to do since i was a prepubescent teen and I was feeling hugely disappointed – in myself, in London, sometimes in the Mr.

Come April though, things picked up. Mr got an amazing job in an industry he’s only dreamed of working in, we started making friends, and I’ve found a pretty good job too. We had been in a studio since November as we had just wanted to live alone but our tenancy was coming to an end – so we started hunting for a sharehouse. On our hunt, we found this really good place – big house with lovely people and plenty of space for everyone. We got it too (I’m actually writing this post in the kitchen/dining room).

My emotional moment was a week ago. I was on my way home from my first solo work trip (I had gone to Wales for a day). I had been accidently given a 1st class ticket by the lady at the window and I didn’t realise until the ticket inspector came along. So I hitched up and walked to the front of the train to large, comfy leather seats where food and drinks came free and often through the aisle.

As I sat there, drinking my free coffee, staring out at the blue sky and sun, listening to Laura Ibizor Shine.. I was smiling. I was smiling and I was so uplifted in that very moment. I experienced a level of contentment I’ve never in my life felt. It was beautiful. And the feeling, though not as prominent on that first realisation is lingering on. I still smile when I’m walking to the station, I find myself wanting to laugh out loud or greet every person walking by like a Disney movie. My god, I feel like I’m in a Disney movie!

While I was sitting there and feeling this rush of content, of joy…. I knew I was so blessed. And I felt so gratified. And knew I was where I was meant to be.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt