New borders around me. New streets to navigate. New culture to observe. New language to learn. I can already communicate at a greater level than in Hungarian, because Slovak is similar to Polish and I still remember what I learned during my time in Poland. I’ve got a long way to go to fluency, however, so Slovak sounds like enigmatic music. An old, old language. The language of the Tatra mountains.
I’m riding the high of the unknown. The starting over. Utopia is a figment of the juvenile imagination. However, I’m mature enough in my wandering to know what awaits after the strangeness settles into familiarity.
I don’t expect everyone to be friendly. Thanks to the lessons that I learned in Poland, I don’t expect people to think I’m special because my maternal grandmother is Slovak-American. I don’t expect Slovaks to be impressed that I’m making the effort to learn their language. I know that sometimes I may even be mocked for trying. I’ve long since stopped expecting things to be done as they are in America or France. And sometimes I prefer it this way.
With every change of location, the same questions surface: will this finally be the place where I can sink roots deep into the earth? Does such a place even exist? Or am I doomed to wander forever, even with all that I’ve learned about sanctuary being a state of mind?
*These photos were taken in 2011.