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.

I wonder how different my experience here would be if I simply had a door on my bed “room.”  Since coming back from Greece, I’ve hardly gotten 7 hours of sleep at night.  Why?  Because night-owls are in the living room of the apartment until all hours of the night, and early-birds (who went to bed on time) come down to the living room in the morning, sometimes by 8:00.  I’m a light sleeper, so any and every noise made in the living room wakes me, even when we have the fan going on high to create white noise.  It is as though the people in the living room are actually in the bedroom because there is no barrier between the two rooms.  This has started to take it’s toll, and today my apartment-mates supported me in closing off the living room between midnight and 8 a.m.  Hopefully this won’t cause tensions among the group, but I have faith that our group is easy-going and understanding enough that they will accept this new request gracefully. 
The group is still living together amazingly well.  Coming into the semester I anticipated more tension and drama among a group of 21 (for the most part) previously unacquainted people living together almost 24/7, and with little or no personal space.  But to my knowledge, interpersonal tensions and drama have not risen.  Of course there is some unhappiness over undone dishes or hair not pulled out of the shower drain, but these are not results of quarrels, just what happens with eight girls share one kitchen and two showers.  We still love to sit around at night and talk, watch movies or downloaded television shows together, or play cards.  And if anyone needs, say, a cup of sugar, everyone who has sugar is happy to offer theirs.  It’s really quite pleasant and I could not ask for better people with whom to live.
When living with someone, or seven (and sort of twenty) someones, it is inevitable that certain mannerisms will become shared.  The whole group uses “igen” for yes, although it was Cory that started it.  Coming into the semester I was the only person who regularly used the conjunction “ya’ll,” but I’ve heard almost all of my roommates slip it into conversations now (although they will deny it).  And all of us have picked up a slightly annoying and possibly Borat-esque but entirely Calvin-semester-in-Hungary-program-of-2006 accent when we are engaging in light-hearted banter, often in the kitchen when three or four of us are making dinner simultaneously.  I wonder if I will continue to use the accent and certain Hungarian words that have found their way into my vernacular when I am back home in the United States.  Or is it solely something I do whenI am with the group here, because they do it and it has become a part of our group culture? 
Here are some other things that I will not miss upon leaving Budapest:
-it is currently 9 pm, but the sun went down almost 5 hours ago.  Since we don’t go to bed until midnight, and rarely get up before, or even at 8 (if we can help it), at least half of our day is spent in darkness.  I realize that the sun sets early this time of year the world over, but I don’t remember it setting between 4 and 4:30 in November back at home. 
-at the end of the day, after riding on public transportation, my body aches.  This is because your muscles have to be tensed while riding the public transportation, as otherwise you will inevitably go crashing into the stranger beside you when the tram or bus jerks, which WILL happen.  And that jerking on your already tense muscles doesn’t help the end-of-the-day muscle fatigue.
I will however miss the good friends I have made here.  Not one of them will be in my dorm upon returning to Calvin; in fact, most of them will live off-campus.  I won’t have any classes with Professor Fetzer, and his class here on Eastern/Central European literature is usually the highlight of my academic week.  I won’t have a living room to sit in or hours of free time to wander about an amazing city.  But life moves on and you adapt.  I will probably romanticize my time here in my memories, just as I’m sure I am currently remembering life at Calvin in a rosier hue than is realistic.  As with any change, I will miss certain things about Budapest, and be glad to be rid of others.  This experience will eventually become just another piece in my life’s puzzle, but with the time I have left here I plan to make it an even more beautiful and enriching piece.

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