On Moving to Europe

One of my favorite words in the world is a Hungarian one, világgá.  It comes from the root word vilag, or world, which is the source of all sorts of fascinating words if you add suffixes to it- add an “-os” for “have something” turns it into világos which means light or illuminating, and while világegyetem is a mouthful that means “the world’s university” literally it actually means the universe.  Hungarian has a bit of poetry to it that most people never stop to think about even when they speak it every day.

But anyway, világgá translates literally as “of the world” really means something that doesn’t have an English equivalent but translates something like “to go off into the world and seek your fortune.”  The heroes and heroines of Hungarian fairy tales go világgá all the time- of all fairy tales really but most languages don’t have a word for it- so it’s really not surprising that I daydreamed a lot about adventures as a kid and then decided to go világgá on my own a few times already.

Tomorrow I’m about to go világgá again to find a new home in Amsterdam, by way of a week in Hungary in case anyone’s wondering why I’m parsing Hungarian tonight. (It’s a habit that finds magic in the strangest of places.  Did you know that “sibling” in Hungarian is testvér, which literally means “body blood” and hence what you share with your brother and sister?   Or that the only difference between “lion,” oroszlán, and “Russian girl” is the latter has a -y on the end of it?)  I’ve done this before- I did a semester abroad in New Zealand, and I’ve flown to an exotic continent with no plans to return twice now- but the longest of those was six months abroad.  This time I’ll be abroad for at least four years, and while I’m sure I’ll be back there’s no way around how they’ll be visits.

For me, going abroad is the right thing to do- I am ready to spend years in a new place to get to know it really well, and my work there gets me as excited as I was about astronomy when I first read a book about it on the school bus 12 years ago.  It is a new adventure that I am ready and excited to experience, even though I know all adventures have bumps along the way the storytellers like to gloss over in the telling.

So time to go világgá.  I’ll catch you guys on the flip side.

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