Blabbing February 2022

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In light of all that’s happened in the past week, all of February seems meaningless now, but I am sharing this post out of optimism that better days are coming.

I almost resumed my social life in February. Well, still far from it, but I took the first steps. Went out to see a movie two times, attended some other social events. All masked up, and not too many people, but still. I went hiking one weekend, which was much needed time spent outdoors. And I have more dates in my calendar for this next month than all of the previous year. In February, I booked my first flight in over two years, so a short, but much awaited trip is coming in March! There are lots of things I am excited about in the next two monts, I just hope there will be no war nearby (anywhere, really!) to shadow them.

Amazingly enough, I kept doing this 1secondeveryday video thing, but February felt more exciting than it seems from this 30-second video.

I read three and a half, and also a tenth of a book in February. Sounds silly, I know, let me explain. I finished Elena Ferrante’s The story of the lost child (*****) in the first few days of the month, that’s the half. Then I read a book club pick, Billy O’Callaghan’s My Coney Island Baby. (****) Although I think it is a beautifully written story, it just wasn’t the right time for me to read this, too soon after ending something myself. Besides that, I couldn’t identify with it, not just the cheating part, but that helpless drifting is so far from how I roll, I just couldn’t find myself sympathizing with the characters. Then I chose a booktube pick, a Hungarian novel about a young girl’s relationship with her father after her parents’ divorce (*****) written by a friend of my friends. I liked this one very much! Then for the last days of the month I was planning to finish President Obama’s A promised land. (*****) I read like 90% of the book in a few weeks at the end of 2020 (when it came out) and the beginning of 2021. Then for some reason left the last 60-70 pages. I will write a separate post about this book later, 700+ pages and so big and heavy (1050g, according to its publisher!!), perhaps that’s why I kept putting off the last chapters before. Although I did read it now, I found it hard to read about conflicts and terrorists (the last chapter is about capturing Bin Laden) when the news were full of a looming war, so while I did, I decided to end each night with reading a chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh from A. A. Milne. (*****) I had the English version on my shelf for ages, but never read it, I read the Hungarian version back when I was a child. It’s full of simple wisdoms, we should read more children’s books, it’s brain soothing these days!

February reading

In February I binged through the latest Serial Productions podcast series called The Trojan Horse Affair. It came out on the first week of February with only eight episodes. I liked it so much that I kind of wanted to binge it all at once, but also go slow, so it would last longer. It’s about a racial discrimination scandal involving Birmingham city schools (one especially) and a strange letter that led to a UK-wide investigation, but never really got fully decoded in itself. It’s investigative journalism happening right in front of you, almost as if you were there. (Fun fact: Serial was one of the first podcasts I started listening back when all the lawyers were talking about it. It got me started on my huge podcast fan journey that’s still going on!)

One of the movies I went to see was Parallel Mothers (Madres paralelas), a Spanish drama directed by Pedro Almodóvar. A depressing story portraying strange life situations, but at the same time feels very real. The other one was weirder, though, Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. I can’t say I didn’t like it, although there were too much blood for my taste. The whole movie has a certain mood to it, that stays with you for a while after. I somehow cut back on the TV shows in February though, went on with Suits, but only with one or two episodes. I was excited about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel returning! At this point I am a bit behind already (its two episodes every Friday). I know there were critisism, and this fourth is definitely not up with the first two seasons, but for me the vibe is still there.

I didn’t listen to music much last month either. I listened to old Mariah records while cleaning out my closet one weekend (It was pre-spring cleaning, and I still have lots of decluttering to do.) and recently listened to this underrated album of hers. (You can hear not one, but two MC songs in my 1se video, can you identify them?) Also listened to lots of baroque simphonies while working as usual.

I was just about to write that now that I am trying to think back, February seems boring. It’s like I’ve spent most of my time working (which is probably true), and not much else. And as I am writing this, I got my Google timeline of February. I am not sure how accurate this is, but some of the highlights according to Google: I’ve walked 30 kms (I’ve done better before…), the most on a day was 8 kms last Saturday (I feel like our hiking was way longer than that two weeks prior). I’ve spent 3 hours and 47 minutes shopping (well…), and 8 hours with culture (two movies and a book club event). The rest of it: work and commute. And the time spent at home. And sleep, but unfortunately, not much. Speaking of, I still haven’t achieved 7 hours a day. On most days, I was glad if it was 6 hours. As for my other goals, I am behind with learning French and zeroing my Feedly feed too… I need a better plan, but March is already busy with lots of things, so we’ll see. At least spring is coming. Next week most Covid restrictions are lifted in Hungary,I don’t know how I feel about that (I’ll probably leave my mask on for public transportation for a while).

But at this moment, I just wish that this madness would end very soon and there would be peace. The last few days made me wish I’ve appreciated the past two years more… I will continue to find ways to contribute in this situation as much as I can, I might share about that here. But when I relaunched this space, I wasn’t prepared to write about war, I was planning to write about more hopeful and positive stuff. Let’s hope that those days are not far ahead.

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