Friday, October 7, 2011

One Year Hungarianniversary

One year ago we packed up all our belongings, sold our house and cars and hopped on a flight to Budapest. At the time, we didn't know what to expect and, to be honest, I wasn't absolutely convinced we weren't making a mistake. What a difference a year makes. I recently came across some expat literature entitled "Phases of Cross-Cultural Adjustment", an article outlining the adjustment stages of an expat. Here's some excerpts, along with pics from our first year.

"Pre-Departure: Anticipation, excitement, enthusiasm, fear of the unknown, concern over leaving family, friends, familiar environment, job or career." Check, check, check.

"1st Month: Sense of mission, tourist enthusiasm." Uh, huh. Within a few weeks of arrival we had found a house, were driving around Budapest, learning the subway system, sight seeing, taking in all the festivals and generally loving Budapest.

"2nd Month: Bewilderment, disenchantment, restlessness, impatience." Right again! By this point, I was ready to hop on the next flight home. I missed my friends and family and was sick of begging people to speak English to me.
"3rd Month: Discouragement, irritability, bewilderment, concern for sanitation, homesickness." Yes, utter bewilderment, coupled with the nagging fear that we had made a huge, huge mistake. We still had fun as a family, but I was still skeptical about Budapest. The turning point came the first day it snowed, though. It was a like a calm swept over the city... and me too!
"4th / 5th Months: Gradual Recovery, constructive attitude." Once we moved into our house, received our container of home goods and made friends, we were finally feeling at home. Although I missed my family and friends, I no longer felt an overwhelming urge to board the next overnight flight to Texas. It was a good feeling to finally feel happy and at home. In Hungary!
"6th Month: Normal, equilibrium, return to familiar hobbies." Finally we felt great about living here. We were thankful we had made the decision to move here, thankful for the good friends we had made and excited for all the good things to come.
So by the end of the summer, as our one year Hungarianniversary approached, we could definitively state that we had made the right decision. We have learned the ropes and conquered the fears that come with life in a foreign country. At last, home sweet Hungary!


  1. I can't believe it has been a year. It actually feels like you have been gone longer than that. So excited for what the next year will bring your family!!!

  2. Loved this post Meryl! This is so true weather you are moving to a new city, state, or country. I'm sure it's magnified 1,000 when you have to get on a plane to visit and no one speaks English, but it's basically the same thing I've experienced with every new move.

  3. I'm not sure I followed this path as it is laid out here, actually I'm stuck in the "I want to hop in the next car to Shreveport" mode. It's hard making friends here and I've never had trouble making friends. Thank goodness Rene' is here now, that helps, but this certainly doesn't feel like home 2+ years later. But now I have Cala, so everything is better!


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