"...new friends and new places to see..."
Guess what. I'm back in the USA!!!
That's right. I was invited to tell stories at the Kids Euro Festival in Washington DC!
It's a festival organized by the embassies of the EU countries for American children, promoting our cultures and values. And this year, I have the honor of repesenting Hungary. And storytelling as an art form.
Yes, I am excited! :)
Do you remember what I said about returning home after a year - that it felt like I've never left Hungary and things just went on? Well, returning to the US was exactly the same. I left the airport after a friendly two-hour customs check-in, and I felt like the past year-or-so since I returned to Hungary was nothing but a dream. America became reality again, and continued on from where I left it. Memories came rushing back, and so forth and so on.
I brought a bunch of new stories too. I hand-picked my favorite Hungarian folktales, then spent days thinking them over and over again, turning them upside down and inside out, and selecting the right music to help me build up the whole tale in my own special way. I tested some of them on my friends, others are brand new and shiny. I have traditional tales like The Land of Ice (with a very smart prince who climbs frozen mountains and rides a polar bear), The Wandering Prince (with duels and travels, and a friendly lion), The Fox Lady (which kind of turned into a Japanese-Hungarian cooperation story, but is still fun), The Bald Prince (and his trusty sidekicks, the Bear Boy and the little demon who was too good to be evil), The Lily of the Valley (with more princes, princesses, dwarves and fae folk), The Immortal Queen (and the quest to find her castle), and Princess Hide-and-Seek, and I'll get to her in a minute.
Today I had my first performance in a DC middle school. The kids (most of them 10-12 years old) were very well behaved, adorable and super creative. they were curious about Hungary in general, so we looked it up on the map, and I told them how many hours I flew, and they tried to pronounce my name, and all in all, it was already fun before it even begun. From all the new stories, I chose to tell Princess Hide-and-Seek (formerly known as The princess that saw everything), and she flew. It is always great to see a new story spread its wings, and this one is just perfect for a group of kids - they put in their ideas, and their imagination, and all in all, it turned out to be more successful than I expected. Not to mention we ran into modern mythology with all the "special superhuman abilities" stuff, but hey, this is America, and I dig comics anyway. :)
The list of my upcoming performances in DC can be found here.
Tonight I'm going to tell stories at Kennedy Center - the first official stage performance of the Festival. No pressure. Good thing amazing people like the staff of the Hungarian Embassy have my back :) Not to mention Princess Hide-and-Seek.
"...with the sun beating down, yes, I'm on my way,
and I can't keep the smile off my face..."
(Actually, it's raining in DC right now. Not that I care :)