Getting my visa for Hungary was a surprisingly easy experience. I’ve only needed a visa once before — when I studied in Italy — and that was very official and formal: you had tons and tons of paperwork, a very busy visa office with many workers at the Italian Embassy, and about a month’s wait. The Hungary Embassy here in D.C., however, was extremely laid back — I signed a few papers, gave them my Fulbright letter and a passport photo, and in less than two weeks, I had my visa (word to the wise: don’t get passport pictures taken after a day wandering in the “lovely” Washington summer … I look rather sweaty, sketchy and annoyed in mine.)

But despite the relative ease of this official business, I found myself rather discombobulated as I drove home from the Embassy. Instead of going to my apartment in Arlington, I mindlessly cruised off in the other direction, and was well into downtown D.C. before I realized what I was doing. It wasn’t that I was lost — although, admittedly, that is a common enough occurrence — but rather the fact that I actually had the visa in hand, which made the pre-travel nerves go haywire.  Having the visa, I think, made this whole crazy pick-up-your-life-and-move decision seem very close. And, not a little scary. I’m excited, of course, (more…)