I am sitting in an internet café in Levoča, Slovakia. The first challenge to writing has been figuring out the keyboard, which is very different from ours, and slightly more complicated. I still cannot figure out how to access some of the symbols, so please forgive any strange errors and my avoidance of contractions.
I am not sure where to begin writing about this trip and my experience so far. I could simply copy passages from my journal or share the very rough creative writing (poetry) I have begun, but even those words seem confused at this moment. How does one begin to express the complexities of a journey of the mind, spirit, body and soul?
My head is full of words and thoughts that bounce around in a fashion that I struggle to express. Perhaps I should simply share some of those words:
- Thought provoking
- Delicious and fattening
The list of words could go on and on. Are you intrigued yet? While I promise more complete posts about my adventures once I am back in the US, including my own photos, rather than things borrowed from the internet, here is a brief rundown of some of my experiences:
Eating, eating, eating: My first meal here was an incredible beef goulash at a traditional Slovak restaurant. In Bratislava, we bounced from cafe to cafe, enjoying coffee and tea and various treats. I have tried to sample a variety of traditional fare, and each dish as been bigger and better. I think the only thing that will save me from being too fat for the flight home is that we are walking and walking and walking, including steep climbs in towns built uphill.
Walking, walking, walking: We wandered through Bratislava in search of attractions as well as places to sit and talk. We went to a lecture at the University about Slovak history that ran a little long, which led to a speed walk to try to catch our train to Levoča. We missed the train and had to take a later one, but that was fine. Once in Levoča, we (unintentionally) took the long way to our hotel, rooms in a private home that is cozy, comfortable and just wonderful (I promise pictures later). Yesterday we had to get up early to walk back to the bus station and catch a bus to the train that would bring us to Stará Lubovna, where we would do a workshop with the Roma population. After a fabulous workshop with this exhilarating community (deserves a complete post later) we walked through the Roma settlement which brought up a lot of complex thoughts. The children who joined us along that walk added joy in the midst of squalor.
Talking, talking, talking: We talk about ourselves, we talk about our differences, we discover our connections. We talk to learn. We talk in multiple languages. We share phrases in English, in Slovak, in Romani, in Spanish, in Japanese, in Hebrew. We have attended a lecture on Slovak history. We have had meetings regarding potential projects. We have met with a well-known Slovakian actress (who, I believe just made a movie with Jude Law or someone just as big) and talked about being artists. We have talked, we have listened, we have learned.
Thinking, thinking, thinking: Through it all, my brain has moved reflecting on the purpose of my journey, my life, my goals for the trip . . . But also on things like prejudice, hatred, connections, language, cultural differences, war, poverty, peace . . . I believe I will be processing this trips for months too come, and it will fuel my future in ways as yet unseen.
This journey is passing too quickly, but will live with me forever. It makes me wonder what my next adventure will be.