I cannot remember all the restaurants I’ve dined at while abroad, but there is one lunch experience during my time in Budapest, Hungary that I do remember quite vividly.
A group of my choir friends and I took the train to the Central Market Hall for some shopping. We split up, girls with girls and boys with boys. I trailed around with my friends for about an hour, looking at all the trinkets and wishing I had exchanged some money to Hungarian forints.
After a while, we wandered around the food market, taking care to gawk at the various animal heads that hung from the stalls. We rounded a corner and saw my boyfriend, just wandering on his own. We stopped him and asked where the rest of the guys went.
It turns out they all decided to go to Burger King for lunch.
It was a proud moment for me when I learned Boyfriend had abstained from this abhorrent act, and had decided to stay behind and wander the market. +10 points, Boyfriend.
We met up with the rest of the group and gave them a mild tongue lashing before heading back to our hotel. On the way, we passed a grocery store. I am a sucker for grocery stores. Especially ones in foreign countries. There’s just something about wandering the aisles filled with unfamiliar foods and watching locals go about their shopping, that just fills me with surreal joy.
Needless to say, I insisted we go in.
Boyfriend and I had yet to get lunch so we searched the aisles for something to share. We settled on a loaf of freshly baked bread, a pack of lunchmeat and a bag (that’s right, a bag) of milk.
The group found our way back to the hotel and we all went into our separate rooms. Thanks to certain rules laid out by our chaperones, Boyfriend and I ended up enjoying our small picnic while sitting in the hallway outside my room.
Here we are, two teenagers, sitting cross-legged in the middle of a hotel hallway in Budapest, stuffing bits of turkey into pieces of bread, and trying to figure out how to drink milk out of a bag. We received a few weird glances as housekeepers passed us, but it was so worth it.
I love this memory for a few reasons. First, it’s another moment of dorkishness my now husband and I share, that brings a smile to my face. And second, because it reminds me that sometimes going against what others are doing and forging your own path can pay off and create outstanding and fun memories.