Sunday, September 7, 2008

silvia from belgium at zelenkovac

boro was in banja luka when silvia, a couchsurfer from belgium arrived. after returning to what seemed to be a deserted zelenkovac – and being more than a tad bummed out after learning that the two weeks leading up to my return had been filled with couchsurfers from all over - i was thrilled at her unexpected arrival. silvia, my last couchsurfer of the season, tall and beautiful, with long brownish-blonde hair a perfect figure and confident bearing. where do all these independent, strong, beautiful women come from? well, belgium is one place, I guess….

silvia is travelling by herself, at least for a little while, against the advice of her friends and family. later, she’ll continue her journey in croatia where she’ll join up with friends. she’s travelling alone because, like me, she had a life-changing event happen awhile back. hers though, was a bit more jarring. just over one year ago, silvia was hit by a car while riding her bike. she broke her ankle and leg, and bones in her neck. she has scars on her legs where the pins were and on her face around her eye that you only really notice if she shows you.

silvia remembers laying on the ground looking at her foot just hanging off to the side and thinking that, shit, this just might make her miss the concert the next night that she really wanted to see. she remembers that people were going to try and move her, but realizing that there was a pain in her neck and telling them not to touch her. had they moved her, she might be paralyzed now. she spent 3 months in a wheelchair. she told me that she is grateful for the accident because it woke her up. she broke off an unhealthy relationship, she’s facing her fears, she’s doing what she wants and she’s travelling alone for the first time and is loving it.

as silvia left, we hugged for a long time, grateful to have met one another. although, for different reasons, i have loved everyone i have met along the way, silvia is the first person with whom i felt that i really had a shared understanding with. the understanding of what brought us solo into the world, this waking up, this gratitude.