Monday, August 10, 2015

What I needed

In case I haven't made it clear in the past, I'm not so good with transitions.  It's easy going home, to the States.  It' like a month-long vacation with four extra hands for cooking and laundry and keeping the children alive.  It's familiar and easy and just about everyone speaks our language.

Usually we come back to Budapest, though, and I'm surprised by the feeling of home.  By my excitement to be here, in a place that we love, with people we love.  Usually it's easier than I think it's going to be.


This time it was hard.  It was hard to swallow the kids' tears after they parted with grandparents.  It was hard to make that trip again, to wake the children from a deep sleep and still have another airport, another flight, the long ride home.  The jet lag was extra hard, more than I remembered.  As soon as I finally neared sleep, Benjamin would start to stir and I knew there were hours more ahead of me.  I felt tired this time.  So tired.  I wanted life as easy as it could get, and I wasn't ready to face the hard.

So when I pulled up to the grocery store and realized I didn't have the 100 forint coin I needed to release the cart, I didn't feel like dealing with it.  My wallet was screaming with quarters and dimes and it felt right.  Like I was here, but not here.  Like I hadn't quite transitioned back.

I searched the car frantically.  There were euros, Swiss francs, every single denomination of forint, but absolutely no 100's.  I could have asked someone for the coin, I know, but I wasn't ready to face that, what with my poor Hungarian and the crippling fear that the answer could be no.

So instead I got back in the car, drove to a small store down the road, and bought a Coke and a KitKat.   As I reached in my wallet to pull out the 500 forint bill I noticed a small coin resting at the bottom.  I pulled it out and stared at it incredulously.  One hundred forint.  Right there.  Literally sitting in my wallet.

The cashier held out her hand and I pulled that 100 forint coin back as if it were made of pure gold.  I tucked it securely in the zipper part of my wallet and handed her the bill.  She handed me back another 100.  Good.  Now I had two.  Just in case.

I pulled up again to the grocery store.  I held the coin tightly in my hand as I approached the carts.  But it never left my hand because right there, right in front of me, stood a cart with the 100 forint coin still inserted.  I thought perhaps it was stuck, leading someone to give up on it, but when I gave it a small push the cart popped out, like it had just been waiting for me.

What I needed was there all along.  If I hadn't been trying so hard to take care of myself I could have looked down, or looked up, and seen that I was taken care of.  That what I needed had already been provided.

It was a small, miniscule problem, particularly in light of the huge problems people are facing every day around the world.  It was nothing, really, and I could have, and did solve it easily myself.

But I didn't need to.

It was enough to snap me out of my funk, to clear the fog a bit.  I'm feeling more grateful now.  I'm remembering what I love about this place and the people here.  I'm happy to be home.

And I'm glad that while perhaps I could go it alone, I don't have to.

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