Hello from Budapest!
Yes, we have been posted on assignment.
Some months ago (four to be exact), JG was informed that he was going to be assigned here in Hungary. Like most Foreign Service Departments, Diplomat’s like JG also bid for choices among a list of possible openings when he becomes eligible again, and Budapest was our first choice. We thought it would be nice, to try to live and experience life in Europe, but we also wanted it to be some place we have never been to or visited. It was either here or Vienna, but Budapest was the one the Department decided he could go.
I know, from my last post, this seem sudden, but if you notice below my main page, my Instagram posts did hint to our moving. While moving to a new post is always a daunting phase, JG and I were too busy doing other things to worry about it, until about two weeks before we actually left.
My husband had to tie-up some work responsibilities in the home office, whilst I was in the thick of an academic semester. I think JG was able to finish most of the things he needed to do, including completing a Master’s Degree. Unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to attend his own graduation, as it will be held sometime in August. I kind of feel bad about that, since he really enjoyed the year and half going back to school, including making new friends that are really great people. So much so, that I’d like to think that they have become my friends as well.
I actually wasn’t able to finish my semester, but my Professors were kind enough to adjust their schedules so I could go ahead of the other requirements I needed to do, but alas, I still need to finish two pending research papers. I promised I would no longer make excuses as to my lack of posts on the blog, but as I explained in one, my studying is mainly why, as it takes up a lot of my time. Right now, I am writing this post, when I should be really getting to my papers, but I wanted to just let everyone know of the move.
The school factor is also the reason why, I would say, that our move wasn’t the most gracefully planned. If I were to review our performance would rank really low as far getting things in order would demand. I did not have time to sort out most our stuff, so anything in the apartment we were staying in at Manila was boxed without any sort of order or sanitation. It’s not squirming with germs but let’s just say a bit of dusting some stuff would’ve been great.
Also I was so distracted, that I wasn’t able to properly sort out the clothes that we could bring with us, and the others that can be shipped with the rest of our stuff. The movers that we picked were so quick in packing our stuff, I was reeling by the time they were finished, unable to think about what I could really need. I probably brought the wrong kind of shoes. Too afraid of the colder European weather, I brought too many jackets, only to find the weather perfectly crisp of the spring sunshine. I neither had the chance to see my doctor, nor did I had my teeth cleaned, and neglected to buy a portable mattress so we had to sleep on the floor for three nights, much to JG’s dismay. In fact I think he actually cried a little when he saw the bed in the hotel when we arrived.
One thing we did right I think is choosing a good Shipping and Moving company. The one we availed was recommended by JG’s previous boss in Muscat. When he did recommend it, we never realty took seriously, assured that the one we picked to move our stuff in Muscat would do an okay job. Alas, they did not, some of our stuff, including my beloved Washer-Dryer was misheld and were damaged.
So when we were told that were being reassigned we made sure that this time we chose the people that were going to handle our stuff well. And we remembered the good Ambassodor’s advice, and hired them. I could be jumping the gun, as we have yet to see, how they handle things when our stuff arrives in a month or two. But the way they did their work before we left, we could immediately see the difference from the company that broke our stuff. They packed things cleanly, efficiently, looked very professional, and most importantly handled our things with care. I am not, going to mention the names of the companies, maybe I will, when our stuff arrives, so that I can make a full report on how they do. And if things go well, I’ll try and write a whole post about that too.
And so here we are, three days in, living off our luggage in a nice hotel for the next few days until we find our new home here in Hungary. We have seen three so far, and if all goes well, I think the last one we saw this morning will be it (crossing fingers).
Budapest is quite simply beautiful, I like the idea that it is old, and has a rich history. To put it in context, when the Philippines was born as an independent country in 1898, Hungary was already about 1000 years old. If you don’t know, the capital is a combination of two cities that were merged together, only now separated by the Danube River. Buda is the residential, hill side; while Pest is the commercial, flat lands. Both sides, is occupied by great old buildings, including huge cathedrals, and a massive Parliament building.
I got to try Goulash for the first time on our first day, and I really liked it a lot. I like how easy commuting to everywhere is by their trains, trams, and buses. As I am not a morning person, JG, ever the nerd, loves rail transport, would go out earlier hop on the metro see where it would take him, and come right back in hour before he leaves for work.
I would like to see much of it as well however all the pent up stress of the move has caught up with me. I am sick with the flu at present. My joints ache, swallowing hurts, and my head is heavy due to perhaps swollen mucus filled sinuses. But I can’t fully rest yet, because aside from the house hunting and getting ourselves officially registered as temporary residents, I have my deadlines to meet.
On a more emotional note, aside from my Mom, family, and friends that are constant sources of longing in the life of a trailing spouse, I left a part of my heart tied to the leash of my dog. Little Jeopardy has been with us since we got married eight years ago, and we left him as company to JG’s Mom the whole time we were in Tripoli and Muscat. Sadly, JG’s Mom passed away last year, and so Jeopardy was now left entirely in our care. It took a while for him to get over her being gone, he hardly ate, and caught a skin disease, but we happily nursed him back to health. Although he did develop obvious signs of separation anxiety.
It was quite the experience taking care of him on my own. I learned so much of myself, and having him with us, sort of shifted the dynamics of our lives, in a frustrating, demanding, and fulfilling, good way. But dogs aren’t as easy to ship unlike furniture and things. Especially in the EU regulations on pets and animals coming in their country are quite strict and takes some time. Plus since we have yet to find a home, we couldn’t just bring him along.
I was wrought with despair, still is, that I had to leave him behind, although knowing that my wonderful Mom would look out for him while we work out the requirements to bring him here. Some people might say I am over reacting over a dog, but unlike us humans you see, I wouldn’t be able to explain to him, no matter what I try that I would come back for him, that I did not abandon him to somebody else, that the people he is with now with will love him as much as we would in the meantime.
It breaks my heart thinking how confused he must be wondering where we are, racking his little brain as to what he did wrong to have lost us. I am sure he will not harbor any hard feelings for me when he sees me in a few months, as I am a testament to the loyalty of dogs and their capability to love without question. My worry is that he relatively old for his breed, and I truly hope that he stays healthy and strong while we both wait to be reunited.
So that’s it for me so far, I am afraid that I will have to leave my other stories of starting here in Budapest some other time. Setting aside all longing, physical ailments, and settling, my papers beckons…