Saturday, January 2, 2016

A little less rootless

Last year seemed like a very long one. I’ve been on the move a bit less than in recent years, but the start of 2015 feels like 24 months ago, not 12.         

A very quick recap: After seeing in the new year in Budapest, I made quick visits with cousin Kylie (visiting from Oz) to Berlin (where I had dinner with artist friend Norbert and Marisa from Malta) and to Amsterdam (saw Susan from New York, and NZ cousin Sarah and Simon) before I flew back to Asia. In Kuching I spent time with Emily, Min and Sam, Ivy and Swee, and other friends made in recent years, and had my annual health checkup. There was nothing wrong with me that wasn’t already wrong with me. I learned while I was there (staying at the Batik Boutique Hotel, as usual) that my application for a Hungarian residency permit had been approved for five years. 

This has changed everything!         

I spent February, including Chinese New Year, in Hong Kong, which was busy and fun and felt like home again. It offered up some new people (among them Joanne, Andy, and Sylvia). Spent time with Polly, Linda (who was on a visit from the UK), Carol, and Cathy and David. Hiked and ran with Cathy and Jocelyn. I gave a talk at Women in Publishing, which I helped start 25 years ago. A quick visit to Zhuhai to spend a couple of days with old Oz bestie, Chris M, and Xiao, who returned the visit to Hong Kong.         

Back to Budapest for three months, March through to late May, to start taking up my residency. Ran the Vivicitta Budapest Half Marathon. Spent a lot of time seeing cultural events with Miki, Julie and David. Through the Budapest Zombie Runners group I met two special guys, Riyadh and Tiago. I took holidays in Slovenia (where I met the Two Joans in Ljubljana) and with JB in Croatia (Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, where I ran a race along the old town walls, plus a hard, hot and hilly half marathon, and met Aussie runners Louise and Sandra). Visitors to Budapest were my near-oldest friends Barb and Bill, and Di. Other new Budapest faces were runners Andrea and Robert, Agi, and Nozzies Karin and Virginia.         

I spent June and July in New York, back in the apartment beside Central Park where my books are on the shelves and my runner friends are at Engineers’ Gate most mornings at 5.30. I wrote nearly 300 pages of a first draft of my book, ran races and saw lots of films. I had a week-long break in Toronto (to see former Hong Kongers Sarah and Will, and Frances) and Montreal (where I caught up with visiting Dead Runners Laura and Rob). Chiu Yin organised a writing workshop with the writer Amy Hempel at Tuxedo Park, where I met Sheila and Joni. Dominic was in town from Tokyo.         

Back to Budapest for August and September. Through running I met Kristy, Barb and Maria. Many fun morning runs with Riyadh. Saw lots of Hungarian and other foreign films at local arthouse cinemas. Miki became a close friend. He and I visited Istanbul for four days. I called in to see Kadir, manager at the AgoraLife hotel in Sultanahmet, where I stayed for a month in 2011. Chris H came for a visit from France. Visitors from Oz: Susy, and Kevin and Simone. Ran my third Wizz Budapest Half Marathon. I started working on my book again from scratch with Judit, a writing coach in Budapest.         

To New York to do final training for an October marathon (my fifth) in Pennsylvania (Steamtown) with Maria. My time wasn’t my best, but it was good enough to qualify me for Boston in 2017. New pal Sue also qualified in her first marathon. I completed the other races I need to do to get entry to 2016 New York City marathon. My 63rd birthday. I continued to work with Judit on my book. Another writing workshop at Tuxedo Park with writer Laura Shayne Cunningham, Chiu Yin, Sheila and Joni. Spent time with Liliane from Lausanne (we met in 2011), Vince from Hong Kong, Fran (we met in Kuching in 2014) and caught up with visitors from Oz: Lynne and Greg, Robert and Merelin, and Bridget.         

In early November, I returned to Budapest. Ran the Way of Knowledge Half Marathon (my 38th). Worsening back pain took me to an orthopaedic specialist who took spinal X-rays and diagnosed scoliosis on top of the osteoporosis I already knew about. No more running… I’m still getting my head around what that means. In December I took a weekend break in Zagreb, during which I left my bag containing passport, cards and cash in a taxi. There was a happy ending after a very charming Croatian geologist came to my rescue.        

I’m finishing up the year with a week on the border of southern Hungary and Serbia, checking out secession-style (art nouveau) architecture while I plough through a very heavy workload.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a well traveled year. Good luck in running and writing. Qualifying for Boston is something I always wanted to do, but not sure I can run that far fast enough to qualify. Congrats!