Moving Abroad

Andras and I have been talking more seriously about not spending the rest of our lives in the great state of Texas. The truth is, while Texas is great and yes, my family is here, if you’ve been following closely, you know this isn’t really my home. It’s taken me a while to understand, but I do recognize that I could find fulfillment anywhere if I was true to my awesome self. I don’t have to live in a some magical place in order to find that. I know it’s all up to me.

But being away from my home town, getting some space between me and my family, would certainly help. I’ve already distanced myself from certain friends that I struggle being myself around.

But why leave the country? I love and feel very comfortable in most of the European countries I’ve visited. I also click more easily with the Europeans I’ve met than I do with Americans. A LOT more easily. But honestly, this one comes down to Andras. He’s just not happy here. He’s not the same, confident energized guy here. He’s depressed here and it’s affected all aspects of his life and many aspects of our life together.

So, we’ve done more than just talk about it. We’ve set goals for what we each want to accomplish, listed what we need to accomplish/do together before we can make the big move. Right now we’re thinking Rotterdam, The Netherlands where Andras did a student exchange. A place with some of the best architecture in the world, mild, rainy weather year-round, tolerant people, and bike lanes galore. 🙂 I should probably visit first though. Don’t worry! That’s on list too. It’s looking like a 5-year plan right now. We also have a couple USA cities to visit too, just to keep our options open.

So, what made me share all of this? I’m waiting for Andras to finish up a meeting, and I found a coffee shop next door. (Actually a espresso / gelato specialty place – man I wish my digestive system wasn’t so angry!) Being in this new place, all by myself, a few people speaking a different language, is taking me back to that feeling of being in a new place. A place where no one knows me, and I can just be.

I know I can always just be, but since it’s a constant struggle for me, I appreciate the chance for it to be easier than usual.

I’m looking forward to this future with Andras, and I’m also happy to be reminded of what it’s like to travel somewhere alone. It is so quiet, so liberating. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced. And I’m grateful for that.


Time For Good-bye?

In less than an hour, András’ parents will take us to Budapest. It will be time to tell them good-bye for another year, maybe only 6 months if we’re lucky and can come back for Christmas.  András is already noticeably sad. I wonder how bad it will be when we get home?

We went to visit one of his Nagyi’s yesterday (Grandma), and it was so sad  because she’s really sick. András truly believes that might have been his last visit to see her.

I am going to miss the lifestyle, the language, the people, his parents, his cousins, his grandma’s, and my friends, who either live here in Hungary or close by.

My feelings haven’t changed much, and can still be summed up with Home  and Time is Funny, but one thing has changed.

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.

AfterI wrote the last post and was obviously feeling pretty negative about going back, I continued to walk around Kecskemét. I had a memory: 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, while there are things that I can’t change about home, like superficial people or the architecture (not to mention politics), I can bake fresh bread, I can co to the market on Saturdays, I can walk and bike everywhere, I can speak Hungarian,

and I can be me.

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.



That it the for real name of the city in Hungary where my husband was born. We’re here now, visiting his Nagyi (grandma). It is a lovely, old city about 20 kilometers from the second largest city in Hungary, Debrecen. Pictures coming soon! Another unique thing about Hajdúböszörmény is that the layout is circular, like Paris. In fact, some people say it’s the most perfectfly circular city in the world. 🙂 Pictures coming soon!

Budapest was great. We got to see the new metro-line, which has a very unique design. We also went to one of the famous baths, Lukács, that are rich in minerals, and naturally warm. It was so relaxing! A bit pricey, but totally worth it. I also got to meet more lovely family members and friends, most of whom could speak English (lucky for me!). Gotta work on that Hungarian…

At this point in the trip, I’m pretty much exhausted. I’m still having fun, but I’m somewhat ready to go home even though I’m not necessarily homesick. The thing is, not having our own space makes every day just a little tiresome. I’m a person who really needs my me-time to recharge, and the me-time has been seriously lacking for this last week.

The friend of mine who is watching my dog told me he’s not really eating much. She’s having to give him people food just to entice him to eat some. Poor little guy misses as a lot, I guess. It breaks my heart when I have to leave him like this. I don’t know if flying with him would be less stressful though… Thoughts?

I did an overall crappy job last week in terms of points collection. My total was only 11 points, when my goal was 25! I’m pretty ashamed at the moment. But today is a 4-point day, and it’s the start of a brand new week.

Cheers to getting to start over anytime I want!



One Week Left

One week from today will be our last night in Hungary. I know this week is going to fly by because we have a lot going on: two nights in Budapest, one night in Kecskemet, one night in Hajdubosormeny, and then three nights before our last night. I just had the best coffee of my life at Kino Cafe – but it was actually so rich, I couldn’t finish it. That never happens! It was white chocolate with espresso, and tons of whipped cream. Mmmm…

In Budapest we plan to check out the new metro line, go shopping, visit the baths, and an outdoor market. Pictures and descriptions forthcoming. For now, it’s a 2 point day, and I should be able to make it to 4 points.

Viszlát késöbb!



My Vacation While on Vacation



Over the weekend, we took a trip to the “Hungarian Sea,” Balaton. This vacation proved to be very challenging in the point-earning department. (See this post for the list.) On Friday and Saturday, I earned 1 point each day for organization. On Sunday, I earned 2 points – one for exercise, and one for organization. It’s Monday (actually, Tuesday, but since I haven’t slept yet, we’ll call it Monday) and so far, I haven’t earned any points. 😦 But, I’m blogging, so that’s 1, and I could easily and quickly take care of organizing and meditation.

So, let’s make this a 3 point day! If I can do that, I will be 15 points away from my 25 points per/week goal, which is great, because I have exactly 3 days left in the Friday-Thursday week! Call it cheating if you want, but I’m not counting the first day since I was obviously the most excited about this plan on the first day, and I think, long-term, Friday to Thursday will work best for me.

Anyway, back to exciting things, like vacations abroad. 🙂 Isn’t Balaton beautiful? I think it’s the most beautiful lake I’ve ever been too. We had a really nice, relaxing time with one of my husband’s best friends and his wife. However, it was by far the most expensive weekend I’ve ever had in Hungary, so I think next time we’ll plan more carefully.

Now that I’m more than halfway through this trip, I’m beginning to see it differently. I’m not quite Home, as I mentioned in this post. Yes, this is the place where I have felt the most at home, but this trip is different.

First of all, it’s a trip – I’m not living here semi-permanently. Second of all, for the entirety of the trip, we are visiting my husband’s parents, siblings, cousins, and friends. All but one of my friends has moved back home, and he lives in Budapest, so it’s not like we meet up anytime for coffee, drinks or a walk. So, how can I sum this up? I’m close enough to touch this place, my home, breathe it in, see it all, but I’m experiencing it from a completely different angle. And from this angle, I am very foreign.

That may sound obvious to you, but let me explain. There’s foreign on a technical level, and then there’s foreign in an energetically out-of-place kind of way. Even though I’m home, from this angle, I’m foreign in an out-of-place kind of way. These are my husband’s friends and family members. They have thousands of experiences with him that don’t include me, and (slaps self gently on the forehead) I don’t speak their language. Most of them speak some or even a lot of English, but it’s exhausting for them. And come on, they only get to see András twice a year so they’re unbelievably excited – they just want to communicate with him as much as possible. I feel like I’m in the way. I even feel distant from my András these days.

My goal for the rest of this trip is to acknowledge that I feel that way, but not let it keep me from loving and living this experience to the fullest extent possible. I hope these feelings will encourage me to go off on my own more, so I can feel more at home and less like a foreigner, messing with the flow of this.  As for the closeness with András, I can just trust that when we settle back into our routine at home, we’ll fall right back in place.

I think I am closest now than I’ve ever been to understanding how he feels a lot of the time back in the states with me.

What a sacrifice he made moving there with me.

And now back to the more mundane things. I just earned a point from organizing my things and packing for tomorrow. We’re going back to Budapest to visit some of András’ cousins.

I’m going to upload some pictures to Facebook, and then meditate before bed. So yes, today is a 3-point day.

Jó éjszakát!



4-point Day

So far, it’s a 4-point day, as I’ve achieved four out of the following five points.

1. 20 minutes of cardio.

2. Brief yoga or meditation

3. Almost daily journaling or blogging

4. A few minutes of organizing

5. Careful with what I eat (i.e. snacking less, drinking wine or liquor rather than beer)

I easily burned 300 calories during my 45 walk to and from and from the city center to run errands. (See why Europeans are usually skinnier?!) I wore my heart rate monitor and everything, so I know exactly how many calories I burned. I also had some gelato after lunch, but it was a reasonable amount, and I’ve stayed away from sweets since, and put everything into MyFitnessPal. (This is extra though, I don’t plan to do MyFitnessPal during my whole vacation. ;))

I did a few minutes of organizing my suitcase etc, and am blogging now. All that’s left is yoga or meditation, and I plan to do that before bed.

Other than that, today has been a really good day. My anxiety has stayed away, I’ve studied a little Hungarian, and even helped my Father-in-law learn a little English. I also touched base wtih two friends that I’ve done a poor job of staying in contact with. I’m not going to let the fact that talking more often makes me miss them more get in the way of our friendship. Good friends are too precious.

Now, let’s see if I can put some Hungarian to practice in the kitchen. Cheers to a 4-point day! (So far.)