Today is one of my favorite holidays and I nearly forgot. Thirteen years ago today I was:
- shoved against a wall while some holy-looking procession paraded a crown and a hand past me;
- shivering in a downpour without an umbrella, or the language skills to locate one;
- stuck on the wrong side of a closed bridge in a crowd who could not explain to me why I could not get back to my bed-for-the-night;
- surprised by one of the largest displays of fireworks I’d ever seen (and my people did the 4th of July in Chicago);
- completely out of my element;
- utterly ecstatic.
This was my second day in Hungary: St. Stephen’s Day. St. Stephen is generally regarded as the founder of Hungary, a really big deal, and indeed his right hand is preserved as a holy relic. September 20th is a huge day of festivities that I happened upon just by wandering in the right part of town thirteen years ago. It’s also the day I celebrate the anniversary of meeting one of my dearest friends. She’s the one who sent the text reminding me of today’s date.
When I moved to Hungary I had two bags, little fear, 20 words of Hungarian (including lamp and window – totally not helpful in an umbrella search), and a spirit of adventure. Thirteen years later I’m face with another chapter, another move. But this time I have one toddler, a husband, and a truck full of stuff. This time, I’m kinda freaking out.
But my dear friend’s St. Stephen text reminded me to breathe and reflect on the adventure.(Explosives! Dead guys hand! Tie died t-shirt!) Who knows the adventures Grand Rapids will bring. (Meat! Tall blonde people! Meat!) When we’re there, I hope very much to connect with the spirit represented in this video below. It features around one thousand Grand Rapids area residents, all in one shot. When I first saw this video last year, I cried.* Because how cool is this vision and execution?
*I also cry when: the curtain goes up at dance performances; Owen Meany dies; a bunch of strangers start singing together during children’s circle time; and sometimes when I kiss my son good night.