I guess I felt very lonely

February 13, 2009

Because apparently I wish to feel embarrassed, here I present excerpts from the journal I kept on my vacation to Hungary last year, in which my narrative voice sounds far too similar to an over-privileged 19th century Englishwoman fretting while on holiday in Italy with her stuffy aunt.

June 6, 2008

Arrived in Budapest this morning. After showering and dressing at the hostel I set out, with the intent to see the Danube and explore the Belvaros section of town. Within 20 minutes a Lebanese man asked to buy me a drink. I declined.
I just saw the Holy Right Hand at St. Stephen’s Basilica. It’s a beautiful church, but the relic is gruesome. I wanted to buy a postcard but the trinket shop was closet.
It is very humbling to be alone in a city, not able to speak the language. I have been relying on smiles to get me through this afternoon.
(later)
I don’t know if I’m just tired or what, but I feel myself teetering on the edge of panic about being alone. As this is only the first day, I have quite a number of solitary days ahead of me. I started walking after going to a museum and having coffee, and I just intended to walk and wander and walk, but then a bird shat on my sleeve when I went to lean against a building to consult my map. So I went back to the hostel to clean it off and then, against my inclination, took an hour-long nap. Now it is evening, and I am waiting for the sun to go down so I can walk along the river and see the lights shining from Buda. I’m doing exactly what I would do at OCSC, sitting alone at a bar with a beer. I want to try the famous palinka but am too terrified to order it because of the language barrier. Thus far, Pest seems much smaller and less of a world-class city than I had expected. But it seems like a great town to walk in – so many of the buildings are absolutely beautiful.
This seems like a really important time in my life to learn how to be alone, so I want to tell myself, “What better place to learn than on vacation in Eastern Europe?”

June 8, 2008

Today is my birthday, and I feel much calmer today about being alone, though I have had two moments of panic about missing my girls.

June 10, 2008

I was right in choosing to spend my last two nights at a hotel. I forgot how much I like being alone at a hotel, holing up in my room in my underwear, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer while reading a book and listening to BBC World on the television, and then spending too much on drinks and dinner at the hotel restaurant. I knew I would be tired of tramping all over town pinching pennies, so now I am letting it all hang out and just secluding myself. I will not feel guilty. Enjoying a hotel, regardless of location, is a time-honored leisure activity. It is delightful to sit on the hotel terrace waiting for dinner to arrive – I can see the apartment blocks of Pest across the river, and there is one of the bridges immediately within view across the street, and the trams are going by. Tomorrow I will spend a bit of time walking around this part of Buda, and then I will spend time taking the waters at the spa, and then I will drink and eat too much again, and then the next day I will fly home – HOME! again to the U.S.A. Of course it will only be NYC and not my real home with my daughters and my friends again, but still, how amazing it will be to just be a mobile phone call or text message away from all who are dear to me again. I like traveling, and I am glad to be in Hungary, but I have trouble with the solitude. I have been taking this as a learning experience, and I truly do hope I have learned something from being so alone.

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One Response to “I guess I felt very lonely”

  1. minouminou Says:

    all else aside, i cannot even begin to tell you how happy i am to see that you are writing here again!


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