Thursday, August 31, 2006

2.8% milk

This morning as I was getting ready for Hungarian language class, I ate some “Mini Zimtos” (think Life cereal meets Golden Grahams) with some 1.5% milk on them.  It is impossible here to get any type of milk other than 1.5% or 2.8%.  There is no skim milk, nor regular 1% or 2%.  And it all comes liters, although you do have a choice of a pouch or a carton.  I still don’t know how to say milk in Hungarian, or else I’d tell you how right now.  We have started learning the language a bit though.  This morning we learned numbers one through 10,000.  Pretty good for one morning, eh?  I can also say good morning (jo reggelt) and good day (jo naput), thank you (kosonom), and one or two other random things. 

For instance, I know how to say “Where are the children?”  I could also ask you for a kilo (or a half kilo, or a quarter kilo) of grapes or mushrooms.  However, I know very few useful things.  Yesterday Julia and I wandered around downtown for a couple of hours, looking in shops and noticing some interesting European fashions.  >cough

< Since the high here yesterday was 17 degrees Celsius, we stopped at one point to warm up with some hot chocolate at a little streetside cafe. We were unable to ask the waiter for our drinks in his own language. We are so blessed that many people here speak English, and speak it well.
We've heard that people here above a certain age also speak Russian, although they refuse to use the language. They were all forced to use it during the Communist years here. There is really a remarkably humorous approach to those dark years. The other day Julia, Chandra, Christy, Mary, Kyla, Cari and I went to the Communist Statue Park. Before coming here I had thought that all the traces of Communism had been destroyed here, but this is not the case. In the lobby at Corvinus University there is still a bust of Karl Marx, and at the Communist Statue Park there were dozens of statutes preserved from the Communist era. There were even joking souvenirs with phrases such as "Get up. Drink coffee. Work for the State." The statues were very interesting, but not as interesting to me as the fact that they had been preserved.


You may have noticed that thus far I’ve spent a lot of time with the girls with whom I went to the statue park.  Well, last night I broke out of that routine.  A number from the Calvin group headed out around 8 to go up to the citadel, from where you can see the whole city.  I haven’t been up there during the day yet, but at night it was beautiful.
  Me and Cory by the citadella statue
It was fun to spend some time with others from the group, too.  I am so blessed by the people with whom I am here.  Everyone is so nice, and gets along so well!  The group dynamics are better than I had even dared to hope for.  The only problem is that when we go out in evenings we are terribly conspicuous because we are always such a large group.  We like each other too much to leave anyone behind.  This is a nice problem to have, though, and one that I am perfectly fine with.  It’s a good thing that everyone gets along so well, in fact, because we do spend a lot of time together.  The apartment is almost always full of people.  The free internet and the kitchen are a big draw, as is the community.  Not such a bad thing, I think. 

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 08/31 at 05:14 AM
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