Day 35. Tales from a business trip.

Hello everyone. I’m sorry for going missing these past few days, everything has just been beyond crazy. I’ve been working days and sometimes nights, I’ve travelled, my immune system had a breakdown so I caught a cold. I’ve been popping pills and drinking 20 cups of tea everyday, so I can get better and be at 100%.

I was at home Wednesday night, relaxing while watching a TV show, unsuspecting of the storm that was about to come. I got a phone call at about 23:30 from a colleague, telling me to pack a bag and bring it tomorrow because I’m flying to Bristol. I had been working on a presentation for about a week, thinking we were going to present it on a conference call, when they decided it was best if I presented it in person. I got out of bed, a little confused, and started packing what I thought I needed for one day in Bristol. A lot of warm clothes especially, because it’s colder by 10 degrees there. It’s always winter in the UK!

I got to work the next morning and went on with the presentation. We were supposed to leave around 15:00, so I had to make sure I added all the finishing touches. My bosses were on their own business trip to Paris, so they were going to check the presentation later that evening.

The two other colleagues I was leaving with started fiddling around me at about 15:15, telling me to shut the laptop down and hurry, because we’ll be late. That’s when I started hearing their conversation about passports. And then it hit me. I don’t have a passport. Not since I was 14 or so. It expired and we entered the EU, so I didn’t renew it, because I knew I could travel mostly anywhere with just my ID. I didn’t figure I was going to Asia any time soon, so I thought it would be enough. I told them hesitantely… “You know, I don’t have a passport!”. Panic started setting in. What if I can’t go? Romania isn’t in the Schengen space, so I was kind of unsure whether I could leave or not. And so were all the others. People started calling travel agencies and friends to inquire about the situation.

We didn’t have time to find out because we really had to leave if we weren’t going to miss the plane. We were going to find out sooner or later anyway. On the way to the airport, I realized I left one of my two phones at work, because of the hurry. The smarter one, meaning the iphone. The one I could use to connect to a wireless network and write to everyone where I am and what I was doing. I also left my laptop charger. I was a disaster.

Luckily, the airport people said I could go. So, in case you were wondering, yes, you can travel to the UK with just your ID. That still didn’t stop all of my colleagues to scold me and tell me to get a passport ASAP! Apparently, I’ll be using it a lot.

We got on the plane and I switched off my other phone, the one with the Hungarian number in it, as you’re supposed to. We continued to work as soon as the “no electronics” sign stopped blinking. We checked the spelling of the presentation and any other mistakes, with screaming gypsy children right behind us. We all agreed that it would be good if children had a mute button, or that they should fly with separate air planes or something. Especially since we weren’t the only ones trying to get work done, so was half the plane. I had never experienced something like that. Usually, I just read or something. It was a first.

When we arrived, the first thing I wanted to do was to turn on my phone. Guess again, little kid! I had another surprise coming. I had no idea what my PIN number for that phone was. It was written on a small card, in a small drawer in my Budapest apartment, and I was the only owner of a key set. Well, me and my real estate agent, but I didn’t have her number anyway, and I didn’t think calling her at midnight would be such a good idea. So I was lost in space, basically. The only thing that saved me was a free SIM card I got on the plane. It was an O2 sampling, they gave free SIMs to everyone. Not that it had any kind of credit on it, but at least I had a phone number where I could be reached.

Next, we got on a taxi to take us to Bristol. The fancy kind. The kind with wireless inside. I never knew that was possible, to have wireless in your car. All three of us were tapping away on our laptops, sending e-mails and presentations and putting together file lists and to do lists. The taxi ride to Bristol took about two hours, so by the time I arrived at the Marriot I was so exhausted, I only wanted to crawl in that big bed of theirs. Their wireless network didn’t work anyway, so I was lost in space once again.

The best part of the trip was probably the breakfast. A huge Swedish buffet with anything you could imagine. All kinds of omelettes, sausages and beans, fruits, salads, breads and muffins. I got a tiny bit of everything and enjoyed it since I still had a long day ahead.

Client presentations and meetings lasted until the end of the day, but I had to leave early because the taxi was picking me up to take me to the airport. I was flying alone this time, since the others had to stay until Friday. I had a fun conversation with the taxi driver, who always drives people from my company from London to Bristol and back, so he had a lot of tales to share. I don’t want to get him in trouble, but he knew all the good gossip. We also talked about VAT, expenses, driving on the right side of the road and being in long distance relationship. Now he can tell gossip about me to other people. The 6 degrees of connection, that’s what it was.

After wasting time at the airport for about an hour and a half, I finally sat down on a bench to wait for boarding. But as it usually happens when you’re exhausted, sick, and wishing to arrive home, the plane had a 1 hour delay. So I entertained myself by having a conversation with to other Romanians who happened to sit right next to me. That conversation is a different story and I will share it some other time.

Now I have a good reason to be happy, since my boyfriend is coming by in a sort of unexpected visit! They left the Golden Drum festival and will be pit stopping at my place. I can barely wait. It’s been 35 days, as you might have noticed from the title.

I’ll be back!

S.

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Day 31. Back to my old self.

It’s a stormy night here in Budapest, the land of all possibilities. I know that’s not the phrase, it just sounded ironic and I liked it. So my plan for the night is to do NOTHING. From time to time, it’s really necessary that you take the time and do nothing. To much of something can be exhausting.

Yesterday, three of my ex-colleagues from the agency in Romania stayed with me for a night, before they went further on to Golden Drum, an advertising festival that takes place in Portoroz-Piran, Slovenia. After driving for 134 hours, they finally got here at about 20 minutes past 22. Tired, red-eyed and what not, they still wanted to go out. So we shared a bottle of wine at a terrace nearby. When we got home, we figured we could have one more glass each, so entered the ABC store next to my house and started looking at wines. The lady at the cashier desk muttered something in Hungarian, and that’s when I remembered… you can’t buy alcohol after 10 pm here. Shiiiiiit. It was impossible to convince her that we’re not irish men wanting to get drunk in the middle of the street. So I tried my luck at the other ABC store, where I entered and said in the softest and nicest voice possible: “can we please buy a bottle of wine?”. He looked at me with scepticism, so I continued: “it’s just one bottle, we’ll go home and drink it, I live right here, I promise!” “Make it quick!” he said. Or “Ok but fast!”, something along those lines. We quickly grabbed the first one that looked decent and paid. It felt like buying drugs. He was looking around for the police, all scared, while wrapping the wine in a black opaque bag. Anyway, after a million stories about Hungary, Romania, differences, similarities and all the other things that passed through our minds, we finally went to bed. And this morning I had to wake up early to work on a project with a very tight deadline.

The conclusion is that I am now tired as hell. So no, no more somethings for me tonight. It’s all about nothing.

And by nothing, I mean nothing that would even qualify as making any sense. Ok, I mean watching reality shows.

I love reality shows. They are my guilty pleasure. The problem is, I love too many of them. I watch even the bad, bad, worse ones. Like  Bridalplasty. It’s about a bunch of future brides, living together in a house and competing in challenges. Each week, one of them gets eliminated based on the other contestant’s votes. Nothing out of the ordinary, so far. But wait ’till you hear what the grand prize is: a list full of plastic surgeries, just for you! So that your poor husband won’t even recognize you after you’re done. The challenge winner has one plastic surgery done, so after a few challenges, most of the girls are walking around with post-op faces, broken noses, swollen lips and inflated boobs, and are supposed to take part in wine tasting and cake baking challenges. It’s absolutely hilarious. Apparently though, I’m the only person in the universe who thinks that, because it has a two star score on imdb.

Well, moving on to the next terrible thing, I LOVE to watch Toddlers & Tiaras. At first I was appalled, just like any other sane person, about what those mothers do to the children. For those of you who don’t flirt with the pleasures of reality TV, this show is about small girls competing in pageants. Not just regular pageants, GLITZ pageants. And glitz means having the fake hairpiece, nails, lashes, suntan, not even to mention the make-up and the ridiculous dresses. We’re talking about girls from 0 to 20 years old, all ages. They mostly show the young ones. But after a while you get drawn into it and start feeling more amused than appalled. The best part of the show are the crazy pageant moms. They all re-live their childhood through their kids, so they’re either trying to make up for them being fat and unpopular, or, they re-live their best years when they were also competing in pageants themselves. And when the kids turn out to be totally spoiled brats, it really starts to be funny. Oh boy, I can’t even wait for the next season.

Moving on to the more upscale reality TV, there’s of course America’s Next Top Model. I have seen all the 19 seasons of this. And just like everything else that surpasses 10 seasons, it’s getting worse and worse. They don’t know what crazy new thing to do to keep the show alive, so for a while now it’s not anywhere near a modelling show, more like a cheesy piece of entertainment where they just mock those girls by making them pose like housewife zombies or dead animals and forcing them to practice “runway walks” next to stripping poles. If that doesn’t land you Paris Fashion Week, I don’t know what will! Even funnier than the actual show, are the recaps! For the really passionate ones amongst you, you can find them on tvgasm.com. It’s a good piece of literature, I’m telling you.

The only one that hasn’t lost it’s classiness so far is Project Runway with the ever smiling Heidi Klum. That’s actually pretty funny on a smarter level, the contestants actually went to college and have humorous comments, while also adding in some sarcasm and irony in the mix. So you’re not really laughing at them, you’re laughing with them. Of course, it’s also supposed to be entertaining reality, so they sometimes throw in little twists like making them take care of fake crying baby dolls, while still having to do two outfits in one day.

Before you start accusing me of wasting time, remember: the time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time. Also, I’ve barely finished reading a trilogy, so cut me some slack. The target audience was teenagers, I know, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. By the way, has anyone read 1Q84 by Murakami? I need to hear as many positive comments about it before I go ahead and spend 5000 forint on the book.

Thank you in advance!

Yours truly,

S.

Day 29. A girl can’t go a month without shopping.

Wow. This month went by fast. I read somewhere that as you grow older, time just  seems to go by faster, because you have a larger timespan as a point of reference. I guess that makes sense. But it’s scary at the same time.

Yesterday I fell into a kind of shopping binge. My mother’s not gonna’ like this one. But she’s supposed to love me no matter how many the idiotic things I do, because I’m her kid and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. Moreover, what makes for an interesting reading other than the bad things we do? Nobody wants to read about sunshine and happiness every day.

As I was saying. After a quick trip to Ikea with Brandon, where I didn’t buy anything because I don’t need anything other than a rack to dry my clothes, I told myself I’m just going to pop by the 2nd hand store to see what’s new. I ended up trying about 10 dresses and only got one of them. So far so good. The day was still young, so I decided to take a stroll around the larger store I have pretty close to my place, a mini mall, let’s say. Since I’ve been living on what was left of my Romanian money plus what my parents generously lended me, I can’t say I’ve been throwing  money around these last couple of weeks. And it’s difficult. I’m used to buying something every once in a while, even if it’s just a pair of earrings. It’s not my fault, it’s society’s. They’ve made us into consumerist monsters, who get are never happy with what they have and always want more, just because there’s so much more to want out there!

So I walked around H&M and after having only bought thrifted items, everything seemed strangely expensive to me. Maybe I was also comparing it to what money I had in my pocket. A skirt from H&M would have been the end of me. Thinking about what I was going to wear that night to go out, I was looking at some necklaces which would have went well with the outfit.

Next door to H&M, there was an accessory store. And they had A LOT of nice stuff. I immediately started to put outfits together to go with them. I selected a pair of feathered earrings, because I never had one of those, and then I discovered a sales rack. Another pair of earrings, a headband and a ring popped up on my wish list. Ok. ENOUGH! I said to myself as I was paying for them.

Next to the accessory store, a HUGE drugstore. Ah, how I’ve missed walking around those and smelling the perfumes. Hei, you know what would go well with my outfit and the feather earrings? A red lipstick. That’s what I was thinking. So I got one. And with the emerald stone ring? An emerald coloured nailpolish. Cha ching! Went the cashier, and I gave her an amount of my petty cash.

That’s it! I’m going home! That’s what I was thinking. But it was still early and there was nothing for me to do at my apartment, so I strolled around the neighborhood for a while. I still felt incomplete. Once I start, it’s hard for me to stop. Soon enough I found myself staring inside a hairdressers, thinking how badly I need a cut and a die. But that was really too expensive for me. So I ended up just getting a manicure. Because I haven’t had one done since I moved here. Now not to sound snobbish, but it’s hard to cut your damn cuticules with your left hand. So when I do my own manicure, my left hand ends up looking perfect and the right one is just a mess.

Sitting there and watching Kata the Hungarian do my manicure, I started missing home again. Manicurists, hairdressers and the cosmetic women who work on your eyebrows and stuff, these are for talking. They’re like therapists to me. The first meeting is introductory, where I tell them what I do for a living and in this case, how I ended up moving to Budapest. And then when we get to know each other a little better, I can tell them all of my life’s sorrows, boyfriend troubles, things about parents and animals and all of that. But here, I just stood there quitely waiting for her to get done. What was I supposed to do? Talk about myself in a language she didn’t understand? That was just depressing. It felt like I got half a manicure.

Anyway, after I spent a small fortune, I felt better. I got dressed and went out and had fun. I can’t say the same thing about today, when I spent the first 8 hours after I woke up in bed. I’m too old to go out two nights in a row. I don’t know how other people still do that. No more. I’m sticking to retiree activities.

So that’s that :).

S.

Day 27. Planning ahead.

The weekend is right by the door, waiting for me to finish work. So everyone is going around asking the same question today “What are you up to this weekend?”. I always feel bad since I don’t have anything huge planned. I sometimes think I’m supposed to plan ahead, because there are so many things I haven’t done yet around here. But every time the weekend comes, I just feel like resting. The only new thing I feel like trying is another chocolate assortment to indulge on, in my comfy sheets. Pathetic, I know.

So I’m thinking of making a list of all the things I haven’t been to yet, maybe this will motivate me to get up and do it.

For one thing, there’s the zoo. I usually don’t like zoos, but I remember being there when I was really young (or was it the Vienna zoo? I don’t remember). Anyway, the animals looked like they were doing pretty good, they were not being tortured in cages or anything. If you think about these animals being rescued from the wild when they were injured, or maybe that they were already born inside the zoo so they wouldn’t be capable of handling wild life anyway, it makes it less bad. Or not. I don’t know. I just like to look at animals. I’m sure the Budapest zoo is better than the zoos in Romania. I’ve actually only visited one of them in Romania, in my mother’s home town. That one was bad. Anyway I think I should see the zoo before it gets too cold outside and all the animals will just hibernate.

Amusement park! I’m sure I’ve been to this one when I was a kid. I remember my parents took me on that old roller coaster thing and I was sh*&ting my pants. That’s when I realized that I was really scared of heights and I was not just imagining it. Actually, now that I think of it, my father didn’t join us that time, also because he was afraid of heights. I didn’t know it was genetic. But besides the roller coaster, there might be some other fun things to do over there. Like eat sugar on a stick. I mean, cotton candy. I haven’t had that in years.

Speaking of that, I haven’t had langosh in a looooong time. I would have it almost every day in elementary school, because I would walk home from school and walk past the market where they sold it. It was really cheap and yummy and fattening. I gave up on this type of food when I was skinny. This was back in high school. But in those days, I didn’t eat much of anything, not to mention deep fried dough things. In Bucharest, they never heard of langosh. They probably had doughnuts, but for me it just wasn’t the same. I wanted the long, thin, cheese and sour cream covered deliciousness. But here I found it again! And not just like that, but in a sophisticated version even. DiVino has what is called a “supreme langosh”, with goat cheese, garlic confit and sour cream. I haven’t tried it yet but I bet it’s scrumptious. On the list with it!

I always see a really nice theatre on the Grand Boulevard, on the way to my apartment. It’s really close to where I live. Right now, they have a Marry Poppins musical going on, there’s a beautiful big blue poster announcing it and I’m always admiring it when I’m passing by. So today I started researching to see if there was any chance if it was in English. The first thing I noticed was that the tickets were all sold out everywhere! So I guess the musical must be pretty good. I love Marry Poppins too. Have you seen the Julie Andrews movie? So awesome. Anyway. I wasn’t very happy about the tickets situation, but I calmed down as I realized the musical was in Hungarian, as I was afraid it would be. Are there any theatre plays in English around Budapest? I heard in some places they use subtitles, even in the theatre. That would be extremely weird.

I love how I keep talking about these things to do instead of actually doing them. Well. Who knows what the weekend holds. Unfortunately, Brandon hates the zoo, so I don’t think I’ll be able to drag him there. I hate the circus, so I guess we’re even.

Au revoir!

S.

Day 25. Mi casa es su casa.

Remember Sunday? On Sunday I was talking about how I wish someone would come visit me, because I am such a welcoming person and I have so much space to offer.

Well. On Monday evening, my friend Andra, former highschool classmate and current very good friend who I see maybe 6 times a year although we used to live in the same city, approached me on Facebook. She was telling me about how she was thinking of visiting me in Budapest one of these days. Of course I was over extating, telling her she’s very welcome. After finding out she was only planning to stay from dusk to dawn and maybe have a glass of sparkling water with me, I immediately insisted she should spend the night. Because the other bedroom is really a waste of money if nobody’s sleeping in there for two weeks in a row.

When talking to her the next day, she told me she missed the morning train so she’s probably not going to come very soon, since she had to return to Bucharest and what not. But it seems she didn’t know me very well, because I wasn’t going to let this one fly so easily. I started telling her about all the trains that arrive in Budapest that day, about how she should spend the night and all the things we would do. I was this close to sending her pictures with the bed and a note that had her name on it on top.

I got busy with a project and when I checked the messenger again, she let me know she was taking the car and coming over and not alone, but with my very bestest friend from highschool, Prodi! Needless to say I was thrilled. My first Romanian visitors! Except my parents. Ok. My second pair of Romanian visitors, hooray!

They arrived after 4 hours while I was still at work. I noticed a Facebook chat window pop up and Prodi cordially announced me that neither of them had the roaming service activated, and that they were now at a Starbucks inside some mall, on wireless. They had no idea where the mall was and how they actually got there, so I had to look it up on google maps. I’m no whizz kid in terms of Budapest orientation either. I feared they were stuck in some outskirts shopping area that I had never heard of and had no idea how to get there.

Luckily, they were very close to the center, next to the western railway station. We met there after I left work, took the car and went to my place.

After an interesting conversation in front of the parking meter, on which the Hungarian people didn’t think of putting any English translation, since hey, Hugarians are the only ones who drive cars around Budapest, or, in other words, if you want to know how to park, you’d better learn the language, we arrived at my place.

Now, about my place. I like the interior. It’s pretty. It’s the biggest place I’ve owned so far. It has its flaws. The bathroom doornob is about to fall off. The windows overlook the couryard so I can’t say I have much of a view. Moreover, I can’t leave the windows open and go in the other room, because I’m afraid someone will enter the apartment from the outside. Luckily (MOM, pay attention here!) the owner agreed to install bars in front of the windows, so now even though it wiill look like I am in prison, I will feel safe. A funny comparison, if you think about it.

Another thing is the courtyard. It’s one of those old buildings with 5 floors and many apartments on each floor, placed in a circle so that they all overlook the courtyard. And bless its heart, it’s falling apart. Some parts of it are renovated, some are not. Some doors are new, some are old as hell. Some are blue, some are white, some are red, some are some indefinite color I just call the color “old”. There’s dusty carpets on the floor and the elevator – don’t get me started on that one. Let’s just say I never use it.

But the girls were thrilled. It was “parisian” they said. You could be a writer in here, they said. Actually, I am, I was going to say, but I guess what I’m doing now isn’t exactly what they picture when they think of being a writer.

We had something to eat in an even older and more decrepit courtyard than mine. It’s in fashion here to have a restaurant/ bar in the courtyard of an old building. You put some colorful chairs, a bar, some lighbulbs in the trees, spray some paint around and maybe place some car that is falling apart in the middle, and you have hipster retro chic decoration. Or whatever it might be called.

After “dinner”, which was, again, a chicken tortilla, which I also had two nights before, because it’s the only thing these places usually have; we were headed towards Divino. Apparently I can’t go somewhere else except this wine bar. It’s just likeable and already familiar so I don’t have to worry whether the people I’m with will like it or not. We had some wine and sat on a bench. Two beggars were sitting next to us, but they were speaking Hungarian so we didn’t have a chance to stir up a vernacular conversation. Too bad.

We ended the night telling stories and high school memories, which never get old. Especially now, that I’m getting old and senile and forgot half of the things that happened in high school. So I let them tell me stories and it seemed to me like I was hearing them for the first time.

I couldn’t believe I was supposed to go to work the next day. It seemed like such a great weekend night. So I guess the secret is to behave like every night is a weekend night. Until you can’t hold your head up straight in the morning and end up sleeping all weekend.

Whatever. I’m still young. Although old and senile.

“Cheers!” they say, around here.

S.

Day 22. Finally a tourist.

Hello everyone, how was your weekend? I hope you got to do a little bit of resting, which I can’t exactly say I did. In fact, I’m sitting in the middle of my bed right now and I’m going to have a long, awesome nap after I finish writing this :).

It all started on Friday, when I went to Brandon’s to take the dogs for a last walk before he returned from his Paris trip. Apparently, Friday was “take your crap to the street” day, so people just collected whatever junk they had in their houses and placed them in the middle of the sidewalk. Now I’m telling you, it’s not a pretty sight to see when you’re walking past the fancy restaurants of Liszt Ferencz square! So walking the dogs was extra hard this time, because I had to cross the street whenever a pile of junk blocked my way. Oh, and you know what big piles of junk attract? Many homeless gypsies. Oh yes. They had their own feast over there, collecting wood and lamps and mattresses and what not. Again, not very in line with the atmosphere on Andrassy.

I went to pick up my parents from the trainstation at about 20:00 pm and helped them carry the 1000 pieces of luggage they brought, mostly for me. We unpacked, had some wine, told stories, dug up some memories and had a few laughs.

On Saturday we went to Ikea and I checked almost every item of my “missing from the apartment” list, so now things are starting to look more home-like, I can stop feeling like an abandoned cat in the rain. With more of my stuff lying around, the apartment kind of looks like it’s mine, and not as if I am staying with a stranger. Which is good.

We had lunch and while my dad took his afternoon nap, me and my mom went thrifting, which I love. There’s a huge store right in front of my house, so we didn’t even have to walk a lot. It was closing in about 45 minutes so I rushed through all the stuff. You know how these 2nd hand stores are… everything is thrown together, nothing is size/ color or even item coordinated. So your best chance is just to look through EVERYTHING. Soon enough I had about 20 items I wanted to try on. When I get inside these stores, I stop thinking. Everything is so cheap, that I don’t care if I really need it or not. If I have something similar. If it’s not really season appropriate. But I had to tone myself down in order to not give my mother heart palpitations, so I only bought about 8 items. It was a bargain, I’m telling you. They all look awesome, I’m so happy!

After that, we took my dad and went sightseeing (yai!). We saw the Parliament from up close, walked through squares, took pictures in front of a fountain and so on. My parents would not stop taking pictures. Although they’ve been to Budapest about 10 times before. They found everything so beautiful and I loved that I was able to play hostess for them. We shared a bottle of wine in front of the St. Stephen’s Basillica and we got very cheerful after that. After the alcohol kicked in, everything was even more perfect than before! (Even though there’s no such thing as more perfect, I know)

We had a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant, Brandon stopped by to say hi, my mom practiced her English, we took silly photos and went home tired like real tourists.

Today was another very exciting day for me! Although my mom’s phone ringing woke me up at 8 in the morning, I immediately forgot about sleeping when we decided to go to the City Park flea market! I’ve never been to one before so I was very anxious.

It took us a little time to find it, but boy was it worth it. If you like knick knacks, there’s nothing better than a flea market. There is so much useless stuff there, you just get lost and don’t know what the hell to buy anymore! They had everything, from new to old clothes, shoes, leather items, books, magazines, old keys, plates, silverware, old cameras, paintings, food, designer watches and military wear. I was in heaven. I walked by most of the tables, analyzing things, imagining what I could do with this and that if I bought it. I decided to leave the purchase up for next time, to organize my thoughts a little bit. I was thinking of an old alarm clock, a set of old keys to hang on the walls like a decoration, an old phone, an old suitcase to be used as a deposit space. I only bought a pretty purse for 500 forint (which is like 7 lei or 1,5 euros).

We ended the visit with mexican lunch, something my parents never had before and they liked a lot.

Overall, it was a great weekend and I really needed them to get me going and start getting around more! It’s a waste to sleep on weekends and not experience more of the things the city has to offer! I know these things, but when the time comes I just can’t persuade myself to do it. So people, please, come visit me! I have an extra bedroom, we’ll go thrifting, it will be great, I promisse!

 

All the best 🙂

S.

Day 19. Doggysitter.

Well, here I am. The newly appointed nanny, walker and caretaker of Brandon’s two dogs. It’s only for tonight, but the responsibility is a huge piece of deal for me, since I’ve never acted as a babysitter neither for humans, nor for other creatures. (Maybe I should have mentioned this before Brandon trusted me with his dogs..)

So while Brandon is living la joie de vivre up in Paris, where he went with a bunch of other colleagues for a client meeting, I’m lounging on his couch with a glass of wine and two furry creatures besides me.

First of all, let me introduce you. In no particular order, (although I did mention once that Doosy was my favorite), we have:

Byrd, Byrda, Byrdie, 5 years old. Jack Russel Terrier. Although he’s five, he acts like he’s a puppy all the time. He’s the most excited dog you’ll ever meet, no matter the situation. He’s especially happy when it’s time for a walk. Or, as Brandon would say, time to get some fresh air with dad! Just the sound of those words make him jump up and down like there’s no tomorrow. His favorite activities are thus walking, which includes growling like a pig, pulling the leash until he can’t breathe and gets a purple tongue and getting tangled in Duke’s leash so that I constantly have to twist and turn in order to not fall over. Other past time activities are tickleing the tum-tum, french kissing and sucking on his favorite blanket. He does that to fall asleep, thinking it’s his mother’s breast. It’s pretty funny. Especially when you interrupt him and his teeth are all stuck to his upper lip. He looks like an old man.

Duke, Dick, Doosy, sometimes Hound, 11 years old. Portuguese Podango (did I spell that right? I never heard of this breed until recently). He’s the sweetest most loveable dog in the world. He likes his food a little to much so, if we want to put it mildly, he’s a teeny bit overweight. He’s calm and is less excited than Byrd about walking. Probably because he also gets tired more easily.

I had to stop writing for a second because they heard a noise, got scared and wanted some affection. They litterally didn’t let me keep writing, they stuck their snouts under my hands until I calmed them down. Adorable.

Where was I? Yes, Doosy. He’s pretty shy and anxious, and isn’t at all crazy about french kissing. What he does like is sitting on his back and getting a good old rub.

They’re always up for a chit chat, in fact, they get depressed if you don’t talk to them. They actually know quite a few words and phrases, as I noticed today when they instantly knew what to do when I said “cross”(the street).

Now all I have to do is keep them from barking and scaring off the Christian Koreeans. Oh, did I not mention them? Well. Brandon’s neighbors are Koreeans. They came by Brandon’s door the day he moved in, introduced themselves and asked him if he liked Jesus. He replied that he’s a big fan. Then he found out they were having daily sermons. It’s like he lives next to a piano bar, because their sermons include a piano concerto, every night. My neighbords were having… let’s say.. a romantic night… a few nights ago and I heard them through the thin walls like they were in my room, so I guess Christian Koreean piano is better.

So ok, Brandon, in case you’re reading this, please know I walked the dogs for 30 minutes, gave them two treats each (so that they would love me more) and I have nothing to complain about. We’ll see how the night goes.

That’s all folks!

S.

p.s. If you want to see pictures of the princes, check out the Ozosep Facebook page.