Day four and my love affair with Budapest continues. Today is the very first Christmas that I have spent on my own. For the last few days I have had very very limited contact with other people, and tonight I sat in an Irish pub and had a burger and some stew with a large glass of wine and watched tennis. The world around me swirled and twirled and danced with lights and mulled wine, but I sat in a balcony in a pub watching tennis.
I hate tennis. I have no idea how the flippin sport is scored, and there was no sound, so it was really just an odd series of interpretive dance.
The day wasn’t all bad. I spent most of it walking around the Christmas markets with a hot chocolate and a muffin. When the rain got to be a little too much, I wandered back to the hotel and watched bad Christmas movies. I went back out at sundown so I could see the menorah at the Great Synagogue lit. I wandered down to the Danube so I could see the castle lit up. I couldn’t figure out what was being served in the market (and I don’t eat pork) so that is how I ended up in a trusty Irish pub with my red wine and tennis.
My beacon in the night. Plus, they had a menorah outside. My friends and family text me through the meal, so I wasn’t exactly alone either.
The writing challenge for the week is to write about something that I’ve created. I’ve had almost a year to think on this….and create something.
I’ve come up blank. I think in the last year I have created a lot of good memories. I’ve been to weddings, birthings, new countries and new cities. I’ve met some amazing people, let go of some not so amazing people, and have tried to work on creating a better me. I guess for right now that is the best I can do.
So, my lovely readers, family and friends, have a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and happy almost end to 2016 and that however and whatever you celebrate, you do it surrounded by love and happiness.
I may have to marry Stuart the FedEx guy. Today he brought me a box with my menorah in it. I forgot to have my mom bring it with her when she came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and I was worried that this would be the first year that I did not light candles.
My mother came to the rescue though. She sent it with a box of presents, and it arrived today, night three of Hanukkah.
So what is Hanukkah, you ask? Well, here is the BBC’s short and sweet version. The festival reminds Jews of a time over 2500 years ago when the Jews won a battle against the Greeks to practice their religion freely. The Greeks had banned all Jewish rituals. To celebrate, an oil lamp was lit in a Jewish temple. There was only enough oil to burn for one day – but miraculously it burned for eight days.
This is why the Hanukkah festival lasts for eight days and why light is really important in the celebration. With that in mind, not having my menorah with me was devastating. The first two days when the sun was setting I improvised with pictures from the internet. There is a very very very small number of Jewish people in Scotland, so it is not like I could just go out and buy another one.
But that’s what you do on an adventure; you improvise.
After I got the box I set out on a quest to find candles that fit my menorah. Let me tell you, it was actually easier than I thought it would be. I went to the grocery store first, assuming that they might have something. I took the menorah with me and looked really really really silly in the store trying to see if the selection of candles they had would fit the menorah. None of the traditional candles would work, and the birthday cake candles they had were way too skinny. I moved on to the PoundLand, and as luck would have it, the birthday candles they sell are just the right size!
I loved it. I’m sure I got a lot of funny looks while I was going about this whole process, but I am happy for that little bit of comfort and little bit of tradition that I get to keep here. I know that in a few years I will be smart enough to order candles off the internet and I will laugh at the way I had to piece together my first Hanukkah. I was going to try and make latkas, but I am still a little too traumatized from the slow cooker the other night.
I think that is something for night 8 when I have fully recovered.