The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Take Me

I’m renting an apartment in Budapest for a week. It’s an adorable building in a great location. The apartment has the amenities I sought, it is quiet and clean. However, I’m mostly in love with the leftovers I’m finding in the hallway.

Unsettled by elevators as a general rule, I take the stairs. In this building, on the last landing before the ground floor, someone leaves various items for others to take. They sit on a window ledge without any signage, but each day there has been something waiting for a new home. First I saw a set of books, then a set of lace placemats or handkerchiefs. They are small tokens, but what is set there in the morning is nearly always gone by the evening. For the last two days there have been four sets of shoes, all untouched. Perhaps others in the building don’t like the style or can’t wear the size, but I’m a little heartbroken to see no one accepting these freely given gifts. I’m wondering if I should take a pair, give them a home in my suitcase, and try to pass them on elsewhere. The adage is that if the shoe fits, not if the sentiment strikes. Nonetheless, I consider it briefly before thinking of the other places I’ll need to tote my luggage. So instead I say a happy prayer for the giver and their anonymous window-ledge offerings.

–Budapest, Hungary.

7 comments on “Take Me

  1. BerLinda
    July 31, 2015

    The Germans do this too 🙂 I love it!

    • It’s so sweet! I would have definitely taken a book earlier in the week if I could read more in Hungarian than “Happy Birthday,” and “I’m sorry.” 🙂

  2. agenda19892010
    July 31, 2015

    Have a nice Saturday by Rinaldo from Venice, Italy ☺ .

  3. davecenker
    August 1, 2015

    This is a cultural tradition that would be very nice to be seen brought back to the Western world. To give freely is to receive so much more in return. Thanks for sharing Paige, have a great weekend!

    • Have a great weekend yourself, Dave! If you ever want some shoes, you let me know. (Hope you’re a woman’s size 9.)

  4. GalOnTrip
    August 2, 2015

    yep, they do this in many parts of europe i suppose. i’m one of the givers and the takers in an apartment in holland. i got fridge, microwave, desk that were actually still working. more household goods than fashion goods in my case.

  5. Beauty Along the Road
    August 2, 2015

    love this practice of passing things on rather than putting them in the trash.

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This entry was posted on July 31, 2015 by in Europe, Inspiration, kindness, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , .

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