Thursday, December 14, 2006

finishing touches

The semester is almost officially over, with tomorrow being our last day in Budapest, and we will spend it cleaning.  Many people are out tonight, visiting that favorite bar or restuarant one last time.  I’ve come down with an end-of-the-semester cold, so I’ve watched the first sixteen episodes of “The West Wing” in the past three days.  I must say, I’m hooked.  It’s an excellent show and if you aren’t already a fan, maybe you should consider becoming one.  Excellent writing, acting, and directing.  But anyway, I’ve also had some time for reflection as everyone else runs around taking care of last minute errands and impulses. 

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 12/14 at 03:27 PM
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Thursday, December 07, 2006

being cultured

I went to the ballet tonight.  In Europe.  Honestly, who does that?  A year ago, I never would have said it would be me.  But a lot can change in a year.  I remember standing outside my dorm building in the snow last January, on a borrowed cell phone, calling my dad to say that I had heard about Calvin’s semester program in Hungary, and I thought I might apply for it.  And now here I am, going to the ballet on Thursday night.  And not just any ballet - I saw “The Nutcracker.” 

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 12/07 at 05:30 PM
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

worth waking up for

On Wednesday mornings for the second half of this semester a number of us have gathered for Bible study at 10:00.  For some reason, I seem to get to bed late on Tuesdays, so waking up is never pleasant on Wednesday morning.  Our Bible study is worth it, though.  We don’t really do much Bible studying per se.  We typically read a selected passage and then read a couple of chapters from “The Last Battle” by C.S. Lewis, and end our time together with prayer. 

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 12/06 at 06:20 AM
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Viennese Weekend

For my final weekend trip while living in Budapest, I went to Vienna with four of my roommates.  Kyla, one of said roommates, has a sister, Chanda, who lives in Vienna, and who graciously agreed to host and feed us.  That was so nice, because Vienna is expensive.  I don’t think I could have made it work without free food and lodging.  And such good food.  After cooking for oneself for four months (aka lots of pasta and chicken), varied meals with lots of seasonings tasted fabulous.  She can also get skim milk, which tasted oh so good.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 12/05 at 02:48 PM
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Monday, November 27, 2006

School?  What?

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.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 11/27 at 08:23 AM
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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.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 11/21 at 06:51 AM
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Thursday, November 16, 2006

urban sprawl

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.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 11/16 at 05:36 PM
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

getting tired

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.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 11/14 at 03:37 PM
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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.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 11/11 at 07:40 AM
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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.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 11/08 at 02:59 PM
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Oracle at Delphi

Delphi was by far the most relaxing part of our trip for the simple reason that there isn’t a whole lot to do there.  We took the three-hour bus to Delphi on Thursday with two other girls from our hostel, Kathleen and Nicole.  They were also American students studying abroad (Copenhagen).  It has been such fun to meet people randomly like that, and the best part is that everyone we’ve met has been so nice.  And since most of the people we meet are also traveling all over right now, they have interesting stories, and their lives are similar to ours.  I worry sometimes that when I go home it will be hard to relay all my experiences to my friends and family because they’ve all been living their regular lives while I’ve been over here.  It’s not that I think my life is so much more exciting, it’s just very different from the daily routine back home.  So it was nice to meet other abroad students and travelers.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 10/31 at 10:42 AM
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a tad bit disappointed

After Santorini and living in a real-life fairy tale for three days, we were a bit disappointed in Athens.  It’s such a huge city, really enormous.  We had four male roommates in our hostel again, one of whom had sleep apnea and snored like nothing you’ve ever heard.  The whole city smelled of some sort of urine/corn/bleach combination, and there’s really not all that much to do tourist-wise.  We made the most of it, though.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 10/31 at 09:35 AM
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Santorini, part two

Santorini only got better on Sunday, which was October 22.  Maybe you don’t know this, but that’s my half birthday.  :)  It began with sun shining in our windows.  The air was warm and sweet-smelling when we went onto the porch before breakfast.  Definitely beautiful.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 10/31 at 08:16 AM
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Santorini - the island of dreams

Santorini was by far my favorite place on our journey.  I am so glad we decided to go there, because it wasn’t in the original plan.  What a fabulous addition. 

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 10/31 at 06:31 AM
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The beginnings of my Greek Adventure

First of all, I love Greece.  It is so beautiful and warm.  I have so many great memories from my time there that it is very unlikely I will be able to remember them all for these posts.  That being said, I will try to give a good account of my experiences.  I won’t put the whole trip in one blog, though.  That would simply be too long.  So I’ll start with our traveling experiences on the way to our first stop (Santorini) in this blog.

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Posted by Emily MacLeod on 10/31 at 05:30 AM
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