Getting Sort of Festive

"Nem értem"
-My current catchphrase.

Budapest, Day 104

So, it's officially December. Those last three months seem a lot blurrier when I gaze backwards. It's getting colder and darker, yet my determination to wear a maximum of one coat is unwavered. Saturday, we were graced with the season's first snow. In what may be a sign of times to come, it completely failed to stick. Though pretty, it was also far from the most beautiful thing I saw that day. This distinction was claimed by the venerable Parliament building, which AFS went on a tour of. It is rare to see such a tasteful accumulation of shiny gold decorations and stone statues. Keeping in mind a certain axiom regarding relative value, I have seen fit to break my precedent and actually include some pictures:

Speaking of sweet, I somehow managed to get this much candy for 80HUF (~$0.33). It shows that the whole lower food prices thing really does work out, because this is good stuff. That was the highlight of the night before my trip to the Parliament, which I'm going to describe backwards after the picture because apparently sensible chronology is for chumps.

The latter part of my Friday night consisted of a complete failure to go anywhere with any friends, owing in part to the fact that the default plan of "go drinking" doesn't work too well with the token teetotaler. I did have the fortune of finding some breakdancing buskers, however, so it was far from a total loss.The former part, the huge official Hungarian Travel Test, where a pass was required in order to travel outside of a very strict set of AFS guidlines. It was very professionally conducted, especially the part where they, in the name of fairness, did not have the students sign their tests, but instead instituted a code system. One would write down their name and the code of their test sheet on a separate piece of paper, to be opened after the written test was graded. At first, I was concerned by the idea that that anonymity would not be preserved owing to the fact that many of us might be indentified by our schools or other personal information. I needn't have been: the first test question was "Introduce yourself in 8 sentences", and most of us started by stating our names.

I passed the test, which means my temporary return to Székesfehérvár is now imminent. AFS had originally declared that those who didn't pass couldn't show, and that if everyone passed there would be a chapter trip to Vienna. Now, both of those statements have been generously retracted, as all will be attending both. The trip to Székesfehérvár begins Friday, and is slated to be the greatest union of the Hungary AFSers since the very beginning. Maybe all 5 of us from the USA will finally all be in the same place at the same time again. It will also be a chance to meet my host grandparents in Székesfehérvár, who I have not seen since the October break I spent with them. On a less serious note, all the Budapest Chapter students, like every other chapter, have been trying to prepare a dance to present to the other chapters. Despite the group's lack of motivation and ability to agree on song choices, I am confident we will be able to present something mediocre enough to not completely embarass ourselves.

Though I still have a few schedule conflicts to work out, I have no doubt that my holiday season will be memorable. Though I have this sneaking feeling I missed something in this writeup.

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