I was chatting with a friend earlier today, catching up with each other’s lives. This particular friend of mine is an active AIESECer having done an internship in Istanbul, been apart of the Congress Committee in Hungary, and is now helping establish AIESEC in Albania (!!!). Talk about a crazy AIESEC experience, and a major role model. It is experiences like these that challenge the individual to learn more about the world. For example, did you know in Albania that you can only get water 3 times a day? You have huge tubs to collect water and when you run out, you have to wait until the next time the water is on. This absolutely blew my mind.
I met this particular friend when I was on the Congress Committee for Global Leaders Summit in February of this year. We traveled to Slovenia together and then a couple weeks later, she went home, without knowing when I would ever see her again (but I’m sure I will see her, its not a matter of if, but when). This speaks to the transient nature of my relationships in Budapest.
I was very lucky to have met some amazing people when I first arrived in Budapest, all of whom had similar contract lengths and would all be leaving around the same time as I was. But life never turns out the way you plan it, and for various reasons, all of my close friends started to leave, one after the other. The past 3 months has been particularly difficult with 3 of my closest friends in Budapest leaving – one a month.
My friend asked me what my plans are after the end of my contract. I’m entertaining a bunch of ideas right now, with no solid plans. For sure I will go home for a little bit, but then where to next? I’m not sure if I want to stay in Canada and I don’t think I want to stay in Budapest. This city is starting to make me sad. Most of the people that made this city special to me have left it and I’m left with memories. Everywhere I go, I am haunted by the memories of people who use to be here, who I shared those memories with.
When I told my friend this, she completely understood. Living abroad is all about the people you meet. They make the experience what it is and with out them, everything is different. I still like the city of Budapest itself, but its vibrancy and allure has somewhat diminished now that those I associate with the city have left it. I am thankful for the friends that I’ve had here, and I know, if I ever decide to go to Japan or Brazil or Hong Kong or even Albania, I’ll have a floor to sleep on.