“It’s Been A Long Time”…In Short Time

Sunday 10,7,2022

It has been roughly 3 weeks since my last post. Time passes here like the Danube flowing steady and sure. Regarding my residency visa. There has been little word since Danka and I went to the “Office of Foreign Police”. She has been diligent, and even with her contacts and political pull, it has been a slow process. The Slovaks are still trying to catch up from the pandemic and the flood of Ukrainian refugees. I am not worried. My residency will happen, and if it doesn’t I will be heading to Albania again. I have had many walks through the Stary Mesto (Old Town), and worked on sharpening my language some. It will be a process. So, with nothing to share with you all, I have abstained from this blog altogether for a few weeks or so.

The one bright spot was a short visit from a dear friend. She had planned to stay nearly 2 weeks, but decided that she needed to be home to help her Sister with her elderly parents. I am thankful for the time together. It was good to see an old friend, especially one with a “deep” shared history. We spoke of many things, and spoke truely. We spent the time walking through the Stary Mesto, along the Danube, and sometimes just sitting on a shaded bench. There was time for her to decompress from her earlier trip around Spain, Portugal, and France. She spent that portion of her trip with her husband,sister, and brother-in-law.

The beauty of my apartment lies in the doors. Every room has one, and they availed her the privacy that she required at her choosing. The weather here in Bratislava had been very pleasant toward the last few days of her stay, and granted a respite from the heat of her past travel. At one point we were caught in a sudden shower, and ran soaking wet like care-free teenagers. Water pooled under the table and around us as we sought refuge in a restaurant. From my standpoint, it was important to do as she wanted, we did so. She went out on her own (it’s very easy to walk here and not get lost), and rested on the bed when it struck her. Being my “first” visitor, I made sure that there was enough room for both of us, and plenty of time to just relax (for her). On the last night of her stay, we intended to have dinner at one of the many rooftop skybars, but ended up with just a couple drinks and gravitated to one of the Asian/Thai cafes that we enjoyed earlier in the week.

Thursday was her last day here, and we agreed to squeeze every last second until I put her on the bus for Vienna Airport later in the day. Since the bus station is located under a massive shopping mall (it’s only a year old), I figured I would go to Lidl and shop for the next 3 or 4 days. I fought back tears as she cried when it was time for her to board the bus. I watched her board the bus and headed for the store. It didn’t take long for me, and I began crying while shopping. I tried to be the “tough guy” and failed. Not much later, I was standing on the corner to cross the street, her bus went past and I waved. Returning home to a now empty house, the silence was deafening. Rooms once filled with her bold laughter and silkened voice now held only the breeze pushing through the open windows. It has taken some time to let it all go… more than I expected.

For now, I return to my study of language and the depths of the past. I have poured myself back into research for my paper. Today Vlad insisted that we get out for lunch, as his wife and kids went up to the Tatras. We parted after a massive bowl of Vietnamese soup, and I roamed back through the Stary Mesto. There has been headway in my research, and I have begun to understand the circularity of history in a fuller manner. I will write here again soon, when there is something to share. I am “home” and everything will work out in its own way and in its own time. If I go back to Albania, I will have a much better base there since I have friends that will help me stay. I would probably end up in Theth with my buddy Pavlin.

My apologies for the shortened length of this missive, perhaps there will be more to share soon. Until the next post, please take care of yourselves and take care of each other. I am incredibly thankful for those following me. I wish you all the good things this life can avail you.

One thought on ““It’s Been A Long Time”…In Short Time

  1. Hi Niel, if for some reason you find yourself heading back to Albania, take your time and complete your due diligence in scouting out a cab driver who appears to be peaceful, honest, and very small in stature. No more taxi nightmares – please!


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