The Minutia


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How do you pack up and move abroad for a year? On the stateside, we rented our home, moved all of our belongings to a storage unit, found temporary “housing” for our pup, sold a car, and left a job. Gabe will continue to work as a software engineer. I will be happily unemployed and preoccupied with learning the ropes of our new city. Once the kids start school I will be enrolling in language classes and enjoying some free time to re-balance life as a mom.

We are still navigating the minutia of setting up “real life” here in Budapest. From health insurance to banking, phone service, public transportation, and legal documentation; everything is new. I am so thankful that Gabe’s first language is Hungarian and he is able to captain the ship. So far things are going smoothly with fewer hiccups than expected, outside of our initial false start. FYI, if you are a non-EU citizen and are planning an extended stay in the EU, you must have a return airline ticket within 90days. If not, you need a visa; regardless of the legal documentation you carry in your hands and your “plan” once you set foot abroad. We learned this the hard way and our travels were setback by a full week with a lot of needless frustration.

In Budapest, we are renting an apartment on the Buda side of the Danube with a balcony that overlooks our pedestrian street lined with cafes. The smell of fresh bread wafts up from the bakery below. Public transportation, Millenaris Park, Mammut shopping mall, and Fény Street Market are all a short walk away. The kids will begin Hungarian preschool in September. After a grueling week of school visits we have narrowed our search to two. Fortunately we are able to do a few trial days of summer session to get a better feel for the schools and evaluate the daily commute.

As with anything new, there is a learning curve. It is reassuring to know the day to day will get easier as our family becomes better acclimated to city life and my Hungarian skills become marginally useful. In the meantime, I am challenging myself to view stressors and anxiety as a catalyst for personal growth and self-reflection.

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” —Abraham Maslow