Even though it is bitterly cold here (hopefully Russia will let us have some more gas for heating soon), the early morning is absolutely my favorite time of the day. I wake up when it is still dark, though by the time I walk or run around the first few blocks, a little light is sneaking through the sidestreets. Not the sun, yet, but definitely day.
A few minutes later, the sunlight announces itself in the windowsills. In the 13th district, people hurry their kids to school, are walking to work, waiting for the tram, buying bread, sweeping front stoops. Though within the beginning work of the day, it is still very peaceful, the color calming.
By the time I arrive home, and step out on the balcony for a cup of coffee and a quick glance at the Danube, the morning has fully arrived on the old apartment building across the street. These are thing things that make winter worth waking up for. It’s that little something that walking you through the cold.
Györgyi thinks these buildings are ugly and is worried about what people will think about Hungary because of them. And I understand because most people I run into in America conjure up images of Hungary as a place where people wear folk outfits to work and ride donkeys on the weekends for fun, where old alcoholic communists live in big blocks of flats and smoke cartons of cigarettes a day in the freezing, rainy, gloomy, streets. But ugly is definitely a relative term, though I never really thought about this blog as a reperesentation of Hungary as a whole, but rather moments of a day. And from only my experience. I don’t really have an opinion about what’s certifiably beautiful or certifiably ugly here. True, in some of the old buildings, the outer layer has chipped away. In the Castle District they glue a plaque next to it, write a date on it, to show just how many layers/years have passed as a kind of proof of the lovliness of history. In parts of the city, like in Pest, or in our 13th District, a plaque would be a little condescending, I suppose, especially for the non-tourists that live in the houses, perhaps have, for generations. Our building was once a cotton factory, afterall, and I like to imagine what the walls looked like before they rebuilt them, put in gallery windows and a pool.
Maybe writers have an annoying quality to romanticize things that can’t or shouldn’t be made better with words, or maybe because of my experience as a kid growing up in a decidedly unattractive but likewise charming industrial city like Akron, Ohio, I have a different perspective now. But I would be remiss not to acknowledge that the perspective is mine alone, and this city is certainly not mine to make claims on. But I find the clean, cool, albeit old pathways charming. The light soothing. And I’m glad to hang my hat here awhile.