Monday, December 12, 2005

Another weekend, in Budapest

Well, I didn’t die. I’ll pause for a moment to let the obviousness (yes, it’s a word) of that statement sink in... okay, moving on. My gift turned out to be from the big man himself: St Nick, via Juli, gave me a bagful of Hungarian chocolates. Plus a packet of golden branches, which Juli explained is the equivalent of getting coal in America, only the bad children get them. I got just a small bundle. Hmph, St Nick needs to check his list better.

I also received some wonderful gifts on Friday night. First was the fact that both Laura and Jenna decided to show up together in Szolnok for the Oxford party. The party turned out not to be a drag after all (not that I ever thought it would be, ahem). Actually, I think we might have had a better time than the folks in Budapest, because when we drunk-dialled them at midnight, they were still hanging out, seemingly sober, at Roz’s.

But I get ahead of myself. The first part of the party went off as planned: musical performances, little plays, singing, and Chad’s (and Laura’s and my) presentation about American Christmas. After, Anita assigned each of us Americans to sit at a table of Hungarians and force English conversation with them. Oh, fun. Eventually, people drifted home, and Jenna, Laura, and I spent a good chunk of the evening talking to Csaba, one of my adult students, and his friend Geri. We discussed which country has the hottest people, why Hungarian women don’t drink beer, traded slang for various body parts and functions, and other vitally important things. I was forced to do the Gaines-face several times. It was great. If I were grading these classes, Csaba would totally get an “A.” He also gave me a Christmas card, my first one of the season. Another student, Dávid, gave me a pogacsa, because in the last lesson we talked about food and he remembered my raving about them. They’re my new favorite class.

Even after Csaba and Geri took off at midnight, we continued hanging out and drinking and dancing with Jacek and Dóri. I think this was the point we called the flock in Budapest, or they called us... who knows. When we finally left, Chad and Juli took off before we could hitch a ride with them, so Jenna and Laura and I walked a few blocks before giving up and hopping into a cab.

The next morning, we waited around in Szolnok, walked through the Christmas market, ate more gyros, and finally called Chad to make plans, only to find out that the punk had gone to Budapest without us. We plotted revenge. Eventually, we made our way to the train station, but not before stopping at a csemege to buy booze. Lots and lots of booze. And various other things for mixing. Drinking on the train turned out to be a surprisingly good idea; I think I may have to make it a regular habit. So we drank through the train ride. Drank through the metro ride. Drank through the extremely long walk across Árpád híd and to Roz’s. We were very happy to see everyone there.

The rest of the evening played out pretty much like every other time CETP gets together: we drank a lot. Ate pizza. Went to a club. Danced. Various people made out. Same old, same old. I remember thinking at one point (and, according to Allison, saying aloud several times), “I wanna go back to Szolnok. I’m going home now.” But I didn’t.

Sunday morning, again typical. Lazed around. Eventually, everyone was up and dressed. Janos ventured out and brought back Burger King and beer. Hajni stopped by; it was great to see her again. People took trains out at various times. I ended up on the same train with Mariah, Laura, and Jenna. After drama with the train tickets and reservations, we ended up sitting together in the dining car.

I don’t know what else to report. This entry’s really boring, but what I can I say? Nothing interesting happened that hasn’t happened, to some extent, every single other weekend we get together. Small things, sure, but the basic elements are all the same, since they have been from the beginning: booze, hormones, drama. Just sometimes the order changes. Not that I don’t love it, I really do, in all sincerity. I’m just pissy today. I’ve been feeling ‘twitchy’ lately. I don’t know any other way to describe it: it’s like a continuous caffeine high, like I have too much energy buzzing inside me, like I have to keep fidgeting to keep from exploding, like I want to run away. I don’t like it, it feels uncertain. Usually when I get twitchy, it precipitates me doing something impulsive. Frequently stupid.

This is particularly stressy, because my single December goal (other than various food-related ones) was dedramafication. Jenna and Laura agreed that this is an excellent goal, not only for me but for the world in general. I am failing.

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