Already three months have passed since I started my third college year in a foreign country. I’ll be honest, lately I didn’t find any pleasure in writing; put it this way I didn’t find any pleasure in doing anything lately, but now I once again feel that I must start being active… Probably the weather is to be blamed. A few words will follow up about this, because we are indeed in the Netherlands. But if I am talking about a Dutch journal then it would seem right to occasionally write about life here. So let us begin this chapter where I left my 2O years.
…The 31st of August, the Lord’s and other’s two thousand-and-seventh year… The majority of Kolozsvár’s inhabitants just started going to work, a lazy student probably turns from one side of the bed to the other and….well and a ’97 Ford Mondeo is rushing with 13O km/h from the Kerekdomb bus-station towards the Monostor neighborhood. And now it would be advisable to take a look in the car. In the driver’s sit a bulky young man switches on gear after the other (he would be my brother), in the rear sit a fairly calm colleague from the faculty named Alex and near him a little bit nervous Adela and of course besides the driver a bloke screaming his head of in a mobile phone. The latter would be me. What was the cause of this sudden adrenaline rush? Weeelll…A couple of weeks before in exchange of a land registry copy I got a free ticket, or how should I call it, to Budapest. The story is smooth until now just like the fact that the bus would leave at 8.30 from the Kerekdomb bus-station (light years away from European standards). But then where is the problem? Well it would be that the bus actually left at 8 o’clock. Ahaa…Now we understand what all of this is about. At the other end of my phone a lady, (the manager of the firm or something like that) who I had just woken up five minutes earlier, in the midst of thousands of apologies. A couple of liters of fuel and a few curses (let just say a good couple of them from my behalf and the Hungarian bus driver) later we were standing with our bags near the Monostor avenue… We just reached the bus. A couple of hasty kisses, a few drop of tears ‘cause the poor baby won’t set his foot in the country until next year (hell knows who made me so stubborn)…And the joyful team is off! In the background the Monostor’s lively green trees, grey communist flats, my crying mother, my waving brother, Alex and the morning traffic. We both look at each other relieved. Unfortunately only the crammed back-sit was still available and thanks to the fact that my mom fed me properly to become a big bloke we can say that the ride was pleasant.
But and adventure is not an adventure if all of it stops here. As we all know thanx’God uncle Joey (Gyuri) from Godforgottenvillage since 2007 can easily visit his “cool” grandson in the Budapest big city life just by using his ID. So passing the border should’ve been a piece of cake. Well not quite…Because on the right side of the bus a huge bent and of course the border control wouldn’t just let us pass. Papers going up and down, a nervous driver smoking a cigarette every two minutes and 2O passengers standing on the side of the road. In the mean-time I met a Norwegian guy originally from Africa who took part at a conference in Szováta. A nice calm chap, so indeed I could already sense the western winds. After our butts met the pavement and after I witnessed how the Hungarian border control ravaged the zakuszka and bacon filled car (talk about discrimination) of a guy working in Spain we were set to continue our journey.
On goes the eastern caravan through the Hungarian plain and reaches the Ferihegy airport. A quite cheap economic class plane waited for us and it wasn’t that bad as one might think. Moment. I jumped ahead with the events. God has three wills so something else had to happen. What could it be? I have my passport, my boarding pass, the invitation. Hmm… But of course! Who would’ve thought at three in the morning while stuffing his bag that it should’ve been weighed too? 24 kilos says the skinny guy from the airport. I’m sorry but only 2O kilos are allowed in the passenger carrying vehicle (how do they come up with these names?). No problem, a small miss understanding. Question, how much do I have to pay? They will tell you at the cash registry. Slightly irritated I walk towards the counter, and just that my head doesn’t pop when I see the voluptuous blond lady giving me a 33 euro bill. What? Don’t you think it’s a lil’bit too much? I ask her while blood was rushing through my forehead. Well. It’s eight euros for each kilo and the handling operation is another euro. And she gracefully smiles while I was pondering what to throw at her. Not even the fact that I’ll be gone for a year and I need all that convinced her.
So the guy gets through the check-in or whatever you call it and heads to the metal detector showing the medical pass that a peace of metal resides in his left hand. Upon this the controller who was renowned for his etiquette nodes his head and says. Yoo Joe!!The gentleman has a prosthesis in his hand. Be careful cause the alarm might go off – and his strong baritone voice filled half of the terminal. You look around and act that you’re not there…And we wait, and wait and wait. And according to God’s fourth will the plain came with a half an hour delay.
Slowly I climb in the belly of the huge sky whale, put away my luggage and smile with Adela that finally we are here and our only concern is to watch out for the bearded Arab guy. And the plain takes off. Pictures upon pictures fill the memory of the camera. Meanwhile the stewardesses offer us sliced potatoes (let’s just call them chips) for 7 euros which the flat-broke students politely refuse. Amazingly beautiful clouds lined up the sky. Somewhere above Germany we passed over a storm. Silence and tranquility while below you breaking waves of clouds rush towards the earth. Astonishing, especially for one who doesn’t fly each day… But that’s enough literature.
The flight took not more than two hours and still something strangely pleasant phenomena caught our attention. The Netherlands! The Hungarian, Czech, German landscape is a bundle of hills, villages, towns and mountains. Holland is something way different. Below you lay a country precisely drawn and designed. It blew us away. Everything is straight, square-shaped, a multitude of canals criss-cross the land. The neighborhoods of Amsterdam remembered us more of a scale-model than an actual city. I have to admit that we stood like dummies admiring this seemingly story-like landscape.
…Please fasten your seatbelts. We could here the captain’s voice while a plump stewardess played it out. The plain slowly started to descend, the buildings came ever closer, a long brake and Welkom op de luchthaven Schiphol says the pilot after the successful landing. What did we see afterwards? We’ll leave that for next time.
5th of December 2007 Utrecht