Many people asked (and actually still do, now that we are here), “why Budapest?”
And some even say, “that’s a bit random! Isn’t Hungarian the hardest language to learn?”
Start from the beginning… My beloved, Mister B., was born here in Hungary. He lived in Nyíregyháza as a young child, then moved to Budapest. He moved with part of his family to Australia in the early 1980s.
Fast forward to January 2011, when we met. Boy meets girl, they decide that a grown-up relationship is a great idea when you meet someone this fantastic, and 6 months later they’ve moved in together.
During this time, a flippant comment was made about an extended holiday in Mister B’s home country, Hungary. I knew very little about Hungary back then. The flippant comment turned into something of a dreamy topic discussed over dinner, then somehow, it became a reality. We decided we were *actually* going around May 2011. I asked my boss for leave for 12 months (for the following school year) around July, and this was granted. Mister B left asking work for a while but the timing was perfect in the end, and they simply said, “OK, sure.”
We both took all of our Long Service Leave (after 7 years for me, and 16 years for him) and saved, saved, saved! I sold my car, held a market stall, asked for useful things for my birthday and Christmas (a Kindle, cash for a new camera, vouchers for Amazon.com and iTunes) and squirreled the money away.
We bought our tickets around November 2011 and found an apartment online. This was all organised through emails with the agents. We paid a deposit (2 months rent is customary here) and our first month’s rent around November or December.
I had about 8 language lessons in Melbourne before we left (thank you Anna Maria, if you are reading!) This enabled me to learn the sounds of the alphabet and read most words quite profiently. I learned some basic phrases and lots of nouns, mostly to do with transport, shopping, food and drink. I also perfected some very important words:
- szia! (hi!)
- viszontlátásra (see you later/bye)
- köszönöm (thank you)
- köszönöm szépen (thank you very much)
- bocsánat (pardon me, excuse me)
- elnézest (excuse me)
Knowing how to say these words has been the most important thing – Hungarians seem to know how tricky their beautiful language is, and they are quite appreciative when someone makes a little bit of effort.
My language lessons also evolved into some cultural and historical discussions about Hungary. I am so grateful to Anna Maria for providing me with some insight into the people, customs, turbulent history and culture of this beautiful place. Often when I am out and about, something she taught me pops into my head.
We arrived on February 12, 2012, to below-zero temperatures and plenty of snow. We leave on October 15 and arrive back in Melbourne on October 17.(Very mixed feelings about this.) Almost 8 months of not working… traveling, photographing, blogging, writing, eating, being together without the complications of full-time work.
The plan is to get to know Hungary and Mister B’s family, but also use Budapest as a base to see some of Europe.
This is us in Budapest, about 3 weeks after we arrived.