Last Tuesday, my enclave finally got the go-ahead to leave Cyprus. Our wounded compatriot  was well enough to be left behind (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see previous travel posts), and we had to resume our scheduled trip through Hungary and the Balkans.

On the flight from Cyprus to Vienna, I reflected on what I’d seen and learned. I was instantly more at ease once I felt the plane left off the ground. Being in Cyprus made me jumpy and irritable. I was offended by the Cypriots who tried to drag me into their conflict and make me choose a side, and I didn’t appreciate how I’d been snapped at by an employee at the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Cyprus for asking an honest, innocent question (Does the Greek Cypriot government really think it can get the Turkish Cypriots will agree to move everyone who came to the TRNC from Anatolia after Cyprus was divided back to Turkey? How would that even work in………reality?)

I’m sure if I spent months there, my irritation would turn to determination, as it so obviously had for the UN people my program had met with in the Green Zone. You do as much as you can, because that’s all you really can do, and, if you don’t see success overnight, you can still sleep well, knowing you contributed to something bigger. Reaching a single person can make all the difference in the world.

In Vienna, my enclave met up with our bus driver and boarded a bus bound for Budapest, Hungary. By the time we arrived, it was dark out, and Budapest lit-up was breathtakingly beautiful. I had expected a dreary but endearing post-Soviet city, but Budapest was a combination of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian splendor. It was love at first sight.

To be continued…