Dora the Explorer | My Family Travels
Budapest
Budapest
LakeBalaton

It was July, 2008. I just arrived from Germany and was waiting for my baggage anxiously. The people around me hustled to retrieve their luggage and I dreaded the thought of mine never coming. Then, I saw it! Smiling, I picked it up and made my way to the exit where I saw six smiling faces of a family I adore. Having met only a year ago, they have easily become a part of me. I belong to two families: I have my family back home in New Jersey and the Kulik family in Budapest, Hungary.

 

I adore traveling. For the past four years, I have been fortunate enough to travel to France, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and England. My mother’s employer is a French-based pharmaceutical company that sponsors a student exchange program. Consequently, I have been able to experience the culture, history, and allure of Europe. Most of all, my travels have given me the best friends any girl could ask for.

I met Dora the summer of 2006 when she contacted me about a student exchange to Hungary. I could not go since I already had an exchange to France planned. Instead, I invited Dora to come to the United States and travel with us to our cabin in Quebec, Canada. That summer, I met my best friend. It took us awhile to become acquainted since Dora spoke little English and I spoke no Hungarian. I admired her, since I understood how difficult it was to be placed in a foreign country where you did not speak the language. She was a very polite girl, who laughed a lot and was willing to try anything. We both loved to read and enjoyed the same subjects at school. While we swam for hours and played board games at night, Dora learned English and I learned all about my new best friend.

The following year during the summer of 2007, I traveled to visit Dora and her family in Budapest. I appreciated their sincere hospitality and even accidently called Dora’s mother “Mom”. I felt so comfortable and at home with them. Together, Dora and I toured Budapest and took day trips to the beautiful Lake Balaton. It was the perfect summer vacation. I met a family that became a part of me. I learned the value of friendship that year, and realized how lucky I was to be given the opportunity to travel and meet my best friend.

Dora and I got to thinking quickly about new and exciting travels we could do together. When I told her how badly I wished to see London, she wasted no time in planning our following summer vacation. The summer of 2008 was the summer Dora and I went to England together on a pink airplane. We stayed in Dora’s aunt’s posh London apartment. The history, the fashion, the Beatles, the accent, the FUN: I saw London with my best friend! One fine cloudy English morning, Dora and I set out to walk across the acclaimed Abbey Road. As we posed to mimic the famous Beatles’ album cover, we forgot which way to look and suddenly noticed a double decker bus coming our way. Needless to say we got our photo.

This summer, for the first summer in three years, Dora and I did not see each other. Instead we are planning a winter holiday where I will visit Dora and her family in Hungary again. I am very excited to see Hungary in winter and spend my holiday skiing, sightseeing, and spending time with my best friend and second family.

 

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