Being away from my home country is nothing new to me. Being away from my immediate family is nothing new, either.
My mother left to go to the United States when I was ten for a scholarship. It was 1989, changes were coming to Central Europe, but still, for five months it was sort of easier to leave me with my grandparents. That was fine, but next time, my mum decided to take me with her. So we went to England for six months.
Later on I left for France for a year, then back in Hungary I met my Frenchman, so I was back in France soon. I loved France, I could put up with the French, I thought for a really really long time that I will live in France.
However, when we saw this is a relationship that will probably last, ten years ago we decided to go back to Hungary. Carrier-wise it was a better choice for him, and we had a flat to live in, which made life easier. And that was about to become the longest time we both stayed put for a very long time. We lived in the same flat, we were surrounded by the same people, we came to have a really good circle of friends, we had two children and we loved living in Budapest. I mean, come on, it’s one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world.
So after ten years, and in the beginning of our search for a good school for our oldest girl, we decided to leave for a while. Also, the atmosphere in Hungary changed so much in the last couple of years, that we just felt we needed a new environment, to breathe some fresh air before we decide definitely where to live and educate our kids.
Coming to Canada is a dream of many people. I keep hearing how lucky we are and it must be all happy and all perfect. Of course it is great and nice and we are happy. But being in one of the most loved and happiest countries in the world doesn’t mean you’re automagically always just happy.
There are things I really miss.
I miss the cakes. The cake shops. I miss the possibility to buy raw milk and milk in my own bottles. I miss the markets. I miss the bar scene and restaurant scene I didn’t have the chance to catch up with after having my daughters. I can’t wait to get back and see what’s new.
I miss the fruits. I remember craving peaches and watermelons and pears in September. I was really trying to be conscious about what I buy, where the food we it comes from, and here it has all been turned upside-down. I have to re-learn every rule, as we are on another continent.
I miss Europe in a way. I miss being two hours from another country. I like that in three hours I’m in the Alps or in six hours I’m by the sea. I like that if I live in another country in Europe I can be home in a couple of hours.
I miss the excellent coffee. I really do. The good quality speciality coffee became a part of Budapest for a while now, just as the Vogue wrote. And it was a huge part of my life as well, to be honest. My favourite was, and still is Steamhouse. It was close to our flat, with a wonderful view and and an even more wonderful cup of coffee every time. But even in the bakery around the corner I could have a better coffee than here, unfortunately. I know that this is a small town, I’m sure bigger cities offer wonderful coffees, but I have this, and it’s okay. Yet, I really need a good, a really good cup of flat white soon. I count the days when I can go and sit down somewhere in Budapest and drink my lifesaver. I’m getting to the point, when even Starbucks seems good …
I do miss the sort of community forming around pre-school groups. I found some really good friends at the pre-school of my daughter. And my kid misses the friendships she left behind, as well. She just doesn’t seem to be able to find good friends as easily here as back in Hungary, and it has nothing to do with the language boundaries, as she is fluent in French. It’s just different and she seems to have trouble with it. I thought Hungary was not a very open society, and I’m not saying Canada is not open, but the openness is different. I am not yet sure what is exactly strange about it, but I will know one day.
I miss my older and newer friends as well. Or, actually, I don’t miss them because I talk to them regularly. But I miss meeting them, seeing their smiles, sitting down and drink coffee with them or have dinner nights as we usually do. I don’t believe in collecting friends, I don’t need a lot of friends, but I guess I got to the age where emotional stability is one of the most important things, and I don’t need new friends – not that I would refuse to have some, but I am not actively looking for any. I need these friends who have known me for a really long time.
I do miss my cats. I do miss my mum, my dad, I miss public transport, I miss the bread. Oh, I really miss that! Bread is generally better in Hungary in any shape and form that the bread you can buy here in the shops. Some bakeries do sell good loaves or baguettes, but then it will cost you a smaller fortune. That’s one reason I think I finally became a relatively good bread baker, I just need good bread. My sourdough starter is finally live and kicking in the fridge.
And I miss living in the big city honestly. I like the calm, I like the garden, I like the fact that I get everywhere in ten minutes, but I still miss all the advantages a big city offers. You can like two forms of life, living one, and missing the other. Now, in a small town I miss the big one. And I miss the tranquillity of Balaton, as well. I loved having two extremely different lifestyles two hours from each other.