Guests 7, 8, 9, 10
After a quick exhale from hosting my family, I was ready to resume my 'normal' life in Budapest, picking up my work after the holiday vacation. Knowing that I would be leaving Budapest in early February for nearly a full month to attend BBYO International Convention and then the Mid Year Seminar for all JDC JSC Fellows in Israel, January already struck me as an interesting month during which I hoped to work hard, but not get too busy with projects that I would have to abandon once I started my travels. Luckily, preparing for IC, creating programs and vision for BBYO, and undertaking some other projects kept me busy through January, and set things in order for the weeks that I would be away.
Converging with this "time to get to work" week, I had the true privilege of hosting one of my oldest and dearest friends Avidan, as well as his school friends Rachel and Solomon, and Rachel's brother Yoni who is spending a gap year in Israel. In order to accommodate them in our apartment, we opened up our couch, removed our coffee table, pushed in a futon, and created a mass of bed/s that officially converted our living room into a hostel. Sam was incredibly gracious to put up with the meshugas of this hospitality, but our guests were all incredibly sweet and helpful.
During the days, I let them go out and tour the city while I stayed back to get some work done. We would either meet for dinner or drinks afterwards, so it all ended up working out quite nicely. They were quite self sufficient and it was nice having them around, but also being able to have my days free to finally sit down with my work and schedule. It's quite nice that my job itself is flexible enough to let me organize my days in a way that could be productive, and also allow me to host this group.
One night we got dinner at a kosher restaurant, and when I got up to refill our water pitcher, a woman at the next table asked me if Avidan was single because she had an eligible sister. She even told me she had pictures on her to show off. I kindly informed her that he wasn't interested. Kind of disappointing that she didn't ask if I was single, but I'll just concede that I'll never have a beard like Avidan's that could have women at Kosher restaurants in Europe swooning.
The time with Avidan was especially wonderful, because he is the first friend (not family) to make the effort to come and visit me in Budapest. When he was on a gap year in Israel, I studied abroad in Jerusalem, so we were able to share many adventures there. I loved that our global adventures continued in my home for the year, and I'm sure it won't be our last one together.
For Shabbat, I brought them all to the Frankel Synagogue. Some community members were so impressed by our ability to participate so comfortably in the davening, and we appreciated the kind feedback. We prepared a delicious Shabbat dinner of salad, rice, meatloaf, and lentils, which was all warm and waiting for us when we returned back home.
Again, this goodbye did not feel sad, because I just felt so happy to have hosted Avidan and met his great friends. Being able to show people what Budapest has to offer really made me realize how comfortable and confident I am in this city.