vi: Not good, nor bad, just…different

Hi everyone and Happy Sunday!

I have been fortunate to spend my life living in the USA since I was born.  As a child and as an adult, I have lived in exactly four locations: Beverly, Massachusetts, Sarasota, Florida, Richmond, Virginia and Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  Each of these locations provided me with different experiences and memories either as a child, a college student or a working professional.  Where I enjoyed some things about one place, I found other joys in other places.  Regardless, you learn to live a certain way, eat certain foods, shop at specific places, etc.  You become adjusted to your surroundings and do not think much of it because it is your “norm”.

Living abroad has been positively overwhelming.  Budapest has been an amazing place to live.  Honestly, the transition in general has been way better than we could have expected!  So now, I can say with pride that I am living in my fifth location, Budapest, Hungary.

Since being here, there have been many parts of daily life where I actually find it better, more convenient or more efficient than life in the USA.  But as you can imagine, living anywhere outside of your “comfort zone” and familiarity can provide some challenges as well.

In just a few short weeks, I have adapted to many things.  These “things” are not good, nor bad…just different from what I am used to.  What I once had in the USA but do not have here, or vice versa, does not make either place better than the other.  It just makes them different from each other.

A few examples of some things that I find different:

  • Laundry – It’s rare, nearly unheard of, to own a drying machine here.  We have a wonderful washing machine but each item has to be dried naturally by hanging the pieces up on a drying rack.  You have to plan ahead with your laundry and cannot expect to wash an item during the day that you need for the same night.  It would not dry in time.  Some could say you are saving money and electricity by not using a dryer.  Others would be “inconvenienced” by having to wait for their clothes to dry.  Again, it is not about whether one way is better than the other…it is just different than what I am used to.
  • Beverages/Refills – In any restaurant I have been to here, there are no refills.  Yes, you heard me!  You buy a bottle of whatever (e.g., water, soda, tea, etc.) and when you are finished, you buy another one.  Again, not better nor worse…just different.
  • Pharmacy – You know how in the USA, you can walk into any store (e.g., gas station, grocery store, Pharmacies, Target, Walmart, etc.) and buy medicine?  Cough medicine, allergy, aspirin, tylenol, among others.  In Budapest (much like other European countries), you will not find medicine anywhere except an actual pharmacy.  To reiterate, not better, nor worse…just different than what I am used to.

While the above examples are small and inconsequential, there is only one difference for me so far that I have actually found to be challenging.  As many of you know, my heart belongs to Lily, my pup (Neil of course too).  I have had her for over 5 years and to put it lightly, we have been through a lot together.  I will do whatever is needed to ensure she is safe, happy and healthy.  I always have, and I always will.

In the last week, I have sought to find a dog boarding facility where Lily can stay when Neil and I travel a bit.  We have our first trip coming up where we will be gone for two nights.  I have now gone to two facilities, both far from where we live, only to be incredibly disappointed.  Back home, I have been fortunate to have individual support from my mom, my friend Shea and when needed, two great dog facilities that provide wonderful care to Lily when I am away.   The facilities back home are clean, sanitary, organized and properly staffed.  Unfortunately, the two that I found so far (which actually had high ratings), were not what I had hoped for.

I have tried to remind myself that the facilities here are not bad, nor good…just very different from what I am used to back home.  They still take care of many dogs and I am sure do a wonderful job.  But, for me, I felt neither facility would be comforting for me to leave Lily.

So the search continues to find a quality facility.

In the meantime, I continue to remind myself that my opinion and expectations are a result of my own experiences.  It does not make me right, nor wrong, just different.  Similar to me, there are others who might find the USA dog facilities to be exorbitant or expensive.  It does not mean they are right, nor wrong…just different opinions based on their own experiences.

Embrace your surroundings and be open to new things.  You might find the experiences better than you are used to, or worse.  But just remember, they are neither…just different.



  1. So interesting! Love your blog. Good luck finding the perfect place for Lily. I am sure you will. ❤️


  2. I am thrilled that you are enjoying and empowering yourself with your new experiences. Keep going!
    Love, Uncle Dick and Cheryl


  3. Ashley,
    Why don’t you write a newspaper column – Florida resident living in Budapest (Herald Tribune – see news)? More people would be interested in this.


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