We said goodbye to our friends & family in America and boarded an airplane on September 12th that would take us halfway across the world to our new home in Budapest, Hungary. The flights were smooth, the coffee they served us in Amsterdam was rich, and our hearts were feeling several bittersweet emotions: excitement for the journey God has us on & sorrow for the people we were leaving behind us.
We landed and immediately experienced culture shock: everyone speaking in an unknown language (or with thick accents if they were speaking in English), words in Hungarian on almost every sign and door, and difficulty finding out the meaning of simple phrases like "baggage return" and "water closet" (baggage claim & bathroom to those of us in the States). But despite that, we were able to get out of the airport and into our new flat with ease and lots of help from Trey. We spent the first two days fighting off jet lag and stocking our refrigerator with basic staples from the grocery store right next to our building, the spice shop a few metro stops away, and the huge market right next to it. We are so used to driving our car to Publix and having everything we would need being readily available to pick up, load up, and drive home, so having to walk to the store every couple of days and only being able to buy what you can carry in the plastic bags that you bring with you is a change!
By day four we ended up giving into our tired bodies and sleeping until 2pm. Jet lag is no joke, especially when you're traveling for almost 20 hours straight and jumping six hours ahead in your time zone. Did we mention how everything is on 24 hour time? That definitely took some getting used to, especially when we were told to meet at 17:15 to go out one night with our landlord (who is amazing, by the way!).
Our first two weeks here were spent walking around the city, figuring out the metro and tram system (we haven't even attempted the buses yet!), familiarizing ourselves with the streets, and becoming somewhat accustomed to the European lifestyle, which will definitely take a lot longer than two weeks to adjust to. We didn't take a whole lot of photos during this time but we are looking forward to grabbing our cameras anytime we leave the flat to document our adventures from here on out.
The people here are different. I think it might be because we are used to the overly friendly culture of America that this comes to such a shock to us. The majority of the people aren't rude (although we have met a few who made us feel like the worst people on earth when we didn't buy the magazines they were selling on the streets), they just aren't very friendly if you don't know them. Which isn't a bad thing, it's just different. People don't smile when making eye contact while passing on the streets and customer service is done very differently here. But honestly, we have met some of the most genuine and authentic people here and it's been all sorts of wonderful. We know that in the three months that we are currently living in Budapest we will make friendships that are as strong as the ones we have back home that took us years to form.
God has been moving so much since we landed in Budapest. We can tell that the weeks and months prior to leaving America He was working on our hearts, striping down old thoughts, behaviors, and habits that we held onto for so long and bringing us to a point where we are content with whatever He wants to put in its place. It's hard to explain and put into words all that we have experienced and everything that we have gone through so far, but we are hoping that our vlogs (which we will be doing more diligently!) will be able to show you rather than tell you how God is working over here.
We can't wait to start sharing all of the things we experience daily with you here. We're a little behind on blogging and vlogging so we'll be working hard to get back on top of things. We're going to write about going to Normafa with the members of Agora to eat szalonnasütés soon, which is where you cook a slab of pig fat over a camp fire and let the juices drip onto a piece of fresh bread and eat it with sliced onions and peppers on top. It's a very Hungarian thing to do and we had a lot of fun learning how to do it!
// Jonathan + Samantha