The old saw about “as much as things change, they stay the same” is a reality for me at this point. I have still not heard a word in regard to my residency visa. At this point, 5 August, leaves me with 28 days left in the EU. I will have no choice but to return to Albania in early September. This is quite definitely not the scenario that I was hoping for when I arrived back home in Bratislava in June. Being hopeful, but not expecting any expedience by the Slovaks, I knew I was up against a system that has been overwhelmed by the Ukraine/Russia War (yes, despite what Mr. Putin says – it is entirely a war); in many ways the system works much as it has since the Cold War days…slowly and mostly at the whim of whomever has your application. Earlier on in June there was some feedback, but the line has gone silent.
The feelers have gone out to my friends in the Balkans, and thankfully they are excited about my return. As it is, I am grateful for the ability to have them to draw on. Going away from my new home and the friends that I have here will be a little less daunting. The thought had occured to me to try another location for three months. but I am still possessed by the beauty of Theth Valley and the wild river winding along its floor. My soul is reinvigorated by simply existing in the mountains. The still scent of the air after a sudden rainshower hangs onto me even now, after two months away. There is clarity in my breath, in my heart and in my mind.
Any meditation reveals the lucency the mountains have attached to me and I’m thankful for it. Each morning when I go through my meditation/chant cycle, I can hear the river and cast myself upon it. Therein lies my great secret: I refuse to succumb to fretting about the visa situation. Knowing it could be a “long haul” process allowed for a bit of fore-planning. Thinking back to 2017 when I was planning my first trip here to Slovakia, I can still hear the words of my dear cousin Elena…”everything is fluid, and we will go with the flow of it”. For a devout Protestant to utter something so clearly “Eastern” has been with me since. If this going to be my path, so be it. At one point I stated that I didn’t want to be on the move every 3 months, but perhaps the universe is at work here, and in order to be at peace with it – I have to be fluid.
Not being in control is deeply liberating, and I have decided to embrace it. At nearly 63 years of age, perhaps all of this motion will keep me from getting complacent, from taking this life for granted, and most certainly aiding the maintenance of my physical well-being. This is about being whole, and I’m beginning to feel it with each passing day. When this odyssey began last December, I wasn’t quite sure what might transpire, or how it would all work out. It is working out, and works better yet when I stay out of the way and go with it.
At this point, I have set 15 August as my deadline. By then I will begin making plans to head back to Albania. There will be very little time spent in the cities on this trip, and if I must, it will be in transition to get to the airport – coming home. If it all works out, I will be back home in my apartment here on Grosslingova 3 December. The “upsides” are many; I am able to actually save money while in Albania. A visit won’t rupture the wallet. It is a country that I truly believe should be on the radar of more travelers. Albania is the total package; the history, the culture, and the people…they are some of the warmest I have ever met. I will be blogging from there, especially to bring to light the phenomenal natural treasures that Albania contains. With any luck, I will be able to visit Alfred in Valbonne again, and try my hand at fly fishing that liquid gem. In the fall, with the water speed far lower than my Spring trip, I should have a better chance against the wily trout in both rivers. We knew that going in last Spring and I was more scouting for my friend Elton, the owner of Albaniantrip.com: he and my guides were intrigued by my idea of opening Albania to fly fishermen.
Knowing that I have not posted since my visit with a dear friend from the US, I felt compelled to let you all know that I am still doing well, I am healthy, and I am happy. Simply put, I am responsible for my own happiness, this is what my Buddha tels me. Although I miss my Son and Daughter, along with my beloved family and friends, I am still more content than I was in the US. Staying in Slovakia might not be a reality, perhaps it might be Albania, or someplace I haven’t been to yet. Who knows? I am still fluid, and just at the onset of my journey. In this short time I have been to Vienna twice, and to our own Male’ Carpaty (Small Carpathians) that wrap around this part of Slovakia. If I were to stay, I would travel to the North and visit my family; I have chosen to stay close in case I was called for my visa interview.
Closing now, I wanted to give you an idea of what is going on, and if there is nothing pressing I will post again before the start of the trip to Albania. Please know that I am thinking of you all in my chants and most are on my mind and in my heart. Please take care of yourselves, and each other. Thank you for following me. I will leave you with something that indicates where my head and heart are at; it has been my go-to for a while now. “My heart is at ease knowing what is meant for me, will never miss me, and that which misses me was never meant for me.” Bob Marley