For twelve years I lived in New York City and loved the fast pace lifestyle. A New York transplant but I made the city my home and was often found indulging in the theatre and restaurant scene. Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy hit and I was forced to leave but through adversity there is often opportunity and I was offered the chance to teach ESL in Thailand. I had the good fortune of living in Chiang Rai and teaching ESL to kindergarten or K1 through sixth grade.
The excitement and wonder that a child displays when learning is priceless and my students taught me while I them. My K1 students were both beautiful in spirit and appearance who touched my heart and my older students were bright, funny and loved to learn.
On weekends I motorbiked through Thailand, over the border into Myanmar and around the Golden Triangle while vacations brought me to Vietnam and Cambodia, places I hoped to but never thought I'd visit. I learned so much about myself during that year but decided to leave Chiang Rai in April 2014 when I was offered a position to teach Business English in Budapest.
Thus the From Buddha to Buda blog was born and now I'm relaunching my Examiner travel column to include travel throughout Hungary and the neighboring countries. To my loyal readers, I wanted to thank you for your support over the years and would like to welcome you on my new journey.
Life as an expat is far different than as a visitor. Touring the city's attractions and getting a feel for the lifestyle is unlike the total immersion required for a day-to-day existence.
Living abroad has its challenges such as navigating the transit system, breaking the language barrier, finding an apartment and subsequently a place to work. Those without an European Passport or citizenship will find in difficult to find employment but adjusting to a new way of life, is the most challenging.
I have been fortunate to have found housing, a teaching position and am beginning to learn the language. Hungarian people are proud of their heritage and want to preserve their past.
Expats may find it difficult to circumnavigate the cities and create a social life until they fully embrace their adopted country's values. Hungarians are typically warm people but are reserved. It's often said that it takes time for them to accept you but once welcomed your embraced. While getting to know my students and neighbors, I've made use the city's transport system and traveled throughout the region.
On weekends I've toured not only the bridged cities but off the beaten path to the countryside of Estergrom, Godollo, Szeged, Szentendre and Vac. I started a new blog that chronicles my journeys but I wanted to bring New York City along for an Armchair glimpse of the beauty and architectural wonder that Budapest provides.
If the Examiner agrees, I'll continue the column with an Eastern European base and discuss travel throughout the world. Come along for the ride and no suitcase is required on this journey.