Monday, August 29, 2005


So here I am in Szolnok, my home for the next 9 months. I don’t know how much I can write in the next half hour (until I plan on going to bed), but here goes. I guess chronologically will be best, and if I were smart I would separate the pure description from the emotional mumbo-jumbo, but I said “if”.
I have to start two nights ago with our little room party. I started another prediction list. At first just myself, Rosaland and Harpswell were working on it, but then I cornered Janos and quizzed him. And although the list, in all it’s gossipy, petty drunken splendor appears in full in my personal journal, I feel that to publish it online might seriously damage the CETP friendship-vibe. I will just write that the categories were as follows: most likely to hook up, most likely to go home early, most likely to get in trouble with the law, most likely to find true love, most likely to stay for a second year, most likely to be friends forever, most likely to be friends for a year, most likely to learn fluent Hungarian (of those with no previous experience), cutest couple, most likely to be the best teacher. And that’s all I’ll say about The List until June, when we’ll see just how clairvoyant Ros, Harpswell and I really are.
So anyway, I think now I can get to last night, 24 short hours ago. As our farewell party, CETP paid for dinner at Bagolyvár. After dinner, some of us (self, Janos, Laura, Martin (Rosemary’s visiting son), Brent, Liz, Yerik and Jenna, Brandi, and Chad) decided to go to a beer garden that Janos knew of near Astoria. Holdudvár, for future reference, very nice. There was this huge party and parade and musicfest going on on Hõsök tere. Crowds of people, broken bottles and trash everywhere. I was really frightened that I would be trampled. I haven’t been in very many situations like that where I felt that I was so not in control that my life might be in danger.
So we got to the beer garden and hung out there for a while. On the way home the night buses were so packed that we were separated into two groups. Being literally cheek-to-cheek with various young people out on the town, we (I) was invited to Zöld Pardon. It’s amazing the English people will pull out when they want something from you. And how much my attempts at Hungarian amused and delighted them. By the way, I have to tell an interesting experience I’ve been having. Usually the first or second thing out of my mouth is “nem beszélek sok magyarul,” but as soon as I say another two or three words, they start teasing me about how “oh, sure you can’t speak Hungarian. You speak perfectly, etc”
So that’s the end of my factual account. The emotionally, purely self/internal part of the story continues with this dream I had last night, which I have to say kinda screwed up my day today. I don’t remember much of the dream, just that I was hugging somebody, and when we stopped I felt this incredible sense of sadness, loss and aloneness. I had a similar dream last year in Germany sometime about Martin. This one was better in the sense that it didn’t have that creepy, mixed feelings, but-Martin-is-just-a-friend-REALLY, but it was still so soul-shatteringly sad that it was certainly not a good start to the day when I have to leave and start a new life. I think I may have been having little panic attacks throughout the day as I remembered the feeling.
But back to facts: my contact person, Kati, and her husband Árpád came to pick me up at 10:30, surprisingly on time although they said that they had gotten lost. We stopped for lunch somewhere so got to Szolnok about 2 and came almost directly to my apartment, which was filled with people, including the director of the school and some other official, I forget who, the person I am subletting from and her husband, and of course self, Kati and Árpád. The flat is kind of a trip. The appliances are all gas, the washing machine is certainly Soviet-era, the furniture is a nice 70s brown and the walls are a light floral, and the kitchen and bathroom are about on par with what I expected from eastern Hungary. But it’s four rooms and four keys which are all mine, and will soon fill up with kitsch and junk and my own things. And hell, it’s free.
I did almost kill myself with the gas once, though, so maybe when the heaters are turned on it will be problematic. There’s a little flame in the water heater (which is in the bathroom) which is NEVER EVER supposed to go out. Well, I knew that Kati had told me something important about it, but instinct prevailed and I don’t believe that actual fire should be a regular part of a heating system, so I blew it out. Then I thought maybe I should call Kati and confirm what she said. Anyway, she came back, her husband came back, and although I was embarrassed and I’m sure she thinks I’m an idiot, she took it pretty well. She made a few jokes about pointing out the heaters and gas meters and I pretended mortal fear of them, also when she teasingly pointed out the gas company building. We had a little drive around town and she finally left me on my own (I don’t mean to sound rude, but I don’t know another way to phrase that) around 5. I SMS-ed some of the others and called Chad, and we arranged to meet later. Laura called me and we talked for half an hour. I like her. I found out that she commented to Harpswell that the more she talked to me, the more she liked me. That was so ego-boosting for me. Because I really need my ego inflated, right.
Now where was I? Right, after Laura, I walked to Chad’s. On the way, Jeremy called me to answer my message, which asked if he had seen any tractors yet (according to him all week long, he was living in a town with strong agriculture, and he had this fixation on tractors). He told me that, yes, indeed, from his window he could see one. Nice.
It’s quarter of 11 now and I keep getting more and more off-track. So I’ll just say, I met Chad, saw his place (I like his better, he likes mine better), we ate ice cream and walked around a lot. He really, really likes it here. So far, I am not persuaded either way.

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