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Big, Scary News

Actually writing down (and posting!) my 30 before 30 list made it more real and, happily, more manageable.  Open an Etsy shop?  Check.  Start riding our bikes again (after a five year hiatus during which we moved them from city to city)?  Check.  Stupid yard wreath?  I’m working on it.

Now, a daunting item from my list:  research abroad.  Soon to be checked. 

I’m leaving Hubby behind in Canada and moving to Budapest, Hungary for four months to do research for my PhD.  I have my apartment and flight arranged.  I just found out Friday I received funding to cover my accommodations and expenses while abroad (yes!), so it feels real enough to blog, and stress, about.  I leave in less than a month.

Every person I tell thinks it’s fantastic, exciting and all around wonderful news.  I know I’m incredibly privileged to have this opportunity to be funded to go abroad and do research.  But I am seriously going to miss Hubby who, due to work, can only visit for a short time during the four months.  It’s lame, but I’m also going to miss the comforts of life in the townhouse, including having a car.  I’ll miss my family, friends, Canadian health care, the luxury of choosing varied outfits – everything!  Did I mentioned I have one suitcase to pack four months – three seasons – of clothes?

I had a rough time last August when I received a scholarship for a one month stay.  Surrounded by strangers 24/7 (literally), I felt really lonely.  I missed Hubby so badly, especially when my laptop died (RIP) and I couldn’t easily, or regularly, communicate, with him or anyone.  I was put up in a sad hostel with bizarre roommates and, to avoid it and them, I spent long evenings out with the party-happy friends I made and slept only four hours a night.  It turns out I was too old for that!  I got totally run down, got an infection and experienced a Hungarian hospital (faster service than Canada, but no toilet paper – anywhere).  The food we were provided was almost 100% bread.  I was worried I’d get scurvy.  Our hostel room kept running out of our allotted toilet paper (a common theme) and the toilet stopped flushing for three days.  The sink stopped up too, and the water ran brown.  One of my roommates disappeared, which no one but me seemed concerned about.  Days later she returned, totally confused why I was worried.  Then we got ants (unrelated, I think).  Did I mention I ran up a $300 cell phone bill?  Eventually I adjusted, found a grocery store with fresh produce, and finally started relishing the experience.

This time, it will be different.  I won’t be with a group (here’s a sampling of the motley crew I took language lessons and toured Budapest with):

I won’t be living here.  I won’t have classes.  I’ll be doing independent research, in a sweet little apartment I can’t wait to show you. 

I am excited to have a chance to re-connect with two close friends I made last August, a young Hungarian woman, Dora (centre), and a young Polish woman, Szilvi (right):

Szilvi was part of the same language program as me, so we spent more time together than we did with Dora.  Szilvi is returning to Budapest on a one year scholarship that starts the same time as my stay.  Good timing!  Although a longer stay and more time together is really going to test these green friendships.  I’m not sure Szilvi and I would have been friends under normal circumstances, you know?

What will happen to the blog?

Oh, don’t you worry.  I have (and will be) working like a busy bee, stockpiling some DIY projects and nifty posts to share with you while I’m abroad.  I’ll also pepper my posts with a little European inspiration, some recipes (a series I’ve neglected) plus address my biggest concern: packing for a four month trip!  But I might start to dip down to 3-4 posts per week as opposed to my usual 4-5 posts.



  1. erica | wicked bride
    August 7, 2012 / 12:51 pm

    This is so exciting, t! I'm VERY curious as to how you are going to pack four months of clothes into one suitcase. Related: where did you get those super cute dresses you're wearing in these pics? Adorbs! I've been thinking lately about taking the whole month of August off starting next year and living somewhere else – outside the US. It's scary though, to go someplace new. Good thing you know a couple people already and speak the language!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 6:31 pm

      Dresses were my secret weapon for packing a month of clothes for my last trip. The first dress (neon pattern) is from Winner's, the second from Macy's and the third from the Bay. They were easy to pack, easy to wash and simple to wear (no coordinating necessary). Once they're out of the wash (I wear them like crazy) I'll post the companies because the shops (like the Bay) probably aren't super relevant.

    • erica | wicked bride
      August 7, 2012 / 7:50 pm

      They are super cute and so practical!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 11:17 pm

      Thanks! I became such a dress convert – so easy to wear. I literally just grab one, slip it on and dash. No muss, no fuss. No those-pants-don't-go-with-that-shirt business. Too hot for that! In the winter I have patience. Not when I'm boiling.

  2. sandpaperandglue
    August 7, 2012 / 1:21 pm

    Sounds amazing (and amazingly scary)- I hope you enjoy it, good luck! Perhaps forget about the clothes and fill your entire suitcase with toilet paper and bottled water 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 6:31 pm

      Hahaha! I could do one of those toilet paper gowns in the commercials, lol.

  3. a Girl Called Kim
    August 7, 2012 / 1:39 pm

    Yay, congratulations and good luck! I'm so jealous and can't wait to hear about your stay there! And hopefully you get some work done as well! 🙂

  4. Katie
    August 7, 2012 / 1:47 pm

    Oh Tanya. I am thrilled for you but understand your worries/stress/fears. I will be lifting you in prayer as you prepare and leave. What an amazing opportunity–congratulations are well in order. Take it one day at a time :)YOU CAN DO IT!!! 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks, Katie! I really appreciate that 🙂

  5. Amy
    August 7, 2012 / 4:02 pm

    This is exciting news! But I can totally understand why you are apprehensive as well – especially with the experience last time! It seems as though your situation will be MUCH different, so I don't think you have much to worry about. Missing loved ones is always hard though! Can't wait to virtually travel with you on the blog! 🙂

  6. Ashley
    August 7, 2012 / 4:12 pm

    You are awesome! I'm not sure I would have the guts to do it. I'm so excited to hear about your apartment over there.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 6:32 pm

      This is definitely challenging my inner-chicken!

  7. E. Jean
    August 7, 2012 / 4:23 pm

    Congrats. That's an awesome accomplishment/opportunity. Looking forward to reading up on all your Hungary-related posts.

  8. Dana@Mid2Mod
    August 7, 2012 / 4:43 pm

    I know you'll miss your hubby, but this will be a wonderful experience you can treasure all your life…and four months really is a relatively short time. It will fly by. Congrats on getting funded!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 6:33 pm

      Thanks Dana!You're so right! Actually, having a tough time last time made me a little stronger and also made for a whole boatload of fabulously hilarious stories for dinner parties!

  9. Vintage Market Place
    August 7, 2012 / 4:53 pm

    WOW!!!!I remember your time last year and how sad you were. I really hope this time is so much better and the time flies by for you. Autumn always seems to fly by:( it is my favorite time of year.Just think positive and stay strong, it will all be just fine.Congrats, and good luck.Amy

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 6:34 pm

      Time seems to fly period, I hope you're write about the Fall whizzing by. Can't believe it's been a year already! Thanks for your words of encouragement.

  10. Kim
    August 7, 2012 / 5:00 pm

    That is exciting and a bit scary. Can't wait to read about your Hungarian adventures!

  11. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    August 7, 2012 / 5:15 pm

    it is amazing! it is exciting! it is scary. yes. but this is a once in a lifetime chance… you won't regret it!

  12. Michelle @ Sweetsuite10
    August 7, 2012 / 5:17 pm

    Wow – that's so very exciting! I understand the scary bit – even though it's not completly new it's still different from your regular everyday.As for packing I'd take items that layer easily – then you can wear them now, and as it gets cooler. Also, you could mail your summer stuff home later – even by surface you'll still get your things before you need them next summer :)I'm looking forward to seeing Hungary vicariously through you 🙂 Have Fun!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 7, 2012 / 6:34 pm

      Love your idea about mailing home stuff! That leaves me room to buy stuff (something I hadn't thought I'd have room for) . . .

  13. Kucorgó anyámkája
    August 7, 2012 / 7:11 pm

    Hűha, jössz hozzánk? Ez nagyon izgalmas, bár biztos tényleg nehéz lesz a férjed nélkül. Szólj, ha bármiben kell segíteni!

  14. barbara@hodge:podge
    August 7, 2012 / 7:52 pm

    Good for you! It will be an experience you will never regret! Can't wait to hear about your adventures!

  15. Keira
    August 8, 2012 / 12:53 am

    So exciting! Four months will fly by, but the experience is something you'll have with you for the rest of your life. Congratulations!

  16. Sheila @sZinteriors
    August 8, 2012 / 5:03 am

    I can appreciate the time away and missing your husband. Definitely. And at the same time wish you the scholastic adventure of a lifetime! Congratulations, Tanya. This is such an amazing opportunity… Just make sure you have those extra suitcase straps for reinforcement! 😉

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 9, 2012 / 2:54 am

      Thanks Sheila, and good idea!!

  17. Whitney @ drab to fab design
    August 8, 2012 / 12:42 pm

    Congrats on this awesome opportunity! But I can totally see why you're feeling that way about leaving your home and hubby. I'd feel the same way. It's almost bitter sweet. I can't wait to read all about your travels and your little apartment over there.

  18. How2home
    August 8, 2012 / 3:37 pm

    This is such exciting news Tanya! This is such an amazing opportunity. I wish I had a chance to study abroad….it would've been such a great experience. Good luck with your studies 🙂 Give us a tour of your apartment when you are all settled in! Check out our makeover that we did over the past couple of weeks…still in progress but love to hear what you think!(

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 9, 2012 / 2:56 am

      Thanks! I'm popping over to take a peek right now!

  19. Nicole
    August 8, 2012 / 6:27 pm

    Tanya, that is just so wonderful! I hope that you have an incredible time and that everything goes smoothly for you!

  20. KatieQ
    August 9, 2012 / 12:07 am

    This is such exciting news for your blog readers as well as for you because we get to travel vicariously to Hungary and hear about your adventures. At least you know the lay of the land and with some of the "how does this work?" stuff out of the way, you can concentrate on what you need to do and have some fun.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 9, 2012 / 2:55 am

      I'm so happy to hear that some Hungary-themed posts will be exciting to read! I can't wait to check out some Hungarian home decor stores (something I've never done) and report back.

  21. Lets just build a house!
    August 9, 2012 / 12:24 am

    OH MY! I am so excited for you! please give us regular updates with lots of pictures. I am always so interested in everyday life in other countries. congrats lady! how wonderful!!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 9, 2012 / 2:56 am

      Thanks :)I promise to be a good reporter and share lots of interesting updates. But I'm also sandbagging some townhouse-themed posts, too, to keep things interesting!

  22. Oona
    August 10, 2012 / 4:08 am

    Congratulations! So exciting to hear your news, Tanya. I don't think anyone has mentioned Skype dinners yet as a way to numb the pain of missing your spouse? In August 2010 I took a new job halfway across the continent from my husband, who couldn't join me for almost a year. We found that having dinner by the laptop "hearth" most nights was the best way to simulate a real end-of-day conversation. Of course, the distortions of the screen lend themselves to all kinds of goofy sign-off faces, which makes it easier not to get weepy. Enjoy, enjoy!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 10, 2012 / 11:51 am

      Hearing that you were apart for so much longer makes it seem much more manageable, so thanks for sharing! I hadn't thought of having a Skype dinner – what a smart idea!! We'll definitely be trying that to make our Skype-time seem a little more personal.

  23. Anonymous
    August 10, 2012 / 4:36 am

    Congratulations such a wonderful opportunity just think of the memories you will make to last a life time.cheersmargo

  24. mrs. limestone
    August 12, 2012 / 3:59 pm

    I'm so behind on your blog but wanted to wish you a huge congrats! What an exciting opportunity. Have the best time – Budapest is amazing.(I did finally repackage and remail your prize this weekend. Assuming the US Post Office actually sends it this time, I hope it makes it to you before you leave otherwise you'll have something waiting for you when you get back)

  25. annabelvita
    August 14, 2012 / 12:02 pm

    Good luck! I know how disconcerting it can be to be the only person from your country in a group of foreigners (I love foreigners but sometimes you don't want to explain yourself non-stop!), but everyone else is right, it will fly by!

  26. Shannon
    August 15, 2012 / 1:40 am

    WOW! What a great opportunity! 4 months will go by so quickly!

  27. modern jane
    August 21, 2012 / 11:40 am

    Best of luck Tanya! I can imagine it will be hard to leave but what a great opportunity!

  28. E08
    October 30, 2012 / 2:40 pm

    good luck! I have tons of family in Budapest, so I'm pretty darn jealous. I'm sure missing the hubby will be tough, but I think you'll find that most Hungarians are very friendly, and fun loving people. Plus the food is the best! and the pastries are even better!Have an amazing time!!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 30, 2012 / 7:25 pm

      Oh, how nice to have family here! I have some family in Hungary but only one relative in Budapest. Although Hungarians seem very eager to open their doors (and kitchens) to hungry non-relative and dine with them. So we have been made to feel at home. And the bakery and patisserie folks know us by name! Yum, they make good cake here!!

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