Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas and some other stuff.

Happy New Year's Eve!!!

With my host family, we celebrated Christmas on the evening of the 24th. During the day we didn't do much, but before dinner we all got dressed up in fancy clothes. After dinner, we all gathered around the Christmas tree and opened presents. I got some really nice gifts from my family, including a wonderful picture album with pictures both me and my host family have taken of my year. When I opened it and saw what it was, I instantly started crying. It's the sweetest gift I've ever received and I really appreciate it. I've already looked through it about a hundred times!

On Christmas Day, we started our journey to Gyula, where my host parent's parents live. We visited my host mom's parents first, and then my host dad's parents. We ate a lot of really good food and it was nice getting to visit with them. My host parents came back to Szeged on Tuesday, and my sisters and I stayed in Gyula with my host dad's parents. I was really sick most of the week, so we didn't do much. Basically the highlights of my week were walking to Tesco and Spar, hanging out with cats, playing a really cool Hungarian online game, and feeding ducks. It was a really nice week, but it's also good to be home.

When I got home, I had a package waiting for me from my friend Loveneet! Inside were more Oreos, Ranch, my Scrabble Day shirt, three copies of this year's school newspaper, and really nice letters from her and my other friend Rebeca. I love it all, and am so glad she thought of me :)!

I also am officially finished with college applications, and only need my school back home to send my transcripts to two more schools. It's such a relief to have that stress out of the way, but I still have to look into scholarship information. Tomorrow will probably be spent working on the FAFSA... exciting stuff, folks.

Tonight we're going over to my counselor's house and spending the evening with his family. They're hosting Raymond, so we'll get to spend some time together! It should be a fun night.

I'm really excited for 2012. I get to spend 6 more amazing months here, I finally turn 18, I will be reunited with my friends and family, and I will start university somewhere in the fall. So far in 2011, I've had the wonderful opportunity to live in another country, visit 3 others, and meet my favorite people in the world. I'm really happy with what this past year has brought me, but I'm looking forward to a new one as well.

I hope everyone has a great (AND SAFE!!!) night!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Vienna trip, snow, and Christmas!

Two weeks ago was our exchange student trip to Győr and Vienna... (I really can't believe that was two weeks ago.. it feels like it literally just happened). We spent the night in Győr on Friday night, went to Vienna on Saturday, and then went back to Győr on Sunday night.

On Friday, the group of exchange students met in Budapest. Jill, Raymond, the exchangers from Kecskemét, and I got there about an hour before we all had to meet, leaving us plenty of time to get Starbucks, McDonalds, and catch up with our friends. The first person we met up with was my favorite person in the world: Alex from Michigan. We embraced in an incredibly awkward hug and started chattering away about life in our cities. We met up with my other favorite person, Madison from Ohio, at McDonalds. As promised, Madi bought me Starbucks, and not as promised, bought me McDonalds. I think it's obvious why she's one of my favorites (...joking!). Once everyone got there, we got on the bus. Madi and I sat by each other, though we didn't stay in our seats for long. We talked with the others in the back, including Alex and another one of my favorites, Annika from Colorado (but she's Finnish, everyone, don't forget that). We arrived after a couple short hours to our youth hostel in Győr and were told who we were rooming with. When my name preceded Alex's, I ran to her and we embraced in another awkward hug which involved me hitting my face on her shoulder. We spent about an hour relaxing in the hostel, had dinner, and then went into the city to walk around the Christmas markets. We ended up having a REALLY good time and went to bed really late.

Saturday morning we started the day off with breakfast from McDonalds. Everyone was really tired, so the bus trip to Vienna was pretty clam. We had about 5 1/2 hours to walk around the city. I spent the day with Alex, Annika, and a girl named Lowlo from South Africa (there are currently 5 South Africans in Hungary on a short term exchange program). We were starving and looked for a place to eat before deciding on Burger King, since Lowlo had never had it before. It was super cheap and super delicious! After, we had a glorious reunion with Forever 21. I've never been happier in my life to walk into a store before. We did a little bit of shopping before deciding we should actually see some of Vienna. We walked around singing Adele songs really loudly, as well as sanasa-ing. On the bus ride home, Madi and I slept a little bit. We went to a hotel where the Győr Rotary has meetings and had dinner. After dinner, we went back to the hostel for a bit, and then to an international party being held for charity. More fun times like on Friday night. I really like Brazilians.

Sunday morning was another McDonalds morning. We said goodbye to the Győr kids and then got on the bus. Annika, Alex, and I sat together and had way too much fun. My phone background is now a picture of Alex and Annika, Annika's is one of me and Alex, and Alex's is one of me and Annika. We're really cute. We spent a few hours in Budapest before taking the train home. I was really exhausted and slept the whole way home. The next morning I was able to stay home from school (but went to my Hungarian lesson), and by the evening I was really sick. I ended up not going to school at all that week and laid in bed trying to get over a bad cold.

Last Monday I had my final exam for my Hungarian lessons. I ended up getting an 86% on it, which I'm really proud of considering I was so tired and not really all there. Because I was sick, I had to miss some pretty important events, such as saying goodbye to two of my friends from my Hungarian lessons, my Rotary Christmas party, and saying goodbye to a Hungarian friend who will spend a year in England. I'm still upset I missed these things, but I guess it was good that stayed home and tried to get better.

It snowed in Szeged for the first time this week! By the evening it was snowing a lot, so Dori and I went outside and played in it. We made a very small snowman and had a bit of a snowball fight.
It snowed again a couple days ago, but not very much. It should be snowing tomorrow and Sunday for Christmas!!

Hungarians celebrate Christmas on the 24th, 25th, and 26th. The 24th is spent opening presents and decorating the tree, while the 25th and 26th are spent visiting family members and eating huge meals. So, that makes today Christmas Eve! I told my host family that back home, we always have Chinese food on Christmas Eve, and my host mom made some today so that it would feel like I was home. It was so sweet and thoughtful. Also, yesterday we decorated gingerbread cookies and today we made tiramisu.

On Sunday we will leave to visit my host parent's families in Gyula. We will stay there until Tuesday. My best friend Olga's birthday is on the 29th, and then New Year's Eve is a couple days later! I'm really excited and will hopefully be able to do something fun.

I hope everyone has a very good Christmas!!

Friday, November 25, 2011


For Thanksgiving yesterday, I had the amazing opportunity to spend the day with Americans! On my flight here, I met a family of missionaries from the US who lived in Estonia and then moved to Hungary last summer. They live in a city called Érd, which is about 30 minutes by train outside of Budapest. They invited me and any of my exchange student friends to come to their house for Thanksgiving and spend the day with them and some of their American friends!

Jill, Alex (from Michigan), Terry (from Pennsylvania), and I all took the train together from Budapest to Érd. When we got to the family's house, it was just like being at home. It truly felt like we were in America and it was such a strange feeling. Hearing their children say "mom" and just being with a real family made me really really miss mine and just being comfortable. But anyway, we drank hot apple cider (which was soooo good) and all talked about our experiences in Hungary while dinner was being prepared. We ate at around 2 and had turkey, green bean casserole, some kind of corn casserole, rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole and it was all delicious. I haven't had turkey at all since I've been here and I forgot how much I love it!

After dinner (which was actually more like lunch), we went into the basement and all the kids played Apples to Apples. We also went around and talked about our most embarrassing moments. It was really cool just hanging out with other Americans who aren't exchange students, because for once the conversation wasn't about host families or learning the language! Also, it was crazy not having the pressure to speak Hungarian. I never really noticed how much it stressed me out until I didn't have to worry about it. It was just super nice not feeling guilty about speaking English or not understanding what someone was saying. I definitely miss that feeling already.

The boys started playing Xbox, so the four of us went upstairs and had pie and talked to the mom. We talked about what living in Hungary is like, complained about our problems, and discussed what it feels like to be so far away from home. It was pretty emotional, but really nice to get to just talk about it to someone on the outside. Sadly, we didn't get to talk much because we all had to start heading for home. We all really enjoyed the day though and were so grateful for the opportunity to have a day of just relaxing and not stressing about the day to day exchange stuff.

So, obviously I've been thinking a lot about how much exchange has been affecting me. I mean, really, I don't even notice it, but I'm constantly stressed about learning the language or whether I'm spending enough time with the family or not. It's not that it's a bad thing, but it's just hard to get used to. It's hard to feel normal. I think this will get easier with time though. For now, I'm going to try to just relax and take everything one day at a time and not put so much pressure on myself!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Colleen and Bailey's visit!

Yesterday and today Colleen and Bailey were here! They're doing a year of university in France this year and were in Prague, Slovakia, and Budapest this week, so they took the train down to Szeged to see me :D.

I picked them up from the train station at 10:15 yesterday morning. My host dad met us at the train station to take their bags and then we walked around the city for a bit. I showed them my school, the university where I take my Hungarian lessons, and we ate some delicious pogácsa. We walked down to the Tisza River and sat along the edge and talked for a bit. My host dad then took us to my house to eat lunch with my family. We had a traditional Hungarian meal which was chicken with paprika and these little potato dumpling things that are hard to explain. 

After lunch, we went back into the city to walk around a bit more. We walked to the mall and looked around for a bit. When we left the mall, we met with Armando and continued to walk around. When we were walking, we saw an accident between a car and a tram, where luckily no one was hurt or anything. We went into the Votive Church in Dóm square, ate Chinese food for dinner, and ended our night in a really cool bar. We played air hockey and talked and it was just super fun. We got home at around 9 p.m. and then went to my room and talked and looked at my pictures until about midnight. 

This morning we woke up around 8 and ate breakfast before going to the train station. They needed to change their money from Euros but the station didn't have a place to exchange money. We ended up walking all the way to the center of the city to an ATM and then all the way back. There was a man asking if someone spoke English so I volunteered to help him. He was very strange and wearing a yarmulke and a bright orange safety vest with Hebrew on it and a Star of David. When I was done helping him, he thanked me by kissing my hand and saying, "God bless you." So, I walked Colleen and Bailey to their train and we said goodbye. I didn't cry like I expected to, but I'm very sad they aren't around! It was SO good to see them and talk about old times and be around people that know me!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shopping attempts

For the past week or so I've been on a determined search for a winter coat, boots, gloves, a scarf, and a hat. Right now the weather is unseasonably warm... it's only in the high fifties and low sixties. Next week it will drop dramatically and right now I'm not sure if I'm excited anymore or not. Anyway...

Yesterday Jill and I went to pick up our Rotary allowance's and then went to Árkád. We went to a store called "dm" which is like Walgreens kind of... or part of Target. We both needed to restock on shower supplies and such since we haven't bought any since we got here. It was probably the most at home I've felt since I got here... except the prices were in Forint and we couldn't read any of the labels. Still, there's something really comforting about shopping for toiletries and I'm not sure why. After that we looked around for coats and ran into Anna and her friends. Anna left them and came with us and pretty much lead the way for us. The only thing I ended up buying was a book called The Budapest Protocol that I'm super excited to read. In the end we spent about 4 unsuccessful hours at the mall.

Today my host mom and Dori and Jill and I went shopping. We went to this really sketchy outdoor market that looked similar to the ones in China and even had Asian people speaking in Hungarian! So we wandered around that for a bit and I made Dori hold my hand because I was afraid she'd get kidnapped or something. I'm not being dramatic.. the place was creepy. Then we went to a small mall and looked around there. Everything that's cute is expensive and not warm, and everything that's cheap and warm is really ugly and puffy.  I will honestly be surprised if I find something that is cheap, warm, and I like.

Shopping in Hungary is not exactly the same as shopping in the States. For the carts you have to put in 100 Ft (about forty cents) for them to work and then you can use them. You get the money back once you're done with the cart, so I don't see why you have to pay in the first place. We also went to these stores that kind of remind me of a really small Walmart, and people there are crazy. Everyone was really determined to get to what they needed really quickly... even if that meant running into someone to make them move. I would be totally fine if I never went to another one of those stores.

So, besides all the shopping, I've been on a break from school all week! During the weekend my host family and I were in the mountains and we came home on Monday. We didn't do anything for Halloween, but Anna and I put make up on to look like cats and then sat in my room and took pictures. Tuesday I helped Dori and my host dad rake leaves (which was in vain since now there are more leaves than there were originally) and then we played outside for a bit. Yesterday and today were filled with shopping, but I think I'm going to go into the city after I clean my room. And tomorrow Colleen and Bailey are visiting me!! I'm so so so excited and I'm literally counting down the hours until they get here! They will leave Saturday morning and then Saturday night I have a Rotary party. Sunday my host dad's family is coming to celebrate my host mom's birthday (which was last week). The next few days will be really fun and I'm super excited.

Blah blah random ending about how I write too much and I'll post when something happens... I'm so creative okay bye.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trips trips trips

Last weekend I went to Western Hungary and Venice with all the other exchange students. We spent most of the time on the bus, but it was still a lot of fun. Venice is a beautiful city with amazing food! Jill, Alex, and Annika and I walked around together, and ran into the others a couple of times. We asked people walking by where the best pizza place in Venice was and even had a bite of a random guy's pizza! Eventually we found one that was AMAZING and very cheap. We wanted to go back there for dinner, but we found a different place and had pasta. We also had gelato which tasted the same as it does in Hungary, so that was rather anticlimactic. It was really good to see everyone again!

I got home today from my club's trip to Pécs... which actually ended up being a trip to everywhere but the actual city of Pécs. We visited a lot of churches and historical sites which were pretty interesting. Unfortunately we didn't get to meet up with the exchange students there, which we were all really looking forward to. Our next big meeting with everyone is in December, and I already can't wait.

Besides all the trips, school is still school. My Hungarian is coming along slowly and I have a midterm exam for my language class this week. I really want to do well so I plan on studying a lot! The weather here is pretty cold... it's in the 50s most days. It's going to start getting much colder soon, I'm so excited. I think next week is my autumn break from school and I have no idea what I'm going to do. Hmmm okay that's all for now! Next weekend I'm going on yet another trip with my host family and we're going to the mountains. Should be fun!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Assorted thoughts and such

Right now it's Sunday morning and I've been in Hungary for 6 weeks exactly. I wonder if I'll ever stop counting how long I've been here.

So, the last time I posted I mentioned not having a social life. That's changed! Last week, Zizi and I went into the city after school and had an amazing dessert which I forgot the name of and some ice cream, and then we sat by the river and talked. Yesterday, Jill and I went over to our friend Lilla's house and played ping pong and ate probably the best dinner I've ever had in my entire life. People in school will say hi to me and I have at least one friend in every class. I really have started to love school here, as boring as it can be sometimes.

One of the problems I'm facing is that I have literally nothing to do. After school I come home, eat lunch, do homework for my Hungarian lesson, and then sit around or talk to my host sisters. It's really frustrating because I want to do things, but I have no idea what to do or what I even can do. Everyone here studies a lot and I only have Hungarian to study for (which I do, but not for hours a day). I think this will change soon, though. For any potential outbounds reading this, exchange isn't always endless hours of fun and hanging out with friends... or at least, it isn't in the beginning.

I still haven't been very homesick. I've started to miss my friends a lot more though. I talked to Maddy on the phone last night for about an hour and it was so good speaking in English and hearing a familiar voice. I've been skyping quite a bit recently with different people and it makes me feel a lot better. There's nothing more comforting than seeing Alissa make weird faces at me or video chatting with Mareya and cracking up over nothing. I miss them.

Yesterday I was going through things on my computer and read something I wrote five days before I left. In it, I said this: 
I think the hardest thing about all of this is knowing that no matter what, I'll never be at the position I'm at now. I'll never be exactly the way I am now. I'll never have the exact same friends and relationships and feelings. I won't come back from Hungary and feel the way I do now. That kind of scares me.
 Reading it again, it really freaked me out, because I realized I still feel that way and it's actually happening now. There are friends I haven't spoken to since I've got here, and people I hardly talked to at home that I talk to pretty often. I think a part of me will always miss who I was before I came here, since already I've changed a lot. But I also think I'm changing for the better.

On a more positive note, I have a lot of exciting weekends up ahead of me! Next weekend I'm going on a Rotary trip to Western Hungary (Lake Balaton, Tihany, Szombathely) and then on to Venice, Italy! We're taking a bus overnight to get there... the only part I'm not excited about. I can't wait to see some of the inbounds again though and to go to ITALY! The weekend after, my Rotary club is taking us to Pécs. I'm not sure why we're going, but I'm so excited. The weekend after that, my host family is taking me somewhere. I love having things to look forward to, and by the time all of that's finished, it will almost be November. Crazy.

I'm not sure why this post is so negative... I'm definitely happy here! I'm happy as I write this. But I guess I don't want people to think my life here is perfect and fantastic. I don't wake up everyday and think "Oh my god I live in Hungary I'm so COOL!!" There are times when I look around and acknowledge that I'm here and it's actually really humbling. Nothing puts a person in check like being in a country so old and full of history.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life's too short babe, and time is flyin'

To put it simply: I can't believe I've been in Hungary for a month.

Looking back on the past month, it's both very clear and all a blur. I think back to my first days here and how confused I was and really do see some progress. I am much more comfortable with my family, with school, with people my age, and with where I am. 

The language:
Thanks to my Hungarian lessons, I'm learning a lot of new things about the language. I have broken the habit of saying "thank you" and "sorry" as an impulse and instead feel the need to say "köszi" or "bocsánat."I can pick out parts of sentences that I understand and sometimes even fill in the blanks/get the gist of what's being said. Sometimes I hear a word that has a familiar word ending like "-ban" or "-ok" and I can recognize that it means something is in something or someone is doing something, as the suffixes represent. It is hard to not fall back on English, but I think I shouldn't be so hard on myself. Learning a language is hard, especially if that language is Hungarian. Sure, I look and sound silly saying words like "gyertyán" and "gyönyörű,"but I have learned to be less embarrassed about making mistakes. I've definitely made up my mind though... I will continue to learn Hungarian even after I've left Hungary. I want to actually know this language inside and out (or as close to as possible). 

The culture:
Surprisingly, I haven't had any major culture shock. I've been reading up on it though to see if maybe I have and I just don't realize it. For now, I think I'm in a honeymoon stage. Everything is very exciting and I am almost constantly happy. But, I've read that after some time has passed, the things that I once considered awesome differences will soon become annoying and get old. I'm hoping this won't happen, but I do see some of it. I'm not going to lie -- there are things about the Hungarian culture that I dislike and would change if I had any say in things like that, but I don't dwell on them. There are definitely many more positives than negatives. I'm getting used to things like riding the bus, wearing slippers around the house, eating a big lunch and a small dinner, and walking everywhere. Things are different, but they feel less different than they did three weeks ago. I'm starting to feel normal.

School, family, social life:
I think I've written enough about school on here, so I'll keep this short. I will never understand why my classmates wear high heels or (un?)intentionally sit according to gender or spend 4+ hours a night studying for a test, but these are things I oddly love about school here. It's so different from what I'm used to, but I've grown to really appreciate the strange things. My host family is still as kind as they were the first night. I've gotten quite attached to them and honestly never want to leave them. My social life is... nearly nonexistent. I have made friends in school, but have yet to do anything outside of school with them, which I'm okay with. I spend most of my time with Jill and Sami and Raymond, but I don't think it's negatively effecting me at all. I feel like I talk to someone new everyday, so I'm definitely making Hungarian friends. The language barrier is hard to overcome, but I'm confident that in a few months I'll be able to start making deeper connections and actually do things after school.

Every day I spend here is wonderful, but also challenging. There are times when I wish I could stand up and yell at everyone to just speak in English so I can finally understand for once. I definitely long for the days where I can talk to anyone very quickly and with metaphors and sophisticated language and not have to worry if they had any idea what I just said or not. It's a frustrating thing, not being able to speak. Sure, I CAN speak, and I do speak to people, but it's not the same. I'm constantly editing what I really want to say in order to make it make sense to someone who hardly knows English. I've actually zoned out during class and tuned back in expecting to hear English, and was in shock when I heard Hungarian. There are days when I want to quit and just go home because it's too hard. I would never do that, though. I want nothing more than to be exactly where I am.

I'm so glad I'm where I am. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I had stayed in Fresno. I don't even want to think about it, because I know I wouldn't be happy. I am happy here. Boldog vagyok. 

Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in

Monday, September 19, 2011

More things about school...

So today at school I found out that I actually have a schedule now. At first I was really happy about it, and then I realized how horrible of a situation it is. Here's what my day looks like now:

Homeroom type class
Hungarian lessons at the university


Hungarian lessons at the university

Hungarian lessons at the university

Hungarian lessons at the university


So, since Jill and I decided it's pointless for us to go to PE or swimming, I basically only have English and Spanish classes. This would be nice, if I wasn't already used to my former schedule and I hadn't already started making friends. Also, once I get a grasp on Hungarian I won't even be able to use it at school, since the only classes I take will be taught in English or Spanish. Not so happy about it anymore, but we'll see how that goes.

I also started noting differences between American schools and Hungarian schools. Some of my observations...
  • When the teacher enters the room, everyone stands up until they tell them they can sit down
  • There appears to be no dress code
  • The teachers only lecture with minimal class participation
  • We don't have a lunch break... just a 20 minute break in the middle of the day
  • There are virtually no teacher/student friendships... everything is very formal
  • There aren't any counselors to help the students... not quite sure who does
  • In the mornings, there aren't any announcements
  • The bell is actually a really nice short piano piece. I kind of love it.
Although Hungarian school is really easy for me since I don't do much, I think I like American schools much better. I miss almost everything about Edison and regret how much I wanted out of there! I'm just glad I finished all of my classes before coming here so I don't have to worry about grades or credits or anything.

Totally not related to school, but I figure I should write about it. Last Friday night, Jill and I had a sleepover at my house! We made chocolate chip cookies and my host family absolutely loved them. Even though Jill and I were both sick, we still had a lot of fun :).

Now I'm going to read or take a nap or watch t.v. online or something. I'm so bored after school... I need a life! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Debrecen - First orientation!

On Friday I left Szeged with Sami, Jill, Raymond, and Nori to head to Debrecen for our first inbound orientation. We took a few trains there and finally reached the city in the evening after traveling all day. Some Rotex students greeted us and after we waited for a few more students, we walked to the school where we'd be having dinner. We got there much later than any of the others, so we spent hardly anytime at the school. We all got a Rotary Hungary t-shirt and pin though, so that was pretty cool!

After we left the school, we went to the place where we'd be staying. I'm not incredibly sure what to call it, but I think it was a hostel. Regardless, it was a pretty interesting place. I shared a room with Madison from Ohio and one of the Brazilian girls, which was pretty nice considering some rooms had 8 people in them. Debrecen was freezing compared to Szeged, and Madison and I shared a bed because of it.

On Saturday, we ate breakfast in a restaurant near the hostel at around 8 am... way too early for a Saturday. We took a bus back to the school we were at the day before and listed to a lot of presentations on the rules of the program. A lot of it was things I heard before I came, but I think it was necessary to go over them again. We also learned about all of the trips we will be able to go on through out the year! In October we go to Venice, in December we go to Vienna, in April we go to Poland, and we have a Eurotour in both May and June - 26 days apart!

We had breaks in between the presentations and used our time wisely by trading pins. After that, we ate lunch. Our desert was a palacsinta (which they call pancakes, but they're really crepes) and I couldn't cut mine... so Kyle cut it for me hahaha. After lunch, we took tons of pictures outside of the school and then got on a bus to go to the city center. We went into this huge mall and had time to walk around, so Madison and I went into different stores. We found Jillian and also found an apple store! We went to Burger King after and sat with a bunch of other girls and talked about everything from homesickness to what our host families are like.

After the mall, we got on the bus and went to a building in Debrecen, and I'm still not sure what it was exactly. We walked inside though and took more group pictures. We got back on the bus and went back to the hostel. For dinner, we had a very strange soup and then birthday cake because it was someone's birthday. They threw a "disco" for all of us in a type of garage by the hostel. None of my friends wanted to go, so we all went to mine and Madison's room and hung out.

We stayed up pretty late on Saturday night putting make up on Kyle, playing cards, reading funny things from my Hungarian phrasebook, and talking about anything and everything. It was definitely one of the best nights I've had here in Hungary!

On Sunday, we woke up early again and had breakfast. We had to be at the train station by 9 so everyone could leave and go back to their cities. About half of us were all on the same train out of Debrecen. It was super crazy... Kyle fell asleep and it was hilarious and everyone was walking around and talking really loudly. Those of us from Szeged got off before most everyone else and we said our goodbyes. The train back to Szeged was pretty lonely and sad. I hate leaving orientations like this. It was always sad back home, but here it was just so much worse for some reason. When I got home I was incredibly homesick and just sad. I wanted nothing more than to go back to Debrecen to be with everyone again!

So, I definitely had a good weekend. I can't wait to see all the inbounds again!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Yesterday was my first day of school!

My schedule is:
 Monday -
 Some homeroom type class

Tuesday -
Another class but no one is really sure of what subject it is

Wednesday -

Thursday -

Friday -

It's all really confusing and I follow around a girl who was on exchange in Connecticut last year. She's really helpful! School starts at 7:30 everyday and ends at 1:55 everyday except Wednesday and Thursday, when we end at 1:00.

Having so much science is kind of horrible.. I really wish I had more English classes. Also, the Hungarian classes are just what everyone else takes, so it's not helping me learn the language. It's kind of like English lessons at home where we don't learn English, just do a lot of reading and writing.

Mondays - Wednesdays from 12-2 and Thursdays from 8-10 I will have Hungarian lessons at the University of Szeged. This is where I'll actually learn Hungarian with the other exchange students and other foreigners living in Hungary. I'm very excited for this!

Today at school I made new friends! A really nice girl named Petra introduced herself to me. She speaks English REALLY well and we chatted with her friends for a bit. I spoke in Hungarian a little bit with them and they kept saying "aww!" after everything. I had to stand up and introduce myself to my Hungarian class (in English.. easy!) Also, I could understand some of what was going on in Spanish! I haven't taken it for a year though so I've forgotten a lot. It's nice to at least have somewhat an idea of what we're doing, though.

 On Thursday, we have a Rotary meeting or something in SERBIA! So I will be going there :D! I'm so excited... it will be my second European country I visit. Then, on Friday, there is a big orientation with all of the exchange students in Hungary in a city called Debrecen. We will spend the weekend there and I'm not sure what we're going to do. I am so excited to meet everyone and see a new city! I will write more after the weekend in Debrecen!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend at Lake Balaton!

*Just a warning, English is sounding really weird right now, so please excuse any horrible grammar*

On Friday morning, we left to spend the weekend at the lake (also called the "Hungarian Sea"). We stayed at the Telekom Hotel, which is basically a T-mobile hotel. The hotel is in Balatonkenese, which is in the upper right hand corner:

The drive took about three hours, and we went to a small camp site before going to our hotel. My host dad's parents have a trailer there and I'm not sure if they live there or if it's just for the summer. Anyway, there were a lot of people swimming and just lounging around. The bathing suit styles are... interesting. The guys wear cute little speedos regardless of age or size and the girls wear basically what we wear, but the bottoms are shaped differently. Needless to say, it took some getting used to.

After I was introduced to my "host grandparents," we all went swimming in the lake! The water was actually really nice and pretty warm. From where we were, we could see the cities along the coast. It was probably one of the most breathtaking sights I've ever seen. We had lunch from a little booth on the camp site, and I got a hamburger. I'm not quite sure what the meat actually was, and I'm not sure I want to know. It was pretty good though. We swam a little bit more after lunch, and then left the camp site to go to our hotel.

The hotel was right on the lake and huge! It had tennis courts, docks, a mini golf course, a playground, a wellness center, and a conference center with a small bowling alley in it. Our room was on the second floor, and we had two rooms that connected to each other. On Friday night, we ate dinner at the hotel and then went to the room. I don't really remember the rest of the day, but I don't think we did anything exciting.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at the hotel. After, we all went to the wellness center. The wellness center had multiple saunas, a swimming pool, and a jacuzzi. Anna, Dori and I swam for a bit, and then went in a vapor sauna with my host parents. Then, we all decided to do the Finnish sauna! For those of you that don't know, Finnish sauna involves sitting in a normal sauna first, and then immediately after you get out, getting into freezing cold water. It sounds horrible but it's amazing. I definitely recommend it!

In the late afternoon, we played a round of mini golf. The course was so much harder than any one I've played on before. It was only 12 holes and I had 70 strokes... definitely not indicative of my mini golfing skills. After dinner, we went bowling with some of Dani's coworkers that were also at the hotel. There were only two lanes, but it was just like bowling at home. When we went outside to walk back to our room, it was raining a bit!

The rain continued all night and Sunday was quite windy and cold. We went back to the wellness center for a bit in the morning, and then in the afternoon went back to the camp site. We all went on an adventure to Tihany (see map)! Along the way, we stopped at the "Balatoni Bob." It's just a random, small amusement park in the hills and the main attraction is a bobsled type track! We only went on once, but it was so fun. As we were driving to Tihany, we were all really quiet in the car and listened to Adele. The combination of the music and the view just made me appreciate where I was and what I was doing. If visiting Tihany to look out over the Balaton isn't on your list of things to see before you die, you seriously need to revise your list.

When we got to Tihany, we went to the top of a hill where a really famous church was. From the top you could see almost all of the lake and beyond it. The view was seriously breathtaking and I loved it. I didn't have my camera, but my host mom took pictures and I'll get them soon. Anyway, we walked around the little shops for a bit and then headed back to the hotel. Anna and I watched Titanic in Hungarian!!! We also had a little pillow fight. Over this weekend, I've gotten so much closer to the whole family and I love it. Anna and Dori and I act like real sisters :).

Monday morning was still a bit windy but not as cold as Sunday. After breakfast, Dani, Dori, and I each went on a little canoe/kayak type thing and paddled around the lake. It was probably one of the best moments of my entire life... I can't even describe how amazing the view was and how peaceful it was! After, Dori and I went swimming for a bit but it was pretty cold. We checked out and then went to the camp site again to see my host grandparents before heading back home. I taught Anna how to play speed and how to shuffle cards and do the bridge after. I won every game of speed, but I think with practice she'll easily beat me. After we left the camp site, we headed for home. We stopped along the way, so we didn't get home until about 7.

Once we got home, I uploaded pictures and then we had dinner. After, Anna and I sat in her room and looked around on Facebook and at some of my pictures from before I came to Hungary. It's 11 PM now so I'm about to go to sleep, but I've had a really amazing weekend! I'm so glad I'm here and everyday I love it more and more :).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jó reggelt!

So, it's really early on Wednesday morning, and I just woke up for no reason.

Things are pretty normal around here.. I haven't done much since Sunday. On Sunday, we walked around Budapest and through a little crafts fair set up on the outside of one of the castles (I think). We got some kind of bread and gelato and they were both sooo good. The drive home was really nice. We stopped for lunch in Kecskemet, which is halfway between Budapest and Szeged. We all had bean goulash and it was also really good.

Hmm.. what else... more swimming yesterday. I'm going to get so tan, I'm so excited. Also, my sisters sat in my room with me and Dori and I practiced Hungarian/English while Anna looked through my yearbook. We talked a little bit and used a dictionary to help us. Then Anita came up and I gave them their gifts and we looked through some of my pictures that I brought with me. It was really nice to share things about home with them and I really feel like we're a family :).

In the evening, we had dinner together. Dani and I talked a bit about politics and other things about America and Fresno. I love having these talks.. he's a very good listener! Both of my parents are getting better and better with their English, and I correct their mistakes. They also help me with my pronunciation of Hungarian words. Also, we all sat down to watch Leap Year together, in English with Hungarian subtitles. I fell asleep about 10 minutes in, and Anita woke me and asked if I wanted to go to bed, and I did. So I slept from 10 to 6, and I'm about to sleep more.

Overall, things are really good here. I'm very happy... boldog vagyok :). This weekend we're going to the Balaton from Friday to Monday and staying in a hotel. I can't wait! I start school on Wednesday, but it will be nice to be busy. I'll probably miss these days though, so I'm going to enjoy them!


Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm in Hungary!

I have been for two days now. It's 10:36 p.m. on my second day :).

Today was very busy.. My youngest sister, Dori, and I went swimming and played tennis and did a lot of things. It's so fun having younger sisters! We also ate dinner at my Rotary counselors house, and he lives around the corner. I got to meet two of the exchange students already here and some rotex... everyone's very nice!

I don't want to make a long post of "and then we did this, and then this".. which is what my emails are like! I'm very tired, even though I slept for nearly 16 hours last night. It's hard to adjust to the time difference, but at least I didn't sleep through the day.

Hm.. I will write more when interesting things happen. I'm sure no one wants to read about everyday things like eating lunch and going for a walk and things like that!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Airport Adventures

So, I'm supposed to be in Szeged already with my new family, going over first night questions and trying to fall asleep. Instead, I'm sitting in JFK, where I've been for the past 15 hours.

My flight to Salt Lake City went pretty well. I was in the back of the plane next to the bathroom but it wasn't that bad. When we landed I managed to find my gate pretty easily and continued to cry on the way there and while sitting at the gate. When we all got on the plane to JFK, we had to wait on the tarmac for a little over an hour because there were lines of planes waiting to leave. We finally got in the air and it was a four hour flight. They told us we had to land 50 minutes away in Hartford, Connecticut because the weather was so bad and there were no available gates at JFK.

We sat at Hartford in the middle of the tarmac for I think four hours. I boarded the plane at 10 a.m. CA time and got off the plane at 7 p.m. CA time. While we were sitting at Hartford, we couldn't get off the plane because we didn't have a gate. I sat in my seat and cried and called my mom and the emergency number of the travel agency. They told me to stay on the plane until it gets to JFK and they'll book me another flight.

I got to JFK at 10 p.m. NY time and a flight attendant took me and another guy to a room where they keep unaccompanied minors. I tried not to cry and texted my mom to call the travel agent to see if I could get a hotel. The travel agent called Delta's reservations desk and they said they couldn't keep me in that room and would get me a hotel. However, the ladies at the unaccompanied minor's room kept saying I wasn't of legal age to get a room anyway and I had to stay there because I was 17. My mom talked to one of the ladies, and she was SO rude to my mom. There were about four women yelling at me and telling me I couldn't get a hotel room no matter what the travel agent was saying.

Eventually, I gave up. A nicer lady came in and asked me if I wanted to change my clothes and get something to eat. I told her yes, and I ate a panini. Once I was in my pajamas, I went and laid down in my cot. They couldn't turn the lights off for some reason, so the room was fully lit. They also worked in the room we were in and the room next to it through out the night, so there was always someone talking or a phone ringing. I slept from 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. Even though it was horrible, it made me feel a little bit better.

When I woke up, they told me I could take a shower in their VIP club. I showered, brushed my teeth and hair, and felt so much better. I've had a headache, leg aches, and a back ache ever since the plane from Salt Lake, but I just bought Advil to feel better. I haven't cried yet today and I feel a lot better. I emailed my host family to tell them what was going on and they said not to worry and that they're waiting for me and they love me :). I talked to Melissa and she said it was the first time she's seen something like this happen to a student. While I'm glad to know I'll be of help to anyone this happens to in the future, I wish I wouldn't have gone through it.

So now I'm sitting at my gate at American Airlines. They've been so much nicer than Delta.. nearly everyone I've talked to has noticed my blazer and knows I'm a Rotary student. At Delta, I was never asked once while I was there, only where I was going. I have 3 hours until my plane boards, so I think I'm going to watch some TV on Hulu and then maybe Rent if I have time. The wait here isn't so bad, especially considering what I went through yesterday!

I'm so glad to be hours away from boarding. It's been such a long night and day and I can't wait to arrive. I know it's going to be so much better finally seeing my family since I've gone through all of this! Next post will DEFINITELY be from Hungary :).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The night before departure!

As I'm writing this, I'm about 6 hours away from boarding my first plane. In almost exactly 24 hours, I'll be stepping off the plane and meeting my host family for the first time. Crazy.

The week leading up to tonight has been both good and bad. Good because I saw so many people and did a lot of fun things.. bad because at the end of each day I was saying goodbye to someone new. It's been really hard but I know it's not forever. I'll be able to see everyone when I come home and it'll be as if I never left.

It's really a weird feeling knowing I'm leaving. I look at my suitcases and my chain-link countdown and I know that it's my last night... but it doesn't feel like it. It feels like something big is happening but I just can't believe it's the night before I leave. I know it doesn't make sense, and it probably won't to anyone that's never been in this situation before.

It's hard to believe I'm at this point. I can't even put into words how grateful I am and how much this opportunity means to me. Even just being a part of Rotary has been one of the best experiences of my life. I've learned so much about myself and the world just from these upcoming months preparing, and I can't wait to learn anymore. I would like to thank the Visalia Breakfast Rotary Club for adopting me and Melissa Mears for making any of this possible!

So, I guess my next update will be from Hungary. I've talked to my host family and they're so excited for me to get in. They just bought a new sofa for my room :). I can't wait to meet them and start learning and speaking Hungarian! I know it's going to be a challenge but it's going to be the best challenge ever. I'm so ready for this year and so ready to just get there.

Time to try to sleep for 3 hours and 45 minutes... I'll post again from the other side!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Going away party!

Tonight (well, last night, since it's past midnight on Friday now) was my going away party. My dad and his girlfriend threw it for me and I'm so grateful! They did all the decorations and most of the planning and I really couldn't have imagined it going any better.

I'm so happy! I have some of the best friends in the world and it's going to be so hard leaving them. They've been some of the most supportive people throughout all of this and I'm so thankful for all they've done for me.

And so now, here I am, exactly a week from departure. My grandma comes to visit this weekend and I've made plans for all of this coming week. It's going to just fly by and to be honest, I'm getting really excited.

I can't wait to be in Hungary!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quality time and shopping

Last night, the student my district is hosting from Hungary arrived in California! His name is Peter and we've been talking since about March or April. He's living in Visalia, which is about an hour from where I live. Anyway, I went with his host family (my friend Karlie's family) to the airport and then to dinner and spent the night with him. We made homemade chocolate chip cookies together and Karlie and I made him a sign. Overall it was a good first night for him, I'd say! This weekend Karlie, Peter, Karlie's mom, and I are going to Disneyland!! I'm so excited and it's Peter's first time, so it should be super fun.

I bought my suitcases last Friday and have gone shopping for small things on and off throughout this week. I just got most of my toiletry items and we bought A LOT. It's hard though because it's all stuff I need! I've been throwing everything into my big suitcase, and I'm probably going to sort through it and start seriously packing next weekend.

I think that's all that's been going on here. I'll probably update after my going away party, which is next Thursday! Peter and Karlie are coming, and I'm so excited to have an actual Hungarian there (...I'm such a nerd).

16 days until I'm on a plane, 17 days until I'm in Hungary!

Friday, July 22, 2011


I just received my flight itinerary!!

19 AUG 11 - FRIDAY


I'm so excited... I know of four other students on my flight, and I'm sitting by one of them! The only thing I'm not excited for is arriving at the airport here at 4:30 in the morning. I'm kind of glad for it though, because I won't be able to spend the whole day sitting around the house crying (which I will then just do on the 18th).

I've also talked to my new first family a bit more, and I love them. They have the cutest pets and they seem so nice. I've gotten really lucky with two of the families I know, and I hope the other(s) are just as great!

So, I'm exactly four weeks from departure and I have no idea how to feel about that. I'm more excited now than I have been, so I hope these four weeks go by quickly!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm actually leaving.

I just had my first really big realization that I'm actually leaving.

I won't be starting school with my classmates. I won't be driving. I won't wake up in my bed. I won't see my mom. I won't text Alissa all day. I won't go to forensic's tournaments. I won't have journalism. I won't drive down Shaw to go to work. I won't even have "work" to go to. I won't cheer at football games. I won't get food with my friends before cheer practice. I won't have my cats. Everything I have now and do now will never be exactly the way it is again.

I don't want to say goodbye to anyone. I'm absolutely terrified about the day that I'll wake up and have to go to the airport and say goodbye. I'm not ready to leave my friends and my family. It scares me to death and I'm just not ready. I still have a little under a month and two weeks, yet it feels like I don't have enough time.

Even though I'm scared and not ready, I know I have to go. I'm certain that I want to do this and have the experience that I'll have. And if any exchange student ever says they're not scared, I can guarantee they're lying. This is so silly, because at the exact same time I'm thinking these things, I'm also thinking about how excited I am and how I can't wait to go. It's such a dramatic range of emotions and I couldn't possibly start to explain how I'm feeling.

For now, I'm just finishing up summer school, listening to Hungarian radio stations, and talking with other exchange students going to Hungary. I still haven't talked to my new first family, but I imagine I'll post once I actually have something to say about them.

39 days until my earliest departure. :) / :(

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's my birthday!

Yay! I'm 17! Alissa and I were supposed to go to Great America, but I got really sick out of no where and we had to reschedule. I'm really upset over the whole thing, but I guess I'll get over it. Alissa's coming over now, so at least I'll have some company. We may go see a rated R movie later if I'm feeling better, so I have that to look forward to!

Other than that, next weekend is my last orientation! I have to memorize all these facts about Hungary and speak for a while in Hungarian (as always) and I'm very nervous about that. I think I'll be okay though.

I finished one of my summer school classes, and my next one starts on Tuesday. I hope I can get through it as fast as the last one, because I really don't want to be in a classroom for that long.

That's all for now! 50 days until my earliest departure!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I got my information!!!

Last night I received an email with a scanned copy of my guarantee forms!

I will be living in Újszentiván outside of Szeged! I am actually closer to the Serbian border than to Szeged, which I think is really cool. Plus, when I switch families, there is the possibility that I'll be actually IN Szeged. I'm so happy about my placement and that I may have the opportunity to experience a small city (under 2,000 people) and a large city (Hungary's third largest).

I don't know anything about my host family yet, besides the names of my parents. I looked them up on facebook, and found who I assume will be my host father. I also think I found my sister and two brothers, but I'm not for sure. I'll edit this post and write more about them when I find out!

My school is SZTE Ságvári Endre Gyakorló Gimnázium in Szeged. I can't find any pictures of it, but it sounds pretty cool! I read that it's one of the top 15 schools in the country, which is really exciting because I love learning. Even though it will be hard to actually learn anything for the first few months, I'm still glad it's a good school. School starts on September 1st, so I hope I'll get there as early as possible.

Anyway, I'll update with more information when I get it!

My birthday - 23 days
Outbound orientation - 30 days
Potential departure - 73-83 days!


I've been emailing with my host sister, who I already love! She will be on exchange in Canada and leaves before I get there, so we probably won't meet. I'm really sad about that, but I think I'll get the chance to in the future. Anyway, my host dad is a lawyer and my host mom works for the government. I will have two brothers, 19 (turning 20) and 15. I will stay in my host sister's room while she's in Canada. I will also have a dog! They seem like such a great family, and I can't wait to meet them!

I also sent off my visa information and the travel company has received it, so I should be getting flight information in the next month or so.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Still nothing.

Well, besides finally getting my visa information! It's not due until July 1st, but I already have it all filled out and ready to go. It really wasn't that much work, but then again, a lot of it is blank since...

I still don't have a city/host family/school/anything. I am really trying to not get too discouraged, but it's very frustrating. Oh well. It will come when I least expect it, and when it does, it will be all the more amazing!

Tomorrow is my last day of school. I do have summer school, but it is my last day at my school. I have so many mixed emotions at this point. I'm excited to move on with this part of my life, but at the same time, I'm so scared. I don't want to grow up! It's just weird to think that I may not see any of these people again for a long time, if ever.

More countdowns!
Grad Night: 2 days
Graduation: 6 days
Birthday: 32 days
Outbound orientation: 39 days

I still can't believe that's all I really have left between now and Hungary.

As always, I will update if I get any news.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

District Conference!

So, District Conference was this weekend, and it was amazing. I'm not going to write novels like usual, but let me just say I will never forget it. Some highlights:

The homeless people on the beach, spelling "EXCHANGE" with all of us, chilling in the lobby, 5k walk with a view of the ocean, getting our blazers, the "end polio now" song, watching $24,000 get raised in ten minutes, bike riding with a view of the ocean, falling off my bike, taking pictures with random quinceanera parties, getting ice cream, johnny riding into the pole, dinner in the basement, doing better in Hungarian, holding our breath in the tunnel, watching creepy ghost shows, doing our flag presentation, and so much more.

Overall, I had a great time. I love everyone in the district and all of the inbounds and outbounds. For anyone going through Rotary in the future: cherish the time you have with your inbounds and outbounds, because after your last time, there will never be a time when you're all together again.

Anyway, more countdowns!
Powderpuff: 5 days
Grad Night: 18 days
Graduation: 22 days
Birthday: 48 days
Outbound Orientation: 55 days

Oh, and I may be hearing where I'm going soon. Fingers crossed. And I emailed the travel company, so hopefully I'll hear something from them too. Maybe there will be another post soon. Who knows!

As all of my countdowns get smaller and smaller, I can't help but get happier and happier. I'm so ready for this.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Small update

Hey guys!

So, a day after I posted my last blog post, I got an email from my travel agency! I signed up with them on April 4th, yet haven't heard anything at all since then. It's kind of frustrating because I know other students in my district have gotten information and have forms to fill out. I'm trying to not be impatient but it's a little disheartening.

Also, a lot of people in my district know their host city. Again... trying to not be impatient. I understand completely that different countries do things faster and that I shouldn't have any expectations, but I totally would be the one with no information at all.

Our next Rotary weekend (the weekend of the District Conference) is on May 13th - May 15th. I'm so excited to get my blazer and see everyone again! Plus it's on the coast and I'm hoping we'll go to the beach. I love the beach.

I signed up for summer school as well. I will be taking three classes: a year of art, a semester of American Government, and a semester of English 4 B (fourth year, second semester). Summer school is from June 14-29 for the first session, and July 5-21 for the second, both are Monday-Thursday. I'll go to art in the morning from 8-1:55, and then my other class (depending on the session) from 4:30-8:15. Definitely not excited about that, but at least I'll be graduated.

So, upcoming events!
AP US exam - 6 days
Prom - 7 days
AP English exam - 11 days
District Conference - 13 days
Last day of school - 32 days
Grad Night - 33 days
Graduation - 37 days
My birthday - 63 days
Outbound orientation - 70 days

It's so crazy that these are some of the last things I'll be looking forward to while I'm here. Lately I've been so sad about leaving. I'm really going to miss all of my forensics friends and cheering and my mom. When I first looked into exchange, I couldn't wait to leave and get the heck out of here. After this year, I'm so content with where I am. I'm proud of myself and all that I've gotten through in the past year, and I know I'm going to do just fine in Hungary. I can't wait to go and experience what I've been waiting for.

That's all for now. As per usual, I'll post again if there are any updates. I have a million other things to talk about, but I think this post is long enough.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nothing new has happened

Not really, anyway.

I got my SAT scores back. I got a 1720 and a 10 on the essay. I know I can do better though, so I'm planning on retaking it. Besides that, state testing is coming up next week and AP tests two weeks later. Definitely not excited, but they do mark the end of the school year!

My online class is going no where. I haven't worked on it in so long. It's just hard to remember to do work on it when I have so much other homework and stuff going on. Oh well..

Yesterday I hung out with Kristof again :). It was really nice since I haven't seen him since the last orientation. We didn't speak in Hungarian or anything, but he did talk to me a lot about his family!

In my last post I mentioned how I'm not eating fast food anymore, and I haven't since that weekend :D. It's a serious accomplishment considering how much I usually eat after work/on my way home from school. I'm glad though and super proud of myself.

Okay that's pretty much it. Our outbound coordinator told us we should be getting emails from our travel agency soon, so I'll post if I get any really exciting news. I find it amusing that I've made over 20 posts so far and I haven't even left for Hungary yet. Hopefully when all the good stuff happens people will still want to read it!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

This blog post has no purpose...

Actually, it did... until I forgot what I was going to write about.

Nothing exciting has happened. Oh wait I'm a liar.. I got a Hungarian phrase book from Lonely Planet :). I take it with me everywhere and have learned how to make sentences and such.

Yesterday I took the SAT. It really wasn't as hard as I was expecting, but that's probably because I've taken the PSAT twice.

I really wish I could remember the original purpose of this post! It was something really kind of off the wall and semi relevant to exchange.. ugh :|.

OH I REMEMBER NOW!! I decided to give up fast food for Lent. I wanted to make a post about it so I could have it in writing and be accountable for myself! I totally could erase all the things about how I forgot but I'm not going to because that's life.

Hmm.. Alright last post until something interesting happens. Here's a list of upcoming things and how many days until they happen!

Debate State Quals (Congress) - 4 days
Debate National Quals - 11 days
Spring Break - 32 days
Prom - 55 days
District Conference!!!!!!! - 61 days
Grad Night at Disneyland - 81 days
Graduation - 85 days

It's going to go by so fast I can't wait :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Para bailar la bamba

So I'm back from the weekend!

It was seriously so much fun. I hung out with Kristof and Paige and Johnny a lot :). We've decided that we're the Sassy Four and kept using the word "swanky". We were a team for black light mini golfing, and Kristof was Tweets (because he makes bird noises!), Johnny was Sassypants (because he is the most sassy), I was Elf (because I'm the shortest), and Paige was Pangea (because I call her "Pange"). And we went to the beach and it was beautiful! We go back for the District Conference in May.

All of the outbounds had to speak in their language in front of everyone and say basic things (name, age, where we're from and which country we're going to). Unfortunately, I didn't know how to say nearly any of that in Hungarian. It was actually really really embarrassing and it kind of made me realize how much Hungarian I don't know. I know a lot of random words, but they probably won't be really helpful when I first get there and such. Oh well... limited language learning resources are the downside of learning an obscure language!

Oh and to explain the title, Marius from Norway was singing La Bamba all weekend and he didn't even know the words! I think it's permanently stuck in my head.

Anyway, I had a great time and really love my Rotary family :). I can't wait to see everyone again in May!

Friday, February 25, 2011


After counting down for two months, today is the day of my first official orientation and Rotary spring outing :D.

I'll update afterward!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spending time with a Hungarian :)

Today I went to the zoo with Paige (outbound to Germany) and Kristof (inbound from Hungary). It was really fun and I'm so glad he was in Fresno for the weekend! I love his accent and can't wait to hear it all the time next year :D. He wanted me to speak in Hungarian but I got incredibly nervous and only ended up saying "nem" (no). When he said it it sounded so much better.. of course. It was really fun hanging out with both of them and I can't wait until our next get together the last weekend in February!

Other than that.. no news on my application or anything else. I guess in this case no news is good news!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I finished my application last Wednesday night and we sent it off on Thursday (fed-ex'd overnight just in case)! It was officially due yesterday and I'm so so so glad to be completely and forever DONE with it!

I really feel like I made mistakes on it or left something off and they're going to send it back and make me do it all over again. I am praying everything goes smoothly.

Other than that, the next outbound orientation is in exactly 1 month! I can't wait. I get to see all the inbounds and other outbounds and it will just be so much fun. I'm definitely counting down the days :).


Friday, January 14, 2011

Small updates


Since my last post, I got in touch with the club that is sponsoring me. I interviewed with a club here in Fresno but they only had one spot, so the Visalia Breakfast Club is sponsoring me :). Visalia is a small town about 45 minutes away from Fresno. While I assumed the "breakfast" part of the name was just decoration... it's not. The club meets at 6:30 in the morning!! So my mom and I drove down the night before and stayed in a hotel (worth it!) and went to the meeting on Thursday morning.

When we got there, we really had no idea what to expect. When we got there not many people were there yet and we felt really out of place. We decided to sit towards the back and wait for Sam, the YEO, to get there. (I just deleted like three paragraphs of unnecessary description about us waiting... hahaha) Anyway, many people came up and introduced themselves to us and I heard many "Oh, are you hungry?!" jokes. When Sam got there he stood up and introduced my mom and I and we stayed for the rest of the meeting.

For anyone who is anticipating attending a Rotary meeting and doesn't know what they're like... the best advice I have for you is to relax :). Dress nicely, don't be afraid to talk to people, and have fun! The meeting itself was way more relaxed than I expected. They made jokes and told stories, and then also did serious club business. Overall, it was REALLY fun and I can't wait to go to more meetings :).

In other news, my application is nearly done. I need my photo page (probably the easiest part of the application.. haha), my mom's letter, and the copies of my transcripts and then I'm done!

Just in case anyone is wondering, I will be going during my senior year so I have to take my senior classes now. This semester I am taking a semester of gov/econ during 6th period and then a semester of english 4 through an online type of class. I have to take the other two semesters during summer school (a total of 8 weeks), along with an art class at the city college (4 weeks) to be eligible to attend a UC/CSU. Quite ridiculous, but it's worth it!

Lastly, just today I learned about 32 new Hungarian words/phrases! I can say/spell them all (the accents are a little confusing) and am really proud of myself. Overall I've learned 66 :). I really REALLY recommend the program Before You Know It. It teaches you vocabulary and basic phrases, which I think will be really helpful at first on exchange (dare I say more helpful than knowing how to correctly conjugate verbs)!

Well.. I wasn't expecting this post to be this long, so I'm ending it now. If anyone has questions on any part of the application process, don't be afraid to ask! Maybe I'll post more if I can figure out how to write less ;).