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!!