Actually writing down (and posting!) my 30 before 30 list made it more real and, happily, more manageable. Open an Etsy shop? Check. Start riding our bikes again (after a five year hiatus during which we moved them from city to city)? Check. Stupid yard wreath? I’m working on it.
Now, a daunting item from my list: research abroad. Soon to be checked.
I’m leaving Hubby behind in Canada and moving to Budapest, Hungary for four months to do research for my PhD. I have my apartment and flight arranged. I just found out Friday I received funding to cover my accommodations and expenses while abroad (yes!), so it feels real enough to blog, and stress, about. I leave in less than a month.
Every person I tell thinks it’s fantastic, exciting and all around wonderful news. I know I’m incredibly privileged to have this opportunity to be funded to go abroad and do research. But I am seriously going to miss Hubby who, due to work, can only visit for a short time during the four months. It’s lame, but I’m also going to miss the comforts of life in the townhouse, including having a car. I’ll miss my family, friends, Canadian health care, the luxury of choosing varied outfits – everything! Did I mentioned I have one suitcase to pack four months – three seasons – of clothes?
I had a rough time last August when I received a scholarship for a one month stay. Surrounded by strangers 24/7 (literally), I felt really lonely. I missed Hubby so badly, especially when my laptop died (RIP) and I couldn’t easily, or regularly, communicate, with him or anyone. I was put up in a sad hostel with bizarre roommates and, to avoid it and them, I spent long evenings out with the party-happy friends I made and slept only four hours a night. It turns out I was too old for that! I got totally run down, got an infection and experienced a Hungarian hospital (faster service than Canada, but no toilet paper – anywhere). The food we were provided was almost 100% bread. I was worried I’d get scurvy. Our hostel room kept running out of our allotted toilet paper (a common theme) and the toilet stopped flushing for three days. The sink stopped up too, and the water ran brown. One of my roommates disappeared, which no one but me seemed concerned about. Days later she returned, totally confused why I was worried. Then we got ants (unrelated, I think). Did I mention I ran up a $300 cell phone bill? Eventually I adjusted, found a grocery store with fresh produce, and finally started relishing the experience.
This time, it will be different. I won’t be with a group (here’s a sampling of the motley crew I took language lessons and toured Budapest with):
I won’t be living here. I won’t have classes. I’ll be doing independent research, in a sweet little apartment I can’t wait to show you.
I am excited to have a chance to re-connect with two close friends I made last August, a young Hungarian woman, Dora (centre), and a young Polish woman, Szilvi (right):
Szilvi was part of the same language program as me, so we spent more time together than we did with Dora. Szilvi is returning to Budapest on a one year scholarship that starts the same time as my stay. Good timing! Although a longer stay and more time together is really going to test these green friendships. I’m not sure Szilvi and I would have been friends under normal circumstances, you know?
What will happen to the blog?
Oh, don’t you worry. I have (and will be) working like a busy bee, stockpiling some DIY projects and nifty posts to share with you while I’m abroad. I’ll also pepper my posts with a little European inspiration, some recipes (a series I’ve neglected) plus address my biggest concern: packing for a four month trip! But I might start to dip down to 3-4 posts per week as opposed to my usual 4-5 posts.