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

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