Thursday, October 05, 2006

a little relaxation

I think yesterday was the best day I’ve had in Budapest so far.  The weather has finally gotten a little cooler, I didn’t have a weekend trip hanging over my head, and so I just bummed around the city with Mary all day.  We left around 11 to go to Karoli Gaspar University, where we have classes on Monday.  The English department there has its own library, and we needed to do some reading for our Holocaust in American Literature class.  We stayed there doing homework until almost 1, when we left to go to a cafe, where we did a bit more reading for classes. 

Around 2 we left to go pick up my plane ticket for Greece, where I am going in two weeks.  We have a fall break for 10 days, and everyone is traveling.  Christy and I picked Greece as our destination of choice, and bought tickets online about a week ago.  That was an exciting day.  So Mary and I took the subway up farther north in the city than we had ever been.  It was so refreshing to get to a part of the city where we could still explore.  We found a large market, much like the Central Market nearer where we live and go to school, and wandered around in it for awhile.  While there we bought langos (lahn-goh-sh), a traditional Hungarian food, for the first time.  Langos is really just friend dough, which you can put seasonings on.  We both had garlic on ours.  It was fabulous, but kind of greasy.
After our langos and exploration, we headed over to Professor Fetzer’s for a weekly open house (Fetzereknel in Hungarian).  We were especially excited for it this week, because his wife, Tamara, had finally joined us here.  She flew in on Tuesday, so yesterday (Wednesday) was the first time we got to see her since our informational meeting back at Calvin in April.  It was so good to see her, and so see him so happy to have her here.  We all love Professor Fetzer a lot, so anything that makes him that happy is good for us, too.
Upon leaving Fetzereknel, though, things got really interesting.

Christina and Annaliese were heading to a pub near our dorm, Fono, where traditional Hungarian folk dance was going to be taught.  So Julia and I decided to join them and I am so glad that we did.  It was so much fun!  The instructions, of course, were all in Hungarian, so at times we got a little lost, but the dance instructor was very good at breaking the steps down and showing them to us, so it mostly didn’t even matter that we didn’t understand his instructions.  After awhile we got to a point where we had to break into partners, but, surprisingly enough, there were enough boys to go around!  I was glad to be a girl, because the boy steps were pretty boring.  Girls get to do lots of twirling and spinning.  There are some unisex steps, mostly jumping and stomping and slapping of thighs, calves, and the floor. 
After an hour of dance lessons, the four of us went out for pizza before heading back to Fono for a concert of Hungarian folk music.  This concert was not a classy event, though, but a foot-stomping, floor-slapping, woman-twirling sort of thing.  I was glad we had learned a bit of how the dances went before going so that we could get up and dance, too.  Again, we were paired with strangers, and my partner just kept spinning me (I got a bit dizzy), but it was fun.  The band, which played what Christina informed us were “hurdy-gurdies,” played for probably twenty minutes straight, and we all just kept dancing. 
We left after two hours, and immediately upon arriving back at the dorm I was set upon by a number of my roommates, saying they were going dancing, and I was expected to go, too.  So of course, even though I had already been dancing twice, I agreed.  We headed out to a club we had been told had good music and dancing, but when we got there, we found out that there are two clubs with the same name, and we had gone to the wrong one.  This one was just a quiet bar; no dancing.  The correct one would have easily taken us half an hour to get to, so we went to a nearby open-air club we knew of, but it was closed.  There were some people standing around though who told us there was a good dance party on a boat that was docked nearby.  And sure enough, upon arriving at the boat, which was called A38, we heard music pumping, so we headed in, and it was a good time, complete with disco balls.  Some of the music they played was funny to us Americans (“Hit the Road, Jack” is not what one usually hears at this sort of establishment, but was quite a hit with the Hungarians, and was in fact quite fun to dance to). 
When we finally got home at 1:30, I was very tired, but also happy.  Dancing makes me that way, whether it is Hungarian folk dancing or hip-hop.  I’m sure I’ll be getting more of the Hungarian folk dance while I’m here, too, because Fono has folk concerts every Wednesday night.  That makes my heart happy.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 10/05 at 01:48 PM
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