May 30, 2010

25. The sequel

Because I very much enjoyed being 25, I decided not to turn 26 this year, but instead to celebrate my 25th birthday once again. It seems like this decision has been very confusing for my friends, and with very few exceptions most of them forgot about my B-day or simply ignored it (I still don't know what's worse). That kinda hurt, although I didn't think I'd make such a big deal out of this, but apparently I did, especially as I didn't expect it from the people I love.
Since I'm such a fan of traveling, I figured the best way to spend my special day was to stay on the road and on the run. So after a night train from Lisbon to Porto, I flew to London and from there to Poznan and with the very last drops of energy I dragged my tired ass on a train to Warsaw. By the end of the day, it felt a bit odd to enter the house without a boarding pass and / or ticket. Now the one thing I really hate when I'm tired and cranky (and when I'm tired I'm always cranky) is the sound of babies crying, and I had my fair share of that on both of today's flights, to last me until I turn 26, or 27, or 25 again, next year.
When I landed in Poznan I was hungry and grumpier than I usually am, and the vegetarian sandwich I bought turned out to be anything but vegetarian. The slice of ham which I didn't observe (I don't usually study my food, once I'm assured it contains no meat) tasted foul and it made me sick in an instant, then again it wasn't the first time I threw up on my way from London to Warsaw, so I guess it's becoming a personal tradition, although the reasons could not have been any different from one trip to another.
And then there was the phone call from my Mom. Who did not forget about my birthday, but she had other things to tell me, as well. This morning, they took my Gran to the hospital. All of a sudden, everything else faded. All I wanted was to be home, hold her hand and tell her how much I loved her and how badly I needed her to stay around. Over the years, we've had such a powerful bond, and I'm sure she knows all this, but I just want to be there and make sure I tell her. I'm sad in a way I haven't been sad for a very long time, I'm neither depressed nor heartbroken nor disappointed, it's pure sadness and it's very difficult to bear. I knew once I decided to leave Romania and settle in Poland, at least for the time being, that such situations might occur. But thinking about it is one thing, actually experiencing the whole thing is a whole different story. I'm going home. I'm not even considering the possibility that it might be too late.
And thus ended, in the worst possible way, the best vacation I've had in ages. I'll be back with stories about it once I sort the pics and clear my mind.

May 25, 2010

Taczka Runners 6

Just when I was about to settle for less and deal with the fact that I'll be attending my first TR with a particularly ugly wheelbarrow, things took an interesting turn. It was a day to remember and I'm already looking forward to next year's edition.

10 a.m. - way too early for anything, especially when instructions are not quite clear. Magda and I did our best to fit together the parts of my brand new wheelbarrow, but our best was not good enough:

11 a.m. - after several failed attempts we have to call Przemek and ask for help. On the way to the tent, Pan Janek takes a detour and drives us closer to the first meeting point:

11.15 a.m. - with a little help from my friends, my wheelbarrow is finally assembled:

11.30 a.m. - two hours before the big meeting, I'm working on my masterpiece. Even though it was very last minute, my ladybird was quite successful:

1.30 p.m. - first wheelbarrows show up. Magda's tiny wheelbarrow will prove to be very useful later on, and so will the retro fire siren:

2 p.m. - and they keep coming...

3 p.m. - and we're still waiting :)

4 p.m. - next stop, El Popo. A much needed break, turns out pushing a wheelbarrow around is serious business

5.30 p.m. - Kompresor, one last stop before our final destination. And yes, Sznurek had a high-tech wheelbarrow which actually did play music

7 p.m. - the parking lot outside the tent, our last stop.

May 19, 2010

The dream shoes

It's been a few years since I've given up the idea that a girl can find the perfect shoes, the perfect dress or the perfect man, and it's made my life a lot less complicated. But yesterday the impossible happened. I bought my first pair of dancing shoes and I think I'm in love. They're lighter than most normal shoes, they're very flexible and seem to form around the feet, they put no pressure and the split leather sole appears to be the secret that makes ballroom dancing fabulous. Tomorrow night we're out to our first tango lesson and something tells me it will be amazing.

Apparently, finding the ideal shoes is easier than finding... a wheelbarrow. Maybe they're not so popular anymore, or maybe I'm just being too picky, whatever it is, this Saturday we're meeting back in Kato for the 6th edition of Taczka Runners and I still don't have a wheelbarrow. It's not like I haven't been looking and asking around, yet somehow I can't picture myself pushing around a wheelbarrow that weighs 25 kilos, especially as I'd have to take it from Warsaw to Kato by train. My frantic last-minute search reminded me of my friend C. who once dumped a guy after a first date, just because at some point he received a phone call from someone asking him if he had a wheelbarrow. She could not get over this and so she stopped returning his calls. Back then, we all decided it was a bit odd and rather funny - wheelbarrows were not part of our everyday life.
And here I am now, in a desperate situation, looking not just for a wheelbarrow, but for the perfect one - girlie, light, pretty and colorful.
My dancing shoes made me believe, once again, that it is possible to find perfection, however I'm wondering if it wasn't just a very happy coincidence, and in all other situations I'll have to settle for less.

May 15, 2010

Le Bourbon Kid

It's only about three weeks until the release of another sensational Anonymous novel, The Devil's Graveyard, a story about a singing competition, dead rock stars and zombies, featuring Sanchez the bartender, the Mystic Lady and the world's favorite serial killer, the Bourbon Kid. Looking forward to it, especially as I know for sure I'll have the pleasure of translating it. Oddly enough, in the meantime I'm working on another novel, Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson - just to stay in shape. Add to that one of the first books I've translated, quite a long time ago, The Devil's Companions, and I think I'm slowly but surely becoming an expert in anything & everything Devil.
And that's not the only good news, as the French edition is to be released on June 3rd. The trailer made in France has become number 1 on my list. The Polish trailers were very good, as was the entire promotion of the book, the Spanish one was a huge disappointment, but the French is awesome and I'm looking forward to reading Le livre sans nom (courtesy of Big Brother, who also bought the Spanish edition, a lovely birthday present and a great contribution to my collection, which now has a shelf of its own).
In other Book With No Name news - well, rather book-inspired - El Santino (my bike) and I had our first fight. I told him so many times to stop window shopping especially if it's raining, I'm not wearing my glasses and we're speeding, but he just wouldn't listen. So today the inevitable happened and we had our first serious accident. Luckily, there were no other victims, but now we're both bruised and while I can hide my bruises his are really hideous and require new layers of paint. I'm considering painting him pink just to get revenge and teach him a lesson. The good part is I have two new fabulous dresses.

May 13, 2010

Cannes 2010

Being the movie freak that she is, my dear friend Ceci spotted this article and quoted it on her blog. Now I don't normally follow my friends' blogs because I'm looking for inspiration for my own, but this time I really really felt I should make an exception. So I did :)

Memory loss

Being so far away from most of my friends is definitely one of the downsides of my expat experience. The fact that they're not all in one place only makes things more complicated, I'd have to quit my job just to have enough time to travel and visit them. Since this is not an option, or at least not yet, we have to rely on the internet / phones to stay updated and sometimes it can become really frustrating.
Then again, some other times it's a good thing to know they're all over Europe, especially as lately I seem to have been hit by amnesia or temporary insanity or both, which led to some serious errors of judgment.
I've been dreaming about my forthcoming trip to Portugal since March, when I started learning Portuguese. I payed special attention to planning this trip, I have the maps, the guides, the words, the books and the friends to make it a perfect vacation. Just how the hell did I manage to book my flights the way I did is still an unsolved mystery. I only discovered it a few days ago and ever since I kept checking my calendars, planners, post-its and diary trying to find out why, on the way back, I'm flying from Porto to London at 6 a.m. and then from London to Warsaw at 9 p.m. First I thought there were no other options, but I checked and double-checked and there were lots of other flights to choose from, way more convenient .
In the end, still without the slightest idea about this flaw in my perfect plan, I called my London-based friends and made plans for the day.
I just hope I won't remember what was it that I was planning to do after I'm back in Warsaw.

May 6, 2010

Book parties, tattoos, ballroom dance

That's what I've been up to lately.
The weather seems to have a strange effect upon me and I was very close to never living the house again, or at least until May stopped looking and feeling like November. This is probably the coldest spring in forever. However, interesting things have been going on:
  • went to a book party where the publisher got so drunk he could barely speak, yet he insisted to do so and obviously it was hilarious. At some point I had to keep stuffing cheese cake in my mouth just to prevent a very inappropriate burst of laughter in the middle of yet another speech about the book. It was the first book party that resembled a wedding or a family reunion, as we were actually sitting down at long, wooden tables with candles and enough food to feed a small village, and I almost felt sorry there wasn't a band.
  • got my first tattoos - one of them is still peeling so once it starts looking decent I'll post pics.
  • my cousin, whom I haven't seen since we were 12, showed up out of nowhere and apparently she lives in Milan and has promised to take me out shopping after the Gogol Bordello concert, just three weeks from now. I've never been a fan of my family, except for my parents and my Gran, but I'm a fool for tacky soap-opera scenarios, so I'm kinda looking forward to this meeting.
  • went to a Polish wedding and survived - I've been warned there'd be lots of vodka, which was true, but saying "No, thank you" proved to be easy and effective, so I really enjoyed it and now I can't wait for my other friends to celebrate their very brave decisions with lots of cake and really really cheesy music.
  • decided to take dance lessons. Apparently very few schools will teach you ballroom dance if you're single, so my only options seemed to be belly dancing, latino mix, salsa for singles and hip hop. Luckily, out of 20-something schools on my list, 7 will not discriminate against singles so next week I'll be checking them out and very soon I'll be out shopping for dancing shoes.