i’ve been here in budapest a little over eight months now – long enough to feel comfortable here and have my favorite spots in the city scouted, and also long enough to now know the not-so-pleasant things that are part of life in hungary. some days i absolutely love living in this city, and other days i hate it. i honestly go back and forth. despite all of my frustrations with the city, the people, the politics, the bureaucracy, the weather, the way i’m treated, and more, i’m happy here more than i’m frustrated. some days though it gets to me, and on these days i have to remind myself to look at budapest through fresh eyes.
every time a friend comes to visit me here i fall in love with my city all over again. being able to take someone around to all the major sites, show them my favorite coffee and ice cream places, explore side streets with them, and roam along the river, i am reminded what a fantastic city i live in.
when you’re only here for a week (or less, in some cases), it’s so easy to take a surface level appraisal of the city and be enchanted – because budapest is a magical city, there’s no denying that. but after being here a bit longer, sometimes the magic is lost on me and i need a little reminder. in my time here so far i’ve had four friends visit me, and every time they make me realize why i choose to stay here in budapest even when it’s hard. seeing the city through their eyes reminds me of what i was like when i first arrived here, the sense of wonder and possibility i was filled with, and i strive to hold that feeling close.
because, overall, my experience here has been lovely. i’ve just finally settled in enough to better understand all the cultural differences that run a little deeper – and that sometimes contradict the morals and values that i hold strong. my time here has changed me in so many ways and i have no doubt that this will continue to be the case throughout the rest of my time here. i am so thankful for all of the amazing opportunities and adventures that i’ve had here so far, but that doesn’t mean that i can brush off the things that bother me here. some days they suck me in and i can feel myself become more short-tempered with the way things work here. on days like this, i find myself thinking back to all of my wonderful friends who have visited here and how they saw the city for the first time.
thinking back to their sense of wide-eyed amazement helps me to step back from the situation at hand and put things in perspective, because no matter how frustrating i find life in budapest to be sometimes, i really am in love with my life in this city.
sometimes i just need a reminder of that.