Begin [Brendan James]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

[29 August 2009]


Hungarian of the Day: Goodbye! :(

Viszlat! :(

[vis-lat :( ]

Now "goodbye" is something I try not to say often if ever. For me it's a final thing - saying that you will not ever see that person/thing/etc again. I firmly believe that you should never say goodbye to someone you love, but rather "see you later." It's much more optimistic - I will see you again later and I am looking forward to it. Despite that, today is probably a very self-explanatory word-of-the-day; mom left to go back to the United States. I’ve very much enjoyed getting to know my new city with her by my side - we’ve done a lot of awesome sight seeing. And it’s always just a pleasure to spend time with family, no matter the place that you’re at. Needless to say, I am going to miss her terribly while I’m here and she’s at home. But hey, I’ll be home in a few months :)


Today we got up early! Well, we had to - mom’s flight left at quarter to three, so she needed to be at the airport around 12:30. This meant that she needed to be picked up by the airport shuttle around 11:30 (in case they had any extra stops to make, as the airport is quite the ways away from the center of the city). So mom needed to double check her packing, we needed to make sure that I had everything that I needed packed into my tiny suitcase and my backpack, and we needed to get one last walk around the city.

Budapest is quite pretty in the early morning! Who knew? It’s a completely different place before people head out their door for work and all the tourists take over the streets with their cameras and crying children. We pretty much just took our normal walk up to the river, past the chain bridge, up to St. Stephen’s cathedral, and back to the hotel. But it was nice to just meander the streets without worry for getting somewhere or leaving somewhere.

When we got back to the hotel it was time to bring mom’s bags down to the lobby and wait for the shuttle to collect her. We called dad from my computer to let him know that she was on her way - and since it was 4am at home he didn’t answer the phone. You can’t blame him really, that’s quite early for a phone call. And then mom’s shuttle came. There were tears and promises to be safe. I try not to say goodbye, ever, so we said our see-you-laters. It’s sad, you know? It will be about four months until I’m back in the states for Christmas, but that’s four months without my mom being an easy phone call or flight away. Dad may be coming in November (will hopefully be coming in November) so I won’t be without family here indefinitely. But, still, waving as the shuttle pulled off was kinda sad.

So there I was, alone in a world where I know no one, don’t speak a lick of the language, and have a rough idea about how to get back to my dorm. Swell. So, I threw on my backpack, and pulled my tiny suitcase after me towards the metro. Step one was

to figure out WHICH metro I needed (red line, out of the city), buy some tickets (ten, please!), and ride the LONG way down the escalators. Check. Now hop on the metro (holding my bags nice and close to me, who knows where peoples’ hands might be!) and carefully count the 6 stops until I need to get off (which is luckily, for the foreigners out there, the last stop on the line, so you cannot really miss it). Okay, now I’m in the region of my dorm. Now I need to get the bus.

But first I needed some food. Luckily at this stop there’s a huge shopping center with two grocery stores to chose from. So me, my backpack, and my rolling suitcase go grocery shopping. Now, I need foods that I know I like and don’t need to be refrigerated (because I was told the small fridge I’m to be renting will not be installed for at least a week). After staring at row after row of unreadable names of foods and relying only on pictures I ended up with some peach juice, water, coke light, some bread, some cheese & a meat I’m assuming is ham (i figured I’d either eat it all or trash the leftovers at the end of the day), and some chips. Now I needed to pay. Here I fell back on how we operated in Russia - don’t talk, nod, and just look dumb. The lady chatted away at me and pointed out the cost, I paid, she chatted some more as I gathered my food, I smiled. It worked! Now, as an aside, if you’ve never been to Europe - grocery bags are NOT FREE. This is where I give a giant thank you shout out to Julie T, who provided me with some AMAZING reusable bags for my trip. No buying plastic bags for me!

So me, my backpack, my tiny rolling bag, and my groceries made it to the bus stop. Once on the bus I know you’re supposed to validate your ticket. But I don’t know how. So I try for a minute or two to get this thing to work and some nice woman walked over to me and did it for me. Thank god for nice people! It’s this archaic little punch-it-yourself system that I would have never figured out on my own. Not that there was anyone on the bus to check if I had actually punched it, but in this city it’s MUCH better to be safe than sorry.

So when I finally get to the dorm I head up to my room and realize, hey there’s the fridge! Hungarians are never early (within our experience)! I could have bought more real food! And then I thing, well crap,now what do I do? So I made a sandwich and rearranged everything in my room for a while - trying to figure out the most logical places for things and also trying to use up

some of the day. Because in all honesty, no one is really moving in until tomorrow so there aren’t many people to meet and my American friends aren’t coming until tomorrow also. So, I needed to make the most of my alone time. I watched a movie and took a nap. ( As a side note: Please try not to be too sad, but now that I'm on my own my food assessments might be a little sparse as I foresee a lot of sandwiches and cheap food from the school and dorm cafeterias. I promise when I have an exciting meal I will both photograph and offer commentary on it!

Upon waking up from my nap I figured I could get some more food to put in my fridge so I decided to take a walk to the closer grocery store. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the dorm and it was a nice day, so why not? When I got there it took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to get a cart. They’re smart over here - you have to put in a 100HUF piece into the handle of the cart out at the stations in the parking lot, use the cart in the store, and when you’re done and back in the parking lot you have to return it to the cart station and push it in - whereupon it pops back out your 100HUF! This would solve so many problems in the US. Brilliant, I say!

The rest of the evening wasn’t so exciting - I emailed some, played on the computer, took a stroll around the dorm (figured out where the pool was, sat in the lobby to use the internet because I don’t yet have an ethernet cable to hook up in my room, and

figured out where the laundry is), and watched some of my TV DVDs. Having nothing better to do I went to bed around 10pm. It’s nice to have personal time like this, but I really hope I can make some friends soon :)

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. [Erma Bombeck]

1 comment:

  1. Punching your ticket on the train? Let's flashback to Ischia and that fun little debacle...


Thank you all so much for your comments! I'm only happy when I have comments. Really. You are contributing to my future happiness right now! XOXO