Hello to all,
“Why in the hell would you move here?” This is the question I am asked on the daily. Whenever I meet a new Hungarian, this is the very first thing they want to know. I always awkwardly stumble on a reply that will not offend them but also be truthful at the same time. I did not choose to come here; I didn’t really want to move here. Did I want to continue living in the United States that had been taken over by a madman? Hell, no! I felt the identity of being an American was now shameful for me, I was not proud of the place I am from. That being said I also was not looking to move overseas. I have lived in different countries before and have had some wonderful times, but I have also dealt with some awful shit living in these foreign countries. So I was not looking to repeat this process, move across the world adapt to yet another culture, and to once again feel like an outsider.
But life had other plans for me. My parents who I had been living with at the time had decided to move abroad to Europe. They had fallen in love with Budapest and were convinced they were going to spend the rest of their lives there. They called me while overseas ecstatic about the new 1 bedroom apartment they had found, they went on and on about all of the wonderful aspects including its updated kitchen and bathroom, and complained about its small living room. Laughing about how when I came to visit I would barely be able to walk around much less set up a bed. Their excitement was infuriating to me and all I could think about while they talked was about how they were leaving me behind; they didn’t want me around anymore and my panic and irrationality took over.
I went through an awful mental breakdown. Which is a completely separate story and one that would lead to a whole lot of rambling. I will be covering my mental issues in a different post. After my hospitalizations, it was clear I could not be left alone to fend for myself in a city where I did not really have any friends or family to look out for me. So, my parents were forced to take me, they had no other options really and this only made my guilt worse. I was a burden on them, they wanted to make use of their retirement, travel the world, and finally be in a childless home. Obviously, they could have just left me alone to figure it all out on my own. Hell, I wouldn’t have blamed them if they did! But they are amazing parents so they decided that they would make yet another sacrifice. They rescinded the offer on the 1 bedroom place in Budapest and found a bigger place we could all live together in.
I was not thrilled to be going, I had no idea what I would do in Budapest. I did not speak the language. Therefore, I definitely would not be qualified to get any worthwhile job. After doing my research I also did not think I would exactly fit in, this was a country that was years behind in its social issues. Granted they had a multitude of reasons as to why this was the case they had been under Nazi rule, then communist rules for decades. That being said it was still frightening to know I would be moving to a place that was known to be even less tolerant of my sexual orientation. I also figured that some of my other passions such as social activism including feminist ideals and equality for all races and religions would not exactly be accepted or praised as they had been in the places I had lived in the United States.
I was really frightened with the aspect of once again having to hide my truth when I had just recently not only started to accept it but embrace it. I voiced these concerns to my mother whose helpful advice was to not broadcast it as I did in the states. It was kind of a shock to hear that, she had previously said that my sexuality should not be so much of my identity and while I do agree with her to some extent I don’t think she always meant it in a supportive or kind way. More like she wanted to know why anyone would share that part of themselves unless they had to. She found pride parades to be excessive and said how straights didn’t have a parade so why should we. I don’t think she said these things out of hatred but more out of ignorance. Of course, it was never easy to hear though. I vehemently disagreed with her thought about hiding who I was when we moved. I knew that I would be cautious before sharing my sexuality, but I would never actively hide it; not again!
Even though we had plans to relocate overseas we spent another year in the United States working and preparing for our move. Finally, after securing a new apartment that had to be completely gutted as it was over 100 years old and believe me it looked the part, we got our place and it was definite, I was moving! I can’t say I was particularly disappointed to be leaving Las Vegas as I had never loved it, the gambling, drinking, partying and unbearable heat had never been my cup of tea. But I was sad to be leaving the U.S. which despite its many flaws is the land of plenty, I will explain what I mean by this later.
We traveled around the country to say goodbye almost like a funeral procession of sorts, I made stops to my best friend in NYC. We saw my uncle in Alabama, my brother and his brood in Tennessee, and then made our way up to Massachusetts to say goodbye to my other brother, his wife, and sons. Soon it was time to leave and one 14-hour flight later and we were in the Budapest airport and my new life was about to begin.
To reiterate I don’t have a clear answer as to why I am here, I am not sure if I will stay here forever. I did not choose this place, and given the choice, I am not sure if I would continue to live here. There are many wonderful things about Budapest and there are some that I could definitely do without. I feel beyond awkward explaining this to the locals who are genuinely curious why I have chosen their country to settle down in when I could go to much larger and more developed countries like Germany, Spain, or France. I don’t have an actual answer for them so usually I just politely smile and say some made-up crap about how much I feel in love with the city and the great location being that is so central to other parts of Europe. Because the truth of the matter is, I don’t have a clue I came here because I didn’t have an alternative. I needed to be with my parents, I needed stability, and they were coming here so I came with them. Not quite as nice sounding, is it? Especially when you consider that my generation is all about blasting out the best parts of their lives. Displaying their gorgeous pictures on Instagram and touting their travels and experiences as if there is some point system they are all trying to gain in. I am just as guilty of it; I have been conditioned to believe that I should only post the happy sides of my life and forget the struggles.
By starting this blog, I am rebelling against everything I have been conditioned to believe in. I am going to be talking about the harsh truth of my picture-perfect life. While I may be living in a fairytale city with gorgeous surroundings my reason for being here is not so unblemished. The ugliness of life though is also what makes it beautiful though and we would do well to not forget that. Have you ever lied about your feelings to spare another’s? Have you politely smiled and made up some phony answer to a question you had no idea how to answer? I would love to hear about it in the comments and know I am not alone in this. Also, please feel free to reach out to me by email if ever you want to talk about your own mental health or your fears about living abroad.
Signing off until next time,
The Mental Millennial Mom