Randomosity in Budapest Ensues

So what have I been up to now that I’m back in Budapest? Well, it’s the typical college student lifestyle, for sure – go to class, get some cheap Chinese food, come back and watch a movie, etc. Except that here the Chinese food is fantastic even though it’s cheap, I love my linguistics class, and I have movie night scheduled into my life every Tuesday from 4:30-7:30; conveniently, I also have a bag of popcorn scheduled into my weekly grocery list for just that occasion as well.

Aside from that, Monday through Wednesday went by much as they normally do – everyone was really loud on Tuesday night after Bible study, some of our girls decided to take showers at two in the morning, the usual. They keep putting their hiking boots in the cupboard with my groceries. I’ve got one shelf in the whole building on which I keep all of my groceries, and they just have to put their shoes in that cupboard. You know what flour and sugar and baking powder taste like when they share a cabinet with shoes? Guess what – they taste like dirty shoes.

I took some time to snap a few pictures of a ROM bar that I got at a rest stop in Romania once I finally decided to eat it. It’s a native Romanian candy, but I knew that it would be rum-flavored and, after that little bout of sickness on Sunday, I figured I’d hold off on anything intensely flavorful until I was sure I was better. Indeed, it was one of the sweetest candies I’ve ever eaten. Rum cream just does that, I guess.

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I do find it interesting that the candy bar has Bucuresti (Bucharest, the capital city) written on it. I wonder if they’re all made there, or if it’s just a sense of national pride or something. We don’t put Washington, D.C. on our candy bars. Interesting.

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So it was filled with stringy, sweet rum cream. Kelly and I split it. It was quite good, but I can’t necessarily say that I’d get one again. I just wanted to try it.

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On Thursday night, I went with Bekah and Kelly to the Hummus Bar to have a grilled chicken hummus pita and some French fries; even though I don’t care for hummus, it certainly wasn’t a bad sandwich. Then, on Friday, I decided to get a bit adventurous and create a cookie recipe out of the vast (and mostly empty 😉 ) recesses of my brain. I started by figuring out exactly what ingredients you have to have in a cookie, then I just kind of threw together the stuff that I had on my shelf that I wanted to get rid of. Using my culinary genius and a lot of elbow grease to cream the batter by hand (and some creativity to create a makeshift Dutch oven on the stovetop since we don’t have much in the way of an oven here in the dorm), the result of my labors was a batch of banana-cream-filled oatmeal chunk cookies. Delicious, if I don’t say so myself (and I do, because Kelly agrees). And I didn’t even use oatmeal! Tasted like it, though. That was intentional. I promise.

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*****

Also, this week was my first time heading to work in a foreign country. What an interesting commuting experience that was! I found out that tram 6 had construction half way through, so I couldn’t get to Jaszai Mari ter that way. I used the yellow metro instead and hooked up with tram 6 at the other side of the construction only to realize that I had accidentally gotten on the one going the wrong way. Oops.

Easily fixable, though – not like in Paris. So, I grabbed the opposite tram and headed back, got off at my stop, found the street, and hitched a ride with bus 15 with no problems. I was told to find building 45-47, but it had obviously vanished from the face of the planet just a few moments before I arrived. Didn’t you know that buildings can do that? So I walked the street up and down for about fifteen minutes before it reappeared from the netherworld. I was also told to buzz number 56, but all I saw was a numeric pad for security codes, so I sneaked in behind someone who opened the door with a code.

Number 56 was what I was supposed to buzz, right? So I was guessing that room 56 was where I was headed. Therefore, fifth floor. I cruise up on the elevator, turn the corner on the fifth floor, and see room 25.

Is it just me, or does that not make any sense?

After much snooping and searching, I finally found Telepátia Language School. So what is my actual job there, you ask? Well, it’s the kind of job a linguistics major with ESL specialization would love – which means that I rather enjoy it! I help to revise, edit, and speak English dialogues for Hungarian students. So, I get a script, go through it to find where the wording is not what a native speaker would say, and then head to the sound room to stand in front of a fuzzy microphone. I read out the script in various ways, sometimes with a Hungarian translation accompanying, sometimes alongside British native speakers so that the Hungarian students can hear both British English and American English, sometimes just running through a vocabulary list. Regardless, it’s a lot of fun (but a lot of hard work!) to stand perfectly still in a sound room for hours recording curriculum audio dialogues. The sound editor on the computer clicks through and asks me to repeat some things or run through the whole thing again until the recording is up to professional quality. Then, the work gets officially run and published as part of a school curriculum. You know those disks you get with language textbooks that have dialogues that you can listen to (often the same dialogues that are in the book)? Like the companion disk to the language textbook? I’m one of the voices on those. That’s what I do here in Budapest. Cool, right? And of course I get paid for my efforts, but I would have done it for free, too.

So after I’d done that for quite a few hours, I went out to retrace my steps back to the dorm. Just one problem — bus 15, the one I had ridden on the way, ran on this street, which was one way. Which means that the bus 15 stop taking me back must be on the next street over (the one the heads on the opposite direction), right? Wrong.

So I get over there, and I see only one bus stop — bus 133. No problem, I think to myself. I saw a bus 133 right by where I got off of the tram. It’ll go straight down this road too. I looked at the list of stops and saw that one of them was Lehel ter. Perfect. There is a metro there, and if you can get on the metro in Budapest, you can get back to anywhere. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never heard of that particular stop.

So, I wait around for bus 133, which the schedule says is due to arrive at 14 past the hour. It’s late. However, there was one segment of the schedule whose Hungarian I did not understand, so I figured that I was wrong and the bus was not running after all. I started the long walk back to the main street, but as I got just about a block away, there comes the bus behind me. Too far to run back to, I instead ran forward in hopes of catching it at the next stop (which I did). I sat down for just a moment after having stood like a statue for the last few hours when suddenly the bus veers to the left. Fantastic. It was NOT supposed to go this way. So, thankfully, the next stop was Lehel ter, and I got off to head underground to the metro. However, where the metro was supposed to be, I found a solid wall of wood painted red. Guess I’m not riding that metro after all….

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We’re finally on fall break here, so Kelly and I have a lot of free time. Today, we got up a little early to go to the grand market hall, a bustling building just off of Fővám tér, to do some quick shopping and grab a lángosKelly got a cinnamon apple one, but I got a traditional sour cream one and ate all of it by myself, which is quite a feat — one Kelly couldn’t quite manage. After we spent some time in the market hall shopping and changing our remaining RON leus from Romania, we zipped over to the yellow metro to make a stop at Opera and visit SUGAR again.

We had intended to actually have a full dessert there, but those lángos kept us far too full to eat anything else, so we resorted to buying some candy to bring back to the dorms with us. I got some fruit slices and some kind of chocolate things that I have yet to try.

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Tomorrow, we’ll be heading to church to meet up with Bekah, whose parents are going to take us out to lunch. After that, it’s a pretty chill Monday until I head off to sleep at the airport in preparation for my final independent travel of the semester — Athens. See you then!

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