What’s left of the photos

It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up.

W. Somerset Maugham

I’m trying to figure out why, after having been in London for a few days, surrounded by people whom I understood, bombarded by advertising which I understood, seeing books titled so I didn’t have to translate, etc. etc. …. why did it feel – when I stepped off the plane in Budapest and taking the tube to the rail station, that I was heading home?

It was a different sensation than times I was headed to the casita in Mexico. That also felt like I was headed home, but I always felt I was an outsider there, a gringa. I was part of a subculture, the norteamericano subculture within the dominant Mexican culture. Here, in Hungary, I’m a different outsider: one limited by language and upbringing, for certain, but paprika is not as exotic to me as chipotle, tejjol is not as exotic as crema, cherries are not as exotic as mangos, feher kenyer (white bread baked in round loaves) is not as exotic as tortillas. This apartment is not as nice, not as pretty, not as large as was the casita, but it is brighter, it is cozier despite its inferior furnishings than was the casita. The casita was mine for as long as I wanted it as long as the previous owners did not sell; I can never hold the lease or title to this apartment, yet it felt more like I was headed home than any trip to San Miguel.  Other than my colleagues and the students, I can’t speak to a soul here, unlike San Miguel. Yet it seems more homey.

Can it just be the green of the trees and the grasses and the hills? The angle of the sun? Those things etched from long ago in our synapses?

Or is it the colleagues and the students, who are, in a way, a new family, something that didn’t exist in Mexico. I felt protective of the students while in London. I look at the faces in the classroom and see worldliness in one kid, earnestness in another, a sweet naïvete in a third and I realize I’m getting to know them far better than I knew anyone in San Miguel. Brigi came into the teachers’ room this morning and gave me a big hug, totally glad to see me and I realized I’m in a very different time of my life, breaking different ground.

I think the children hunt for the rodents and the situation is not as promising as it reads.

Viva La Vida (2Cellos)

Does everything sound better when played on the cello?


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