Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Leaving Hungary and Being Home!

So it's been a week since I left Hungary... I can't believe how fast that's gone by!

I left my host family's house at about 3 in the morning and then we picked up Jill. Sadly my host family couldn't take me to the airport, so one of the Rotarians did. We got to the airport, checked my bags, then Jill and I had to say a rather quick goodbye. We both cried and hugged it out and it really hit me that I was leaving Hungary. When I got to my gate, I didn't have much time until we would start boarding. I cried a little bit in line to board, then when we started walking onto the plane, I started sobbing. The flight attendants asked if I was okay and helped me find my seat. I ended up sitting next to a really nice girl from Africa who studiets at the university in Debrecen and we talked a little bit at the end of the flight, but I lost her once we started getting off. I found my gate in Amsterdam and had to go through security again and passport control and everyone stared at my blazer. Our plane was an hour late leaving Amsterdam (this sounds way too much like the way my flights went on my way over...) and I was pretty worried considering my layover in Seattle was only an hour and 20 minutes long.

The flight from Amsterdam to Seattle was about 9 1/2 hours. There were little tv's on the back of the seats though so I watched The Notebook, Project X, and Happy Feet 2 and listened to Fun. I slept for a little bit, took a few walks around the airplane, and ate a lot. Seriously they kept giving us food! When we finally landed I realized that I had about 20 minutes until my plane left and realistically there was no way I would make it. I went through passport control, got my baggage, went through customs, then talked to someone about the next flight to Fresno. Of course, there wasn't another one until 7 hours later. I walked into the main terminal and started freaking out because of culture shock and cried for a little bit... then called my mom, Alissa, and Annika and cried to them a bit too. Eventually I calmed down, got some food, bought a magazine and some cold medicine because I'm STILL sick from Eurotour, and made myself comfortable near my gate. When we finally boarded I slept the entire way to Fresno. I was so tired from being up for so long and all the traveling. When we landed in Fresno, I was so excited and nervous all at the same time. The long walk down the hallway to the lobby was horrible.. I just wanted to see everyone again! And when I finally got down there, my parents, my grandparents, and some of my friends were waiting for me with American flags, a big poster, and a big bucket full of candy. I was so happy they all came and it was one of the happiest moments of my life!

Since I've been back, I've been keeping busy with hanging out with my friends and driving around. It's just been so nice being home! So far I've had a really easy transitional period... I'm not that sad about Hungary and I am really happy. I think the main reason for that is that in Hungary I only had one friend to hang out with and we didn't really do anything. Now that I'm home, I'm meeting with a bunch of friends and doing a lot of things and it's just good to be in that. I'm sure I'll have a hard time down the road, but for now things are soooo good.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Okay this is a little late, but in my defense I've been really sick since Eurotour so I've just been relaxing and laying around.

The first day of Eurotour we went to Prague. We had a guided tour around the city, then had a bit of free time. It was raining sooo hard and none of us were really prepared for it. Annika and I went together during our free time and bought some things, which led us to a liquor store where the shop owner was giving us free samples of different stuff, which was super funny. We also went to souvenir shops and tried to haggle with the people working there but none of them would accept it. That night all of us went to the five story club (biggest in central Europe). We danced and met people from Tennessee and danced. There weren't many people there so some of us left at around midnight. I think the problem was that we were there before midnight, when most people are still getting ready to go out. We went back to the hostel, then Maddy from Australia and I led Alex, Alayna, and Gabby to get some McDonalds. We didn't find one, but instead found a gas station, where Maddy and I shared a lovely chicken nugget sandwich, a Kinder chocolate bar, and a green tea with strawberry. When we got back to the hostel, we found that my room was locked and the only key was inside the room. We banged on the door from about 2 in the morning to 4:30 before we finally gave up and I just slept in Maddy's room.

The second day we traveled to Cologne, Germany. We got there in the evening and had dinner at the hostel. After dinner, Alayna, Alex and I went to a bar and hung out there for a bit. We were on our way back to the hostel when we passed by one of those guys on the bikes with a little carriage behind them (I don't know how to else to describe this!) and decided to take one. The guy driving us was really fun and gay and so we told him to take us to the coolest gay bar in Cologne. On our way there, some guy started running next to the bike. We told him to get in, and I think he eventually did but I'm not 100% sure. We all went into the gay bar, realized it was a REALLY gay bar, and left. We talked to the guy and it turned out he was a Rotary student in Mexico two years ago! I ended up going with him and his friends to a club and stayed with them for most of the night. On our way back, we ran into Annika and Arthur and a lot of my other friends. We all started hanging out and made our way to McDonalds, where we stayed until about 5 in the morning because Arthur kept making friends in there.

The third day we went into the touristy part of Cologne and went to the big church they had there. We also went into a souvenir shop and looked around a bit then waited in Starbucks because it started raining. After Cologne we made our way to Amsterdam, where we arrived in the afternoon. We had dinner at the hostel and there was a cat that hung out there!! After dinner we had free time so we walked down to the red light district then broke off into smaller groups. We went back to the hostel pretty early and didn't do too much.

The fourth day we had a guided tour around Amsterdam in the morning, then a boat tour through the canals. It was really cool getting to see Amsterdam like this! After the boar tour we had some free time, so a group of us went to the I Amsterdam sign and took some pictures. When the free time was over we got on the bus and headed towards Bruges, not Brussels.

We got to Bruges not Brussels in time for dinner, then as always had free time in the evening. A group of us walked down the street and found a really nice square and took pictures and such. I ended up going back with Jill and Madison because I was really tired. We went to the bar next to the hostel because they had free wifi there, and about an hour later everyone else showed up there too. We hung out at the bar with them for a little, then Jill and I went to bed. The showers at this hostel were the best showers ever! They had a lot of privacy and were really spacious and ah they were great.

In the morning we left Bruges not Brussels and made the long journey towards London. We stopped after we got out of the tunnel at a sort of small shopping center to get lunch. I got McDonalds (a common theme on Eurotour) and it took me awhile to order because I was so thrown off by everything being in English. I felt a LOT of culture shock being in England because of the way everyone spoke English. When we had free time, we went to King's Cross which was very very close to our hostel and took pictures at the 9 3/4 sign like in Harry Potter. We also tried to walk down to Oxford Street, got very close and distracted, and went back before we even got there. We went back to the hostel and hung out in the hostel bar/club and met some nice Germans.

The next morning, we had a guided tour around London. We saw all the major touristy parts and went to Buckingham Palace, where we got to see the soldiers practicing for the parade for the Queen's birthday. After our tour we went back to the hostel, where Madison and I were in charge of taking Jill to her surprise Birthday dinner (which in the end, wasn't very surprising at all). We ate some awesome Indian food and Jill got a giant muffin and some small cupcakes. Our waiter there was really cool and it was so weird being able to communicate with the people working there! Later that evening, Jill and I met up with Bence, who is a Hungarian living in London now and he was an exchange student a couple years ago. It was really cool getting to see him again since I hadn't seen him since September! We hung out with him and a couple of his friends, then went back to the hostel.

That morning, we left London and headed for Paris. The hostel in Paris was horrible... our room was on the fourth floor and there was no elevator, so we had to carry our things up the stairs by ourselves. Alex and Annika and I went to McDonalds to find internet, then Annika went back to the hostel so Alex and I found a Starbucks to sit at. After Starbucks, we went back to the hostel to put Alex's laptop away. Alex and I went back into the city to try and find a bank. When we found the bank, it was still early, so we decided to keep walking around. We ended up stumbling upon the Louvre and took some really cool pictures of it by night. There were some guys selling Eiffel Tower keychains and little figurines and we bought 9 total for less than 10 Euros. We looked at our map and saw that we weren't too far from the Eiffel Tower, so we walked towards there. By the time we reached it, it was around midnight. We got there right when the lights started sparkling and it was beautiful. We took a couple of pictures then took a taxi back to the hostel. That night, we were woken up by the Mexicans asking where Annika and Terry were. It was super hilarious because Alex and I were really asleep and they were saying funny things.

The second day in Paris was spent on another guided tour, where we went to a lot of touristy areas. We also went to the Eiffel Tower and took more pictures. After the tour, we took the bus to Luxembourg. Once in Luxembourg, we went on a guided tour around the city. Then we went to our hostel which was the bottom of a big hill/mountain/I don't know. At the hostel we didn't do very much except hang out and talk. I got to see videos from graduation going on back at home, which made me really sad but I'm glad I got to see it!

In the morning in Luxembourg we had a guided bus tour (I think? Or maybe I'm thinking of the one the day before..) After that, we went to Stuttgart, Germany and went to the Mercedes Benz Museum. It was pretty cool but also kind of boring because I'm really not interested in cars at all. After the museum we headed to Munich. After dinner, Annika, Alex, Bianka, Terry and I went into the city. On our way home it started POURING rain, and luckily we had umbrellas with us. All of our legs and shoes were soaking wet by the time we got home. We put on pajamas and then decided to go down to the hostel club/bar. We were all dancing a lot and no one else was so we grabbed people to dance with us. Annika met two random Finnish boys so we decided to hang out with them and some of their friends and go find a cooler bar. When we got there, they were asking for IDs to make sure everyone was 18 and not everyone had one, so we went back to the hostel. There were people monitoring the hallways to make sure everyone was quiet and we got yelled at quite a few times by them!

The last morning we had a guided tour around Munich. After that, we had a bit of free time to walk around the city. The bus ride home was very long and quite sad. As soon as we hit the Hungarian border, everyone started crying because we realized we'd all have to say goodbye to each other soon. When we got to Budapest, I said my goodbyes to Alex, Annika, and Terry and it was literally the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I already miss them so much :(.

Overall Eurotour was so much fun! I would go again and again if I could. I leave Hungary on Wednesday so I'll probably blog tomorrow with some reflections of my year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Less than a month left!

First, a quick update on the past couple of weeks.

Last weekend (not the one that just happened, but the one before) was our language competition. I don't know how well I did, but congrats to those who got 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! We had the opportunity to walk around Sátoraljaújhely where the competition was held, went on the bob, and had a little party (which wasn't a party at all). On the bob I managed to get into an accident which resulted in being taken to the hospital, getting a neck brace, and making a very regretful Australian girl cry upon seeing me. It wasn't that serious, so it's really funny to look back on. And the neck brace made me look really ridiculous.

This past weekend was some sort of "Szeged Day" festival as well as a wine festival. I walked around with friends and my host family. Sunday night was one of my friend's birthday parties which was a lot of fun. Monday we also had a holiday (I'm not sure why) and I spent most of that trying to reenergize from Sunday night! I also skyped with my mom which was nice, since we haven't skyped in awhile.

This week is my last week at school, so I've been making an effort to go to all of my classes (like any good exchange student would do). It's so weird that tomorrow will be the last time I'll walk through the halls as a student there and see all my friends and have classes to go to. In retrospect, I wish I would've spent a lot more time in school, but I can't change anything now so there's no point in worrying about it. I wish I had something special to give to my classmates, though, to thank them for opening up to me. Well, in case any of you read this, thank you SO much for everything, from saying hi to me in the halls or asking if I understand what's going on or even just giving me an encouraging smile when the teacher asks who I am. I've loved being part of your class and I'm really going to miss all of you!

Friday to Saturday will be our district conference at Lake Balaton, then Monday I leave really early for Eurotour! I'm soooo excited to finally go on it, since I've been waiting since September when we first heard where we'd be going! I'm probably going to spend all day Sunday packing and getting everything ready.

Once I come home from Eurotour, I only have 11 full days until I leave. I can't even imagine what that's going to feel like. I've had a couple of breakdowns that are like half crying/half laughing because I'm dreading leaving but yet I'm so excited. I'm going to try to not let myself think about it during Eurotour, though.

When I come back to Szeged I just plan on spending a ton of time with my first host family, my friends, and being out of the house as much as possible. I want to make my last days here great!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nearing the end...

First off, I totally intended to blog about my trip to Poland and it appears I never did that. In short... it was a lot of fun. Auschwitz was horribly depressing but going there was an amazing opportunity. I can't believe a month has gone by since that trip!

As of today, I have 43 days left. It's really hard to believe but I'm also really excited to go home!

Mostly I've just been hanging out with my first family (whose dog had puppies!), going to school, and hanging out with people. My last ever Hungarian exam was today and Thursday is the last class. This weekend is the language competition for the exchange students and I'm pretty excited about that. The weekend after next is our district conference, then that Monday I leave for Eurotour! It's all coming so fast and I'm soooo excited (how many times can I say that?)

Anyway things are good with me and I'll try to blog more often even if it's about boring things.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's a strange feeling

Being nearly a week away from having been in Hungary for 8 months is one of the weirdest feelings I think I've ever felt. I look back on my time here and realize there is so much that I've done... so much of it that I've already forgot and so much that I never will. I remember sitting in McDonald's in Budapest after the Venice trip with a few other exchange students saying things like "I can't believe we've already been here for eight weeks!" and "56 days doesn't sound too long but it really is!"

Knowing that I only have 76 days left here is hard. I am not ready to leave, but in some ways, I am. I am sadly not as good as speaking Hungarian as I thought I would be, but I can understand a lot of it. I don't have a lot of friends, I do spend most of my time at home, and I don't go out every weekend. If you asked me which life I liked better, my California life or my Hungarian life, I wouldn't be able to give you an answer. The only thing consistent in both lives is the fact that I'm in them. Even who I am is completely different depending where I am.

Looking back on my time here, I can see that I've changed a lot. I'm so much more open to doing things I otherwise had no interest in, I've gained a much larger curiosity about seeing different parts of the world, I've learned a lot about America and the way it's perceived from the outside, as well as a lot about Hungary and the way they view themselves. It's a lot to take in, really. I constantly feel my brain being stretched to understand so much more than I'm used to and at times I want to give up and go back to my easy life.

Before I came to Hungary, I wrote 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 makes me really sad because it's all true. I don't have the same friends as I did when I was in California. The majority of people I considered to be my close friends haven't spoken to me in months. And while it's hard to accept that they have lives outside of me, I have no other options, really. My second host mom would talk to me about my friends from home and ask if it made me sad that I lost contact with so many people. I told her that yes, it broke my heart, but if they really cared about me they'd make an effort, and that there's still a chance that when I come home things will be close to like they were. There are some days when I mourn over the loss of my past life. I just sit in my room, think of all the things I could've done back home, think about my mom and my friends and my cats, and sometimes get angry at myself for leaving it all. And then I look at the things I've done here. I've been to Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, and after this weekend will have been to Slovakia and Poland. I've met amazing people who I can't imagine my life without, I've gained three new wonderful families, and I've had so many opportunities to do things I never thought I would.

It's weird to think of all the things I've done and know that I was the one who's done them. It seems like the past 8 months have been a dream. I'm scared to leave Hungary, to be honest. Scared to death. If things now seem like a dream, I imagine when I'm home and away from it all it's going to be so much harder to believe it all happened. I can't even imagine what it will be like. I try to just take everything here one day at a time, but it's hard.

Monday, April 9, 2012

New family and a bit of traveling

Last Monday I changed families to my third and final family! It was a really weird feeling knowing that the next time I packed everything up would be when I was leaving Hungary. I also realized I have a lot of pointless things that I've kept that I really could throw away (old papers from my Hungarian lessons, receipts, train tickets, etc) but I want to keep them. Anyway, the move was easier than the last one. It did really hurt to have to leave, but I was able to handle it a lot better. My new family is really nice and I think I'll enjoy living here.

I just got home yesterday from spending a few days in Croatia with my host family! They have a flat there so we will probably go back two more times. We visited Trieste in Italy one day and walked around there, which was really nice. The weather was pretty cold and cloudy the whole time, so we didn't get to stay by the ocean much. Overall it was a really good trip and I look forward to going back.

So I'm not really in the mood for blogging but I'll try to write more soon since I haven't written in awhile. I leave for a Rotary weekend in Poland on Friday so I'll try to write before then!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Skiing in the Austrian Alps

This past week I was with my Rotary club and the other exchange students in Szeged in a city called Wildschönau in Austria.

I was in a car with one of the Rotarians and his wife and Matt, the exchange student from Australia, and we left on Saturday morning at around 7:30. We made a lot of stops along the way and got to the hotel at around 4. Jill and I just hung out in the room until it was time for dinner. I was really sick, so I didn't really feel like eating and we ended up just having soup and going to bed. There was only one bed, and I didn't want to cough in Jill's face all night, so I decided to sleep on the couch, which actually really wasn't so bad. Jill read Mockingjay out loud to me and I ended up falling asleep.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at 7:30. Us, Matt, and Raymond were the first ones down there to eat. The breakfast was really good... Every day I ate bread or croissants with nutella on them, eggs, and fruit. After breakfast, we met the Rotarians in the ski room to put on our boots and get our skis to take them up the lift. If you've never walked in ski boots before... let me just tell you that it is the most painful and difficult thing to ever do for the first time. The lifts were really cool but also pretty scary.. when they left from the place where you get on, it felt like the start of a ride at Disneyland or something. We got to the middle station and started our ski "lesson" which was really two of the Rotarians telling us what to do. My first time going down the mountain I didn't know what I was doing at all, and ended up going down REALLY quickly and falling at the bottom. The good thing about snow is that it really doesn't hurt to fall in it. Jill and Matt fell a lot too, but Raymond was amazing at skiing within the first hour. By the end of the day, he was skiing down from the top of the mountain with the Rotarians!

We met with everyone for lunch, where we had pommes frites (french fries). We ended up eating fries for lunch every day, even though we could've had something different! We skied a little bit more after lunch, and then headed back to the hotel. I'm really sad because I don't remember what we did on each specific day... So I guess I'll just write in general now :/.

Well, most days after skiing we would either go to the sauna that the hotel had, or Jill and I would take naps or just lay in bed and listen to music. The dinners every night were amazing, and I forgot what it was like to eat an actual meal in the evening, since here it's always just sandwiches for dinner. I had spaghetti, tortellini, some other things, and most importantly: STEAK!!! When they brought it out, I wasn't sure if it was going to be like real steak or just some kind of meat that looked like it... so when I tasted it, I almost cried because I was so happy. I haven't had steak at all in Hungary!

Starting Wednesday night, we would play poker in the lobby with our club president's son, and sometimes one of the Rotarian's daughter and niece. These nights were definitely my favorite! I didn't know how to play poker before, but I think I did pretty well. We didn't play for money or anything though. After poker, we would hang out in mine and Jill's room and listen to music and drink juice.

On the third day, my leg felt really bruised from the boot, so I was unable to walk in it and couldn't ski. I just sat at the middle station and watched Jill go down. We played cards and made snowmen though, so it was still pretty fun. Also we all got really nice sunburns! Oh also, the Rotarians gave us all nicknames... Raymond's was "Ching chong chung" or "Indian," Matt's was "Kangaroo" or "Koala," Jill's was "Miss Florida" or "Sitting Bull," and mine was "Miss California" or "Snowflake."

On the fifth day of skiing, the Rotarians helped Jill and I go down from the very top to the middle station. It was really hard and tiring, but we did it!! I was really proud of myself afterwards. On the last day, I didn't feel like skiing, so I just sat around at the top of the mountain. Matt didn't ski for a bit so we talked and played cards, and for the record I'm much better than him at the Australian version of speed!

Basically, this past week was amazing and I miss it so much already. I would do anything to go back! I miss the really good food and just being able to lay around and not do anything. And now it's so lonely because I don't have to share a room with anyone and ahh I just miss it!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

REALLY Brief February Recap & Some March Plans

The last time I posted, I was feeling kinda down about everything. Regardless, February was actually a really great month!

I've started Hungarian lessons again and it's so great to be back in the classroom and learning more. We're finally starting to learn the future tense, which I know a little about already. There are a lot more people in our class this semester than there were last semester, which makes it a lot more fun.

Terry came and stayed with me last weekend. We went out with Olga and had a really good time. It was so fun having one of my best friends here around! Hopefully I can get Alex and Annika to come visit as well.

I think March is going to be a really good month. Next weekend the exchange students in Szeged and I leave for a week of skiing in the Austrian Alps. I'm a little nervous since I've never skied before, but I think it will be a great trip! The weekend after, Jill and I will go stay with Gabby in Szombathely. We'll also get to hang out with Tawny and Kristof, who was in California last year. This month will probably go by REALLY fast!

Andddd that's all for now. Just wanted to give a quick update :)!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Stupidly, I just tortured myself for a bit by looking at pictures of my friends from home. In albums with clever quotes about it being the last year of high school, or simply the word, "Senior!," I can't help but feel insanely left out.

Coming into this, I was well aware of the fact that I would at some point feel like this. I tried to prepare myself for the way that all my friends would keep on living. And why wouldn't they? It's not as if they're living their lives just because I'm gone or doing anything they wouldn't be doing if I was still there. It's so hard to put this into words right now and I feel like I'm sounding crazy, but just bear with me.

Even though I'm living in a foreign country this year, even though I'm living in EUROPE this year, even though I've been to four new countries so far and will go to more, even though I've met the most amazing people I've ever known, even though I am learning a new language, even though I'm immersed in a new culture, even though I'm having an amazing time... I wonder what things would've been like had I just stayed home. I look at pictures from cheer and from forensics and read this year's newspapers and it actually hurts me to know that I'm not there and I'm not participating. 

For anyone who doesn't know, my life in the US this year would've been really awesome. I would've been on varsity cheer again, I'd be debating, and I'd be the editor of the school newspaper. I'd have a job and my car and my family and my cats. I'd be surrounded by familiar faces and foods and English. 

But this is seriously the perfect example of idealizing ( this the right word?) home. I know I would've had arguments with my friends. I know I'd complain about being too busy. I know I'd be sick of having to do so much homework. I know I'd be tired of writing articles for a newspaper that is way too under-appreciated. I'd be bored at times. I'd get frustrated with the immaturity of the people I was around. I'd miss my best friend Alissa and my other senior friends from last year. I'd have bad days where all I wanted was to get away -- which is exactly what I have here.

My life in Hungary isn't perfect. I feel stressed about the fact that I don't speak only Hungarian all day and I do spend too much time on the computer. I feel guilty about not hanging out with my host family all day. I feel worthless at school when all I do is sit in English classes and am not invited to participate by the teacher or the class, and I actually don't learn anything. I feel like I don't know what to do with my time here, and waste it by watching Gossip Girl or reading Kindle books. 

With all of this said, I don't regret coming here. I know my life here is a million times more interesting than my life in America was. Sure, it's not perfect, but at home it wasn't perfect either. It's really hard to keep that little fact in mind. When I think about home, I don't think about the bad things that I am happy to be away from... I think about the good things that I'd do anything to get back. And it's funny, because one day I'm going to feel exactly like this, but in reverse. I'll be dying to get my time in Hungary back and idealize it as well.

So, while I feel like this is entirely random and scattered and maybe a little too honest, I hope some day an exchange student who feels the same can read it and know that they aren't the only ones who've felt like this. It's so hard being here. It's a challenge almost every day. In the end, though, I know it'll be worth it. I don't think there will ever be a day in my life that I regret coming here. I'm going to try to make the rest of the time here as amazing as possible, since I only have about 19 weeks left.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekend in Budapest! (with pictures)

I just got home (like literally two hours ago) from spending the weekend in Budapest! I was only supposed to spend Friday night there and come home on Saturday evening, but the snow was so bad both in Budapest and Szeged that it was safer for me to wait until today.

Friday after school, Olga and I took the train together. On the way there, we ate "peanut confections" (Mexican candy) and played Go Fish. Once we got to Budapest, we met with her friend Carlo and I saw Alex and Terry! A few minutes later, Annika showed up as well and we all went to McDonalds (without Olga and Carlo) to meet with the others. There were about ten of us and we spent the night talking and listening to music. I spent the night at Alex's house

Saturday morning Alex and I went with her host dad to our Rotary meeting thing. A few of the other exchange students weren't there due to the snow. All of us gave our country presentations and they were really entertaining to watch. After that, the future outbounds were told which district they're going to. Unfortunately, no one is going to my district next year. However, a girl from Szeged is going to the other district in California that Rotary sends to! I'm really excited for her to find out and can't wait to tell her everything about California! After all the Rotary things, Alex and Annika and I went back to Alex's house. We ate some lunch and then laid in Alex's bed watching YouTube videos and showing each other friends from home on Facebook. Annika and I left Alex's at around 10 and went to her house.

At Annika's house, she Skyped with her family in Colorado for a bit. After, we made ourselves some sandwiches and hot chocolate and I called my dad and talked to him. When we were done eating, we went to her room and decided to watch the movie Holes. The whole time we were talking about how great of a movie it is and how much we love it. We started falling asleep so we decided to finish watching it after we slept. When we woke up, we did in fact finish watching Holes.

Our journey to the train station was quite an eventful one. It started off with us having to run uphill in the snow so we could catch the bus. After, we got on the tram and there was a giant but friendly dog on it as well. We got to the metro station with about 15 minutes until my train left. The first metro came pretty quickly, and when we got off we ran to where the next metro would come. When we got there, we saw that there was 5 minutes until the next, and 3 minutes until the train left. However, we still continued to the train station so I could get my ticket and catch a later train. Raymond was on the train and said that it still hadn't left yet, and when we got there we saw that the train was delayed 15 minutes! We couldn't believe how lucky I was, since the next train wasn't for another 4 hours. So, I took the train with Raymond and am now back in Szeged!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Settling in and normal life...

I've now been with my new host family for a couple weeks and I have to say it's going really well! They are so much different from my last family, and it's not in a good way or a bad way. They just live totally different lifestyles. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to see how each live... it's really opened my eyes to the entire culture of Hungary and Hungarians. There were things that I thought were typical of all Hungarians, but it turns out it was only my first family that did that or my friend's families. So, as hard and heartbreaking as it was to leave my first, I'm grateful for the way I've learned more. I even went back to visit the old family, and it felt just like coming home.

Yesterday I received my flight information for my return to Fresno! I will leave Budapest on June 27th at 6:20 a.m. (this is the only part I don't like about it), then have a 2 hour layover in Amsterdam, then a 2 hour layover in Seattle, and then I'll be in Fresno at 3:30 p.m.! So besides having to leave Szeged at about 2 or 3 in the morning in order to get to Budapest on time, I'm really happy with the schedule. I am so looking forward to spending the afternoon/evening with my friends and families, driving around, eating tons of food that I've missed, and just taking it all in.

Despite this, I know it's going to be extremely hard to get back into life in America. I don't know why, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. To be honest, I'm terrified. Just moving to another part of the city tore me in half, even with the promise of being able to go back whenever I wanted, and I can't imagine what it will be like when I'm gone for good. I'm so attached to everyone here and my life here. It will be impossible to step on that plane.

Okay, enough depressing stuff... My Hungarian lessons start up again in two weeks or so. I'm so excited to get back to learning! I watch a lot of Gossip Girl with Hungarian subtitles and that has taught me so much. My host family also speaks so much Hungarian to me. I still don't know how to say a lot of things though... like I have no idea how to talk about the past. Besides that, I'm starting to get over my fear of speaking. Not completely, but I'm not as shy as I was. I do this really stupid thing of planning exactly what I want to say before I say it, and then when I get the chance to say it, I just say it in English because I'm afraid it's wrong. Oh well.

Today my host mom took me to a kozmetika place where we got facials. It was sooo relaxing... I fell asleep about 5 times. The whole thing lasted 3 hours. On Thursday I'm getting my first hair cut in Hungary!! I'm also dying my hair. I really can't wait for that, since I haven't done anything with my hair in forever. Hopefully it turns out okay... I've heard way too many haircut on exchange horror stories.

This weekend is another Rotary meeting thing, but it's only a day long. We all have to give group country presentations. I'm going to Budapest on Friday night to stay with my favorite person, Alex, and I'm sooooo excited to see her and spend the night with her! I'll come back to Szeged on Saturday night.

Oh also, I found out I was accepted to the school of education at University of Portland! So, if I decide to go there, I will be learning to be a teacher :D. I'm so happy about it, but still waiting to hear back from NYU, which is my first choice.

Alright that's it for now!

Monday, January 16, 2012

New family

Last night I left my first family and am now in my second family's house. I'm just going to paste what I said in my monthly update, since I don't feel like typing the story out again.

Last night I moved into my new family's house. Yesterday was a very very sad day. While I was finishing packing up, my youngest host sister, Dori came in and helped. We were both crying a little bit but tried to just keep the conversation light. When I had about an hour left at their house, I gave them all small American flags and thank you cards. Everyone was in my room and we all started crying (excluding my host dad, who was working downstairs on a big presentation he has today). When my host dad came up, he said that it's not goodbye, just see you soon. We moved all my things downstairs (I have acquired SO many things in the past 5 months, it's crazy!!) and then sat around and talked. When I noticed the table was only set for four, I really started crying again. My host mom told my sister to quickly put a placemat where I usually sit and said it will always be my spot! My new host parents were an hour late picking me up, so we were able to spend a little bit more time together, which was nice. They ended up staying for an hour talking to my other sister, Anna, about what high school she will go to next year, since my new host mom is a teacher at the school she wants to go to. I sat with Dori in the kitchen because she couldn't go out with everyone else without crying, and to be honest neither could I. We talked and tried to distract ourselves, but anytime there was a pause we lost any progress we had made. Leaving the house was the hardest thing I've ever done, much harder than leaving my American family. I cried in the car on the way to the new families house, cried when I met my host sisters, cried when I was alone to unpack, cried during dinner, and cried all night. My new host mom really understands how hard it must be, and has comforted me every time. It will take some time adjusting to this new house and family and right now it's really hard. The new family is really sweet, though, so it will help a lot.

Nothing else to say :/.