The past week was filled with see you laters. Which with social media and the internet is actually sort of weird because there is no lag in communication. It’s strange to say “see you in 10 months” when everyone is just a few clicks away from a more or less face to face conversation.
I was surprised how hard it was to tell people I was leaving. There were quite a few tears involved both from friends and myself. One of the first to have me reaching for a tissue was telling the client I worked pretty closely with that I was leaving. The last day I spent with her she told me “I know you won’t be with me anymore. That’s because you’re going to help people over there.” She wasn’t the only to tell me she wanted to buy a plane ticket and come with me. One of my great-grandmothers said to me, “I’m so happy for you and I’m so jealous that you get to see all of things. go have the time of your life.” Which means more than I could fit into one blog post. As someone who went college three hours away, then commuted, and never moved out, leaving my family Monday was just weird. I also didn’t think my mom was going to walk away from me in the airport (love you mom). I could fill up one post just about how hard it was to say goodbye for now, but I’m sure that’s not what you are following along for. I was so happy with everyone who came Saturday to see me off. Thank you all for stopping by and thanks to everyone made time throughout last week to see me. Life is going to be much different without you guys.
Monday around 10:30 I left the house. Driving to the airport I looked down and saw six minutes left to destination and it was one of the hardest moments of going knowing that I was soon running out of time in the car with my mom. After getting to my gate, I sat down across another girl my age who was messing with her SIM card. We got to talking and she was going to Poland for four months to teach English. I rarely initiate talking to strangers so it seemed meant to be to me that we sat next to each other for a bit. After two plane rides, three crying children, confusing a German immigration officer, and somehow getting lucky enough to have empty seats next to me on both flights, I arrived. Hajni (the Hungarian program leader) was easy to find as I walked out of the baggage claim. We talked for a few minutes as we waited for the driver to pick me up and take me to the hostel. She was lovely and I can’t wait to spend more time with her throughout orientation week. My driver was so nice and friendly. However, while his English is significantly better than my Hungarian, he didn’t know much. We had some limited conversations and I already found myself acting out verbs. I have a feeling I’m very much going to make a complete idiot out of myself sooner rather than later. He and I did find a few ways to connect ( he has interest in learning more languages and likes sports, he referees for the local professional soccer team) so I felt good when getting to the hotel. in the lobby at good mo house there were a few CETPers that had been a part of the program for as many as ten years to collect my paperwork and give me a few things as well. Overall, very smooth and helpful the way CETP had arrival set up.
After checking out my room and getting a shower, I wondered out and to get my money exchanged. I was very glad I waited to do so as the percentage the shop took was low, less than $10. I walked down the Main Street for well over an hour trying to find somewhere to eat with enough people inside that the food was good but not too many because I was trying to keep the number of people who might make fun of me for not knowing how to order to a minimum for the first night. baby steps friends. Luckily I discovered a few small food stores and a mall. did I mention the food stores have queso and I found a restaurant selling guacamole? because I am thrilled.
After making my selection of where to eat and confusing the hostess so much with my American-ess, I found the waiters to be quite friendly. There were no less than three that came to my table trying to make sure someone was already helping me. I ordered goulash and a German potato pancake I was familiar with. They were both so good, as was the wine I ordered. If you are following along on Facebook, you will know they also brought to me a strange red peppery appearing paste. Supposedly it was for my potato but I would have much rather had it with something else. It was quite good, sweet at first then fairly spicy. After dinner, I worked on the cellphone situation. I know have a Hungarian number and my 814 number I’ve had since day one is no more. If you’d like the new number, let me know, otherwise Facebook and all other social media work just fine! Trying to add data to my plan is quite interesting as the website only has one page in English and the rest it doesn’t appear to translate. I plan to go to a store today and see if I can get it worked out in person.
I wondered around a bit last night and found the little bit I’ve seen of Budapest to be quite pretty. It’s also very old and I really enjoy the statues and the architecture of the buildings here. I had ice cream (to anyone who knows me, it’s no surprise I have been quite concerned about seeing whether or not the food is good) and it was very good. There are little ice cream coolers on the streets here every few blocks and the ice cream looks very cute with the chocolate shavings and things they have on them for decorations. I will get a picture here soon. I’m happy to find that my Netflix works here so that I can fall asleep to a show as I am used to at home. It’s the little things that I feel will help make adjusting sooner. I am currently watching An Idiot Abroad and I really recommend it to anyone who likes travel.
Some first thoughts and impressions:
Things seem to be about the price here that I had expected to be. my ice cream was somewhere around $1.50. My meal, including tip, was less than $10 which included a glass of wine, goulash, potato pancakes, the red paste, and a basket of bread (pictured).
It really confuses me with other countries that I’ve been to and here where there money goes up to such high bills. the highest I have now is a 20,000 forint which equals to somewhere around $65. Its just so odd to me to be looking at such high numbers on the bills. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
I generally don’t seem to stick out right away. At the airport a man was speaking to me in German and assumed I also spoke it. he was quite disappointed when he realized after a few seconds if I spoke Deutsch and I told him nein. For what people dress like here, it seems pretty typical to the US. I more or less blend in but as is typical for Europe most people look nice. I don’t think I’ve seen any sweat pants yet.
As I grew up in a small town and have never spent much time in the city, I found Budapest to be much too noisy for me. The hostel window doesn’t keep much noise out and we aren’t far from the main road. Cars were passing all night and I heard many police sirens throughout the night (maybe 3). I am very excited to get to my much smaller town and not constantly hear people outside. or inside for that matter. The hostel is not very sound proof and one can easily hear people talking in other rooms. This time next week I’ll be all settled in to my new space!
Tonight is the first dinner with us all in a group. I believe there’s about a hundred of us that will be teaching through CETP and there seems to be all ages and experiences. The only girl in my hostel room at the moment is 27, I met a 60 something year old, and I met a man about my age who was here with his Norwegian girlfriend who taught together in china last year.
sorry the picture is sideways. maybe next post I’ll figure that out. See you later for now