Saturday, August 30, 2008

On Commie Block housing and water heaters

First: Thanks to the people who are reading and commenting! Mom, Dad, Weas, Ash, Little, and LilLil, I love you back. Lurkers, I love you too.

So I live in a commie block building, surrounded by other commie block buildings. This is interesting. It's actually a sort of cute flat. Nice wood floors, a little balcony, etc. It's just my American predispositions screaming. So here is where fantasy comes in.

Me: Let's pretend we're starving artists, living in a garret. We can write poems!
Lyla rolls eyes.

So then a few hours later, making myself a salami sandwich for lunch, which involves squeezing mayonnaise out of a toothpaste tube, I comment: Let's pretend we're college students. If we were in college, we would be super psyched to live here!

Lyla: I thought we were starving artists.
Me: So we're priveleged starving artists. Whatever.

Then, of course, came "Let's pretend we're frontierswomen." This one happened when we had no hot water, and I had to go to work, and smelled really bad. The solution here was to fill the tub with a few inches of the ice water that came from the tap, then boil pots of water, then add those to the ice water. This resulted in a cool, but reasonable bath.

My school, despite being an hour away along tram line 1, is lovely. It's very cute, and my contact teacher is very awesome. (As an example, she lugged my heaviest suitcase up to our 4th floor walk up like it weighed nothing while smoking and screaming into her cell phone.) I'll be teaching first and second with the help of an acerbic Hungarian gentleman. Should be fun.

Now to attempt laundry. Vaguely afraid of the machine, but pressing on anyway.

Love and miss you guys a lot!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I eat peaches with Barack Obama, what have you done lately?

Happy Birthday to me!

Funny story: so the word for peach in Hungarian is barack. So this small town has gotten together and decided to send him 250 kilos of homemade peach jam and 10 L of peach palinka. This makes me giggle.

Also, a quote from the Hungarian program director: "But the email keeps blocking me, maybe it thinks I am a spam."

Went out last night for the bday celebrations. It was fun, just some palinka and a few beers, as well as the farewell dinner earlier in the evening. Where I had another platter of assorted meats.

My people are here to pick me up and take me to my flat, so I must go!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

orientation

So, am now one day into orientation. Today I learned that Hungarians are pessimists. And... that's about it! Plus a few words. We start Hungarian lessons tomorrow though so looking forward to that.

We also discovered that we do in fact have an apartment. Its also near the metro, yay! It's over on the east side of town, and I think we're going to go check out the neighborhood today. Then who knows. It's Sunday so everything will probably be quite dead.

Also, had Chinese food for lunch. It was exactly like mall Chinese food.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

10 Billion degrees, Kelvin

It is so hot! Yesterday we went to Castle Hill and Fisherman's bastion. It was very pretty but also incredibly crowded. I wasn't in a particular rush to see it since I will be living here in Budapest and have plenty of opportunities to visit in the future, but we went with people who are teaching out in the country. I will have to return in September when it's a little less insane and I can appreciate it more.

Sadly, tragically even, no pool occurred yesterday. A large group of CETP-ers, however, did go out dancing at an outdoor venue, which was super fun. They played all the hits of five years ago, mixed with a few eighties classics, so much dancing and ridiculousness ensued.

My first taste of the famous palinka (fruit brandy/firewater), however, was much less pleasant. I'm told it was a bad example, but ewww.

I actually got a good night's sleep last night though. I don't have any real plans for today beyond that orientation officially starts tonight and we have a welcome dinner. A lot of people arrived yesterday and it's becoming hard to keep everyone's names straight! Classes start tomorrow as well... gonna be a busy week.

Friday, August 22, 2008

in the hostel

Hello everyone!

So yes, as you probably guessed from lack of news otherwise, I have made it safely to Budapest. We arrived Monday night, smelly and giddy from lack of sleep but otherwise fine. When we got here a bunch of older program members were having a wine part-ay outside due to its being St. Stephen's Day. There were also fireworks. So we partook in that and then crashed out.

Yesterday it was up and about early, since we both strangely woke up at 6 AM... croissants, naps, and long walks also followed. Then we sat in the lounge and tried to find English language TV to horrifying and entertaining results.

Everyone seems really nice so far, which is happy. Today we're going to walk again, and then go swimming, because it is HOT.

Off to breakfast, miss you guys :)

~Lauren

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hello all...

So yes, I figure this might be an easier way to keep in touch, since I so clearly was a fail in Cali at it. I hope you all enjoy reading, and perhaps commenting (I set it up so you don't need an account to do so).

I'm leaving tomorrow. One wonders if one truly needs 100 pounds of stuff... but then I remembered that I'm going forever and I guess I do. I did limit myself to only 6 pairs of shoes though... go me!

I'm a little wigged out about tomorrow. I hope that everything goes smoothly and I arrive without issues, with all my luggage and belongings (!) in Budapest Wednesday night. If not... then I guess that will be the first adventure.

Poodley is sitting with me, and I am a little bit sad. I will miss her and her angry sighs. Everyone else as well, of course!!

I leave you with this. Enjoy:


video