from the very first moment that i stepped foot into what is now my apartment, i felt at ease. the first time i walked through the door into what would become my space for the next year or two, i was very much in the midst of the whirlwind: i was fresh off a flight, had just met my coworkers at the budapest airport and then driven a half hour through the pouring rain, only to find out that my apartment is on the 3rd floor and we somehow needed to carry all my stuff up to my new place of residency. in that moment i was wet, exhausted, overwhelmed, sore, parched, and in need of something to be a constant in my life — to keep me grounded in the midst of all that was (and still is) changing.

i heaved my heavy suitcases into the apartment (with help from my amazing coworkers) and was finally able to really breathe again: i was here. i had made it. this immediate sense of arrival, of finally having made it to my destination, washed over me, and this sense of comfort has continued to stay with me.

my living arrangements are pretty unique. the space is a yoga studio with an attached apartment set-up. you walk in the front door and have a kitchen on your left with a long hallway on your right that leads to the studio, with doors along both sides of the hallway that go to restrooms, a yoga store, and my bedroom space. i have the place to myself most of the time, except for when tom (the yoga teacher here and my landlord) is holding classes.

because the space is setup as a yoga studio, there are calming influences all around. one wall in the kitchen is covered with yoga posters, letters that students have written to tom, words of wisdom, photographs of yogi’s and other spiritual leaders, as well as articles about the practice of yoga. the hallway is tastefully decorated with images of hindu gods and goddesses and phrases such as “unselfishness is god” abound. the studio itself has three large windows through which sunlight pours in during the middle of the day. the floor is a light hardwood that feels warm and inviting, calling you to come in and stretch and breathe and be in tune to your body’s spiritual and physical needs. when i walk into the studio space i involuntarily deepen my breathing, focusing on becoming calm and relaxed, almost to fit the mood of the room.

being surrounded by all of these positive and calming influences has really made this apartment my oasis in the city. i’m a block off of the main road, so while i can sometimes hear the occasional car pass by outside, it’s usually very quiet here. having a place like this to come back to, a place that i immediately settled into and felt at home in, has made a world of difference during my transition to living here in budapest.

tom arrived early one evening last week to prepare things for his yoga class, and i took a few minutes to try and convey to him how much i appreciate being able to live here. i described this innate sense of safety and comfort that i feel here and told him that it’s made the move to a new city so much easier. he smiled warmly, looked me deep in the eyes, and said, “i’m so glad you feel that way. this place has good energy.” yes indeed, tom, yes indeed.