Monday, August 25, 2014

Just say igen

The Hungarian word "igen" means yes. My life has become about saying yes to the opportunities that constantly present themselves. Sometimes the opportunity might be just the chance to say hello to someone. I did that in the immigration queue at Kuching airport a week ago today when I found myself behind three of the Kenyan professional marathoners who had competed in and taken honours at the inaugural Kuching Marathon. I asked them how they'd liked the race and then ended up having quite a long chat with Cecilia, age 26, a 2:50 marathoner who had taken third place that morning. A week later we are now coach and client, and I have a very daunting training program to follow starting 1 September that is intended to bring my half marathon time down below my personal best of 1:47 (1996 in Melbourne). (I placed 9th veteran woman in the Kuching half marathon with a slow 2:12:56 in my longest run since November of last year and even got a cash prize and a handshake up on the podium.)

Support was at hand when I suffered leg cramps following the Kuching half marathon

I keep saying yes to Kuching because of the wonderful people I've gotten to know there over the past four years.

Another opportunity to say yes was an impulse to call into the boutique hotel in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, where I had stayed for a month in 2011, when I was in the vicinity last week on a short stopover. I was greeted with big hugs and apple tea, and decided then and there I needed to spend more time in that amazing city.

The Blue Mosque

Pistachio and vanilla pudding from my favourite dessert shop

Now I'm in Budapest again, which is very, very high on my list of favourite places in the world. It's easy to say igen to just about everything the city has to offer: fabulous food, great arthouse cinemas, groovy street culture, wonderful architecture, fascinating history, funky art and design, fun friends made last year, and perfect late-summer weather.

My local cinema

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