Guys, I have…(checks calendar)…only ELEVEN days left in Hungary! Eleven! One-one! I just can’t believe it. Even though I’m ready to go home, see my mom, drive my car, visit the beach, I’m still not ready to say goodbye to my friends yet. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever be…
That being said, I have planned several goodbyes to my new friends, and I held one of them this past weekend! It was one of the hardest goodbyes of all—to my host family. Thankfully, I was able to be with all of them plus my host cousin, and not only did we spend tiogether, knowing it might be out last, but we celebrated my birthday! (It’s in 3 days btw. Just an FYI.) However, before I tell you all about that, let me start by talking about the fish fry I attended—and totally meant to write about earlier, but I got lazy—and how this was one of the ways I was able to bond and be in the community of one of my work sites, Siló/Fébé.
So, Monday, June 10 was Pentecost Monday, which meant no work!! And it meant lunch surrounded by friends, new and old! Siló hosted a fish fry for its residents, and, guys, truth be told, I was a little apprehensive. Despite being from Florida, I’m more of a sushi-fish girl (and shrimp/crab/lobster-fish girl) than a fish-fish girl, so the idea of eating fish was…not something I was entirely looking forward in all honesty.
But I ate it!
And it was delicious!
I even ate the fish with my bare hands too because I couldn’t find the silverware…that was one fiery adventure.
We had fish, fries, cucumber salad, and a Turkish dish called “Çiğ Köfte” (chi-kurf-teh) that was a little spicy, but still very good. There were also homemade desserts, one of which was a poppy seed cake thing that I definitely had to control myself around because YUM!
Throughout the afternoon, we talked and laughed, and I sang a lot of songs with one of the residents who’s an Elvis impersonator! We sang Queen, Beyoncé, and Hallelujah.
Photo taken by my roommate, Elem, who is a Turkish volunteer! The Elvis impersonator is the man sitting beside me on the left. His voice is amazing!
The following Saturday and Sunday (June 15 and 16), my host family took me to Lake Balaton to spend time with me and celebrate my birthday. Guys, this really meant a lot to me. Not only do I love my host family, but my birthday last year was less than ideal (I had to make a lot of phone calls and I cried all morning from the stress and anxiety of the situation) so being able to celebrate with my host family in such a loving way was absolutely wonderful. We started out with just my host dad and host sister, but soon, we had the car completely packed!
Me showing off my birthday sunglasses with my host siblings Miklós and Réka smiling at the camera too.
The view from the Airbnb we rented.
After a delicious dinner, which is no surpirse because my host mom makes the best food, seriously, they brought out a beautiful cake with strawberries (that I totally forgot to take a picture of because it looked so amazing and I was living in the moment) and then took me for a night swim in the Balaton.
For those of you who don’t know, Lake Balaton is basically Hungary’s ocean, and honestly it really is. This is coming from a Florida girl who grew up going to the beach so I know what I’m talking about lol. The water was clear and warm, and despite nearly being eaten alive by bugs (and maybe accidentily swallowing 1 or 2…or 3) it was the perfect way to end the day.
The “silver bridge” on Lake Balaton.
On Sunday, after packing the car back up, we went to a little town beside Lake Balaton, but not where we went night swimming, called Tihany (tea-han) where there were booths and booths of lavender-themed everything. Soaps, magnets, owls, dresses, tea, ice cream, and even beverages! Noemi and I tried a lavender-honey drink that was…not that good if I’m being honest. But we tried it! Then we went back into Lake Balaton!
Lake Balaton (and me) in the summer heat at Tihany.
Me in Lake Balaton for the second time in less than 24 hours and absolutely loving it!!
After, we ate a late lunch at Tagyon Bistok, which appeared to be a vineyard + restaurant. There, we sampled different Balaton wine and dined on a fantastic meal, all while feeling the chilling wind of a brewing storm. It was utter perfection. Also, a wedding party came shortly before we left, and it was fun hearing other people trying to speak Hungarian. Plus, everyone looked absolutely beautiful in their dresses and button-ups.
One of the table markers ft. my host cousin’s hands.
The stunning view of the mountains and vineyards surrounding Lake Balaton.
I’m so blessed to have such a fun, amazing host family. I will miss these people so much; over the past ten months, I have called them my family and friends. I am so thankful for this opportunity to say goodbye to them in this meaningful and beautiful way. This is definitely one memory I will cherish forever ❤
Me with Noémi, Zsuzsa, and Réka at Tagyon Bistok ❤
Not pictured: Lajos, Ákos, and Miklós 😦