today was one of those days where everything vaguely annoyed me, from my alarm going off in the morning to my time on public transit to the sunshine that blinded me before i could get my sunglasses on.

last night was a bit of a rage fest for me, and while i had calmed down from that by this morning, my mood was still a little off and i was a feeling more than a little unsociable as i began my day.

without knowing any of this, the community that i’m a part of here in budapest completely turned my day around just by being their beautiful and authentic selves. i work with such caring and kind folks here that simply by going about my day and interacting with them, i’m now in a completely different frame of mind than i was in this morning.

i spent the afternoon today with the team at kalunba, but instead of going to their new offices, i met with people at st. columba’s (the congregation that i attend which used to house kalunba on a temporary basis). as soon as i walked in i was greeted by one of our two cheery colombian volunteers, who, after hearing about how meh of a day i was having, immediately went to play the piano. it was like he knew how soothing i would find it. i settled myself in to work on a few interviews and articles and he played song after song in the background for a solid 45 minutes. i could feel my breathing slowing, my muscles relaxing, and my brain focusing on the work.

just as his playing was winding down, the other colombian volunteer finished up with her english lesson for the afternoon with two young men from syria. the boys grinned when they saw me and quickly recruited all of us into playing ping pong: two syrians, two colombians, and an american. it was an intense event that went on for almost two hours as we all switched teams and practiced different serving styles and ways to hold the paddles. their joy at teaching me new tricks and practicing their english, while also teaching me a few phrases in arabic, was infectious. without even meaning to, they distracted me from all the stress of last night that i had been holding in my body without even knowing it. as we all ran around the sanctuary, whacking the ping pong ball back and forth, practicing the english vocab words “softly” and “aggressively” that the columbians taught them to describe the ways in which we hit the ball, my body let go of its tension. it melted away softly with every lunge and hit, every save and stretch.

i’m writing this now from ecocafe, a delightful eatery near the church that just so happens to serve iced marshmallow lattes, munching on an all-organic tomato and mozzarella sandwich and making my way through my latte – much calmer than i ever thought i could be today.

i am yet again blown away by the care and love that i am surrounded by here in budapest. it’s not always easy, but when the going gets hard there are always people here to help ease my burden and make me feel whole again.

softly, my community here in budapest comes to my aid when i need it most, without me even having to ask for it. the people that i work with are beautifully intuitive like that and i am so thankful for each and every one of them.