Friday, September 08, 2006

the honeymoon is over

Well, we aren’t in the honeymoon phase anymore.  I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it does change certain dynamics.  I no longer feel compelled to take someone with me on the bus or tram.  I can safely go by myself to class or to the travel agent to talk about trips I’m planning.  Certain things about the city irk me.  Why can’t anyone throw away their cigarette butts?  There are trash cans with ashtrays all over the place, but no one bothers to use them.  The other day I was lying on the grass in the park, minding my own business and reading my book.  I kept smelling stale cigarettes, though even though no one around me was smoking.  Finally I got up and moved, and when I did I noticed two cigarette butts under where I had been lying.  Ew.  Not a yard away was a trash can, complete with ashtray.  Some things I will never understand.

I can also tell that we are out of the honeymoon stage by the fact that I now have homework.  I’m not on vacation in Budapest anymore.  I’m a student.  We have quizzes in Hungarian language class almost every day, so we have to study nouns or adjectives every night.  (We haven’t learned verbs or sentence structure yet - I’m getting a little worried that we won’t ever get to that!)  I had my first art history course yesterday, and while the professor seems absolutely amazing, and she must be one of if not the most brilliant woman I’ve ever had the priviledge of meeting, the textbook is a good two inches thick, and she expects us to read all of it.  This will prove to be a bit difficult because there are only two copies of the book for the eleven of us who are taking the class.  The edition the professor prefers is out of print, so we can’t get more copies.  I guess it’s nice that she doesn’t ask us to spend $150 on a book we might very well leave here in Hungary (who wants to carry a 10 pound book in their luggage?!), but it will be interesting to see how 11 people to 2 books works out over the course of the semester. 
I think I’ve chosen my final course, too.  The way things work here is not like it is in the US.  First of all, you don’t pre-register for classes.  On Monday there will be a session where the professors will say a little blurb about their course(s), and then we can choose what one(s) we want to take.  As I am taking the two required course with Professor Fetzer, and one of my other two courses is the art history one, I only get to choose one more class.  It was hard, since there were three or four classes that sounded fabulous, but I think I finally settled on “The Holocaust in American Literature.”  This will meet on Monday mornings, which means all my classes will be on Mondays and Tuesdays (what a hardship…ha).  I’ll have the aforementioned class and Professor Fetzer’s “Perspectives on Twentieth Century Eastern and Central European Literature” (what a mouthful) on Mondays, and art history and Professor Fetzer’s culture class on Tuesdays.  Not a bad deal.  I’m worried that when I get back to the US and Calvin I won’t have any study habits left to speak of! 
Well, before my computer battery dies, I’m going to post this.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 09/08 at 09:52 AM
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