9 days from Hong Kong

There’s a lot more blog posts I should’ve written about in the past month or so. I thought about what I should write every day, and if I missed a day thinking about it, mom didn’t hesitate to remind me. I don’t want to be cheesy and say I lost inspiration but I guess I lost motivation. I usually write and edit my blogs in my head multiple times before they ever get typed up. I just didn’t have anything to say for once. For about a month I’ve felt meh. I’ve tried phrasing this in my head different ways, more articulate ways, but nothing comes. Probably because I feel meh. It’s just strange to know I don’t live in Hungary anymore and it was strange to know this day was coming. As more and more people asked me if was ready or excited to go home, the readiness faded. A few months ago when I made the decision to leave and move, it felt exciting and I was sad to go but also looking forward to what was coming. I didn’t think it’d be so hard to leave when that’s what I decided I should do. The closer I got to leaving, the less ready I felt to go. I had one or two moments every week when I felt hell-bent on getting out of Hungary (I had some problems with the train ticket collectors) but besides that, I felt blue about watching my clock run out. I can’t say I feel at home in Hungary, I don’t know if that’s possible to say about somewhere I don’t speak the language, but I felt at home in school. I heard “Hello Scarlett” in the hallways and around school so often that some days it felt like hello was part of my name. My job had started to become pretty satisfying and I began to feel really fortunate to be at my school. It’s natural to reflect with human nature, and I reflected on whether or not I really wanted to go since time was almost up, and with this I started to realize how much I really liked my job and going to work. I can’t remember if I’ve ever felt that way about another position I’ve held. Yes, I liked a coupe other jobs but I felt valued and appreciated here from both my students and coworkers more so than I have in the past. I hope that each of my coworkers feels this for themselves as well. Kind of crazy for someone who told the Peace Corps last year I’d do anything but teach. Maybe the closest I can come to expressing how I felt the last month was displaced. I knew I was leaving for America soon and just as soon after that I will be leaving again. I started to tell myself lies about how what I did the past few months didn’t really matter and all of the work I put in didn’t matter as soon as I stepped on the plane. I believed it for a few days which really made me feel bad before making myself realize that didn’t even make sense. Of course it still matters that my kids liked English and coming to class even if I’m not there forever. Of course my time in Hungary leaves a mark on me and my kids. Of course it matters that my kids got to practice their English even though next year it will be with someone else. Even though I told myself these true things, I still felt meh. I still felt meh after coming home for a week or so. But truth be told, I think it will feel meh every time I leave a place. And second guessing myself as to whether it was really the right time to go. And I’ve thought about whether or not that means I just need to go home and stay home, but I can’t picture that. I have no idea what I’d do at home besides dreaming about being away. So I guess this is the bad I have to take with the good.


To try and shake this funk before I get off the plane, I thought about some positives from the last month while pretending I had allergies. My school gave me a really nice goodbye last week and some nice memories to take home with me and some coworkers gave me a few things as well. My English-speaking coworkers had a small celebration for my leaving. All of these things were so extremely thoughtful and I’ll look back on my time there every time I see them. My coworkers and kids all had extremely positive things to say about me as a teacher and a person and it really meant a lot to hear that especially while I felt meh. I took my kids outside for a lot of lessons as the year wound down and the first and seconds graders absolutely adored duck duck goose. My littles thought they were geniuses when they were the first to “goose” me – I played to show them how it worked and then stayed sitting in the circle. One girl ended up next to me and suddenly curled up to me like a cat and looked up at me and said “I am really happy right now.” The local news station interviewed me for teachers day and I didn’t do anything horribly embarrassing. I have a killer tan from being outside so much. I got to see Maria for the third time this year which we spent in the park and I felt extremely European. British Airways let me check three bags for free which was so nice and stress-free. I learned to get rid of some things I don’t need and was able to donate clothes to my school’s collection. Which also meant all of my checked bags were less than half the maximum weight. That is not usual for me. I saw some real improvement with the confidence and speaking abilities in my private lessons and I’m so happy for them as I know how badly they want to improve. It’s been insanely hot in Hungary but this should have me well prepared for Texas and Hong Kong. One of my littles acted like I was an alien the entire semester. Everything I said was met with a look of shock and a glance around to see if anyone else thought I was strange. My last lesson with that class she still thought I was completely nuts but she wouldn’t leave my side and wanted a hug. I had a few short and basic conversations in Hungarian. I started realizing how many important and meaningful conversations I have now. I’m not sure if it’s because of living abroad, the stage in life I’m at, the people around me, or some other reason. But I started having daily conversations that made me think and learn new things and see things in a different way. As I listened to what I said at these times, I started to realize how much I learned and grew in the past year. I want new opinions, I want to learn about things that I didn’t know were problems, I just want to talk about more than how is the weather. Not that I didn’t want to talk about serious things before I moved, but it’s different when I started having them in my daily life. Linked to this, I stopped stressing about or making the small things big. The small things stayed nice and small like they should be and I didn’t spend much of time thinking about a 20 second problem. I know pretty much how long it will take clothes to air dry on a warm day or a rainy day. I know how to get around when I don’t know where I am and can’t talk to anyone to ask for directions.

Speaking of things I didn’t blog about, after Slovenia and Croatia, I spent a weekend with one of my roommates back from orientation and she graciously showed me around her town. Lindsey took me to Lake Balaton and a castle and a boat tour of a cave. She did a great job as a hostess. A friend from home visited and I met a new friend in Budapest as well who is a travel agent and has her own bikini line so hit me up if you want her contact information. I was able to show my friend a good bit of Budapest and I was really surprised and happy about how easily I could put together an itinerary and navigate us. My visit with Maria was half spent biking around her town in Austria and half laying at the community pool. It was the perfect mini vacation before coming home. I finally played a rugby game and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. I plan to find a team in HK as well.

Pictures from my weekend with Lindsey. Tapolca, Lake Balaton, and Kesthely are pictured below. We had a great weekend catching up and I’m grateful for her and her cheerfulness and how positive she is. I pray she has a beautiful wedding and marriage next month and that someday we cross paths again. Thank you Linds!


My favorite picture from that weekend was taken in Tapolca at a small restaurant.


From the rugby tournament I was able to go to before I left. I am still shocked that the first time I found I team was in Hungary; I didn’t expect to have an opportunity to play there. It was so impressive to me all these girls could play a sport in another language. There are girls from Italy, Morocco, France, Poland, Germany, Hungary, South Africa, and more represented on this team. When I wasn’t learning about the sport, I was learning about so much more. Thank you girls for being great team mates and telling me more about your own countries.


I played tourist for a couple days before I went home. The first three are from Visegrad, a cute little town with a castle over looking the Danube. I went to Szentendre at the recommendation of a few people and had lavender ice cream (lavender is a weird flavor) and went to a church and a couple museums. The gold squares on the ground are memorials to Holocaust victims and state their names, birthdays, and days they were sent from their homes. The final is a few pictures of Budapest with a kurtoskalacs and a fountain at Szent Gellert Ter.


At school, at government offices, in apartments there are flowers everywhere. I miss all the plants and the cheeriness they bring. When I went to the immigration office, there were plants crammed onto every possible surface. At school, there are plants in the hallways and teachers rooms. I didn’t feel like I lived there until I had a couple house plants.


These are really common pastries. The left one is coconut and chocolate and the best one I had was made by one of my student’s parents. Hungarians love coconut which I always found surprising given that I have no idea how far away the nearest coconut trees are. I don’t remember the middle one but I had them fairly often. The right is called csiga which means snail in English. They are sort of like a cinnamon roll without the icing. They’re a favorite and one of my students had them daily. It’s hard to tell but these things are as big as my head.


Finally, a couple pictures of the inside of my school. The painted hallway floor is where they held all school functions. Instead of yearbooks, they have class photos from each year decorating the halls. The #hellobatta sign is in front of an architecturally distinct church. I always wanted to go inside but was never sure if that was allowed or not.


Not pictured: my great big suitcase. My motto was that if I could carry it all myself, then it wasn’t too much stuff. So happy I have two checked bags for Hong Kong.



Learn Hungarian:  viszontlátásra (vees – on – la – tashra) meanig goodbye 


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