Cold. Isolated. Bleak. Dreary.
I went through the streets of Budapest. Alone. In the darkness. It was cold. I had no idea where to go. My Smartphone was leading me the way through these rough, unknown streets. Homeless people were talking to me, I couldn’t understand them. There were so many of them. Where to go? Whom to talk to?
I went home to my shared flat. My flatmates hadn’t arrived yet. I was alone, but happy to lock the darkness out there, to feel a little bit secure in this new apartment with locks like Alcatraz. It didn’t smell like my home. I went to bed, trying to sleep, asking myself, whether this was the right decision. Leave all my friends at home, leave my new home, I fell in love with so easily, to go to Erasmus in a totally unknown city. I fell asleep, feeling lonely and lost.
Arriving in a new city or even a new country is never easy. When I arrived in Budapest, I had no idea what to expect. I have never been there before, had only the second-hand experiences of my friends and family, who told me that this is a beautiful city. I left Germany with the feeling of being pulled out of the best home I’ve ever had, in the middle of the “golden times” there. And then I came to a city I had no idea of, saw all the homeless people on the street in my first night here, had no way to communicate with the cashier in the supermarket, who was only speaking this strange, foreign-sounding language, stayed alone in a three-person apartment and I felt horrible. Homesick. Lost. I wanted to go home straight away. I wanted to quit without a trying.
But I am not a quitting person. So I got up the next day, made my coffee on that strange gas cooker and got out on the streets.
And suddenly there was sunshine. There were these beautiful buildings. These nice people at the university. And my great flatmates arrived. I learned a bit of Hungarian to communicate with the people here. I went to parties, tried out many bars and restaurants, began to enjoy the way of living here.
It always takes a while to get comfortable in a new environment. And if you are going to a foreign country, you usually get a cultural shock. I had this culture shock right at the beginning, but I gladly recovered from it very fast. Last week, I went to see my boyfriend in Belgium for a week. And when I came back to Budapest, it felt like coming home. Finally.
And if I will ever feel homesick again here in my Erasmus, I will just go to the dm.