Follow The Lady [Carbon Leaf]

Thursday, October 1, 2009

[6 September 2009 - 10 September 2009]

Hungarian Word of the Day(s): One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Egy, kettö, három, négy, öt

(edge, ket-u [like the sounds early, burn], ha-room, nedge, ut [like in ketto])

Counting is important! Especially when you need to order things at the deli counter, or at the Princess stand, or when you’re buying other assorted everyday needs. I wrote for five days today, you get to learn to count to five!


6 September

Today we went to Margaret Island, which is basically a huge recreational location in the middle of the Danube. There’s a track (like the ones on tracks in the US) around the island and a sports center in the center of the island. It’s also got huge parks, outdoor bars and clubs, and a bunch of statues. Your cast of characters for this morning includes me, Laura, Aleksandar, Branislav, and Farida. The day started out with our usual ride into town, but with a little surprise. Budapest, so far, has been a city happy to give away free samples of things. This morning? Mini-cans of Coke Zero. You can’t be unhappy with people handing you free things. From there we decided to go into St. Stephen’s cathedral once again because Alex had yet to go inside. From here we took a long walk to the island - stopping to take periodic pictures with the mass amounts of status that litter the city. Once on Margaret Island we first encountered the singing fountain - which sadly doesn’t sing. Rather the fountain spurts to the playing of music in the park on loudspeakers. It’s rather entrancing. Also of interest in the park was the water tower (which doesn’t have water in it). It provided us with beautiful views of the island as well as the Buda and Pest sides of the city. There are also ruins of an old monastery, but they’ve been partially reconstructed, so they’ve lost their magnificence. On the walk home we went out onto one of the bridges (the Erzebet Bridge) and took some nice pictures as the night was amazing - picture perfect. And finally once almost home we took a trip into Ikea so I could buy a blanket and a class and alex could buy a plant.

7 September

Today was a day of a lot of work. Today started the second week of pre-session. I had a meeting with the director of the two-year master programs. He’s apparently also our “moral advisor” which means he has to check and make sure we’re of the temperament that we can survive outside of our home countries without going either depressed or crazy. Apparently I am “wide-eyed, hopeful, and healthy” or something. The only other excitement of today was our adventure to the pool in the dorm. There’s a little man that guards the pool - he gives you a towel, a key for a locker, and inspects that you have a swim cap. Should you not have a swim cap he makes you buy one (I picked out the Carolina blue one - obviously). It’s a chilly pool and only about 3.5ft deep - perfect for laps and hanging out. The pool is littered with silly signs reminding you to wear your swim cap. It was fun, but we found our swim caps to be silly and a great source of entertainment.

8 September

School today was just a bunch of meetings to attend. Thinks like how to use some of the databases available to us (which are quite few - again I realize how spoiled I was at UNC), how to use to visual lab, and something to do with student records. Nothing too exciting. After the meetings were through Alex, Laura, and I decided to head out to Hero’s Square because, again, Alex had yet to go there. It was fun, we took some silly pictures as usual and just enjoyed riding the yellow metro (the second oldest in Europe - only behind London. It’s shallow because when it was first built it was used with horse drawn carriages!). After Hero’s Square we went into the courtyard for the Vajdahunyad Castle. It’s composed of over 20 buildings, but the only one you can go into is for the Museum of Agriculture (and really, why would we go in there?). Instead the courtyard of these buildings is home to some awesome statues. In particular there’s a statue to Anonymous (a specific anonymous that penned a particular piece, but that kinda makes it less exciting. Doesn’t it?) The bagel sandwich that's the last picture was my lunch. It was delicious - cheese bagel, chive cream cheese, and tomato. Amazing. And from California Coffee Company (the closest I can get to Starbucks here!) I know you guys were missing my food journal, but school food isn't photo-worthy. But stay tuned I will be on the hunt for deliciousness to eat and photograph.

9 September

Again, not a very interesting day as far as school was concerned. We’re all getting a little tired of the meetings. Which is probably not good, because they’re probably telling us important stuff and we’re not paying attention. Today’s meetings included ones on how to use the library, fire and safety, and counseling options available to us should we need them (that lady was funny though - she insisted that we go out and do things. “Don’t study too hard! It’s bad for you!”). This evening was an exciting one though! Every year in early September all the biggest and best wineries from around Hungary come to Buda Castle and show off. The Budapest Wine Festival is the place to be if you’re a wine maker in Hungary. We happened to be there on the first night it was open - so there were swarms of people dressed up and chatting away. It was expensive, but worth it. You pay a sum to get in (which includes a very nice wine glass and a carrying case for it to be worn around you neck) and then buy tickets to purchase wine at the stands. Wines vary in the number of tickets they cost. Obviously more tickets = better wine. However, we are graduate students on stipends, so we drank the cheaper wine (but still of better quality than most US wines!) and enjoyed the company and the gorgeous view. It was a beautiful night at the castle and offered us an amazing treat.

10 September

Today I did laundry! Finally! Which caused a little bit of a heart attack, but I survived. I bough some detergent a few days ago at the grocery store (The Match!) and was content with my purchase. That was until I was walking away from the start of the first cycle when I looked at the bottle a little closer and realized there was a picture of white sheets and tee-shirts on it. Crap! Did I just bleach my clothes? So for the next half hour I waited with anxiety to see the state of (90%) my clothing. Thank God, it wasn’t bleach. My clothing survived. You would think I had never done laundry before! I blame the Hungarian words! Meetings at school today included a lot of information on how to use even more online resources. Most of which I already knew how to use from UNC, so I really feel as though I wasted my time today. After the meetings were over Alex, Laura, and I headed back up to Buda (not realizing, or remembering, that the Wine Festival was still going on). We just walked around the little side streets, went into Matthias Church again (cheaper this time, since I am now officially a student), and hung out around the Bastion. Out of nowhere some tourists asked me if I was Katie Holmes. I’ve received a few look-alike compliments before, but I just don’t see the Katie Holmes one.

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