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.

IMG_9421

Our first stop was the main square.

36686820_10155620414862966_6428462725143199744_n36555996_10155620414907966_352225217063419904_n

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!

IMG_9423

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!

IMG_9432

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.

IMG_9437

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!

 

Advertisements

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.

Tea Instead of Vodka

What an amazing summer it has been. (And Winter & Spring… sorry for not writing more!) For teachers, summer is an essential reset time. Many end up doing plenty of lesson planning, curriculum research, and professional development sessions as well. I still have four weeks to get to all of that. 😉

I felt like I was really due for a break this summer. Last summer, the reality of making the mortgage on my own was starting to set in: I worked three jobs: curriculum writing for the district, tons of voice lessons, and was a section leader in a church choir. I still had a decent amount of down time, but it wasn’t ideal for summer break. Summer of 2015 I spent a lot of time questioning my career choice and almost quit teaching entirely, and my sweet dog Bartley got deathly ill over the Summer of 2014.

This summer has been about countless yoga sessions and dance classes, drinks with friends, a trip to Puerto Vallarta with the boyfriend and his family, bike rides, and so much cooking. There has been an over abundance of joy and relaxation, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the space for all of the things I love. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve worked really hard to minimize the chaos and create space for joy.

The last few days, however, I’ve felt pretty down. I feel like there could be something big that I need to process, some huge ugly cry I need to have or something. Of course this is uncomfortable because I like being content. It’s lovely to be happy, but it isn’t really sustainable in my opinion, although many people think happiness is the goal. For me, contentment is the goal, and right now I don’t feel content. I feel restless, irritable, unmotivated, mildly depressed.

Several things could be the culprit: PMDD – it’s basically hardcore PMS and it’s SUCH a nuisance, but I can’t deny the reality of it – spending the weekend at a family reunion in which I had to see my mother who seems to have completely given up on life, and the fact that I’m still grieving the loss of my marriage. Or perhaps some combination of all three. I’ve also gained weight this summer and I’ve allowed my frustration with that to lead to negative thinking.

With depression, everything feels like it takes too much effort, and the end result won’t be worth it. I’ve never had a debilitating depressive episode, and I don’t even think what I’m experiencing qualifies as depression, it’s more of a depressed mood. But, the fact is for the last three days now, I haven’t had a desire to do anything. I’ve still done what I need to, but it has taken great effort, and the whole time my mind has been full of negative thoughts.

So, tonight I’m choosing hot peppermint tea over my more typical summer drink: ruby red vodka mixed with lime la croix – (so very refreshing!) I’m going to explore these various culprits, but also seek out connection with the people who love & support me – the boyfriend, my dearest cousin, my best friend, and of course the pup – and rely on my most dependable (& therapeutic!) companion: yoga.

There are things in life that I cannot control, like my mom’s current lifestyle and the way my dad chooses to deal with it. I can’t change the fact that my ex-husband hasn’t found the peace and success he deserves. All I want is for these people I care so much about to find their own way to contentment, but their journey is theirs and mine is mine. It’s hard to let go of what I can’t control, but it’s often so necessary. Above all, I want to remember that letting go doesn’t mean I don’t care, so I’ll let go of that guilt as well.

 

 

Slipping Away

Summer is slipping away. To people who don’t teach, you’re probably thinking, “Oh don’t you complain about summer ending! At least you get a summer break – that’s a long lost memory to me.”

Yes, one of the only (non-emotional) perks to my job is the summer break. But no matter how hard I tried to explain to you just how essential the time off is, I don’t think you would understand. Please just try to believe me.

I can’t believe two weeks from today will be the night before I go back to work. Did I waste my break? No. But I did spend too much of it working (the month of June I did curriculum writing for the district), and too much of it deprived of me-time (Hungary) and to much of it worrying about my poor, perfect, sweet, sick dog. If given the chance to change the way I spent my summer break, would I? No. (Well, except for Bartley being sick. Of course I would change that.) It’s just unfortunate that these experiences ended up being so draining, and with no break in between.

So I want to play hard and work hard these next two weeks. There are things for school that, if left undone, I will torment myself over for the rest of the school year. But the opposite is true as well: Today I found myself making audible sighing noises by the pool, as I felt the breeze and sun on my skin, and couldn’t believe I’ve deprived myself of that amazing, rejuevenating, liberating feeling for so long.

I’ve been watching Bartley 24/7, practically, ever since we got back. In 10 days, he’s had 8 visits to 3 different veterinary clinics. Throughout it all, his health hasn’t improved, and in fact, it even worsened for a few days. We still don’t even have a diagnosis, although we have some best guesses. I think we’re finally reaching a turning point now that we decided to transfer him to an internist. The poor guy.  I was so proud of myself yesterday when I decided to let go of the veterinarian I’ve trusted for so long because I knew in my heart and mind that she wasn’t helping Bartley anymore.

Bartley is a fighter, and we will get through this, especially now that we have an expert fighting for him as well. He has already survived heart worms and distemper, not to mention the fact that he was rescued from a kill shelter the day he was to be euthanized, and then  was in foster care for a year and a half. The first four times I visited him, he wouldn’t let me pick him up. But he never barked at me – he walked right up to me and sniffed me, and his foster mom was astounded.

During the fifth visit to his foster home, I was walking him around the block, and a loud crash came from a construction site. Bartley tried to run away, and I instinctively scooped him up, and he collapsed into me. From that point on, he knew I was safety, I was his home.

So while working hard and playing hard and collecting points are goals of mine, at the moment, helping him get better is really all that’s on my mind.

A bit much, I know...

A bit much, I know…