"Wow okay I regenerated weird today."

"See this is why I normally wear a suit and gloves instead of painting this stuff on."

"I was hotter when Ryan Reynolds was me."

(Pic credit: Tamás Teknös)

Budapest és Balassagyarmat, 222-dik nap

Those from my home will know of JCS's traditional intramural competition: the Clash of Colors. The school is divided into three teams: orange, green, and white, and near the end of each year, the teams compete in a variety of games. Naturally, this leads to yearly jokes about how difficult it is to come up with battle cries for my team ("white power!" just doesn't work) and the traditional end-of-competition debate over which team actually deserved the win.

It turns out the Hungarians have one-upped us in this respect, however. As it turns out, several Hungarian schools have a traditional NON-STOP, an intramural competition combined with a school-sponsored all-nighter. Well, an all-nighter in theory anyway. In practice, I did, in fact, sleep at both NON-STOPs I attended. Yes, plural. The pictures on either side of this wall of text are from the one held at Bersenyi, but through AFS, I was also, through AFS, invited to one at Szent-Györgyi Albert Gimnázium in Balassagyarmat. Though the two school's traditions shared a name, they involved very different sets of activities. The pictures directly above and below this next are from the Bersenyi NON-STOP, and feature one of the main attractions and what I actually spent my time doing, respectively. The focus was on team competitions in basketball, football (not the one with touchdowns), and volleyball, but I unsurprisingly didn't have a team. In the absence of such a commitment, I ended up leaving a bit after 8pm when things started slowing down.

After that strong precedent, I took the bus out to Balassagyarmat the middle of the following week. As you may be able to tell from the map above, Balassagyarmat is right on the border between Hungary and Slovakia. Apparently a while back some Hungarian soldiers decided to stick around and hold on to the town, and the evidence of their results is plain.

There's also a Slovakian town on the other side, as I discovered in the easiest border crossing of my life. Represented by a cluster of unoccupied governmental buildings, border security was less than token. The picture below was shot from the Slovakian side of the river. Unfortunately, the closest supermarket was apparently back in Hungary, so I quickly returned.

Each of us who attended was assigned to a different class and temporary host sibling. For me, this represented a single-letter shift from class 11c to 11d, which I proudly represented by getting face-painted to look like Deadpool. This was the sole instance in which I actually represented my class during the NON-STOP, but getting to wave a katana around in front of a hundred or so people was very much worth the half hour it took me to get the paint off. After that, the event continued in the auditorium with games and dances, while the classrooms were decorated and populated by the students. Considering that this made the school the town's hub for highschool students with alcoholic beverages, the school building suffered surprisingly little from the night, with the aftermath of the late-night shaving cream fight marking one of the worst excesses. I'll take that over a pile of vomit any morning.

After I got home, Spring Break and the Easter holiday began. Pictured above is a traditional Hungarian Easter lunch. Personally I find it rather lacking in vegetables, but that might be my 17 years of vegetarianism talking. The sauce has a very odd sort of spice to it, the kind that apparently makes my entire head spasm. Then again maybe this was all subtley getting back at me for pouring water on every female in the house, but to be fair that's also a Hungarian Easter tradition. The practical result of this is that they all ended up saying "thank you" in the same tone of voice they'd normally be yelling at me for pouring water on them in. Apparently the symbolism is that women are flowers who need to be watered. I'll leave the commentary on that for the feminists in the audience. On an unrelated note, apparently my host family bought 3 times as much ham as they needed for the Easter lunch, so apparently I'm going to be on a meat-heavy diet for a while. This would be balanced slightly by the eggs, but most of the remaining ones seem to be chocolate. How disappointing.

Actually that makes me wonder how much money could be made injecting chocolate into real eggs. I mean the real egg insides, not just stuffing a real eggshell with chocolate. This doesn't seem like a good long-term plan because after a couple weeks a the customers would realize that this really is a terrible idea, but I figure there would be a period of morbid curiousity and related income. Maybe a candy company could do it as a limited run. And yes, this is the thought I'm ending this post with.