Another holiday without a holiday
Traveling is the way of life for an international school teacher. Each school year is usually filled with so many fabulous vacations that you almost feel bad sharing with people who have “normal” jobs. A year ago this time, I spent my “ski break” in South Africa visiting my friend Lauren who had stationed herself there for six weeks during her sabbatical year. It was a long way to travel for just a week, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit a country I’d always wanted to go to when I had a friend to show me around and be my travel buddy.
In hindsight, it turned out to be the perfect “last hurrah” before beginning the Year of the Staycation. At first we thought we’d only have to give up our spring break in April, but we soon realized that summer was out too. We started this school year knowing that it would be a year of not traveling. At first it seemed like some local travel would be possible, but since November, hotel stays aren’t even allowed throughout the country unless it is business related. To be honest, when faced with the choice of travel within Hungary or just having a week off at home, I kind of prefer the latter. I’ve spent my weeks at home doing yoga, cooking, taking language lessons online, and catching up on projects that I wouldn’t normally have time for.
One benefit of not traveling this past year has been saving money. I actually saved up enough to put a down payment a townhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona where my family lives. Now when I visit them, I’ll have a place of my own to stay, and when I’m not there, I will rent it out on Airbnb. My first guests come this weekend and I’m so excited to “host” them. This has been a fun project, and it’s made me think of all of the travel I have done and what has attracted me to choose certain accommodations and how I can make the stay special for my guests. I am living vicariously through them at the moment!
As for the Covid situation here in Hungary, we have been under restrictions since the middle of November. Curfew at 8 p.m., no indoor or outdoor dining at all, and mandatory masks everywhere you go. Our high school students have been learning online since mid-November as well. Cases had been sharply decreasing since the beginning of December, and with the vaccine rollout, it seemed that we were really on the road to the end. The last month, however, has seen cases on the rise again and the vaccine rollout has been slower than we had all hoped. Some think the rise in cases is due to the more infectious U.K. variant of the virus. When we go back to school next week, we’ll try to tighten up some of our school procedures and restrictions as an extra precaution. Still no word on when teachers will get the vaccine, though we have been assured that expat teachers will get it alongside local teachers.
My only summer plans involve going to Arizona for a month to see my family and stay in my new house. I did see an advert for a dreamy week-long yoga retreat in Sicily for the weeks between my return from Arizona and the start of school. In normal times, I would have booked that in a heartbeat. If only I could be confident that that was actually a possibility this year.