Let me tell you something important: in Slovakia I’ve found the land of beautiful women. Between the women and the landscape, I’m stunned at every turn.
That said, yesterday we hiked down a slope so steep and so rocky I didn’t dare look up. If I’ve learned anything so far it’s that I am incapable of walking and looking at the spectacular vistas — or even of walking and talking — at the same time. I’ve almost bought the farm more than once. More than lots. The other day while hiking downhill in deep mud I started to answer a question and instantly lost my footing. If it hadn’t been for the sturdy branch on one side and the guide behind me, I would have slid right down the bank on my back, and taken a few fellow hikers with me.
Note to self: I think I “hike” at home, but ha! Those are like country meadow strolls in comparison.
Note to self #2: You should have brought your f-ing hiking boots even if they are old and kind of hurt your feet. (poor last minute decision-making)
Note to self #3: At least you brought the trekking poles, so relax, you’re not a complete idiot.
Last night I skipped dinner for a massage. The first big burly sweetheart who brought me back smiled huge and said, “American!! My grandmother in Illinois!” But when I responded he shook his head to say sorry, that’s all my English. This is how I often feel in other countries. I can maybe say hello and cheers and “my name is” but one they answer I’m lost.
When the right guy finally found me he was clearly disappointed. I could not for the life of me figure out what he wanted. I somehow locked him out of the room. I laid down under the wrong towel and boy was it interesting fixing that! Then my head was in the wrong place. The little bit of draping kept sliding off. We finally both started laughing when I tried to turn the table over.
I soon learned that he knew at least 3 words I could understand. When he found a sore spot he would say, with a sad sweet voice, “Problem.” Then “Relax.” And when I let go he would sigh and say, “Ahhhhh. Okay.” Always in that order.
Problem + Relax = Okay.
I’m going to try and remember that on the rocks and mud today. Words to keep me on the path and on my feet. No talking needed.