Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shops galore

Today I woke up at 10:30 am and ate breakfast: a chocolate bar with sweet ricotta cheese (Túró Rudi) and szülö (grapes) with ice tea. Then, I got dressed and waited for Sziszi to come at 12:30. It was very funny this morning when I was still at home, waiting for her. She called at 12:40 because I was supposed to meet her outside, but I didn't understand. I opened my apartment door, but she was not there. It took me a while to realize that the whole building was locked and that she had been waiting for 10 minutes outside.

We went to eat at their version of a mall. It has 2 stories and they call it the plaza. I ate cucumber, tomato, and pork salad and she had pizza. We had a long talk about religion. It took me a while to explain church. She thought that all religious people have to go to church. She asked me if I wanted to go to church and I told her that I did, but it wasn't necessary to have a relationship with God. If there was a church, that was good, but I didn't have to go. She was very confused. She said that she believes that God is alive, but she doesn't go to church because she is young and wants to be free. She said young people do not go to church. She also thought it was weird that I liked it because there is no one who is my age there. I told her about youth group, but I don't think she understood.

We rode the villamos (tram) to Erika's workplace and I was able to ask for a yegyet (ticket). Erika, my host mom, works in the city hall for the elections. Its apparently a very important job. I like Erika a lot. She took me to the Media shop to buy a hair straightener and they were very expensive. I payed 14000 forint for a hair straightener! That's like $100.00!

After the media store, Erika took me to the grocery store and told me to put in the cart whatever I wanted. So we got lots of Túló Rudi, black currant nectar, strawberry nectar, grapefruit juice, focaccia bread, and melted cheese bread that was so fresh, you could burn your hand holding it. Ha ha, I have to stop writing about food or else I will gain lots of weight.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My First Day

Well, I arrived safely just so everyone knows. My Hungarian host mom is really nice. I finally finished unpacking and now regret packing all those clothes. Im in a lovely room in a 2nd story apartment. My mom kept asking me if I wanted to take a shower, so I finally got the hint and obliged. I just had my first shower without getting my hair wet and without a shower cap. They have a bath without a curtain that has a handheld spray nozzle and it allows you to have 1-minute showers.

This day is summarized in one word: Surprise! I was more prepared than anyone else, but there is only so much preparation you can do. The first surprise was security in Amsterdam. Unlike the US airports, Amsterdam doesnt have those metal detector things so when you walk through the security and the thing starts beeping, they do a full patdown. For someone like me who has never had a patdown, this was a slightly traumatic experience. The lady not only stroked every inch of my body several times, but also checked under my shirt and pants.

The rest of the surprises came like aftershocks. I arrived in Budapest a little early, with both my bags and left with 6 other exchange students who I had met in Amsterdam (Skyla, Irene, Pat, Claire, Alina, and Emily) When we got past the baggage claim, there were all these people waving to us. I picked out my host mom from the crowd immediately because she was holding a sign with my name on it. Another girl was with her who I thought was Nori, her daughter, but was actually Marisztéla, a girl who went to Toronto for a year and was going to my school.

We drove for 2.5 hrs and finally arrived in Debrecen. It is so pretty! They have really cool methods of transportation too. Instead of a bus, you take an electrical bus that runs on wires at the top, but otherwise looks like a regular bus. Their road rules are nearly identical to ours (you just cant turn right at a stop light and stop signs at intersections mean slow down, not stop) Both my host mom and Marisztéla have bikes.

As far as the language goes, they were really surprised at how well I spoke already. They also couldnt believe how well I caught on. I guess I know more words than I thought. They said I would definitely be fluent by December. I really really hope so.

After carrying in my leaden luggage, they took me to Erikas anyas house where I was served a delicious meal consisting of fried (with egg and flour covering) cauliflower, chirke (chicken), peas and rice, cucumber salad, pumpernickel cake, cheese bread stick thingies, and last and best of all, grapes. Now these grapes were unlike any grapes I had ever had in my life. There were the small yellow ones that are sweet and the larger yellow-green ones which are to die for. They have the most unique flavor that I cant possibly describe.

Anyway, to put it bluntly, right now, I am typing this in the living room at a time when I should be sleeping, so without further ado, I bid you jó éjszakát!