Learning to Sit Still: A Two-Month Reflection

In three short days I will have been in Europe for exactly two months. It’s really nuts to think about – the time has certainly flown by! Coming up on this two-month mark, I decided it was an appropriate time to reflect a little on what I’ve learned so far. As you are probably wondering from the title of this, what do I mean by learning to sit still? Well, let me elaborate.

Before this, the longest trip I’ve ever been on was two weeks. A semester is certainly longer than that. On short trips I’m used to packing in as much as possible. I’m always thinking about the next thing to see or do. Even at DePaul I am constantly on the move. My calendar is packed with classes, clubs, internships, and social events.

In Budapest I actually have quite a bit of free-time. I hesitate to say in Europe, because I’m usually gone on the weekends visiting other countries where my “Go, go, go” motto falls back into play. But when I’m home in Budapest I get to sit and breathe. That’s right, home in Budapest; this city quickly felt like home after the first few weeks. However, it took me a while to learn how this whole free-time thing works. My initial mentality was, I’m in a new city! I must see, do, and try everything right now! Then it hit me: I have until late December to explore Budapest. It’s okay to take a nap. It’s okay to watch a movie.

With calling a place “home” comes the territory of those annoying human tasks that everyone has to do as well. Instead of always crossing something off my Budapest bucket-list, I need to spend my free-time doing not so glamorous tasks such as homework, laundry, washing dishes, cleaning my room, cooking, buying groceries, uploading photos to Facebook, blogging, and planning weekend trips.

I still feel very busy, but it’s not the exhausted, monotonous, overwhelming busyness that I’m used to at school. I don’t have as much homework as I do at DePaul. I don’t have a job. My earliest class is at 11:40, which means I can sleep in relatively late everyday if I want to (which I usually do because I don’t get much sleep on the weekends while traveling). Yet somehow I’ve managed to make the excuse that I’m too busy here to work out… don’t ask me for the logic behind that. I work out almost everyday at home, but here I’ve managed about ten workouts in two months. As I said, my logic is flawed. Most Europeans don’t work out that much so I think I’ve adopted that mentality, which I have to say is kind of liberating.

Last week, my friend and I ended up talking to a worker at the bakery we frequent for two hours. In Chicago I would never have that much time to kill. Europe in general seems to have a more relaxed pace through life. It’s a mentality I’ve learned to appreciate and adopt. So that’s what I mean by learning to sit still. It felt uncomfortable at first, but now I really enjoy it. I still have my restless moments where I can sit no longer and need to get up and do something. But I’ve got less than two months left to live life in the slow lane before I go back to the fast lane, so I better savor it.

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