Getting Our Feet Wet

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I had planned on getting started on my blog much sooner, but as it turns out, moving abroad and venturing between 4 countries in the first 3 weeks is quite a lot to navigate! We have a beautiful apartment in Budapest, which we have spent very little time in thus far. We are finally heading back to settle in and unpack!

So what have we been up to?

We spent the first two weeks traveling back and forth between Budapest and Gabe’s hometown of Fülek, Slovakia, which is 2 hours straight north from Budapest. Our first week in our apartment in Budapest was a whirlwind. We had 6 school visits scheduled in 5 days. Navigating our new city with public transportation in unseasonable heat with two young children was a challenge. There were many piggy back rides and snack motivators as we hopped from metros, trams, and buses. Fortunately, there was an ice cream stand or a sweet shop around most corners. Overall, the kids were good sports and throughout the week they made major strides in understanding public transportation and street safety. Passports and metro tickets have been successfully integrated into regular pretend play.

Transitioning from living on a cul de sac in our suburban bubble to living in a bustling metropolitan city is quite a change, to say the least. Everything is harder in the city. Goodbye Walmart Grocery pick up, Amazon prime deliveries, and the flexibility of getting whatever you want whenever you need it. Convenience is definitely something our family took for granted in the US. Although the nearest grocery store is within 2 blocks, it is quite a challenge to stock a fridge when you can only buy what you can carry (with the added difficulty of navigating foreign products in the company of two wandering children). Finding basic home good items, hardware, vitamins, etc is like going on a scavenger hunt in a different language. Also, the exchange rate is 289 Hungarian forint to 1 US dollar. That is a lot of math. Enjoy that one click ordering. No but seriously, I can already see a shift in our thinking. Using less. Making the most of what we have. Rethinking what we truly need. These are all good things. Our very privileged children, through no fault of their own, are used to getting what they want most of the time. Life is a little different here. I can’t magically produce things we don’t have, whether it is snacks, toys, or air conditioning.

Returning to Gabe’s family home after an exhausting week in Budapest was a nice tranquil change. Gabe’s family is extremely welcoming and the cooking, cleaning, washing, and general life requirements are basically taken care of. The kids can play freely in the yard and I don’t have to nag them about being too loud for apartment living. We had a few days for them to settle in before Gabe and I took off for our epic kid-free vacay in France (see next post). Despite the excitement of our trip, nerves were high leaving the kids for 8 whole days in a new environment with grandparents that speak limited English. We had never been gone for more than two nights, and that was driving distance in a familiar environment without communication challenges. Happy to say we all survived, despite a few tears (mine included). Everyone says “kids are resilient”. I think this year will be a good measure of resilience, with many more challenges to come.