Monday, November 27, 2006
As our semester here is drawing to a close (three weeks to go), we are suddenly reminded that yes, in fact, we are still students. Our purpose here is to learn, and while we’ve been doing lots of self-learning and cultural learning, the book learning has been relegated to the back burner for most of our time here. Now, however, we are faced with three or four papers apiece to finish in the next two weeks, along with various readings and exams for which to study. What? A regular college workload? We are not used to this.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
a weekend of relaxation
Someone - Calvin College, Professor Fetzer, the travel agent - knows what they’re doing. This past weekend’s group excursion to Sarospatak and Debrecen was quite enjoyable, and definitely well-timed. We’re all starting to get tired. We’ve been doing the whole living in a foreign country thing for three months now, and while we love it, it does drain a person. The end is in sight, and with that comes the added stress of final papers and exams, as well as how to fit all our European purchases into our suitcases to go home. So a relaxing weekend was just what the doctor ordered, and just what we had.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I hadn’t realized how removed from American culture I had become, and how used to (at least some of) European culture until tonight. This week there has been a North American culture week at Karoli Gaspar, where I go to school. Tonight eight students presented papers on various aspects of North American culture, and one paper, given by Calvin’s Eric Knibbe, was on urban sprawl. I had read his paper in preparation for the panel tonight; that way someone would be sure to have questions for the open-forum time following his presentation. While reading his paper I was reminded of the way urban communities (or non-communities, as it were) work in North America. Seeing the photographs that accompanied his presentation tonight really brought it home, though.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I fell in love with Budapest, and Hungary in general, right away upon arriving (not counting that first day, which was pretty rough due to the lack of sleep over the past 48 hours). I feel as though the infatuation is over though, and has been for a little while now. It’s like people say, “Love is not an emotion, but a choice.” I am choosing to love Budapest right now. Most days it is very easy. Some days, the little things get to me.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
You’ll never know if you don’t try
One of the first things our group did in Budapest was go to the National Museum. I found myself unimpressed. The museum was too big, causing me to lose interest after the first two hours, and very few of the explanations were given in English. Because of that experience I hadn’t been back to a Hungarian museum until Thursday, when Kyla and Mary convinced me to accompany them to the Museum of Ethnography. Personal history interests me, and the permanent exhibition was free, so I went, and I am oh-so-glad that I did.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
a new love
In the last three months I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places with rich histories. I’ve fallen in love with various places over and over again. First Budapest, then the Romanian countryside, then Poland and, of course, I’m head over heels for Greece. Last weekend our group traveled to Prague. Did it measure up? You bet it did, and I find myself with yet another beloved place.