Monday, May 12, 2008

Butterflies to Come

This weekend has been a long one, thanks to the holiday of Pentecost, the Christian version of the older Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the festival of weeks. Our old friend Isaac is in town, leaving tomorrow. We didn't see him much, but it was nice just to know he was in town, like a root making its presence felt. I've known him for some 12 1/12 years. We first met at his place in NYC on the lower east side in my old neighborhood. He was a local landlord and super and owned a small rehearsal studio. He was dating a former student of mine and she introduced us. We've been close friends ever since. Later he came to Hungary and bought property, in the Pilis Hills outside Budapest and a palatial apartment in the center on downtown, when the prices were good. Now he owns a health food store and cafe in Manhattan and also has a big new house he built in the Galilee Hills in Israel where he often lives with his wife and two children. He doesn't come to Hungary much anymore. Back in the days his apartment here was the site for some of the more amazing parties this town has known. Now it's a big, quiet place, suffering a big from a lack of attention. Still amazing views of the neighboring basilica.

Yesterday Lucia (my wife), Eldar (my son of eight years) and I traveled to the Börzsöny Mountains where we hiked for several kms up the 733 meter Magas Tax, had a picnic and walked down late. I'd been afraid we were going to miss any buses or trains, that we'd get stuck in the woods after dark. I'd said a prayer and believed in the optimism of Lucia who was sure we'd get a ride. Which we did. Not at the summit as she'd predicted, but at the trailhead after we'd walked down the dirt service road, bypassing the trail at my suggestion. Dusk was coming and I thought the road would be a safe, less stressful alternative and possibly even quicker. Eventually we took the last leg of the journey on a trail with Lucia as navigator. We arrived at the trailhead where Lucia called out to a young couple loading a car. Within a minute we climbed in, with an offer of a ride all the way back to Budapest, the better part of an hour away. Once in Pest, we went to the "Hummus Bar" for delicious falafel pitas and complimentary glasses of tea. We bought one more pita to take to Isaac and headed to his place. He was wrecked after a daylong bicycle trip to Szentendre, an historic village north of Budapest.

While there, Eldar played the piano and the guitar. I chatted with Isaac and Lucia checked her email. She received an email that confirmed we would both be teaching this summer at Butterfly Valley in southern Turkey, a fjord that opens up onto the Mediterranean, facing west. We'll be there for six weeks. It shall be awesome!

We chatted a bit more , then came home.


  • At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Kristof Kovacs said…

    I just realized how funny "Magas Tax" looks in an english context. :-) (Magas meaning "high" for non-hungarian speakers of this blog.)

    Congrats for the Turkey teaching-trip! Have fun!



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