Day 17

Budapest

Today was not a super eventful day. We wanted to take it easy in preparation for our next excursion, which starts tomorrow.

I woke up a little earlier than The Boyfriend and went and got a bagel with Bartley. We stayed at the cafe for a while, just reading and internetting.

When I got back to the apartment, we did some cleaning and laundry because a friend of mine is staying in our apartment while we’re in Vienna and Ljubljana. Then, we decided to splurge and go get a Thai massage! It is way more affordable here, and was just a nice way to spend our last low-key day before our travels.

Afterwards, we stopped for a burger at Deep Burger, just around the corner from our apartment. Don’t go. The food was good, but the service was really bad. The one waitress was hardly ever even at the counter, and always made it seem like a huge deal if we came up to order more, and got our order wrong each time we ordered another drink. Also, at the end when we wanted to pay, she asked me to use cash even though I could clearly see a credit card machine. This was the worst food experience we’ve had throughout the whole trip.

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful: we went home, I worked on the blog, we packed for our trip, I did yoga, Skyped with my dad, took Bartley on a long walk and HAD CHIMNEY CAKE FOR THE FIRST TIME.  Photo credit from here.

ChimneyCake_Pronina Marina_Shutterstock

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Day 16/34 Eastern Europe Trip

Kecskemét

The place I lived nearly ten years ago when I studied at the Kodály Institute. The place I really spread my wings for the first time, when I moved across the world, not knowing a single person I’d be spending the next year with. I visited four years ago, and it was pretty emotional coming back to such a wonderful place for such a short time. Now I realize, I’ll keep coming back to visit, so there’s no reason to get too sad each time I leave. 🙂

The Boyfriend, Bart and I caught an early-ish train at 9:53. We accidentally sat in the wrong section – whoops – but were in new, correct seats within no time. The familiarity of the time spent on the train, the views, the announcements being all in Hungarian and of course the train station, were quite nostalgic.

However, there were quite a few differences. Everything was lush and green, and walkways had been redone, there were also many fountains, and flowers. There are MANY more cafes, and everything just seems to be thriving. This picture is from the walk between the park by the train station, and the main square, a place that in the past looked unkempt and even kind of unsafe.

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Our first stop was the main square.

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Next, we went to Vincent Bar, the place I spent almost all of my time, when I wasn’t at the Kodály Institue. We had to have my favorite cake!

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My favorite cake – the Mondo Di Choco. It’s full of chocolate mousse on the inside, with a dry flaky outside, and raspberries at the very center. Oh so good!

After Vincent, my Hungarian friend Iza picked us up, and we went to lunch with her and her husband. They all had traditional hungarian fish soup, but I’m not a fish fan, so I had chicken stuffed with Camembert cheese and croquettes. Yum!

After lunch, we needed to take some time to pick up their little boy, who is almost two years old. Iza speaks Hungarian and English with him, so he will be bilingual. He’s already saying a few words in both languages. So cool! Iza learned English because she got to live in New York for a couple of years when she was growing up.

After picking up the little boy, even though there wasn’t any more room in my stomach, we headed to the best ice cream shop in town, one I’d never gotten to try. And wow, it really was the best! The Boyfriend had pistachio – the best pistachio I’ve every tasted – and I had a chocolate/vanilla/cookie flavor.

We spent some more time just catching up together, and then we parted ways. The Boyfriend and I continued to walk around town some more before catching our train back to Budapest.

Once in Budapest, we rested for a while. Then we decided to try Kuplung, a place we’ve tried before, because we saw that they had half price cocktails on Mondays. Sign us up!

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However, when we got there, they didn’t have the deal because they’re so busy due to the World Cup. (That is still going on! And people are still interested in it!) We still enjoyed a drink, before moving on to Mika Kert, and then on to Szimpla.

Actually, before Szimpla, we realized we were hungry, and stopped at a pizza place across the street. We didn’t expect them to stay open for us, but they did, and it was really good. The tomato sauce was really fresh and had such a strong tomato taste, it was almost sweet! The guy and girl working even gave us some free ice cream. Win!

Then we went to Szimpla, the very first Ruin Pub, I’ve talked about it some, and mostly walked around. It is a MASSIVE place, that is obviously full of locals and tourists alike. It was full of so much energy, music and noise. We plan to dedicate a night (or two!) to enjoying it more.

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Tomorrow marks the first day of the second half of our trip! My guess is that the first half went by pretty slowly, and now it’s really going to pick up. We have one more day in Budapest before our next excursion to Vienna and then Ljubljana. It was good to rest up, but now I’m ready for more adventure!

 

Day 14-15/34 Eastern Europe Trip

Budapest – Saturday: Happy to be “home!”

Today, we wanted to have some time on our own. I woke up, did yoga, and had breakfast at Mozsar Kavezo. The Boyfriend slept in and ate leftovers. In the afternoon, I spent sometime at the apartment, and then headed out to take Bartley to a park. The Boyfriend went to see a movie.

On my way to the park, I stopped for a to-go salami sandwich. I didn’t expect much, since it was less than $3, but it was seriously good! I could tell the ingredients were fresh and it was the perfect amount. It’s weird to go on an on about such a simple sandwich, but we just don’t have cheap food that actually tastes good, readily available back home.

So, as I was walking Bartley to this park, I went through an interesting block, and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. Ironically, the streets were Szép (which means beautiful) and Magyar (which means Hungarian). The buildings on these streets were mostly vacant, and the few people I saw seemed to pay special attention to me and Bart, and anyway… we just wanted to get out of there.

When we finally got to the park, we discovered it didn’t allow dogs. This is one really strange difference here: dogs are allowed in almost every cafe, bar, and restaurant… but NOT in many of the parks. So strange! Thankfully, there was a cafe next door, so I ordered a lemonade and continued reading my book. Another difference – boy, do they know how to make lemonade here! So delicious, full of fresh fruit, basil, mint, you name it, it’s just the most refreshing thing ever. On the hottest days here, we always try to find a place with lemonade.

On the way home, I stopped near Deak ter at this cool outdoor area for more reading. After about thirty minutes, the wind really picked up, so I headed back to the apartment. The Boyfriend and I got back around the same time and shared about our days. I am NOT complaining because this is obviously an amazing vacation… but I think at this point we were both a little fatigued from the busy trip we’d just had, and maybe a little tired of each other? Basically… we were a little grumpy. 😀

That evening, we walked down a street we hadn’t walked down before, and found a delicious pizza spot, and called it an early night.

Sunday

In the morning, I woke up early and went to Szimpla Market to get delicious, fresh food for sandwiches and snacks for the week: salami, eggs, goat cheese, sandwich bread, raspberries, tomatoes, hungarian paprkia, green onions, korozott (of course), and homemade yogurt. YUM. I went back to the apartment and cooked breakfast!

At this point, The Boyfriend and I were both annoyed, because the internet hadn’t really been working since getting back from Prague. We reached out to our host, and hoped she’d be able to help us soon.

Turns out breakfast wasn’t too filling – whoops – so we decided this would be the perfect time to have cake and coffee… so we set out in search of reasonably priced cake. Once outside, we realized it was the best weather we’d had in a long time, and promptly turned around so we could get changed for laying out in the sunshine by Deák Ferenc Tér instead! We grabbed a blanket, our books, and headed that way, stopping for a cheap salami sandwich en route.

We enjoyed several hours of reading in the sunshine – it felt so warm, even though it was only 70 degrees – ha! You can drink in the parks here, so we just bought a few beers and enjoyed ourselves. I finished my second book of the trip.

We went home and slept a while – day drinking is so rough sometimes – plus, our internet was even worse than before. After waking up, I was determined to go somewhere and finish getting caught up on the blog. Mozsar Kavezo had pretty crappy internet. At this point, I was beyond frustrated. Our host had replied saying she couldn’t help call until Monday, which was understandable, but we were both really annoyed with the situation.

The Boyfriend and I worked together, and we figured it out! We had restarted the router a couple of times already, but turns out what we needed to do, was unplug it for about fifteen minutes. I spent what was left of the evening updating the blog, and went to bed feeling way more accomplished than I should have.

The Ability to Change

I felt really negative about things yesterday. Finding out how much weight I’ve gained really brought me down. But I want to reiterate what I discovered towards the end of my post: It really is possible! If there’s one thing I’ve learned this decade, it’s that I am capable of change. I owe myself that tiny bit of trust it takes to know that I can overcome this obstacle too. And let’s face it, it’s WAY bigger than just looking good. I want to feel good, and know that I’m treating my body right.

I leave on Thursday for a fantastic trip with the boyfriend. We’re headed to Hungary, my home away from home where I spent 9+ months just after college. This is truly the place where I stood on my own two feet for the first time, expressed myself for the first time, grew to love and trust myself for the first time. I’ve been back one other time with my now ex-husband. It was different, but still amazing. I think this time will be the best yet. 🙂 (For more of my Hungarian experiences, read this, or this, or check out my very first baby blog!) We will also be venturing to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia – in that order. I can’t wait to share more! Things have been really busy preparing, as we decided to Airbnb our own place while we’re gone, and it wasn’t the slightest bit “guest ready.” Things have been moving along nicely though.

To switch to a completely unrelated topic: Family. We spend our childhood just going with the flow, because what else is there to do? And then we reach adulthood, and we’re blind-sided not only by our responsibilities and the awkwardness of it all, but also by all this shit we have to undo, this garbage we never knew was a big deal, but it actually is. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

A lot of my process has been setting boundaries with my mom… and then my dad (unexpectedly) and now, even more unexpectedly, my brother. My mom suffers from mental health issues. My dad is in many ways her enabler (or maybe disabler?) of the dependent, helpless life she lives. My brother moved back to Austin a few years ago, and had honestly stayed as unaware of the situation as he possibly could for a very long time – despite many efforts on my part to tell him, to ask for support. Now, he’s very aware of it and feels totally stuck. It seems like he’s finally where I was here, here, and here, but instead of it manifesting as panic attacks, he’s coping with it in different, equally difficult ways.

The moral of the story is I need to rethink those boundaries, and hopefully communicate them before this trip, if I have the guts to. I want everyone to work towards happiness so we can enjoy life, and therefore each other, even more. But for now, it seems like they’re stuck in their own painful, ineffective patterns, and I’ve tried so many times to communicate things that could help. They’ve never listened before, or never listened enough to make change. I have to get the courage to try one more time.

When I Felt Better

I did a lot of thinking today. Andras is out of town for work, so I spent a lot of my day thinking about what I (we) discovered yesterday.

The majority of my thoughts were just that I’m so shocked that I’ve been in a state of moderate depression for over three years now, and I didn’t know it. Did my therapist know? In going through the events and life changes that have occurred since I moved back, this is the basic summary: I became over-worked, let go of several supports (certain friends and family members) and stopped taking care of myself and doing things I enjoy.

Today I asked myself what was different about my life when I was happy. That led me to wonder what being happy really means… Have I ever been happy? I know that sounds like a ridiculous question – but still.

So I changed the question to: when did I feel good? This is my current answer. 1. When I was a Practicing Christian. 2. When I was a disciplined yoga practitioner and 3. When I lived in Hungary.

I know I’ve had this revelation before, but each time it comes back, it speaks to me louder. I need a foundation, something to believe, something to come back to, something that assures me that I’m always ok, no matter what, even when I’m not. Was I just naive? Is this possible?

How Long Have I Felt This Bad?

I had a breakthrough conversation with my husband today. It was very difficult to hear, and there were a lot of tears.

As I was (figuratively) pointing at him, telling him his depression and the way he’s changed are the major causes my current depression, he asked, “Have you ever thought of how you’ve changed since we got married?”

In our discussion, I was forced to see a lot of things I’ve been avoiding about myself; I’m not as ambitious as I used to be, I don’t talk about a wide range of topics anymore, I don’t have interests, I don’t have very many friends, I don’t have the energy to go out. These realizations are added to the shortcomings (?) I’m already aware of: not sleeping enough, not eating right, lack of confidence at work and around strangers, not exercising enough – all things that I would do far more often if I loved myself as much as I used to.

I guess today it all came crashing down on me that this whole depression thing isn’t new, I’m just finally acknowledging it. I want to go home, but it’s not the right home for me anymore. I want to have that same experience. I want to believe this.

Hungary didn’t pull the real me out of myself on it’s own. I made a conscious decision before I left to be myself in a place where I could start completely over, where no one from my past would be comparing my actions to past experiences. To trust that I was pretty awesome on my own, and didn’t need to act a certain way or seek others’ approval to be great. To be happy.

So, in all honesty, I think I’ve felt this bad ever since I moved back. Sure I’ve had really happy moments – especially the whole getting married to the love of my life part. 🙂 But I’ve been surviving. I’ve been making the best of things. Anxiety controlled my life for a whole Summer and the following Spring, and I’m still letting myself stay in this rut.  These are all things you’ve heard from me before. It’s just shocking how long it’s been going on.

Denial is a powerful thing. But I think I just reached my limit.

 

 

 

 

Time is Funny

Time is a funny thing. As I get have more experiences, (aka, get older!) I realize that experiences can simultaneously feel like yesterday and years ago. I thought these three weeks in Hungary would fly by, and in many ways they did, and in other ways it feels like exactly three weeks, and in one way, it feels like even more.

Meet Bartley

Meet Bartley

This is Bartley. I think I mentioned in my last post that he’s at home with a dear friend who is taking care of him while we’re gone. He did great for the first week and half or so, but now he’s not really eating, and not playing with her dogs. It really makes me wonder – what’s more stressful, flying with him, or leaving him at home?

I think he’s worrying so much because the year I studied abroad in Hungary, I had to leave him with a friend as well. This is the longest I’ve been gone since then. He’s also a rescue dog, so he’s gone through many periods of thinking he’s found home, only to be uprooted again. (i.e. going from one foster home to another, being in a shelter, etc) I’m feeling pretty guilty…

Here are some more cute pics of him. 🙂

Squeaky toys are the best!

Squeaky toys are the best!

:)

🙂

So, there are two great things about going home on Wednesday: being able to be with Bartley again, and for András and I to have our own space again, so we can have more time for just us, as a couple, and as individuals.

But that’s pretty much it.

Emotions are starting to well up as I walk around the city for what feels like the last time, as I look at the different architecture, hear the beautiful language, feel like myself.

What will it be like to say good-bye to his parents? As much as they love me, I’m the reason their son spends most of his time so far away. What will it be like to go back to my life in Austin? Fit back into my not-at-all European routine?

How can I make my home feel more like home? Logically, I believe the answer to be entirely within myself, but experience doesn’t show that to be true.

I guess we’ll see!

Yesterday was a 1-point day. Today, so far is a 3-point day! Just have to meditate to make it 4.