Entry 9 – February 13, 2010

My apologies for not updating my blog nearly as regularly as I have been. “Our” internet has been super flaky, plus we have been at work most of the time, so it has been slightly less exciting. However, as penance for not posting as much, I am including a picture of some graffiti we found outside our building at BME. It is some C code that prints out something I can’t fully translate. Underneath is a circuit schematic for an amplifier.

Anyway, today I am posting an entire week’s worth of journal, so here goes!

Monday February 8

Today we woke up early (or at least earlier than we were used to) in order to get to school by 8:30. We weren’t quite in a wake-up-early kind of mood, so we ended up arriving closer to 8:45. Thankfully our 8:30 arrival was a self imposed time, so there were no penalties for being late. After working in the lab for a little while, we all started to notice how ridiculously warm it was in that room. We weren’t going to be there for long, so we just chose to ignore it. Shortly before lunch, we had a meeting to arrange the schedule for the Hungarian language course. Nothing too exciting happened there. Following that, we went to the nearest cafeteria for lunch. The food there is a tad sketchy, but they do seem to be fairly solid meals for cheap (soup, main course, and drink for under 1000 Ft). Following that, we went back to the lab for a couple of hours and then called it a day. On the way home, Matt realized he wasn’t feeling so good, so in the evening I went by myself to test out the Skype lecture thing. All seemed to go well.

Tuesday February 9

Again, we woke up early to get to school by 8:30 and I think got much closer. Matt decided to stay home as he still was not feeling well, so it was just Sunny and myself (plus Cam and Andy once we got there). We had no lectures, so we were just working in the lab all day. For lunch, we went down to the little sandwich shop in the lobby and I ended up with a fried cheese sandwich. It looked like it was a breaded chicken patty, but it was actually cheese. It was quite good, though. In the evening, Sunny and I went on another grocery shopping excursion and I finally found baking soda and baking powder! I think the main problem I was having was that I was assuming they would come in a larger package, but now I know for the next time.

Wednesday February 10

Today we got up early, yet again, to get to school. This time we wanted to bring our lunches (we bought sandwich supplies the day before) so that delayed us again, but we were still there before 9, so it was alright. For lunch, we went to the sandwich shop again, some of us with our packed lunches, and some of us bought some. They had these super long half-bun-covered-in-cheese things that looked really good, so a couple of the guy’s bought those. I tried one and it was pretty good. I also bought a cottage cheese filled pastry, similar to the one I had on the Eger trip, and it was really good. No raisins, which was slightly disappointing, but still one of the more tasty things I’ve had here.

After lunch, we went to our first language lecture. It was almost entirely a repeat of the language crash course we were given during orientation, which was kind of nice as a refresher. Next time we will dive into stuff that is new.

After the lecture, it was time for home. Matt and I went with one of the American and one of the French students to the Grand Market (pictured at left), a really large farmer’s market style shopping center. It was pretty neat and I wish we had decent Farmer’s markets in Winnipeg (though I haven’t really tried finding one before). We grabbed some fruits, veggies, and cheese, then went downstairs to the grocery store to pick up the last couple of things we needed. While down there, we found vanilla, the last thing I needed for my banana bread! Yay! We also found maple syrup, which we wanted for crepes, but it was really expensive, so we opted not to buy it.

There had been some talk that a bunch of people might get together to see Avatar at the Arena Mall, but shortly after getting home we found out that people wanted to go to the pub instead, so I stayed in and made the banana bread we had been anticipating for over a week. It turned out really well and I think everyone was shocked by how much they enjoyed it. We don’t have any measuring spoons, and we haven’t been able to find any here anywhere (I think most people bake by weight here) so we converted 1/2 teaspoon into mL, and 1 mL = 1 cm^3, so Matt just used a ruler and a piece of paper to make a little scoop of the proper volume (pictured at right). It worked surprisingly well.

Thursday February 11

Same old today: wake up “early”, made lunch, worked at school. It was really hot in the lab, so we opened a window. Cam needed to mail something home, so he took off part way through the day to do that. He was gone for several hours. He got back and regaled to us the tales of his mailing endeavor. Basically, no one spoke English and they kept redirecting him to different places. Eventually a lady drew a picture of a plane for him, he nodded, and they took the parcel and his money. We’ll see in a week or so whether or not it gets there.

In the afternoon, Matt and Sunny decided they needed a hair cut, so they went out to do that. Upon their return, we had some salad and grilled cheese, filling the sandwiches with various left overs such as some extra ground turkey we had used for nachos the day before and, in one of Matt’s sandwiches, a leftover egg yolk from the banana bread (it had called for 1 full egg plus one egg white). In the evening, Matt and I went to McDonald’s to use their wireless to send a few emails. It was raining slightly on our walk there and back. As soon as we got back, it was straight to bed.

Friday February 12

On the way to school it was snowing. Added to the rain from the night before, the ground was pretty wet. When the ground here is wet, it is pretty gross. Other than that, though, it was a really nice day. When we got to the lab, we found that someone had already opened a window. It was almost too cold in there. At lunch, we went to go to a meeting for arranging a time for the culture course, only to find that the meeting was cancelled and that a lecture time was already scheduled for Monday. Matt and I went back to the lab and the other guys went to check out a gym. Since Matt and I were going to have to be up late to attend a lecture on Skype that was taking place back at the U of M, we had slept in a little and then continued to work late. Eventually we couldn’t focus anymore, so we went to get some supper. Walking around the area near school, we found another kebab place. It was really good, but kind of on the expensive side. It was on the Buda side of the river, though, which tends to be the pricier side, so I guess it makes sense.

After supper, we went back to school to just take advantage of the reliable internet before our lecture started. We got all setup at some desks in the main lobby, only to discover that the internet would not connect. Lovely. So, we decided to try to go upstairs to where our lab is and see if we could find a place to sit. They use a different wireless network there, so we figured it was worth a shot. The internet was fine, but there was only a cluster of 3 connected chairs available for seating, and it wasn’t near any outlets. We moved the bench to the nearest outlet, which happened to be just outside of the elevators, so everytime someone would go home for the night or the security guards made their rounds, we were sitting out there making everything nice and awkward. About 10 or 15 minutes before the lecture was supposed to start (21:30 our time) I realized I had an email saying that the lecture was actually going to be an hour later. No one in the class even knew about this, so they all showed up for the regular time too. We did a quick test to see that Skype was working and then went back to doing internet things until the lecture. The lecture was actually pretty interesting (it will be a series of lectures regarding law for engineers), but the fact that it went until 00:30 the next morning was a little less than great.

Since it was so late, the trams were not running anymore when we were trying to get home, so we had to take the night bus. These buses still come every 10 minutes, even in the middle of the night and they were completely packed. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bus in Winnipeg packed as much as this and this was a super long bendy bus running at 1 in the morning! I am continually floored at how much better (or at least popular) Budapest’s public transit is than Winnipeg’s. The super dense buildings here probably help make it efficient, though.

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