PREPARING TO RETURN
my wordpress account apparently never scheduled this post to go out, but here’s a brief piece that i wrote up in anticipation of returning back to the states on march 25th. i’m guessing that in the hecticness of preparing everything for my trip i messed something up and it’s just been sitting in my “drafts” folder ever since.
my last week or so after the passing of my beloved grandmother has been a blur. trying to process everything over 7,00 miles away from my family in ohio is so rough. i’m happy to announce that, due to the incredible kindness and support of my boss here at the reformed church in hungary, i’ll be coming home for two weeks to celebrate the life of my spectacular grandmother, surrounded by my loving family. i’m so glad to work for an amazing church here in hungary with a boss and coworkers who understand the importance of both processing grief and celebrating life. i’m looking forward to many hugs from my family, stories about my grandmother, potlucks filled with laughter, and all the warm feelings that being welcomed home will bring.
honestly, though, i’m also nervous.
being home to process with my family is what i need right now, i can feel that in my core, but that doesn’t mean that it will be easy. not only will i be returning home to work through grief and sadness over the passing of my grandmother, but i will also be faced with the reality that, while i’ve been gone in hungary, my family is in the process of buying a new home and leaving my childhood home behind. this move is good news — i was never a fan of my hometown, and i only ever returned there to see my family — but it will still be hard to know that when i say goodbye to return to budapest, i will not only be leaving my family, but i will also be leaving my childhood home for the last time. emotions will be running high on all fronts, and that’s something that i’m quickly trying to prepare myself for.
i will also experience culture shock during the two weeks that i’ll be back in the states. not having the convenience of public transit and being surrounded by the overwhelming political situation that is currently gripping the united states is going to be jarring, for sure. but more than that, i will also be overwhelmed by the english language and deep spirit of american consumerism.
here in budapest, the once foreign hungarian language has now become a kind of pleasant white noise that follows me everywhere. it’s always present, but never overbearing because i can easily tune it out. it’s impossible for me to eavesdrop on conversations here in hungary because the majority of them don’t take place in a language that i can comprehend — which means that i have a lot more time with my own thoughts and, despite always being surrounded by people in a metropolis, i feel calm and at peace for the most part. coming back to a place where i will understand everything is going to be insane for me. my ADD brain is going to go crazy, i’m sure, trying to simultaneously flit from one conversation to another as i hungrily try to soak up the feeling of being surrounded by my native tongue.
being once again surrounded by american consumerism will also be an adjustment for me. hungary is a capitalist society, don’t get me wrong, and i pass malls and shopping plazas on the regular. but america is a whole different creature when it comes to buying Buying BUYING. i remember when i returned from greece, where i lived for a few months during my study abroad semester, i cried on my first trip to the grocery store. i had been back in ohio for a few days and was at kroger with my mum. we were walking down the isle to buy peanut butter and i remember just standing there in front of it all and realizing how many damn choices there were. creamy or crunchy? organic, vegan, raw, all-natural, regular? did you want jam or something swirled around in there too? and what about a brand? the excess of it all overwhelmed me and i simply stood there as tears fell down my cheeks. i didn’t know how to respond when i had spent my time in greece making due with whatever i could find. options like that were a luxury that i did not have in greece, and while the stores here in budapest are much more plentiful and well-stocked than those on a small island in the middle of the aegean sea, there are still only two options for peanut butter here: crunchy or smooth. the peanut butter was a apt metaphor for the sense of american entitlement, excess, and exceptionalism that i felt in that moment — and i think i’ll be reminded of that all over again when i return this time.
the truth is that as amazing as this trip home is going to be, it is one that i still do not feel quite prepared for ..and i’m flying out tomorrow morning at 9am. i did not have plans to return to the states during my term of service in budapest, and so this sudden and emotional change has left me feeling a bit dazed. i’m honestly still trying to wrap my head around the fact that tomorrow evening i’ll be back in ohio with my family, reunited and surrounded by their love and community. it doesn’t even feel real yet, and i don’t think it will until i touch down in columbus and see their grinning faces waiting for me at the airport. i am excited beyond words for that moment of reunion, and yet i am also aware and trying to brace myself for all of the emotions that will come during my trip.
i don’t really know what to do with all of this right now, so i thought that i’d put it out into the universe with this blog post. writing out my thoughts here is such a good release for me, so this blog post is mostly a selfish way for me to process things and feel less stressed about my upcoming trip. though if you want to send prayers, good vibes, or whatever else you feel inclined to do, i’m more than happy to receive all that energy.