The best aspect about our trip to Central Europe, setting it apart from ordinary travel abroad, is the people. To borrow a worn-out cliche (never a good idea for any serious writer), friends are the icing on the already delicious cake, or for me, they are the rich, deep, gooey chocolate center.
And I feel like I have just partaken of my favorite molten chocolate cake. I am happy, pleasantly full. After 11 years, I was able to visit with my former Budapest neighbors and introduce them to my husband. When we arrived at my old apartment gate and rang the buzzer, one neighbor stood at her door apprehensively, probably thinking I came to sell something. When I said, “Jo napot! I am Taryn and I lived here years ago,” she came running with open arms to welcome me home.
And then my former teammates from Romania, David and Susan, drove up onto the sidewalk in the busy city (like old times) to shuttle us up into the hills to one of my favorite bistros. From there, we crashed a party (by invitation, of course) for the Campus Crusade staff. Each conversation was far too short, interrupted by a steady stream of people to greet. Steve easily inserted himself and had almost as much fun as I did. When I left Crusade staff to marry Steve, I never stopped being one of them. What a joy to have my friends meet my husband (I think they liked him!) and have him grow in his knowledge of me by getting to know the people who are so important to me.
I realized how starved I have been to be with people with whom I have history, with whom I am known. For the past ten years, everyone in my life has been new. They only know what I choose to tell them, and even then, so much of my life, such as being a missionary and living overseas, is difficult to understand unless it has been experienced. In Budapest, nothing had to be explained. The rich chocolate center was food for my soul, food which I hadn’t tasted for years. It was good. And it was necessary. I feel satisfied.