Things that seem to be normal
LONDON, UK – Where should I start? It happened three and a half years ago, but I feel as if only a blink ago. Three and a half years ago I decided to quit my corporate real-estate job, to leave the country where I was born and raised (Hungary), and to change my life completely. Three and a half years ago my life turned towards a totally different direction or, we could say, upside-down. And since then, there is no turning-back. But why? Or to be more precise: WHY???
Trust me! I have already asked myself this so many times. Why would you leave something, which seems to be stable, promising and, most importantly, normal? Keywords: ‘seems to be normal’. My life, my job seemed normal for everybody. Everybody else, except me.
And in November 2010 I could not lie to myself anymore and could not force myself into a situation I could not co-operate with. I screamed ‘ENOUGH’ and applied for an international cultural exchange program. And in September 2011 I moved to California to question everything in my life. But how did I arrive to this point? What lead me to make this serious decision?
Hello. My name is Blanka. I am from Hungary, Budapest, and what you should know about me is that I am constantly searching my WAY. And here stands my story:
I don’t believe in coincidences
After graduating from a Business College in Budapest I felt lucky to get an internship immediately and work part-time dealing with industrial properties for a big real estate giant. As I sat in the office on my first day with a huge smile on my face I felt I could rock the world. It was too easy that I didn’t have to fiddle about searching a job, or sending CV-s. I started my work life as an assistant. Then as a next step I changed job to work for another real estate company, where I could crawl up on the echelon to become a real estate agent. I was full of dreams and expectations (mainly towards myself): prosperous career, the dog-kid program (as I call the happy family situation), or even if not raising kids at least a promising relationship (meaning: leaning towards a marriage) were all on my list waiting to be ticked.
In October 2010 I looked around and everything was happening with me except what I dreamed about. Instead of my rainbow colour dreams grey shadows were holding onto me and I felt that I was a stranger in my own skin. I levitated over the days doing my job automatically and my mind wondered miles away. When life wanted to warn me and say: ‘change’, I brushed the signs off. It was easier and more comfortable to stay than to move. I trod the tepid slob and my legs started to become soar.
Slowly many of my colleagues – who I could call friends – left the company, but I was still waiting. Waiting for what? Don’t ask me! I don’t know. Fear? Laziness? Hope? I think the mix of everything made me compromise with the status quo. I thought it was only a temporary ditch; a grain of sand in the cogwheels of my mind. I hoped that I would swiftly clear my mind and everything could go back into ‘normal’. But the uncomfortable feeling that I wanted to sob and scream every day followed me everywhere. I couldn’t pretend anymore. If I look back to those days, the words of Victor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist pop into my mind:
’When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves’.
I have to tell you that I don’t believe in coincidences. Too many ‘coincidences’ played an important role in my life. After I decided to change, I took my baby-steps towards something new. One of my former colleagues had been already living in California as an au-pair and I liked the idea. I applied for the international exchange program in November 2010 and I was expecting a long line of happy family waiting just for me on the other side. But one month, two months, three months passed and nothing happened. I became more and more impatient. I was still working for the same real estate company and I felt stuck. Then another ‘coincidence’ led me to a move. My very good friend decided to move to Belgium and she offered me her cute, cosy flat for 3 months in Budapest. I was still waiting for a positive feedback from the au-pair program but since I had nothing to lose I decided to take her offer and in May 2011 I moved into her flat. As soon as I made this step one by one the cogwheels lifted off.
End of May a cool Californian host family with a Hungarian mom, a Chinese-American dad and two kids decided to start to chat with me. It was love at first Skype-chat. We decided that I would start the new chapter of my life with them in mid-September. After we finished the Skype-chat I jumped up and down and swam in thrill of joy. I had a whole summer to say bye to everything and everybody and I knew that something new was waiting for me from September.
So a few months later I squeezed my life into a 23-kilogram luggage. 23 kilograms? Yes! It was definitely not a woman who set the weight limit on a transatlantic flight. Have you ever tried to fit everything into one luggage? I felt I was trying to force everything into a tiny party bag. I struggled with packing for many nights, but I learnt to let it go. I took a huge breath and I opened a new chapter in the book of my life.
It was one of the best decisions with all the ditches and hurdles…with everything. I became more mature, more adult or, I can say, I grew up. I stretched my comfort zone and got acquainted with a new side of me. It was a fantastic experience and the hardest job. If you have ever taken care of kids or you are raising kids you most probably know what I am talking about. But life warned me again: to change. After almost two years spent in California my visa expired and I gave a way to despair. I couldn’t get rid of the constant nagging of my mind. ‘What’s next?’ ‘What do you want from life’? But I still didn’t know. I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I stood at a junction and every map applications seemed to be useless in my case. The calendar showed July 2013. I spent my last Californian night with my boyfriend and once again I felt the throttling feeling in my chest. Yes…I had to let him go when I moved back, just to make the move even more difficult. I landed at the Budapest Airport on 9th July in 2013; again, full of question marks in my mind.
Then the Universe answered my despair and I received a new opportunity to move back to Washington D.C for 3 months from September. So I spent my summer in a peace of mind that I had a route to follow. My airplane ticket was booked for 19th September. But: Man proposes, God disposes. An email on 1st September turned everything upside down. My 3-month trip back to the USA was cancelled. I felt as if somebody punched into my tummy and I wanted to crash. This is what happens when you trust your GPS too much and you chose the way, which seemed easier to follow. I got a red light and the sign: reschedule now. One realization that came quickly was that I did not see my place in Hungary. Ok, but where would be my place then?
I visited London three times before but I could never decide if I liked or hated this city. So I purchased an airplane ticket to London to challenge myself (once again). Packing, squeezing, and re-packing. I feel I became more experienced in packing by now. I pre-booked a room with an agency and I got on the plane on 18th October with a promise to myself that by my birthday (23rd October) I would cheer for a new job. After 2 days in London I found a job in a café – (though I never worked in hospitality before) and I opened another chapter…again. 4 months later I started to work for an IT company that I am still working for.
But the question ‘what’s next?’ started to escalate in my mind…more and more often, actually…daily…
Would this be a sign to change…again?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Blanka Molnár was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. She lived her everyday life after she graduated from a Business College in Budapest till 2010 when she decided to discover the world and find the answers for her questions like: What is the real meaning of her life. Since then she is constantly looking for her WAY in every way. She travels, changes, discovers and constantly questions. Everything. She never stops.
Edited by Virag
Photo credit: Faruk Ateş/ Flickr