Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feb...just a little update

Ok...so here I am writing on my blog on what has obviously been the longest time yet that I have neglected it. Oh dear... I think from now on I should just stop saying that “I hope I will write again sooner this time”, or “I hoping to keep everyone updated a bit better from now on.” Lets face it, its not gonna happen, and it probably doesn’t matter anyways. The only thing that matters is that I am documenting my exchange. I have NEVER had a problem with taking pictures, and I am also very proud of myself for keeping a journal for almost 6 months running! I have written in that thing almost every day on exchange, and I am so happy that I decided to do it. Not only am I going to love looking back through it in years to come, but it helps me get my emotions, feelings, and memories down on paper and somehow makes how Im feeling seem more...official. Its really been great. So along with journalling and photos I’ve also recently started putting together a little memory book. Its hard to explain, but the best way to describe it is random. Its a journal that was given to me by my Auntie Kathy before I left. All throughout the pages were little quotes that she had found meaningful to herself. So...it occurred to me one day, that rather than just writing in it, I can fill it with little pieces of memories and inspiration. So far, there are little random papers (bus passes, train tickets, airline tags, movie tickets, concert tickets, etc) all though out it. I also plan on using it to jot down Inspiring stories, lyrics, bible verses, memories, and pretty much anything that I feel has a good place in it. Its a work in progress, but I think one day I will find it really neat :). I hope so anyways.. 
In other news, needless to say that a few things have happened since December..New Years was an absolute gong show and WAY TOO MUCH FUN!!! Thats all I will really say about THAT. Oh gosh... 
Ummmmm January...well we moved host families on the 8th, and it was....interesting. It was REALLY hard to move away from a family that I grew to like so much and I had no idea what it would be like to move into a different home.. But after the drama from the move subsided and I got settled and used to it, its been nothing but great! The family is so awesome :) and where they live is absolutely PRIME. So I’m definitely more than happy here. The 14th of January Maddie headed home. It was an awful day.. I agreed to ride with her in the car to the airport, and it was the weirdest atmosphere I have ever been in. I could almost imagine what its going to be like for me. Needless to say, that goodbye was VERY emotional and all of us Debrecen kids cried pretty good. Its been a month since that Poodle left and she is missed. After that things settled back into a regular routine, (whatever that is) and attended school, prepared 2 different Presentations that needed to be given in Hungarian, (one for my Host Club and one for the Outbound Orientation) attended Hungarian lessons and just hung out with my new family and all of my friends. So far in February we have had the Outbound Orientation where we had to give presentations on our homelands, (that was interesting because I was the only Canadian and one of only two countries who had to do it alone) I played volleyball in my school all night long with some of my best friends, and spent 2 full days sick and in bed watching 17 episodes of Pretty Little Liars because I had nothing better to do... Its been a very eventful and very interesting month-and-a-half. I am currently busy trying to finalize date changes to my flight that is booked to return in 2 weeks and figure out when I will be back in Canada. I was also finally informed of the exact date that my parents will arrive in Europe.. April 12th and counting! And April 25th....Becca!!! Can’t wait for March to role around and time is going to start spinning out of control!! Im so looking forward to Spring rolling around and for the crazy fun to begin! Life here has been at a bit of a stall in that there hasn’t been much to do or really really look forward to in a while. However I just keep reminding myself that things back home are probably even more uneventful and now Im just being spoiled!! So for now, thats all, but I WILL EVENTUALLY write again.. Sziasztok! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010!!...

Dec 30th 
Can you believe that 2010 is OVER?!? So many people try their best to express how the passage time makes them feel, but I feel as though no one has been able to truly portray how it hits you at that moment when you realize how much has happened in the last 364 days and how well you remember it ALL. Thats when you really understand the much-to-bland expression that states “time is flying!” Since the last time I wrote on my blog, it seems like a lifetime of events and emotions have taken place. Instead of taking days upon days to write it all down Im just gonna write down the highlights that instantly come to mind as I sit here. The rest of November passed without much to speak of as far as out of the ordinary (whatever that is anymore). Went through some days where I really missed my family and just really needed to hear that I was loved. They certainly rose to challenge well :). Ady Day also fell in late November, and so in our school was a full day without classes that was just full of competitions varying from singing and dancing to physics and maths. Beginning of December marked the Advent countdown and my Rotary Inbound Trip to Vienna! It was an amazing weekend and a GREAT time with all of the exchangers! I soooo loved seeing them all again and we had a lot to catch up on! The weekend went really fast and involved a LOT of interesting events that wont soon be forgotten. :P The following weeks at school before the break involved dispersed drama exams for the “D” students and that was a chance for Maddie and I to get out of class and watch some interesting performances. We worked hard on her movie to get it filmed and spent a lot of time in the library just chatting during class. Maddie also spent the week with me in mid December because her host family was gone on a ski trip. We had a lot of laughs that week and it was fun for me to have her here. Since then, Christmas crept up on me worse than ever before and before I had a chance to digest the thought of spending it alone it was here! It was a good thing though, I didn’t have a chance to get homesick over it. I spent Christmas with my host family and their relatives in a town not far from Budapest and it was very interesting for me to get to know them and their Hungarian Christmas traditions. Very different from my own back in Canada. I was also able to speak with my entire family on Christmas and it was so good to talk to them all again and see how they were doing and what was happening Christmas Day for them. :) So that brings me to now. One day before the final day in the year of 2010. Leaving me with me another clique, whatever happened to this year?! It leaves me feeling bitter sweet. There is excitement for what is to come in the year 2011. Both unplanned and the anticipation of the unknown, but also the sadness that comes with all the memories (good and bad) that will forever be history as I wave goodbye to them and the year in which so many things happened to me. I think back to the beginning of this year, and I find myself feeling as though that was a lifetime ago and I was different person. I know this is true. This year has been the biggest year of my life for so many reasons. One, because at my age, it is inevitable that as you seek to find yourself in this world full of insecurities and confusion, that you are bond to learn some very valuable and sometimes extremely difficult life lessons. Two, because this has been the last year that I will be able to call myself a “kid”, to me, there is something tragic about that that I still have not accepted. And lastly, but most importantly, because I finished off the last quarter of the year having taken the biggest step into something unknown that I think I possibly could have. It has been nothing but rewarding in the end though. Looking back at the person I was, and the person I am now, I simply cant wait to see who I will be once this is all over. I realize now that life is so much bigger and there is so much more out there for us than most people let themselves believe. I’ll never again be the small-town-girl destined to stay. There is no looking back for me. So here I am, preparing  to step into this year of 2011, and finding myself wondering where this sort of year could take me. HERE I COME!!! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

one month since last time????!!!

Well apparently it has been a whole month since the last time that I wrote on my blog! I figured I better get on it! To be honest, that much time passing without writing anything makes it virtually impossible for me to remember exactly what happened. So I’m going to give the condensed version of the important stuff that happened within the last month. 
In October of every year, Hungarians celebrate the anniversary of their 1956 Revolution. Most of the shops are closed, etc and every school does something to remember in their own way. My school decided we were going to really stand out! All 800 students walked through the city from the University to the city centre and back to the school. It was a very interesting event! There were students carrying signs and vehicles following that played Hungarian folk music. Needless to say the students overpowered the sidewalks. . .considering there was 800 of us! The next important event was Autumn Break! The kids here in most European countries get a break in every season. And so from October 29th- November 8th I had no school. In the first 4 days of the break I travelled to Pécs and Komló with my host family. There I met Kira’s cousins, and toured the city. Then we stayed a couple of days with the Grandparents. It was a relaxing a fun trip and I really enjoyed spending the time with my host family. During the rest of the break I went skating, watched Vampire Diaries, slept in, etc. There was a Halloween party one night during the break that my classmates had organized. I didn’t want to buy anything for a costume so I decided to go as a “Canadian”. I will never forget all of the weird “looks” I got from people on the bus/in the street as I walked around basically a giant maple leaf. I suppose its not something that they see every day. :P On the weekend before school started again I got invited by my friend Amanda to go to Budapest with her and her family. We went walking through the city and they took us to a few of the main attractions. This included the Parliament building. Yes, not only is it absolutely amazing on the outside, but its just as awesome, if not more inside! I can honestly say that I think it is one of the most, if not the most BEAUTIFUL buildings I have ever seen! Everything was so incredibly detailed and even the little things were designed to a T! The pictures I took hardly do the place any justice at all. That night we were able to go out with our friends Alberto and Alonso (who was visiting from Szolnok). We had a lot of fun talking and just hanging out. The Grand Finale of the break for me was another trip to Budapest with my classmate Viru. We took the train there, went shopping, met up with my friend Collin, and took some sweet night time shots of the city. Then it was off to the Lady Gaga concert! It was AMAZING!! I had never been a huge fun of her style, and I honestly just thought of her as a freak. Well. . . she is. But she puts on an AWESOME show and she is really really talented. I had so much fun watching her and her dancers and I respect her SO much more now. It was awesome! After suffering a long and cold ride home I got to bed by the following morning :P. But it was well worth it and I really enjoyed spending the time with Viru. Since then, Maddie has returned from her travels with her Mom, and so we have spent some time hanging out. She came over for a few hours one night and I suffered major stomach pain from laughing too much!! We also hit the town with all of the Debrecen exchange students for a very fun night and crashed at Amanda’s house as usual. So that pretty much brings you up to speed on all of the exciting events that have happened since this time last month. Im also pleased to inform you that I will FINALLY be starting Hungarian lessons tomorrow!! :) woo hooo! 
So I have been here for 3 months now. Or 12 weeks, however you prefer to count. Regardless time is flying! It does NOT feel like a month ago that I wrote my last blog. I never would have expected to find myself this busy!! Between taking every possible opportunity to hang out with friends/meet people/go somewhere new I haven’t had much time to just sit and write. I have been keeping up with my journal almost every night, and writing back and forth with a few friends on Facebook, but other than that I am pretty much busy start to finish everyday! One thing that is going to drive me crazy is how early it is getting dark here! I mean, I realize that in Canada the same thing happens, but its cold when that happens in Canada and so you don’t want to be out anyways! Here the weather reminds me more of spring than a coming winter! The Christmas decorations and presents are out in full force now! I kind of hate it. I know that Christmas time is going to be hard for me, and I really don’t want to be reminded of its approach 1 1/2 early! I have had an awesome month though for the most part! Im having lots of fun, and feeling pretty stable now. The last week or so has been hard. I just feel stressed somehow, and I have no reason whatsoever to be. I think a lot of it is just coming from me missing my family and my friends so much. Its hard, when you just want to vent or gush to someone and the only way you can is by typing or making “a date” to Skype and waiting for that. I talked to my BFF Dani and my Noni on Skype both for the first time the other day. That helped a lot. Things are going to fine, and I know I can make it through. As strange as it is, I am thankful for the hard times. Its the hard times that are making me a stronger, better person. And its getting through those hard times one step at a time, that makes me realize what I am capable of! Before I left I didn’t truly understand what I was getting myself into. And how could I really? However, I know now, that I am capable of WAY more than I would have given myself credit for before, and I am becoming a stronger person by the day. Slowly, we get this life figured out one piece at a time. When life throws you lemons, you make lemonade! :P Cheesy I know, but what Im getting at is simple. I am learning more about myself everyday, getting stronger, getting smarter, becoming whoever I want. If this exchange was always roses, I wouldn’t be capable of the same growth. So as I step into the 4th month of being here, I remember that this is it for me! So live it while I can!! In a way, without entirely knowing it, I have been looking forward to doing something like this for my entire life. So I can’t forget to live in the moment. . .because its finally here!! 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another day goes by. . .

Sziasztok újra! Két nap múlva leszek itt a második hónapja!!! 
Hello again! Two more days and it will be two months!! 
Wow. Time is actually flying! I mean of course there is moments when I feel like time is absolutely crawling, but when I look back on the overall I think about how it feels like yesterday it was September, and now October is over half over! Since I last wrote on my blog a lot has happened again! On October 6th was my host Dads birthday. He was gone most of the day on business and so we had a surprise birthday party for him! It was a lot of fun making the decorations with Kira. I gave him a Molson Canadian T-shirt, and a shot glass with a maple leaf on it. I also got my classmates to help me write in his card in only Hungarian. He loved that! :) On that weekend I went to a classmates house again with a bunch of friends and did more baking! We made Canadian Pancakes and I brought Maple Syrup!! It was a self declared success! The afternoon also doubled as a surprise party for one of my classmates as well. :) It was a lot of fun and I really liked having the chance to hang out with them and talk to them again outside of school. It was really funny to hear the type of conversations that go on! Let’s just say they aren’t entirely similar to simple conversations here. :P We’ll leave it at that! I also went to another birthday party that weekend. It was for Amanda’s classmate, Henni. We started the night out at a Pub, and we eventually ended up at a night club. I also was playing Jumper between there and Mesi’s party at the Karaoke Bar. It was a fun night with some pretty random events!! I’ll never forget what happened to Riassa and I on our way back from the bar. We were walking down the street and a very drunk young guy ran out in front of us and starting dancing and singing in front of us while we were walking! All I could understand was that he was calling us “beautiful girls” and blowing us kisses and we were laughing SO HARD!! Good times! Later that week I got really sick with some kind of viral flu bug. I lost 8 pounds in the 2 1/2 days that I was sick! I felt so bad because Andi and Toni were worried sick about me, I was keeping them awake and there wasn’t much they could do for me. When I stayed home from school it was nice to get the rest, but after being home alone for a while I got really bored! I watched a movie on my laptop while taking a bath, read my magazine, slept, and just laid around. It was really nice to have Andi and Kira back in the house! :) I talked to Taron on Skype that week too! It was SO good!! I hadn’t talked to him in over a month! I never realized how much a friend my little brother/s are to me. It was nice to hear all about what was going on at home, and reassuring to hear that things are completely regular and not a lot is new. The following days were really nice because my Italian teacher was sick and so I didn’t have the first lesson for most of the week! I finished the letter for my school and by the end of the week had all of the approvals of the teachers to get out of Italian and Chemistry for good! :) I was pretty excited about that. One day after school I came home from a long day and was SO excited to discover a package from Dani on my desk!! It made my entire week! She had sent me a little box of chocolates and a letter :). I LOVED it. I also went for the first time with Panni to her volleyball practice. I really enjoyed it. It was much more like the volleyball that I’m used to from home. The coach made sure I knew that I was welcome anytime and wanted to inform me of the annual International tourney that they attend at invited me to a bring a team from Canada! Wouldn’t that be nice! :P On Friday I was really happy to finally be through with the week and was kinda in a melancholy mood. I brought home a rose for Andi “just because” and it earned me a nice big hug and kiss :). Later in the afternoon I was supposed to go to Bori’s house for the evening. When she came to pick me up I was happy be have someone to hang out with and distract me from my thoughts. When I walked into her house I was shocked to find all of my classmates standing there yelling “SURPRISE!!” and standing under a sign that said, “HAPPY NAMEDAY!! BOLDOG NÉVNAPOT TORI!!” I don’t even have a nameday! my classmates had made one for me and had been planning a surprise party all week! It was so amazing to see how loved I am already! Even after only 2 months of being here. They had bought me a cake and brought games, they even had gifts!! I got a SWEET tank top which they had drawn, “Hungarians <3 ME” on it and they all signed it. I got a pillowcase from Panni that she had drawn a beautiful butterfly on, a bracelet from Viru that “bonds memories”, a trinket box from Kira, and my Lady Gaga ticket!! It was an awesome night! I am so lucky to be so loved! Finally, that brings us to yesterday. I went to a place called Eger with Amanda and her host family. Her little brother had a dance competition there and so we went with and her Dad took us sight seeing. We saw lots of cool things. There is tons of history in that town! There is a castle, and many old churches etc. Most of the history there involves the invasion of the Turks way, way back in the 17th Century. The thing that hit me the hardest was when her Dad showed me a piece of tile that was made in the same year that Columbus discovered America! It was amazing to me to think that there are items like that EVERYWHERE in Europe that are older than Canadian or American history itself! It really blew me away! Today Kira and I helped Andi do a bunch of cooking and baking, we also watched a couple of episodes of the Vampire Diaries online. So that brings me to now. . .what a ride this has been. What an interesting and totally unpredictable adventure. Even the simplest days, the ones that go exactly according to plan, are different. Start to finish every day brings new emotions, new discoveries, or something new to think about. There hasn’t been a single day that doesn’t have its ups and downs. I can safely say that things here are going great, and that I’m having the time of my life, and that there isn’t anything that I would trade this experience for, its also safe to say that every single day there is at some point, a moment where I need to just take a deep breath and remember why I am here. I think its pretty much impossible to throw yourself into a new world and not struggle with it a bit. I was thinking about this just yesterday. . .I have obviously suffered from many bad days, bad feelings, even heartbreak and sadness before I came here. To be completely honest, I don’t entirely remember what an of that felt like! Since I have been here, I have had an ache in my heart for home for at least a few minutes of every day. It doesn’t mean I’m not happy, and it doesn’t mean I’m not having fun. It’s just that split second that something brings my mind back to home and the little stab in my heart reminds me that I’m away. Sometimes its a smell, or a sound, or a story. Sometimes its just simply me thinking about my family or my friends. It can be the littlest or the randomest thing, but it never fails. I’ve learned something since being here though. And that is not to fight those feelings. If I’m feeling lonely I remember to pray, if I’m feeling bored I remember how many AMAZING things I’ve done so far, if I’m wishing I could just be back home, then I think about how fast this experience is going to go by and how I need to embrace every moment of it and cherish the time that I DO have here. After all, I have a lifetime of memories to make and days to spend with the people I love from Canada, but there is no telling how many opportunities in my life I will have to do something like this. Sometimes its hard to think about things this way and you just want to throw yourself a little pity party, but I have also learned that thats ok too. Every exchange student will have the same feelings at one point or another, and there are times that the best way to get over those feelings is just to let them happen. I know that when I get home and get to see and hug my family again it will be amazing. But I am also starting to realize that after a few weeks of being home again everything will return to the exact same state it was when I left. Life will go on, we will still be our crazy busy selves, my Dad and Mom will still work too hard, my brothers will still fight, there will still be plenty of hockey seasons for me to watch, and lots of nights to chat with my parents about nothing important. One year sometimes seems like an eternity, but every year that goes by, I can safely say had gone by fast! So will this one, and so as I come to realize that I’m already 1/5th finished this experience, I try to look at the rest as an opportunity that I need to make the most of. Wow, this has turned into a ridiculously long entry! I hope you aren’t all asleep by now!! But I suppose if nothing else, you can safely say you have officially seen what has been going on in my head! Comprehend it if you can :P.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hello again!

Where to begin. . .
Since my last update I have done a lot of really cool stuff! On the 24th of September David Guetta came to Debrecen and so a bunch of the exchange kids from all over met up and went. It was insane! loved it!! we had to wait 2 hours just to get into the building and once we were inside we listened and danced to some Hungarian DJs until David Guetta arrived. This wasn’t until about 12:30!! so the concert didn’t even end until after 3 AM! Obviously it was an extremely long and tiring night but also SO much fun! The next night was Amanda’s birthday, and our first night out on the town together. We were at a little birthday party for her and her host brother and sister for a while and then went out to a pub with her classmates. Soon we met up with the other exchangers as well and hung out and talked until 3 AM! That night was also my first experience trying Palinka :P. It is a VERY strong drink that is famous and more or less exclusive to Hungary. Very interesting to say the least. All in all that weekend was a lot of fun and not very much sleep was had by any of us. Since then I have also gotten together with some of my classmates and did some baking. We made everything from muffins and cake, to homemade fries and deep fried cheese! It was great to spend some time with them outside of school. I also got invited to one of my school mates houses (Bori) who lives just down the road here in Jozsa. It was awesome to be able to speak to her and just hang out, I really appreciate the friends I have made here so far and I find them all so kind and caring! 
This past weekend was the trip to Venice! All of the exchange students were reunited in Budapest and were all pumped for an awesome weekend! We kicked off the journey by stopping at Lake Balaton. This is not only Hungary’s largest lake, but also the largest in all of Europe. Its about 75KM long, or so I was told. The stop here was short and sweet, but interesting for sure. The rest of the night was spent on the bus, with stops every 3 or so hours. I got NO sleep at all. I’m almost sure that no one else did either! Between the laughter, chatting, temperature extremes and uncomfortable seats it was almost impossible to sleep. I ended up in the isle on the floor most of the night. Early morning brought us to Venice. After forcing our eyes open and accepting that its already daytime we were off!! We took a water taxi into the city and the whole time all I can remember thinking was, “how did they actually build this place ON the ocean?!” It was truly amazing! I now know why this is one of the most famous cities in the world! We did everything. Walked up and down the narrow streets and shops and looked at the typical Venetian masks, bought some souvenirs and post cards, and then went for lunch in a tiny Italian restaurant where I tried authentic Italian pizza! Afterwards a small group of us got into a Gondola and took a short tour of the streets by boat. It was so interesting to see things from that perspective. Peoples doorways opened right out to the ocean water! they didn’t have vehicles, but rather boats. SO COOL!! Everything had a beautiful and unique/old style to it as well. However I could never live that way, especially during tourist season. The city was absolutely PACKED with people everywhere! I couldn’t handle that. Later on I also had some Italian ice cream and Spaghetti for supper before saying goodbye to the city and taking a sunset ride on the water taxi back out to our bus. Needless to say I had an amazing time and Venice is a place I will never forget! 
Aside from a few key highlights I have been keeping myself really busy here in Debrecen. I have Volleyball on Mondays and Wednesdays, Tuesdays is Rotary meetings and Im considering joining an Aerobics class as well, Wednesdays there is a HUngarian conversation club at the American Corner that is more or less a free Hungarian lesson so I have started going to that as well. Thursdays is Spin class, and on Fridays will be Basketball. The twist with Basketball is that there is no girls team! So Im going to be playing with the boys! :S Wish me luck!! So as you can see I have been anything but bored AFTER school! Its DURING school that is sometimes a slow and painful death. I feel bad talking to my classmates while they are studying, and so sometimes I have absolutely nothing to do and remain silent for hours. You can imagine how hard that is for ME! But its getting better all the time. I find things to do and Im meeting more kids so I can wander around and find someone to talk to most of the time. I have suffered from a little more homesickness recently, but the reason mostly being because of a slow day in school. Afternoons are more or less always great! :)
I LOVE my host family!!!! They are amazing! Living with them has been more than easy and I am becoming so close to them! I miss my family and friends back home a lot, but I  am feeling better all the time. 
I am hoping to be starting private lessons for Hungarian sometime within the next couple of weeks and I can’t wait! I need some motivation other than my own nagging mind :P. 
So there is my update, next time I’m sure won’t be half as exciting considering I won’t have any extravagant trips to tell you about until December. But who knows!! Until next time! Sziaszok! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

September in Hungary

So I have been here for a month! Its been INSANE!! i don’t know how to explain how much has happened. Since I last wrote a lot of things have changed. It is the end of September, so the weather is a lot cooler, but is still in the teens everyday for the most part. There has been a few rainy days as well, and the rain here isn’t heavy, but continuous. 
When school started I was super nervous, but the kids in my class were really nice to me! Being in the Bilingual class also helped, because I was able to start talking to some kids that were pretty good in English. So far not much has happened though. Classes are 45 minutes long and I have either 6 or 7 in a day. Sometimes the days can seem super long!! During the Hungarian classes I can’t understand a thing and I have nothing to do! Sometimes I write a letter, or listen to music, other times I read my “teach yourself Hungarian” book and try to comprehend what its saying. I will admit there have been classes where I have fallen asleep. :P But I try not to. In my English classes it is way easier to pass the time because I am at least able to understand what they are saying! The kids in my classes are really sweet, and do whatever they can to help me, make me feel included, and do whatever they can to ease the pain of my boredom. Its really sweet of them! Volleyball has also started in my school, but since its an Academic and Drama school, no one really plays sports. So its a very simple, small, sort of recreational program after school on Mondays and Wednesdays. But hey, its better than nothing! 
Every Tuesday I meet up with my fellow exchangers that live here in Debrecen and we do something for a couple of hours before our Rotary meetings. Its fun hanging out with them and I can tell that we are going to be great friends in no time! :) 
Thursdays I have also started a Spinning class with some classmates and two of the girls on exchange here too. Its really fun and a lot of work! So maybe, just maybe, I won’t get fat while I’m here!! :P Kira and I also go bike riding after school almost every day that its nice out and if I’m not home too late. 
Hungarian is still extremely difficult. I can understand some pieces of conversations now, but I can still only speak small phrases and sentences. My host family is doing their best to help me learn by speaking Hungarian to me, but there is only so much I can understand without a proper teacher. On that note, we are supposed to be starting Hungarian lessons at the University sometime in October and so I am really looking forward to that! 
Other than that, life here is starting to become a routine. I know how to get around in the city using all the methods of public transport! (and I’ve only been lost a couple of times :P) I’m pretty much completely used to the food and know what is my favorites and what to stay away from. I have got my own cell phone, bus pass, etc and so I feel like I am part of this place more and more all of the time. 
In other news, I was able to travel to Budapest on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of September to meet all of the other inbound exchange students that are here in Hungary. There is 37 of us in total. I am the one and only lonely Canadian however. It seems that almost EVERYONE else is either from Brazil, or the United States! It was a lot of fun though!! 
They are all really fun and interesting kids and I really hope to be able to see some of them more often. The next time we will meet will be the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of October when we will travel to Venice together!! :) I am super excited about this trip and hope we all have a great time! 
So even though I have spent so much time doing so many new things and meeting so many new people, I still manage to find the time to feel homesick. Every now and then I start to feel really down, and I need to remind myself that this is an experience that not very many other kids get. Its hard sometimes though, especially on the nights when you just can’t sleep. Or the the lonely afternoons  (during class) and the evenings when I just want to talk to my parents and my brothers. There have been times when all I want is to be back in Canada, and I miss it sooo much. But if I keep myself busy, try not to spend very much time alone, and look forward to the next cool thing I have planned, then things get better. The worst phase for me so far was right around day 10. There was about 3 days that I felt absolutely horrible and just wanted to cry all day, but I got over it soon and since then it only gets better all of the time. So, needless to say this exchange so far has been really hard at times, but it has also been the most amazing thing that I have ever had the chance to do and I will NEVER regret my decision to come here! 
I will hopefully have another update for everyone sooner this time! It will be easier to condense my thoughts if I can do it every couple of weeks or so :P.
Until then! . . .I’m thinking of you all! 

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Few Days In Hungary!!

Hey Everyone! 
Wow. What a crazy few days it has been! where to begin. Well, first of all the airport. My entire family came. Mom, Dad, Noni, Papa, Auntie Drena, Taron, Rylan, Zach, and Cale were all there to see me off. This was so hard, wow did I cry. I mean I know a year goes by fast, but when your siblings are so little it makes it very rough. Anyways enough talk about that, it’ll make me homesick. 
My flight was good because I sat next to a very nice young guy named Nick and his Dad and was able to chat with him for a good portion of the way. When I got to Frankfurt Airport I was amazed at just how huge it is!! I never even had to switch terminals and I walked for like 2 KM and went down a bunch of flights of stairs and FINALLY got to my gate. Then when they called us to board I was surprised to discover that we had to take a bus to get to the plane!!! This was cool because I got to board from outside like a celebrity or something. :P When I landed in Budapest needless to say I butterflies to the max!! I didn’t have to go through customs or anything and I got my baggage no problem. When I walked through the doors to the waiting area much to my anticipation was my host family. Jumping up and down and squealing and holding a big sign that said “Welcome Tori” with a Canadian and Hungarian flag. :) It was extremely cute! I was given big hugs from Andi, Toni, and Kira and we were off. I felt bad because my bags barely fit in their vehicle, they told me that their daughter Nike had left earlier that day with only one bag. :S 
On our way back to Debrecen they shared with me many Hungarian sites and facts about things I was seeing along the roadside. Their English wasn’t as good as I had anticipated and their accents are very thick. Poor Kira had to work her brain extra hard to translate almost everything. We stopped at a convenience store and picked up some Hungarian chocolate bars called Turorudi. They are AMAZING!! they are some sort of cream cheese coated with chocolate and a mystery center because I have no idea what they were saying to me :P. 
Back at home they showed me their house and gave me a tour of the neighborhood where I tried some ice cream which is also VERY good! all of the flavoring is added from scratch. Then I unpacked my things, very odd feeling. Needless to say i slept like a baby that night!! Until 3 PM the next day I was out like a light! That afternoon I went to Debrecen with Andi and Kira and they showed me almost every attraction in the city. The Forum (huge mall, boy am I gonna like it there!), the market, the concert hall, the University town, the Aqua Park, the city Square, Frog Lake, and the Big Forest. Everything here is so incredibly beautiful!! All of the architecture is so old fashioned and everything is magnificent and huge! I loved ever second of it! 
Since then I haven’t been able to sleep as good, waking up between 3 and 5 AM and not being able to sleep again for at least a couple hours, but I guess that is to be expected. 
The last couple days I have taken the bus into Debrecen with one of Nike’s friends Zsofi to see my school. Its not what I expected but I can’t judge yet what I will think of it. We then met up with a few of her friends and Nike’s best friend Robert and walked around the city with them. They were all very nice to me and although only two of them could speak English I felt very welcome and had a lot of fun. One thing I have learned is to expect hugs and kisses from EVERYONE! I got kisses on both cheeks from guys I have never even seen before! :P I also went with Kira to a nearby town where she goes to school and got to see it, as I expected, its huge and beautiful. While her parents where away to a funeral the one day Kira and I decorated our school books with wrapping paper and covered her text books. We also just laid outside on the grass for hours in the sun and played with Dogi (their adorable little dog). I love the weather here! It has been in the 30’s every single day. :) 
Some interesting things that I have come across are things like: the stop lights, instead of solid yellow or green they are yellow or green arrows, everyone rides a bike, the food, so far I have tried things like Fruit Soup, a drink made of milk and sour cream soaked in Mushrooms, cross walks with buzzers, and there is Graffiti absolutely everywhere! except, interestingly enough, the very old and important/respected buildings. Very cool I thought! 
So that has been my adventure so far. The language is excruciatingly confusing and i have no idea how I am EVER going to learn it, but I’m trying. Kira is teaching me the alphabet, and words and slowly becoming phrases, but I can’t wait to be able to hold more than a 30 second conversation!! It will make this whole culture shock thing a whole lot less exhausting. I hope I can give you all another update soon!! :)