By Cassidy Campbell |

“Thank you” is one of the only phrases I know how to say in Hungarian. This does not go very far when all I wanted to say to my adorable host mom in Transylvania was: “I love you so much, you are the cutest thing in the world. Can you please move back to America to live with me?”

Every morning and night after each meal, my five roommates and I would say “köszönöm” and shoot her a smile before leaving the kitchen. This never felt like enough. She cooked us the best home cooked meals for breakfast and dinner. I wished I could tell her how much I loved her food and how I appreciated all of her hard work. But all we could say was a simple thank you.

When we departed on Thursday morning, I kept repeating the word “köszönöm” and gave her one final hug. I did not think this would ever be enough to thank her for everything she did for us and her gracious hospitality.

A simple thank you does go a long way though.

When Klárika walked us to the bus the morning we left, she gave me a big bear hug and said, “You are very nice,” which is probably the extent of her English vocabulary besides “coffee” and “hello.” This was such a compliment to hear from her.

She told our translators how we were always so appreciative of her cooking, how much she loved us and wanted to keep us for a longer period of time, and that she wanted us to return to Transylvania again one day.

So even though she will never see this, Klárika, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me into your home, cooking each meal with so much love, and being the sweetest and most joyful woman I have ever encountered. Even though we had a language barrier, you made me feel so welcome in your country and home. You made such an impact on me and I wish to continue the rest of my life in remembrance of your constant joy and smiles. You will always be a reminder for me to choose joy and treat everyone I meet with love and compassion.

From the bottom of my heart,

Köszönöm Klárika.