05/17/2010 - 05/18/2010 48 °F
I feel like a wet dog at the moment.
I woke up around nine this morning to a drippy, chilly, overcast day. Since I most of us did not have class today, BJ decided to take us to the Hungarian Parliament building, which is gigantic and very old. Unfortunately, you must wait outside to get in, and we were stuck standing out in the rain for almost 45 minutes before the guard (a quite handsome young chap) would let us through to enter the building. We huddled under a thick mass of umbrellas and prayed to the good Lord that we would survive this blustery day. Finally, we were allowed to go inside, and we took a guided tour around the building that lasted for about an hour. It was very pretty inside. Elegant red carpets covered the grand staircases of the main hall. Gold leafs surrounded statues near the ceiling, and the crown jewels rested at the center of the main hall. Two official-looking guards flanked either side of the case, and we were priveledged enough to see them change guards (kind of like how they do in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, for those who have been). Once our tour ended, we reluctantly stepped back out into the rain and scooted home on the underground tram for a quick "eat to bite." Then we hopped back onto the tram and went two stops down to the House of Terror, which reminded me of the Holocaust Museum in D.C. It was interesting, but very hard to get through because of the photos and movies of dead bodies being plowed into common graves and survivors of the toture recounting tales of their experiences. Our hearts (well some of our hearts) heavy, we trudged out of the museum and into a little cafe where we sat and waited for our professor to finish touring for over an hour. Finally, her daughter declared that she was going back into the museum to find her mother/professor, so most of the group left and Jenny, Rachel (BJ's daughter) and myself stayed behind to find her. After searching the entire museum for a second time, we gave up hope and began to navigate our way home by ourselves. As we were standing undergroud waiting for the next train, we saw BJ arrive on the other side of the station, getting off of the train going in the opposite direction! I thought it was kind of funny, but I don't think Rachel was as amused.
Anyway, we all made it back just fine! I am now sitting in my room, stalling on the homework that my marketing professor assigned to us for this Thursday. Although I have only had one class, I really enjoy it, and I am looking forward to taking more. My professor is multilingual, but I have no idea where she is from because it seems to me that she has about 10,000 accents. Sometimes she sounds Hungarian, sometimes English, sometimes African, sometimes Swedish... It can be difficult to follow her sometimes, but, by watching her strikingly red lips tumble over the words, you can usually guess what she's trying to say. Her lipstick matched her earrings, which were giant red hoops that dangled in front of her blond and black hair. She is quite the character to say the least, but she is funny and jokes with us a lot.
I like Hungary so far, but grocery shopping has been a challenge. I am bad enough shopping in Kroger and trying to decide what to buy, but it makes it a thousand times more difficult if you are unable to read the labels of any product. Jenny and I created a short list of items that we may be able to cook in the apartment, but I can only cook pancakes, and I think pasta is reaching Jenny's limits. Let's just say I've eaten my fair share of turkey and cheese sandwiches over the last two days. Anyway, the market is pretty much set up like any other grocery store, except the aisles are much smaller. This just pisses me off immediately when I walk in the door. There is not enough space to look at the shelves AND have everyone and their mother pushing past you to get to the check out. Jenny and I stood in THE most crowded aisle for probably ten minutes, arguing about whether the product we were holding our hands was laundry detergent, dish soap, or fabric softner. Meanwhile, all of Hungary is in the same aisle, trying to look at the same things. I swear I was about to snap. We finally decided it must be laundry detergent (we have a tiny washer in our bathroom, it doesn't have a dryer, but it is super cute and probably holds a max of 7 shirts) and rushed to the counter to finalize our purchases.
We walked the two blocks home in the rain and wind (the weather is becoming a trend here in Budapest, but I hear it's supposed to warm up a little by Thursday). We were able to kick back and relax last night, and one of the rooms had a little get together for everyone, so we shared stories and YouTube videos and had a grand old time.
I will try to take more pictures, but it's been raining every day, so I don't like to take my camera out if I can help it. I promise when it warms up I will let you see Budapest!
Well, I think that's all I have to say about that. Until next time!