Two things I know for sure: I am flying to Ireland in two days, and I will be hanging out at a summer house on the Black Sea on the coast of Bulgaria in July.
Not bad, eh?
These past two days I have taken it a little bit easier. Mostly I’ve been looking things up online to decide what the heck I would like to do next. Ireland, apparently. It will be my first experience with the ultra-budget, mucho infamous airline, Ryanair, where you can find flights within Europe anywhere from one dollar to fifty, or perhaps a little more, at the risk of getting slapped with tons of fees if you mess anything up. Fingers crossed.
I’ll probably couch surf for a little bit in Dublin when I first get there, and then take busses around the countryside and stay in hostels. I’m looking forward to not being in a city. It’s very convenient but I’m craving grass and trees and dirt. And, honestly, being able to understand the language better. My brain sort of feels like it’s on fire.
Last night my hosts had a party in their flat. I love the two boys I am staying with, they remind me of my brother or my goofy friends in Rochester. Their flat is messy and adorable and they said I could stay as long as I want. I have my own room. A whole bunch of people came over last night and literally sat around smoking, drinking wine, and eating bread. For a while I just sat there and ogled them as they lightning-spoke and joked. I could maybe understand one word out of twenty. Funny though, Charles said that if I stayed in France even one month, he thinks my French would be perfect. Parfait.
They’re all very cool, though. This particular group of friends reminds me a little of my friends, like if I lived here I could be in this group. They bike a lot and are all working to be professors. I fell asleep to them playing guitar and crooning Dolly Parton at two in the morning, not terribly unlike what happens at the end of our parties.
Oh, and, the girls really do kiss you on both cheeks. Slowly. Like, instead of a handshake. Before you’ve even stuttered your name. Nah, I can’t tell how I feel about that.
Perhaps the most unexpected downside to traveling alone, at least for me, is that I can never defer any decision-making to anyone else. If you pay close attention when you spend time with me, you will notice that I am excellent at making suggestions, managing logistical issues around given variables, even assisting others in finding out what it is they want. But it is much less common for me to be the one that feels any conviction over a particular activity or place or pastime. In fact, if you ask me to choose a record to listen to for the evening, you will see my eyes get wide and a slight shudder pass through my body and I will say, oh, you’re much better at choosing music. Partly this is because I deeply enjoy seeing other people happy, and partly because I take decision-making very seriously. It’s an over-the-top effort, even picking a burger off a menu, so, obviously, it is easier not to, especially when combined with seeing someone else gratified.
However, usually when I do decide on something, I decide on it with everything I can muster.
- Where do I want to go/sleep/eat next week?
- What do I want out of this trip?
- What do I want out of my life?
- What do I think about God and where does this fit in?
I think I’m coming to realize that I am much better when I am doing something. If I sit around for too long I start freaking out. I have to find some sort of balance between planning time and doing time. Whenever I am doing one, I feel pressure to do the other. I took a walk today around this suburban town that I’m in now to clear my head.
So, my mom is good friends with this younger woman from Bulgaria who went to Syracuse University. She’ll be back in her hometown between July and August, and she said she would love to have me on the Black Sea, and take me to the mountains and her grandparents’ house. I think this sounds incredibly lovely and it is perhaps the thing I am most looking forward to yet. Snejana is an absolute peach.
Though, this means I have about a month to get from Ireland to Bulgaria. Totally doable of course, but I’ll be covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I don’t feel too bad about it though, becase being in motion has always been good to me. I’m thinking Prague, Budapest, and Bucharest. After Bulgaria, Greece, then Italy. Then maybe I’ll meet up with my friend Sean in Croatia, or maybe my friend Dan in Turkey. Or who knows. Certainly not me.
Wish me luck.