The mission of the Csoma Sándor Kőrösi scholarship holders has come to an end
My little world was turned upside down. There is nothing poetic in the statement, we can all agree that it is not an exaggeration to refer to an 18,000 kilometer road in this way. I am also sure that not only I have experienced this feeling, but also many of you who have decided to choose New Zealand as your home for a longer or shorter period of time.
Last year at this time, I was making very different plans, I had no intention of heading to Oceania, and I wasn't one of those people who would have this country on their bucket list at any cost - although I've since come to understand them completely. However, I always had the desire to go on such a big trip, having lived in Paris before, but I wanted to travel further and experience more. I got all that with this posting. What one year can do!
In the past months, I have experienced and learned many things that I will take home with me wherever I go. The Hungarian community here has shown me that you don't need a blood bond to know others as family, and that even though we are in the farthest corners of the world, no one is alone. I have enjoyed every moment of my eight months here, from the first little surprises, like how to flag down a bus, or how to answer a strange-sounding "How are you?" in a shop, or which direction to wait for a car when you step out onto the road... But you quickly get used to all of this, as you get used to the daily routines of the community. It's a lucky situation, really, when a Hungarian community abroad has both components: dedicated organisers and an open, interested and active community. I can safely say that both can be found here. So it was easy for my fellow scholarship holder Petra and me.
It's hard to say goodbye when I'm still here in the country, but as most of you know, it's only until the last day of November. I would like to dedicate the handful of time I have left to saying goodbye, sorting out my feelings and travelling. I'm both excited about what awaits me at home - my family; my friends; my familiar surroundings - and at the same time I feel uncertain that the life I've had for the past 8 months will remain a pleasant dream in my head. If it were, I would definitely want to dream it again! In the meantime, thank you all for following me through this one.
I don't even know where to begin with my summary, my farewell letter. I'm sitting on the terrace of a beautiful little cottage in Mangawhai, watching the palm trees grow by the pine trees, which somehow my eyes still don't approve of.
I had a difficult start to this trip. In the second month, I was eager to get home, but now I'm just planning the return trip. I had a lot of adventures with my lovely scholarship partner, Ágota, who I can now call not only my colleague and flatmate, but also my friend. I am glad to have shared this great journey with a really good soul and I would like to thank her for all her help and support.
When I think back to our big adventures, the first one I would highlight is our trip to Hobbiton. It was an indescribable feeling to walk around the set. Ágota and I were already relieved to see the scenery on the bus on the way in. The most adventurous part of the trip, however, was being stuck there because we didn't yet know how public transport works in New Zealand. We laughed together in our motel room in Matamata as we tried to survive the journey with a power bank, as we didn't have a charger with us. We wrote down important dates on a piece of paper in case our phones ran out of battery. I remember when we got home, my first thought was, what's next? Well, there were many, many things. We visited Rotorua, where Ágota was the first to drive an automatic car, with my brilliant navigator on the other side. We also had a hot spring bath and a guided tour, which at first we thought we had missed, but they just forgot to pick us up from the bus stop. In the end, everything went great and we made it home in one piece.
After our trip to Rotorua, we had the opportunity to organize our own programs. I organized a storytelling afternoon, which ended with a huge hide-and-seek party. Perhaps Ágota's pub quiz was the event where I really felt like part of the Hungarian club. Then, after the program, I was able to talk much more easily, I felt closer to people. I made many friends and conversation partners, which was also evident at the bogrács festival, where the atmosphere was brilliant. We had a great run with the children again, and now I also managed to involve the fathers in a war of numbers, which lifted the mood even more. I had a great time and I'm sorry that I won't have the opportunity to participate in more of these. However, it is very nice to think that there is a community here who welcome you back with open arms.
Apart from the club, we also managed to form our own small team. Five young Hungarian girls met here on the other side of the world. We discovered the beauties of Tauranga together, we supported each other in difficult situations, but if there was a reason to celebrate, we could also count on each other. I'm sure this team will get back together at some point! Our next destination is Dublin, see you there girls! However, in the meantime, I still have my big adventure in Raglan ahead of me, which I'm really, really looking forward to, and after that we're almost going home. These eight months flew by very quickly. I'm glad that even for such a short time, I could be a member of a loving community. Thank you for all your help and support, especially my dear mentors, Petra and Viola, to whom I owe a lot! All the best and happy holidays to you! I'll see you again, I promise!
Petra Piroska Póda