Please forgive us for the radio-silence this past month, but we have enjoyed the time to settle in and explore our new homeland.
Budapest is an absolutely beautiful city. It has history and architecture as well as glorious views. The current temperature is 65 degrees F, and as I sit and type, my view is of the pear tree in my yard and past that the beautiful Buda hills. Clark and I have to regularly remind ourselves we get to live here, that we aren't just on vacation for a few weeks. It is completely surreal.
Overall, we are all doing remarkably well. The kids adjusted quickly to the time difference, and they are loving the relaxed pace of life in Europe. Clark is doing well at his new job, learning the language quickly and serving as our tour guide for parts of the city. I am enjoying figuring out cooking and daily life in an unfamiliar place, made better by the gorgeous scenery and climate. We all think our two year assignment may go by too quickly.
We began our adventure in an apartment in the bustling heart of Pest. This was an interesting way to be thrust into European culture, but as Clark and I have always been attracted to life in the city, we enjoyed our time there. We walked everywhere, ate at fun restaurants, and played in city parks. Our apartment was directly on top of restaurants and karaoke bars, and though it put a damper on our open windows at night, it was fun to hear the lively music and laughter in the evenings.
From there we moved into our house in the woods, still in Budapest, but now on the Buda side of the Danube River. Pest is known to be flat as a pancake and very metropolitan while Buda is hilly and more peaceful. Our house is on what was once a massive estate, set back about 60 meters from the peaceful road which faces woods and a nature preserve. Our pants are fitting a little loser as our house has three stories-- garage/basement, "ground floor", and "1st floor". We have a great view of the hills from our den, and the tram is about an 8 minute walk from our gate. Clark did a FABULOUS job finding us this house.
Things that have been tricky mostly revolve around the language and our expectation that things be done quickly. In regard to the language, many younger people know some English, but many things are still lost in translation. I have not met an English speaker at the grocery store yet, and they usually assume I speak Hungarian, so I do a lot of nodding and smiling. Most older women come up and touch Titus's thighs, and say something with a smile on their face. I hope they are saying something like "Wow, he sure is sturdy," or something like that. Regarding timely expectations, we joke that when a person from Hungary tells you something will take 5 minutes, they really mean 30. Everything takes a liiiiitttlllle biiiitttt looooonnnger here. If you plan to quickly drop off some paperwork at the school, think again. You will be invited in to sit and have a glass of viz (water) and chat about random things for at least an hour. I have come to realize that culturally, Americans are a very hurried people, and in our rush to get things done, we have lost much of our hospitality. The Hungarians I have met are incredibly hospitable, and they regularly put people before tasks.
I look forward to posting more and giving you all a glimpse into our lives in Budapest! We have room for guests, so come visit!
Katelyn, Clark, Emma, Ransom, and Titus