From Russia with Love (Part 2): The Broken Vow

Alina has an Italian boyfriend. Her father always says.

Alina never had a boyfriend from Italy. She used to have a Hungarian boyfriend, though. And yet he parents never endorse the relationship. Why Hungary? Would he be able to offer you a decent life? Why did you speak Hungarian all day? The parents had a lot of concerns.

What is the meaning of life? Alina once found her life full of emptiness and loneliness. Growing up in Sochi, she never had an adventure, like living in a foreign country herself. So she decided to take a few months off and she served as a receptionist at a hotel in Balaton, a resort city in Hungary.

Balaton and Sochi are similar in many ways: the sea, the beach, and the resort area. It is just a typical resort city that can be easily found in the region. However, her life in Balaton was very different from Sochi. She was nobody. She was far from her family. She was the freest person alive.

Alina insisted on speaking English. After all, speaking a foreign language gave her special feelings as if she had a brand new life, in a new country, with new people and new lifestyle.

While Alina was a receptionist, Martin was the bellboy. They met during their night shift, and they got closer day after day. They simply enjoyed the company of each other. He helped her to adapt the life in Balaton and she accompanied him to revise the exams. None of them expected romance.

She would only stay here for 3 months. What could they expect?

Still, they fell in love. Romance happened beyond their expectation. Alina’s parents were getting concerned when they learned that Alina started learning Hungarian and speaking Russian with a foreign accent.

Don’t be so serious. Her parents said. She told herself the same thing too. More serious she felt, more heartbroken she would get. After all, she had to leave Balaton someday. It was just a matter of time.

Then the day came. He promised to pay a visit to Alina in Sochi. He wanted to remain a long distance relationship with her. Never in her life encountered someone who took her as seriously as Martin did.

When Alina was back to Sochi, she often associated Sochi to Balaton: the sea, the beach, and the resort area. She even imagined what she would show him when he arrived at Sochi.

Time flied. Six months were gone. Although they tried to stay in touch through the virtual platform, they had a feeling that they lost track of the life of each other.

One day Alina heard from Martin. He wanted to pay a visit and he needed an invitation from her for visa application. When she was filling the invitation form, she started to hesitate: Am I ready to see him again? What can we do after the reunion?

Time never stopped. So was the sense of hesitation. They broke up the day before the invitation letter arrived.

She kept the paper and put it somewhere. She neither wanted to throw away the letter, nor see the letter easily. She didn’t want to forget a person who took her so seriously in her lifetime; in the meantime, she sought to let go the past and looked forward to the future.

Three years were gone. She learned that he got a new girlfriend although they sometimes revisited the memories they shared in Balaton.

Walking along the beach in Sochi, Alina couldn’t stop herself imagining: what if he had come to Sochi? Would that make a difference?

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About Brian Yeung

Growing up in Hong Kong, pearl of the orient, I have been exposed to many cultures throughout my upbringing, from Sushi to British Top Talents and Tetris. And yet, after my stay in Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia for study and work, I realise a lot of cultural perception and presentation are just myths and stereotypes. Exploring the real accent of a particular country and its culture becomes my agenda of traveling. I value travel as a way to discover the diversity of life choices. After all, life is just the consequence of our many life choices; the one who is aware of its diversity is the luckiest person alive.

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