Welcome to the worst best decision I have ever made. One would normally start at the beginning, but I will go ahead and confess that the cat and I did not have a Disney-happily-ever-after ending. Yes, I made thousands of new friends in the process, but they are all fleas. The end.
A week and a half ago I saw an advert from a young woman looking to find a home for an adorable six-month-old cat. My previous coworkers, JP and Danielle, had fostered a bizarre feral cat last year, so when they left they bestowed upon me a plethora of cat items. I have always been keen on animals – my family has had numerous fish, dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, and a rabbit. We once kept two frogs in our shower for several months. I also not-so-secretly cared for the neighborhood strays, which cost my family a lot more money (sorry mom and dad!). In Budapest I have visited cat cafes on more than one occasion and walked a dog at a local animal shelter last year. Lastly, I was a vegetarian for over three years prior to moving here. Now that I have exhausted all of my “I promise I love animals” facts, let me continue with my story. Knowing I had a starter kit in the shape of a box of food, litter, and a litter box, I messaged the lady saying that I could foster the cat for a bit. The next day he was in my flat – fleas and all.
As soon as the woman left, I noticed he was scratching a lot. I mean a lot. I checked him and saw that he was covered. She had told me of his sweet temperament and how she could take him back if it did not work out, but apparently did not know anything about him being flea-ridden. I am not trying to put this person on blast (she really does seem nice), but it took me seconds of being in his presence to see that he was covered. This month has been extremely tough financially for me, so I only had 20.000Ft left to my name at the time (around $80). I now have 2.000Ft (a little more than $8). My debit card ended up getting rejected at a Chinese restaurant in a mall food court. Living the high life, I know. Most of that money went towards trying to de-flea him and my home. All of my attempts died in vain.
I understand that fostering costs money – I am not naive. However, I was not anticipating spending all of my money taking care of a problem I had no idea existed. Fleas are, for the lack of a better term, a bitch for everyone and everything.
As much as I abhorred the situation, I cannot say too many bad things about the cat. He is an absolute sweetheart that forgets humans are fleshy and feel pain from time to time. He purred the second I came home and didn’t mind me taking pictures of him (in fact I think he is a professional cat model). I only lost my temper with him once – he left me a nice gift in the shower (the litter box was right next to the tub). After a week the woman and I found another foster parent for him since my flat has to be renovated (which is another story in and of itself), so he is gone, but jumping black memories of him remain.
Even though my experience was not the best, I still fully support fostering and adopting animals. I suggest that you get all the answers before fully committing your time and money though. You should also discuss financial matters. If you do not want to pay for the animal’s medical bills, make that clear. Be upfront, honest, and know how/when to say no. Be aware of the smell as well. I thought that my flat was a good size, but not when I gagged the second he relieved himself. Lastly, the hypochondriac in me is worried I too have fleas in my hair. Yes, the chances are low, but that does not mean that I am not going insane at the possibility of it.
In other news, I saw George Ezra live in concert on Monday at Akvárium. It was absolutely mental! I have been to my fair share of shows and, in the spirit of the list I made earlier, I will #bless you with another one. Here are a few bands/artists I have seen live (judge not or ye be judged – I am not ashamed, but must state that some were a long time ago): The Kooks, He Is Legend, The Fray, Dashboard Confessional, Calvin Harris, Showbread, OutKast, The Maine, 3OH!3, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Cartel, Metro Station, and Family Force 5. Just in case you have forgotten (although I know you haven’t), I am going to see One Direction in June. Back to George Ezra… George is an English singer-songwriter. His most popular song is titled “Budapest,” but every song on his album Wanted on Voyage is solid. If you like Sir Ian McKellen, check out Ezra’s video for “Listen to the Man.” George put on one of the best live shows I have ever seen. I went with a fellow Central European Teaching Program member, Jessica. Dear Jessica, that drunk couple still haunts me.
Speaking of CETP, I just helped at another orientation. In general we have two orientations a school year – fall and winter – but a good handful of teachers were hired in-between the two. Hajni, the European Director, and I covered Hungarian life, the school system, history, and culture. After dinner I took a few on a quick trip to see some of the main attractions – Chain Bridge, Parliament, Heroes’ Square, City Park, etc. Each time I take someone around I am fascinated at how much I both know and do not know.
In regards to school, I am now volunteering at a high school in my district. A teacher contacted me about helping some tenth graders prepare for their Cambridge C1 (advanced) certificate and of course I said yes. I substituted at that high school two years ago when a teacher was on maternity leave and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The students I have encountered are articulate, sweet, and a joy to communicate with. I learned on Wednesday that I am the first American a few of them have ever met. Hopefully I leave them with a good impression. A good amount of former students also go to the school so it is another added bonus to see some of my old babies.
The winter holiday is in less than a month and I am thinking of giving Poland another try! 10th time is the charm, right?
OH LASTLY COOL NEWS THE BEST NEWS. I recently discovered that this blog is featured on Hungary’s tourism website, gotohungary.com. Click [here] to see the proof. I had no idea, but I am so honored. Apparently I write “beautifully.”
A Lesson From Miss Jennifer: Brash decisions are at times costly.