As you probably guessed, I was offered and accepted the job. That happened in late June. I flew to Budapest for a work retreat in early July. To say my life became a whirlwind is an understatement. Who calls Stanley Steemer at 5:30 am to change the timing of a cleaning and expects them to answer? And yet, someone did answer the phone!
My friend Paul was a godsend during this time. Having gone through an international move, he validated all my feelings and experiences and always said (or actually wrote via e-mail) the right thing. He’s amazing like that.
Somehow most things got done—the important things got done. I left the States on August 9, arrived in Budapest on August 10, and started work on August 12.
I landed on a Saturday and was so exhausted that I had to take a nap. The next order of business was eating. Fortunately, there was a supermarket not too far away. My first purchase of groceries was an odd mix. Look closely at the picture. Everything you see was purchased for just a little more than US$18. Yes, that includes the bottle of wine. I went to a local food market the next day where I purchased produce, cheese, and sliced meat. I love the local markets in Budapest. More on that in another post.
I’ve had some pretty funny trial and errors when it came to food. The first is the yogurt-looking container that you see in the picture above. It turned out to be some type of salty Turkish yogurt-like substance. No thank you. Here’s a charming description about its benefits from a Kefir website: “Although it is slightly mucous forming, the mucous has a ‘clean’ quality to it that creates ideal conditions in the digestive tract for the colonization of friendly bacteria.” Ah yes, a clean quality mucous. Yum.
And then there was the butter. I thought had I purchased regular butter in a tub. But when I opened it, I found something orange! Turns out, it was a savory butter spread. I used it (as you can probably tell from the picture), but it certainly was an initial surprise.
The first few meals I made weren’t anything special. I made pasta with fresh tomatoes or a fantastic Bolognese sauce I soon found at the market. I also cooked frozen veggies with potatoes and eggs or combined them with cheese on top of a baked potato. At least the meals were colorful!
Coming up: Getting Started?