Featured image: The main plaza in Zagreb with the pastel colored houses!
I am writing this entry, sick on my bed with two friends who are visiting me from their respective study abroad programs, and in my mind, I thought what perfect timing for me to have to run to the bathroom every five minutes. With this extra time on my hands, I was able to reflect on what I have been doing for the past couple of weeks.
I realized the academics here are way harder than what most people come back and tell stories of. The two actual computer science classes I am taking are so out of my realm, and yet, another part of me feels that school is fake here. I wish I could explain this paradox to my friends back home, but I just could be doing so many other things like traveling and exploring new places. It would probably be dangerous for me to get too comfortable with this type of lifestyle especially since my bank account and income level currently (aka 0 income) cannot handle any more L’s in the moneys section.
My friend accidentally booked a ticket to Brussels for me under Yina, but she didn’t know that that was not my legal name. That was a fat L. So instead, that weekend I took a really cheap trip to Zagreb, Croatia with a couple of my friends. It turned out to be a wonderful and relaxing trip since I had just gotten a really unfortunate and upsetting grade back right before the trip started. We walked around everywhere and stayed at a $10 hostel. It was sunny and warmer than it was in Budapest at the time, and I felt very much uplifted from my bad mood prior to the trip. My friend even brought me back a postcard from Brussels, so I am going to pretend like I went.
Recently I went to this cute Christmas market in Budapest and I got this huge chimney cake (Kürtőskalács) that was the size of a small child. It was warm and cozy to eat in this chilly winter. I remember staring at the Christmas tree lights and feeling very grateful for what I have. With all these weeks zooming by, I can’t help but get sentimental about my time here.
Time is flying back, and my positivity journal has been filling up with more and more entries. To my surprise, I have not missed a single day in which I can find something to be positive and/or excited about. I read a couple of my entries from the first month when I was having a hard time, and I am really proud of how I have come to love Budapest, the experiences I made here, the people I met, and my program administrators.
Thinking of how I only have a little less than a month left, I feel incredibly reluctant for my days here to be over. I won’t be able to take the 24-hour tram to get everywhere, I’m not going to be able to get dinner for the equivalent of $4, I won’t be able to goof around with the great group of guys who are obsessed with BP and poker anymore in their apartment on the Pest side. Of course, many of these sentiments are bittersweet. I have just realized that I have a lot to be thankful for because I threw myself out of my comfort zone so much. All that crying and emotional turmoil wasn’t for nothing since I learned a lot more about myself, and in a lot of ways, I feel more confident, more independent, and more comfortable in navigating through this world.
I am also looking forward to seeing all my friends back home again, and I can’t deny that I have thought about how fun it would be if they could all just join me abroad. We would travel so much and eat so much different food, but for now postcards will have to do as some kind of vicarious experience. It is also around Thanksgiving time, and I was too sick to go to my program’s Thanksgiving dinner, so I got that nice whiff of homesickness, but this time it was much more manageable. I have a lot to look forward to in the future and I’m really grateful for all that.