Tomorrow is moving day. One of the last things I will pack is this prized marker from a crammed office supplies store in Hungary.
In my first couple weeks living in the country, I needed markers and pushpins. Needless to say, my language had not yet progressed to that chapter. In fact, the only reason I knew this store had what I needed was because of the meager window display. It could have just as easily been a bakery or a wine dispense hut. I was nervous about BUYING SUPPLIES. But this was the kind of store where everything you needed was behind the counter.
It took me several days of passing by before I worked up the courage to ping through the shop’s door. At least I knew to greet the sales clerk upon entering. Pride ends there, though. The exchange went something like this:
Me: Good day. I need…I don’t know.
Sales Clerk: Sentence with question intonation.
Me: I don’t understand. Sorry. I need that [point to behind her, where, you know, everything is.] It is red.
Sales Clerk: This?
Me: No. Red.
Sales Clerk: Question intonation.
Me: No, that, please.
This last bit went on for what felt like a week, until I was able to shout, “Yes! This! Red! Thanking you much!”
Now repeat for the blue marker, and the push pins. Those three things were not the most exciting, or even the most fun of my Hungarian purchases. But being able to procure them still made me feel proud.
Tonight as I look at boxes labeled in blue, I’m reminded to be brave. Brave like my fresh-out-of-college-marker-seeking-self. This is our third move in thirteen months. The transitions have caught up with me, and I’m struggling. I’m almost more sad to leave this apartment than I was leaving DC. We are losing some extraordinary neighbors. Yes, it’s just a few miles. But I’m old enough to know what special is. Hell, I was always old enough.
Sure, my material acquisitions these days have moved on to wood floors and back splash tiles. But I’m pretty sure I’ll need to sit shiva when this vizabázisú rostirón runs out of ink.