Wednesday, July 30, 2008

new new new

I just posted a bunch of new stuff from my travels around the world... you might want to start at the first one about Budapest and work your way back up, but it's up to you.



The day after I got back from Budapest and got the wonderful pleasure of getting in my car and driving three hours to Seattle for four days to help with a training! Believe it or not I survived! There were moments during those four days that I really thought I was going to DIE! The first two nights I was there I had dinner meetings to attend to and it took everything in me not to fall asleep in my plate of food. Most people were pretty sympathetic and understanding with me, some were even impressed with my ability to function. I was pretty blessed to have a POSH hotel room (Ali think Westlake Inn, it was pretty close to that). It was a wonderful opportunity for me to network with some people and it is proven to be very good for business.

My adventure home!

Many have asked for details about my return to the US because I have hinted at it being a horrible ordeal and it was… Do you remember me mentioning in my blog about Budapest and arriving and not really having my passport check? Yeah, well apparently I was NEVER on my flight from Frankfurt to Budapest and therefore Hungary has no record of me entering the country, great! I get pulled aside to speak with the police, three of them in fact. They are asking me all sorts of questions about how I got into Budapest, how long I have been there, where I have been, what I have been doing, etc. etc. etc. I then have to have a (best way to describe it) stripe search… basically it was a groping session. I then got to take everything one by one out of my suit case and show it off to the police, everything! I did have my boarding pass for my flight from Frankfurt to Budapest which I think is the only reason they didn’t detain me for days, weeks or even years. The whole time I was trying to not take it personally – I knew it had nothing to do with me personally; it was simply because I was an American and sadly our country has not been all that great to Hungary… there are still a lot of hard feelings and I totally give them that. If I was Hungarian I would hate us too… let me be more correct it’s not so much your standard American people, but the American Government that gets their feathers flying. They have a right to try and protect themselves and while in my heart I know I come in peace… no one else can ever be too sure. If you don’t understand this point of view you might want to educate yourself before you make a stupid comment. I am just saying… while I value many different options I think as Americans we don’t often think what it might feel like to be on the other side of a boarder… to have gone through what other countries have. I am not interested in getting into a huge political debate here – if you know me, you know where I stand on things of this nature and therefore you can take my ideas or just leave them here, end of discussion.
Once I was cleared from this and allowed to proceed to my gate, it was about 5 minutes before my plane was to board and I hear my name over the speaker, great – what now was all I could think. I went to where they told me to go and there was something wrong with my checked bag, so again the police escorted me off to a little room… and again I got to pull everything out and show it off to the police.
I wasn’t allowed to get a boarding pass for my flight from Frankfurt to Portland because according to the crew in Budapest “Frankfurt would have to decide for themselves if they would let me on any flights”… I arrived in Frankfurt about 5 minutes before my flight was to start boarding and after running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get a boarding pass I got stand by… yes that’s right stand by. At this point I was in tears and had been since my stripe search in Budapest (I just felt beyond violated, gross and dirty) the nice lady in Frankfurt ask what was wrong and I was like “I don’t understand why I have to go stand-by I just want to get home after everything that has happened” I had reached my max of what I could deal with in one day. She asked me what happened and I gave her the cliff notes version of what happened in Budapest and she within 5 minutes had me with a seat for the flight. THANK HEAVENS! I had no time to pee or get anything to eat I had to board right then and there. I even got extra leg room which is GREAT on a 10 plus hour flight. Although I did have a really annoying lady next to me who complained about everything under the sun… I went for shock value at one point and asked her if she had been striped searched during her travels when she said no I asked her kindly to keep her opinions to herself… for the rest of the flight she just mumbled under her breath to what I am sure was horrible things about me and frankly I don’t care – I just wanted the rest of my trip to be peaceful and as harmonious as possible.

Oh Vienna! (as Bridget always refers to it)

I think we were there like maybe 36 hours… hold on let me count. Okay maybe like 33 hours! But, it still amazes me all that we did! We were on our feet walking all around the city for pretty much all of those 33 hours… we did take a little bit of time to sleep in our cute little apartment and the Happy Hostel, a place for happy people and we were happy to be there. I was the lucky one that good the BIG bed (maybe because I had a broken bed back in Budapest). The high light of Vienna for me was the FOOD, big surprise I know. I love food and I love good food even more! We had apple strudel every chance we could we even went to a strudel demo, it was awesome! I have lots of videos of Peter the strudel maker! There is something about old city’s that can take your breath away… nothing in America even comes close. I mean I love the character my 50 plus year old house has, but really how much charterer does it really have compared to places like Budapest and Vienna!?!?!?! One really cool thing we did while we were there was Sunday morning we went to Mass at this amazing Cathedral in GERMAN! I didn’t understand about 99% of what was going on, but it was beautiful and amazing anyways. We really loved the House of Music and the Freud Museum and who couldn’t love the Palace! And the Garden’s… really I could go on all day about how much I loved Vienna… I would love to go back and spend some more time there. But until then I will just have to enjoy my pictures… there’s a lot!

there were sunflower fields all along the way to Vienna

oh look it's me in Vienna!

this cute little wooden toy shop that I wanted to go into but we were there on the weekend and everything was closed, sad day!

cute little coffee house we had out first meal in

my bed at the Happy Hostel!

for my sister... she loves doors!

we had to stop for a little bit of FUN!

where we went to mass on Sunday morning.

not only is it pink so I had to get a picture, but it's like the old and new!

the best meal of my life and our last meal in Vienna - the food was amazing!

I hope you enjoyed them... there are MANY more if you ever want to see them!

The long overdue update of my little adventure to Budapest and beyond…

I wrote this for my own memories – it’s very long. Sorry if you are all bored by the end or give up reading all together, I won’t hold it against you. PS – All the pictures are at the end, so you can just fast forward if need be.

I couldn’t wait to get there and see everything that makes me love that city so much again. I had a pretty adventurous flight, my long flight from Denver to Frankfurt was pretty interesting not only did we hit an air pocket and drop pretty far causing all the flight attendants to yell at us to get back into our seats which pretty much had me freak (as if I need any more reasons to freak than I already do when it comes to flying). I had a pretty bad seat, it couldn’t go back nor could I see the TV to watch any of the in flight entertainment so the flight attendants were pretty much getting me anything I wanted. The gal sitting next to me was about the same age as me and was heading to Kuwait she was in the Army and had just been home for a two week visit before having to go back (she been there for 18 months) and while she was home her entire platoon was killed in a bombing and had she not gone home for her visit she would be dead too. We talked the whole night about what life was like there and about the stories… it was so interesting yet very depressing. She was not sure what it would be like going back having to work with a whole new group of people and still mourning the death of people who she had grown very close to. At one point in the middle of the night we had a whole group of people around us from all over the world talking about the war, it was fascinating.
As always I got sick on the flight landing in Budapest… please never use barf bags to dispose of gum because when someone needs one for what they are intended for and they can’t get them open because someone’s gum is holding it closed, it’s not a pretty picture.
My bag didn’t make it to Budapest with me, in fact I watch them take it off the plane before we left Frankfurt, when I asked the flight attendant about it she said not to worry, and well I should have made a stink! I was waiting around the airport for a few hours, sleeping on a bench waiting for word as to where my bag was and when it would arrive. I finally found out that it would be on a flight that arrived at 10:30pm and that it would get to my hotel somewhere between 3-6am. Great I was off to the hotel! When I went through customs I thought it was very interesting, they just waved my through – didn’t check my passport or anything (remember this for later). Taxi rides in Budapest are always an adventure, if you think someone drives bad you must go to Budapest and get in a taxi and then you will know what bad driving is… mind you I was sick and throwing up in the plane and airport so getting into a car with a driver that if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you would only really be in the car for a moment before being throw out. I made it in one piece to the Fabius Panzio Hotel; I checked in a fast a possible because sadly I needed to throw up again. I got to the hotel just before 6pm, I had nothing but what was in my backpack as a carry on which was pretty much only stuff to keep me entertained. Just before 9pm I think it was (I was sleeping) Bridget (from New Zealand) my roommate arrived with the remote for the air-conditioning at the time I am not sure what I was more excited to see. Bridget and I had met the year before in Budapest and became instant friends even though I make fun of the way she talks. We decided to be roommates this year (which was a brilliant idea) we stayed up way too late that night talking and catching up.
We got up early so that we could get our bus passes (since Bridget is very against riding illegally, it happened last year and we didn’t mean too it just happened) and we were off to the Pikler Institute where we would be studying for the next two weeks. It was a great first day to re-connect with people we had met the year before like Gabi and Diane and to meet new friends.
I was much more satisfied this year with the course… not that last year wasn’t good or informative but most of it was stuff I already had known from my readings and studies with RIE. I found this advanced course to challenge me as both a learner and a human being. Nothing that I will get into in this blog but my two and half weeks in Budapest was a real soul searching time for me so to speak… many realizations came about and so much of what was said hit a cord with me not just in how it pertains to my professional life but more importantly the insights it gives to my personal life and development as a person.
I didn’t take as many pictures this year while I was in Budapest and I know that will come as a real shock to most of you who know me to be the girl with a camera in her hand always and forever. I also don’t want anyone to think that I didn’t take picture because I take the beauty of that country or city for granted because I don’t. I love Budapest; every sight makes me feel at home. But, because it’s so much like home to me, so familiar now I don’t feel like I must capture everything on film… plus most of what I saw this year I already have pictures of from last year. Sure there was more construction and my hair is a different length, but the city is the same and I love that about it.
Some new discoveries this year – Bridget and I figured out how to get around via night buses… mainly Bridget with me whining at all hours of the night when we got back to the train station LATE from Vienna and I didn’t want to have to pay for a taxi, thanks Bridget for putting up with me and always figuring EVERYTHING out! I also got to climb up to the highest point in Budapest so now I can say I have seen ALL of Budapest… it was really amazing up there. The caves under the Buda Castle were COOL in more ways than one. It was a nice respite from the hottest day while I was there. Thunder and lightning storms in Budapest are intense! And even a little scary when you are walking over a HUGE METAL bridge when one starts! As always I love the fruit soup in Budapest even though I only had it two times this year, it was just as lovely as always. Other highlights were getting sodas at McDonalds with all the ice we can fit in our cup! The wonderful toy shops with lovely wooden toys (yes I got a few too many, I can’t help myself). All of us making fun of the way Bridget says things… we do it out of pure love I promise! Gabi’s impressions are the BEST! Treaties night (well really it turned into a whole trip of treats! The four of us had brought things from where we lived to share with each other and we even ended up sharing with the whole group, we are nice that way. Bridget and I showing up to Diane and Gabi’s apartment soaking WET! Bridget breaking Karen’s 1000 ft. umbrella and I think best of all getting kicked up the 18 tram fairly late at night; it took us a few times of it happening to discover what it was all about. I still laugh at us standing in a park at nearly midnight wondering what just happened.
It was yet another year of being out of the country for 4th of July… I have no clue how the 4th goes down in Oregon as I have never been here for it!
On our first weekend break we went to Vienna (see separate post on that).
Saying good bye to everyone was hard… last year the “four of us” as I like to call Bridget, Diane, Gabi and myself we knew we would all be back this year so our good-bye was more like a see ya later. While we have all promised to have another grand adventure (most likely in New Zealand) it just wasn’t the same. The last day of the course was really hard on me, I was very sad. Like people have always said about me I can make friends with anyone anywhere but these girls are different – they have helped me through so many things that have come up and help me get around – Bridget the navigator – don’t leave home without her! I have no doubt that I will return to Budapest, maybe even to live there for a year or so, but it will most likely be without my girls and therefore very much alone.
After everyone left I got a chance to observe at Pikler and there are no words regardless of the language that can describe what one sees there – it’s seeing what your soul believes every child deserves but yet you think is impossible to give a child. It’s magical and breathtaking. It makes you feel both inspired and also as though you have no right working in this field because no matter how hard you try you will never care for children with as much respect as these women do. I left feeling as if I have so much still to learn, that even if I study and train for the rest of my life I will never come close to attaining the perfection and grace that happens every moment at Pikler.

Here are a few pictures I did take while in Budapest… enjoy!

The view from the Training room!

under the Buda Castle

A lesson in having patience - I failed!

at the Party!

Gabi, Me and Elsa at the party - there were too many cameras!

most of the food at the party, you know me it's all about the food!

Group picture #1 first day of good-byes:(

a depressing picture... not so many babies!

the "four of us" Me, Diane, Bridget and Gabi

the real us! always laughing!

group picture #2 the real day of good byes!


just checking to see if the picture uploading is working... as I couldn't upload pictures before I left.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I know I know I know...

i need to update this thing. And believe it or not I am working on that and trust me you will be sorry for pestering me about it. The Budapest update is already on page two and I am only on my first real day there... ha ha! have fun reading it when it comes.

and yes me posting this right now means I am alive and well (for not anyways).

Things have been pretty busy since I got back and so I am working when I can on getting this thing up to date.

Check back soon... I promise it's coming.