I have lived alone for a long time. Though involved in the Residence Life office at Millikin University and in close community with lots of people, I often lived in my own apartment or room. While teaching in Carthage, IL, I lived alone as well: sole voice in decor choices, laundry and shower schedules, remote control possession, life.
Since moving to Budapest, I've lived with a family, a nursing professor, and now--more permanently--a young Hungarian woman. My, how things change when you add another human being to the mix! There have been moments of rough transition, cultural misunderstandings or assumptions, and surprise as I adjust to sharing life with Zsuzsi. I can only imagine her perspective as she has welcomed this American into her quiet flat.
Zsuzsi has offered so much as I settle into this life. Her presence--though sometimes still a surprise--encourages me and teaches me. She is a bridge to the Hungarian culture and a fellow traveler on this narrow road (how's that for a mixed metaphor?). I hope to offer the same edifying friendship to her, too.
As difficult as it is from time to time to live in close proximity to other human beings, I value and respect Zsuzsi and the life lessons I'm learning from sharing a flat with her. For her, I'm thankful.