..And just like that, we’re home again.
We’d worried a small amount over the time we spent in the US. Reports were coming out of new travel regulations regarding foreigners traveling to Hungary. We wondered if we’d have to stay in IL longer. We contacted the Hungarian police. We e-mailed the US Embassy in Budapest. We waited. Finally, the weekend before we flew out, articles were published stating that anyone with longer than a 90-day residency permit could enter. We’d have to be quarantined for 2 weeks of course, but we knew this ahead of time. Ps. This is not “American Quarantine” where they “suggest” it, but don’t actually check on your commitment level. We were given a large red sticker to apply outside our residence, and the police have checked on us randomly each day so far to make sure we’re all here. We will be released around September 18th – just in time for my (Chadwick) birthday dinner. 🙂
I know everyone is curious, so I’ll share. Traveling internationally during a global pandemic is definitely a unique experience. Airport security is just as tight, but also much less busy. Lines are short, and it’s much easier for a family of 6 to patiently get processed through all the checkpoints. Many of the shops/restaurants in the Chicago International terminal were understandably closed, so (much to our kids’ disappointment) our final US meal was at Burger King. We flew on KLM to Amsterdam on a large, really nice airplane…with only about 20 other passengers. Our kids were excited to get their own row, and we were incredibly thankful the flight was even still operating. A simple hot meal was served, and not long after they collected trash, a bag of “the rest of the flight edibles/drinks” was given to each…with a couple random snacks, water, and a coke.
Amsterdam Airport still seemed to have most shops open and bustling with European travelers. We only had a short layover, so pretty much went to our gate and stayed there. The plane to Budapest was quite full, and people got surprisingly close to one another, considering many of them were the same people being really careful throughout the Amsterdam airport. It was tough to keep our masks on from when we arrived in Chicago through leaving Budapest airport (over 18 hours at least!). Even now in quarantine, it’s a beautiful unmasked existence for us.
Freedom is always beautiful, when you remember what life was like when you were bound. (I had to get something spiritual in here, right?)
Toby (our cat) was so glad to see the girls, and they’ve loved catching up on cuddling him. We’re all getting settled into the new time zone, preparing for the new home-school year to begin, and catching up on some communication/schoolwork of our own. We’re so thankful for the prayers, love, and friendships that make so much of this possible. We feel blessed to be involved in what God is doing here, even as we continue to be shaped by it as well. May God help you discover some small source of joy today – even if it’s just the ability to take off your mask (literal & figurative) at some point with those you care about.