Arriving in Budapest was a surreal experience. After months of planning and prepping I have finally arrived. On the flight in I expected to be able to witness some of the city from the skies, but the fog was to think. This metaphorically setup the fact that I would have to have some blind trust as I entered this experience. I had to respect the fact that I would be going into this experience blinded, and that I will end up safe and sound on the other end much for the better. Getting through customs was a breeze, which was comforting, and as I was a bit late in my arrival to the program I needed to arrange my own transportation to meet up with the group. This was my first experience separating myself from my culture. I grabbed a “minibud” which was essentially a van that would drop you off at a location. Because my driver did not speak much English I had to communicate brokenly and provide the location I wanted to go to with a picture of a map. Furthermore I had to have a better understanding of what the culture was as far as his aid with my luggage and door opening, there were frequently awkward silences and miscommunication as we each had vastly different cultural expectations.
Separating has been an interesting process, I still do not feel fully immersed here in the culture of Budapest. I think this is in large because I have a lot of familiar things to remind me of home. The fact that I came here with my roommate from Quinnipiac, while has been great to have a familiar face it has also allowed me to not force myself entirely out of my comfort zone yet. Granted I have been on the move for much longer than a lot of the other students here in my communitas. Currently I am writing this journal entry as he has gone out to visit another local city with a group of students, and in a week this will be the longest we have been separate. That is a weird concept as I was so used to being extremely independent in Guatemala, as well as at my home.
I can clearly feel my head-space being in the liminoid stage. Especially because I have already had a week from home. In between my two journey’s there was a short stop at Quinnipiac, and this acted almost as teaser of temptation for the familiarity that is home. I had few short sweet moments visiting with friends that would not be studying abroad and going out to breakfast at one of my favorite places, Breakfast Nook. Even being able to share a night with my girlfriend was a comfort, which just left me extremely conflicted internally. A large part of me just wanted to sink into the comfort that was home and stay there and have the easier experience. I know that it is better for me to experience this trip and go explore the world. I believe that once I get a chance to go to classes and find my own way around the city I will begin to enjoy myself more and more. As of right now anxiety and fear are pretty much the name of the game.
In large I have grown up with a lot of anxieties, usually revolving around social situations. I think that this experience will help me in handling these things. My anxiety has really come to the surface as one of my weaknesses in my immersion here. Especially considering I have an extremely social roommate, which is great because it makes it easier for me to meet a larger amount of people without feeling the pressure of creating these bonds on my own. At the same time this is a double edged sword because it causes my anxiety to kick in and make me believe that the friends we have made or only our friends because of who my roommate is and not who I am. While likely this is not the case it is simply that we have been spending time together as roommates and bonding, which of course leads us to be interacting with the same people. Logically that is more of the case and I would expect that as time goes on I will develop more personal relationships with some of the other students in the communitas in the area. I hope to utilize my classes as a location to socialize and interact on my own with other students and learn and grow this way.
Later today I plan on going for a walk around the city just wandering, utilizing public transport and going to different areas. I would like to discover places to eat, hang out, and explore. Doing this will be part of my strategy to begin to immerse myself into the culture and gain a better understanding of my own interests and part of the reason I came to the city. Originally I am from rural Connecticut, and being in the city in itself is a culture shock. I am more used to the mentality that if you walk places you are putting yourself in harm’s way and potentially could get hit by cars. Here in the city the only method of transport is either walking or public. This is exciting to me to be able to try this new thing and I hope that my solo missions through the city will give me more confidence in getting from place to place and just in general in the city. The picture I have chosen to represent my current emotions and feelings about this experience is one I took of a statue on top of the Citadella here in Budapest. I really like the contrast of the photo and how it looks so steadfast and independent. The statue is alone and that it is capable of
holding strong through adversity, and is symbolic of my aspirations.