Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last Day

I wrote my first post for this blog on my first day in Hungary. To bring things to a full-circle conclusion, I am writing this post, on my bed in my room, on my last day in Hungary.

It's hard to believe. It honestly doesn't seem real. I've (mostly) packed, I've said some goodbyes, I've cleaned, and I've been thinking about this final day for weeks. But now that it's here, I cannot quite comprehend it. I've been living here for the past 4 months, so who's to say that I won't be here tomorrow? This is my life now, but it's all changing tonight at 3:30am. 13 hours from now.
What do you do with a last day? Try to go back to as many places as you can that you loved? Find somewhere new and have one last adventure? I don't know. Like I said: It doesn't seem real.

I went to my street's cafe this morning, swam at the baths with some girls, ate at my favorite soup shop for lunch, and we're going to go out for dinner in the city this evening after packing up this afternoon. Only good things on our last day in Budapest.

I can't quite discern right now how I've changed or what I've learned. I think those things will come with time. So I don't quite have a conclusive ending to this adventure right now. But, in a way, there really shouldn't be an ending, should there? Whatever I've taken from this semester should carry on through my life. I know I'm going to be sentimental and emotional for a while, but I think that there is some merit to maintaining the feeling and perspective I gained on this semester. Either way, it's been a crazy adventure, taking me through Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Poland, and Belgium. But Budapest will always be one of my homes.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Just Life #7

 We said goodbye to our campus last Wednesday on the last day of classes! I will miss the hills, but not the barbed wire.
 Midnight premiere of The Hobbit! It came out a day earlier in Europe than it did in America. It was a fun time, even though I almost fell asleep in the middle of the movie around 2am.
 We went up to Castle Hill in Buda to have a girls photoshoot in the city! The snow and morning air were just beautiful.

 We went to a soup shop, ate bowls of goulash, and then stayed into the evening talking over coffee. Such a slow and friendly lifestyle these days.
 Another night, we went out for cheap Chinese food and then walked along the river. We laughed at ourselves about this picture, that we managed to pose right in front of the only dead lights on the whole building.
 We went up to Erzsebet Tower on Saturday! The ski lift up was a solid 15 minutes, and it was just beautiful! At the bottom it was clear and green...
 ...But as we went up the mountain, it became foggy and bare. I kept feeling like I should be really serene, but I was just too excited to calm down!
 We made it to the top!
 As we stood up on top of the tower, on top of Budapest, we sang as loud as we could a Hungarian folk song we learned at the beginning of the semester in Hungarian class.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Semester in Cafes


Café Gottier, Híradó Café, Púder, Massolit, My Little Melbourne, Tamp and Pull, Starbucks, Kockacukor, A Table, Coffee Cat, and the dorm. These are just some of the places I went for coffee this semester. Believe me, there are many more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

8 Days

One week from right now, I will be preparing to leave Hungary the next morning. 3am in the morning, specifically. In honor of these next 8 days left in Hungary (becuase I'm counting Wednesday), I'm going to list 8 things that I am doing/thinking/feeling/loving/avoiding.
1. I am sitting on my bed with my roommate, side by side, working quietly.
2. I am studying for my last final exam: Global Health. You want to know about NCDs, MDGs, TB, or WHO? I can tell you.
3. I am listening to Bradley Hathaway, Sufjan Stevens, and Belle and Sebastian.
4. I am not shaving my legs for the rest of the time here. Not worth it.
5. I am getting excited for the 2 Christmas parties coming up this week. Cookies, sweaters, presents, and friends.
6. I am not organizing any of my stuff. Some people are starting to sort clothes, but I am thinking I'll leave that for Tuesday.
7. I am buying tickets to go to the midnight showing of The Hobbit tomorrow night. Subtitles here we come!
8. I am contently, sentimentally, and greatly enjoying myself in good old Budapest.
(P.S. If the picture looks familiar, that's because I posted a picture of this tram stop before, back in the fall. It's changed to be bare and snowy now.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


 Five of us girls got up at 6am to see the sun rise from the top of Gellért Hill. The sun was supposed to rise at 7:18am. Climbing up the hill in the half light half dark was just incredible!
 The top of the hill was totally empty, quiet, and cold. So different than during the tourist season.
 Okay, so we weren't in Alaska, but I thought this was appropriate since it was freezing cold!
 We could still seethe moon, even minutes before the sun rose.
 And then it rose.

 The city lit up in so much color! I couldn't believe the beauty.
 But somehow, I still think this as appropriate for Budapest. It is beautiful and colorful, but it nevertheless has a certain black and white feel. It's hard to describe.
So worth getting up early! We even went out for breakfast afterward, and I had my first bagel this whole semester! Oh, how I have missed bagels.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just Life #6

 Prepare yourself. This is going to be a lot of random pictures.

I went back up Castle Hill with my visitors this weekend to show them around. I was actually pretty excited to go, because I haven't been up there to just look around since the beginning of the semester.
 Last time, I was up there in the middle of the day in August. This time, it was a cold evening in November. So beautiful!
 It gets dark here at 4:30 these days, so it starts to get dusky around 3pm. It's weird, but it is also very pretty. There's over an hour of dusky evening time every mid-afternoon when there is still natural light, but the city lights are also starting to come on. I just love it!
 This right here is one of my favorite things in Budapest. It's inside St. Stephen's. That cathedral is gorgeous inside.
 The Opera House has a big Christmas tree inside! So festive!
 On a less gorgeous note, I thought I would document the everlasting escalators down to the metro.
 They are actually kind of scary at first. But now, when I'm on a normal escalator, it feels so short and slow.
 This is my favorite patisserie in the city! They have the best kremes I've ever tasted.
 And last week, I went to this tea house for the first time. I wish I'd discovered it sooner--it's so cozy! You can either climb up a ladder to a little nook behind the wall, or lounge on pillows on the floor. It's kind of treehouse meets hostel meets sleepover.
 Christmas markets in front of St. Stephens! The ones at Varosmarty are still the best for shopping, but the ones in front of St. Stephens have an outdoor icerink!
 Goodbye November...
...Hello DECEMBER!


It's December, so I decided it was high time I took a tour of the parliament building in Budapest. It is stunning on the outside, so I couldn't leave Hungary without seeing the inside. I went with my 2 visiting friends, and 2 other people from my trip, and we braved the cold December morning at 8am to stand in line for tickets. It was all worth it, though! It was even prettier than I thought it would be.

 This is the main entrance hall. Our tour guide informed us that there were 96 steps--I think 96 is supposed to be significant for some reason, but I forget why. Also, the pillars on the sides are gifts from Sweden. Regardless, it was a beautiful room!
 This is the room under the main dome. Statues of past kings and queens lined the walls. Each window was tinted a different color.
 And in the middle of the room sat the crown jewels. Not quite as impressive as the ones in London, but still pretty cool.
 The inside of the dome! Dull colors, but still beautiful = typical Hungary.
 I believe this room is for various political people to lounge, smoke, and socialize. It was actually quite a cheery room!
 The hallways were something like Hogwarts meets Downton Abbey.
I actually loved this room! It's where the politicians give speeches and vote on things--pretty typical. But it was just so light and colorful! I wouldn't mind spending my work hours in here.