Entry 7 – February 5, 2010

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I had to wake up early to get to school by nine, but once we got there it was a pretty good time. We started off with a completion of the previous day’s discussion about course schedules (I need to take a culture course as part of my program, but I think I might take an Intro to Hungarian Language course as well). Following that was a brief lecture about the history of Hungary, which was pretty interesting. I probably would have paid more attention had I not been so tired, but it was still good. Next on the agenda was a 3 hour lecture on Hungarian language. It was much more interactive, so it was easier to pay attention/stay awake.

During the lectures, I got quite thirsty, so I went to the vending machines and got some bottled water. I had been warned that water in Europe is carbonated and in fact already knew that was what was in the vending machine, but I decided I should try it sooner or later. The bubbles weren’t that bad, but it had a nasty, bitter taste to it as well. Someone was saying later that it might be more than just carbonated and might actually be soda water.

After school, we took the tram back to our part of town. Just as we got to our stop, someone on the tram started talking to us in Hungarian. I was a little confused at first, then realized that she was a tram inspector. Basically, if you don’t have a valid tram ticket, you have to pay 6000 Ft, about $35 CAD, as a fine. Our tickets had just expired and we were on our way to get new ones. We played the tourist card and showed her our expired tickets. She didn’t speak English so she just pointed us to the metro station to get new tickets and to get off the tram. Luckily it was our stop anyway, so we went and bought our new passes. For 100 days, the ticket cost 11550 Ft, or about $64 CAD. Now we shouldn’t have any problems.

Following the tram incident, we went to Digi to try to subscribe to internet. They could not sign us up on the spot, but gave us a form to get our flat owner to fill out to allow us to subscribe to internet. They said they could give us a decent connection for a good price, so hopefully this one actually pans out. Our flat agency now has all the paper work, so hopefully we will be ready for internet installation soon. They said it might take a couple of weeks for the service man to have time to come, but hopefully we won’t have to wait that long.

For the rest of the day, Matt and I relaxed at home while Sunny joined the ESN students on their “pub crowl”. I tried a bit longer to get Windows installed without using a DVD, but even with all my crazy tricks, I could not get it to cooperate, so I might have to actually find some blank discs somewhere or try to do my work without Windows (which would be ideal anyway).

Today was a good day. We got to sleep in again, which I definitely appreciated. We got a little bit of a talk from Eszter regarding some administrative things and then that was it for school stuff. We went for lunch at one of the school cafeterias and I had some noodles with cottage cheese and sour cream. It was pretty much like deconstructed perogies. Sunny and Matt each had some cabbage roll stuff and we all had different soups. Each meal came to about $4, which was quite a lot of food (neither Matt nor Sunny finished their meals and they are the big eaters out of the 3 of us).

After lunch, we met up with the other non-ESN exchange students and went on a sight seeing tour of the city. We had really only seen a small portion of a city by this point. This city has a LOT to see. I kind of want to do another tour once everything is green. There aren’t tons of trees here, but the few that are would make things awesome. Below you will find a bunch of the pictures we took. You can click the thumbnails and get a bit of a description (if I had anything to say about the images) and click it again to get a larger view.

After the tour, we went home and made some delicious stir-fry. It was probably the meal we have put the most effort into so far, but it definitely was worth while. We will probably make that meal a regular act.

In the evening we attempted to attend a lecture at U of M over Skype, but internet in their lecture room wasn’t being cooperative, so it didn’t really work out. Good thing it was only a trial run. We are going to try again on Monday. On the way to school, there was a pretty sketchy guy in the metro station and I think he was targeting me for pickpocketing. He started off walking in a different direction then I was and then, as I passed him, he turned and was right on my tail for a solid minute or two. I don’t keep anything in external pockets, so I’m not too worried, but it was interesting.

As we were trying to get to bed, we noticed a lot of music and other noise slowly starting to build. I guess the neighbors above us were having a party. I think there are rules for our building that we are supposed to be quiet after 8, but we weren’t sure if that applied to everyone or just us, so we just tried to ignore it and sleep. The music they were playing sounded like it would have been good had I not been so tired, though.

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