Well, a week has passed. My jet-lag is officially over (although I am still trying to use this as an excuse to sleep until noon). I’ve yoga-ed out all the kinks of the 20+ hour flight. I can understand everything people around me say (although I would rather not, often).

I’m back. Weird.

One of my colleagues at Pazmany, who had spent a year in the States, described the experience of returning to the home country after so long a sojourn as the definition of uncanny. Coming from the European bustle of Budapest to land back in my childhood hometown is precisely that. Reverse culture shock is always difficult, but I suppose it is not made any easier by the fact that instead of heading to the place where I live as a “grown-up,” I’m back in a place that was “home” the longest, but hasn’t been home for nearly a decade. Even just walking around town getting coffee, I felt overwhelmed, asking my mom if the buildings had always been so pastel and cookie-cutter perfect. Everything seemed both recognizable and strange.  I nearly had a nervous breakdown in Target — there was just too much stuff, too much English and brightness blasting from the advertisements.

That said, the re-entry into this universe isn’t all bad. Far from it. There is an undeniable comfort to the familiar. Take, for instance, my childhood best friend, who  casually gave me some samples of my favorite perfume that she’d been getting at the mall all year. A tiny gesture, but one that shows how long we have known each other, shows how we know each other as well as we know ourselves.

The year in Hungary was beautiful. But I always knew it had a deadline. Now, it’s back to real life: to deciding on 401k plans and applying for car loans and moving back into my Arlington apartment and setting up an office at my new community college. I miss so much about Budapest — from the wonderful friends I had to the way the city lights up at night to some of my favorite bars and cafes. I keep thinking I hear a word or two in Hungarian, and turn expectantly; I keep mistaking people for my Hungarian friends.

Change can hurt. But most things that are good for us do.

So, this is goodbye for this blog, for this particular account of life. Now, it’s on to the next one.