Miles from Budapest

You know those times when you are thinking so much about a topic or situation that it is completely all-consuming in your mind?  You are so in your head, that you don’t realize what you are doing?  For example, there was a time at work when I had to deal with a very difficult customer service issue.  The rage inside of me from the situation was there, fuming silently in my mind so much throughout the whole day that I got on the Brown Line Train in Chicago to get home and before I knew it, I was somehow standing in my apartment.  I didn’t even remember swiping my card, boarding the train, or who I sat next to on the ride home because I was so engulfed in my thoughts and replaying the whole customer service scenario.  There was another time in 6th grade when I really had to go to the bathroom but my teacher had left the room and no one knew where she went.  I had to go so badly that I left the room to find her and ask if I could go.  Thankfully I saw her down the hallway.  I was so consumed by my thoughts about having to pee that I ran directly into another student on my way towards her and didn’t even notice it!  She told me after the fact…

These experiences freak me out.  It’s almost as though you aren’t present in your body or life and are lost somewhere in the depths of your brain.  In these times, I can seriously see how people go crazy but that’s another story.  

hate to admit this but I was having these experiences during our initial days in Budapest. Our last day in Bologna, I found out that I would be returning to International TEFL Academy as a temporary Admin Assistant until Dan and I figure out what our next steps will be.  I was and still am extremely excited about the opportunity to go back to the company I love(d) and create a new position there.  Shortly after this, we learned that our best friends were looking for sub-letters for their apartment during the exact time we’d need it and we’d have to let them know quickly so they could start making preparations.

I was here, thinking about being there. 

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All of this is positive for so many reasons.  I don’t have to worry about taking some worthless job when we returned back to Chicago at a place I didn’t like.  I get to go back to a place I loved and have an opportunity to continue working there.  And to top it off, the apartment we are subletting is inexpensive and very close to ITA, perfect for what we need (it also helps our friends out, too).  Having the job and place to live come July all figured out in advance alleviated my prior stress about what we’d be doing right away when we returned.

However, these new developments made going home REAL.  We were making decisions and plans way before I thought we ever would be.  Don’t get me wrong, I was and still am very happy and excited about everything to come but, it was impossible to not get trapped in my thoughts about the future and pull me away from being present in Budapest.  All of the conversations between Dan and I started to center around money upon returning, where Dan would work, when we’d bring our cats to the city, etc. instead of what we’d be doing, eating or drinking in this amazing city.  My thoughts turned to planning out our month of June before I’d start work.  I found myself walking around a world class European city with my head stuck weeks into the future.  My mind was miles from Budapest. 

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Then on our third night, Dan and I decided to have a beer and langos from Karavan.  

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I guess I wasn’t finished working on that belly bulge yet.  

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We were both in our heads about going home and had some decisions to make so we were going to call it an early night until we met Jay and Allison who are from England.  One thing lead to another and before we knew it, we were drunk at 1 a.m. stumbling out of the ruin bar Szimpla with them.  Had it not been for Jay turning and randomly talking to me at Karavan, we would have gone home early, not met great people, and not had a fun night out at a classic, well known ruin bar in Budapest.  

The two I have to thank for forcing me out of my brain and back into my body. 

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The outside of Szimpla.  The inside is similar a dive bar, turned club but with a dance floor and various bars and kitchy, vintagey objects surrounding the perimeter.  

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The next day we spent completely hungover and useless.  But honestly, it took that night out and wasting an entire day in Budapest hungover, to make me realize what was happening.  I was using way too much mental space thinking and planning for the future that I wasn’t fully enjoying Budapest.  Therefore, sometime during that hangover day I made a mental decision that yes, I would be thinking and making plans regarding our return home, (because I was and am still looking forward to our return) but I wouldn’t let it consume me in a negative way where I was missing the experience.  I needed to bring my mind back to the here and now especially because at that time, we only had a few weeks left.  I needed to live it up as much as possible.  I needed to be in Budapest as opposed to miles away mentally.

The next three days were some of my favorite not only in Budapest, but in Europe!  I absolutely loved Budapest and think it is a very underrated city.

We took an incredible dinner and boat cruise on the Danube that lasted for about 3 hours. The food was excellent, there was entertainment, and Budapest is really at its best (in my opinion) at night time.  The Parliament building, Chain Bridge, and various others light up beautifully against the dark sky.

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Did you know that Hungary has 22 regions that make wine?  I did not!  Since we didn’t get our fill of wine in Spain and Italy (yeah, right) we decided to go wine tasting and see what Hungarian wine is all about.  Dan found this wine bar called Cultivini.  I must say, I’m extremely jealous that I didn’t think of this concept first because it’s the greatest invention ever: a self service wine bar.  You simply put as much money as you want on this card, stick it in the machine, select your wine and the size of pour you want, and enjoy.

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We couldn’t come to Hungary and not visit the baths.  We choose to visit the Szechenyi Baths as it took us for a beautiful walk down Andressy Avenue to get there.  The structure outside of the baths were beautiful but of course, there were so many people there, especially in the warm baths.  It wasn’t the most relaxing experience but we were both glad we went.

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Now that I am currently miles from Budapest physically, I’m now there mentally reliving it and will be able to for the rest of my life unlike that ride home on the Brown Line and I’m sure many others.  Although being excited and planning for what is to come in the future is wonderful, overthinking it isn’t.  Missing precious moments, in a precious time is a great way to let life pass you by too quickly.

“Wherever you go, there you are.  Wherever you are, be all there.”

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