Chain Bridge, Budapest

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Aufedersein, Switzerland.

My current time in Switzerland has come to an end. I say current time because I am almost positive that I will be back in June to finish climbing mountains, eating cheese, and looking at clocks. I am leaving tomorrow morning to take the TGV Lyria to Paris to start Phase II of spring break.

I dont think I have slept this well since I got to Europe two months ago. I cannot thank the Schlessingers enough for their hospitality in Zurich. Susan, the mom; Patrick, the dad; and Charlie, the kid all showed me around Zurich and greater Switzerland and I have seen a lot of beautiful countryside. The other two kids, Sarah and David, are busy with college in the US and A. On Sunday, Patricks parents came over for lunch. The are a really neat couple. The grandpa, Papu, is Swiss and the grandma, Mamu, is French. They have been married for sixty years and live in Papus childhood home Baden, a town a little to the north of Zurich. Conversation was conducted in French, German, Swiss German, and English. Multilingual dinner conversations would become the norm for rest of my stay in Switzerland. The country is composed of four regions, the Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansch regions, all of which speak their own respective language. Since Switzerland is small country (you can reach just about any point with a three hour drive), a two hour drive will bring you to a different region where the language is different and the culture is different. Zurich is located in the Swiss German region, the largest, and I did not have a chance to visit any of the other regions, though I know I will on a subsequent visit.
On Monday, Susan took me past Lucerne to Engelburg, which is in the middle of the country. The town is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and we saw dozens of people carrying skis and snowboards just coming off or going up to the mountain. The town was filled with hundred-year-old houses and the greenest fields I have ever seen. A walled-in monastery sat on the edge of town and several little kids ran around the towns streets being let out of school. Many children, including those younger than ten years old, walk to school on their own protected only by a fluorescent vest to alert drivers. The entire area looked like the movie The Sound of Music. I havent seen it, but thats what Susan told me. That night I attended a Passover seder at Tal, a local college student who is helping out Charlie. His family is also very multicultural. His mom is from Atlanta, his dad is from Sweden, his step-dad is from Paris, and he has many cousins in Israel. We told the story of the Exodus in English, Hebrew, and Swiss German. About ten people attended the seder, including a fellow University of Texas graduate of 1998. He works for the recruiting department for the Zurich branch of Google, which is the main European headquarters. The other Swiss at the table were perplexed when we talked about American football, Mack Brown and Rickie Williams. I had a great time but was relieved when the seder ended at 1:45am. I ended up missing the last train home and spent the night at their house.

Tuesday morning I made it back home, still in a suit, and crashed on my bed. Later that afternoon I went into Zurich to meet up with Charlie and his friends. We hung out around town and then I took the train to the Rosens house for the second seder. The Rosens are originally from England and they all speak with an English accent and like to make jokes. Their rendition of Had Gadyah was the capstone to the night. They mimicked the sounds of the animals and objects in the song, such as: Then came the stick that beat the dog (whack!) that ate the cat (meow!) that ate the kid (baaa!) that my father bought for two zuzim (how much!), one kid, one kid. During the seder I talked to Joel, who is 19 years old and is currently serving in the Swiss military. Switzerland still conscripts every able bodied man when they are 18 years old. They serve initially for 6 months (I think) and then serve a few weekends a year for 20 years. In fact, I have reading a book I found in the Schlessingers house about Switzerland in World War 2. Did you know that Switzerland mobilized every man aged 16 to 50 and trained them to be marksmen? The Swiss had fortifications in the mountains and pledged to blow up all the bridges and tunnels in the country and wage guerrilla warfare if the Germans had invaded. Today, Joel told me, his training includes how to make IEDs and how a platoon of soldiers  (30 soldiers) can destroy an entire enemy battalion (1,500 soldiers). Hows that for neutrality?

Today, Wednesday, we visited Mamu and Papu in Baden, which is a 15 minute train ride from Zurich. They live on a hill in an old Swiss house. The house is over 90 years old and is three (or four) stories with several rooms.  The house itself is great and has an amazing view of Baden and the nearby mountains, but the things that fill the house are even more interesting. They have several dozen volumes of photo albums and thousands of books in several languages neatly stacked on shelves in every room. Papu had a European billiard table, which is different from an American pool table. This one didnt have any pockets, just a rectangular felt table. You play with only one red and two white balls, one for you and one for your opponent. The object is to hit your white ball so that it hits both the red ball and the other white ball. Each time you succeed you earn a point. The grandparents also maintain a collection of old military hats and muskets, both friendly and foe. One neat find is the 100 year old ritual handwashing basin for Shabbat that is installed on the third floor. I fully enjoyed both our spaghetti dinner and my final night in Switzerland.

Now it is very late and I have to go to bed. Tomorrow I will be in a whole nother country where the people speak a different language. Phase II, commence.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Impressions of Switzerland

Guten Morgan. Im in Switzerland typing with a German keyboard, so I will make this short. The train ride over here was a lot of fun. I was with five other people in a 6-bed couchette, which is a small compartment with six fold out bunk beds. There were three Hungarians, a guy and two girls; two Swiss, one older guy and a younger guy; and me. Only the older Swiss guy spoke English and after a while I tried to communicate with the Hungarians and got mixed results. We had a lot of fun when I brought out my Hungarian phrasebook and flashcards. My Hungarian learning still has a long way to go. A funny moment came when I tried to ask one of the Hungarian girls in Hungarian if she was going to Switzerland to visit friends or family, except that she thought I asked her if she had a boyfriend. Further attempts to correct myself only resulted in more confusion. Finally we got Zurich.

In short, nem vagyunk Magyarorszagon (Were not in Hungary anymore). Im at the Schlessingers apartment overlooking Lake Zurich and the view is amazing. Switzerland is so much more green, orderly, and is much, much cleaner than Hungary. In Budapest there is graffiti, trash, and dog poo all over the place, not to mention some of the buildings havent been renovated in decades and are sometimes literally falling apart. I never thought that there would be such a huge difference  between  Western Europe and the former Soviet countries. Switzerland reminds me a model train village. Everything seems deliberately put together and everything works like a clock, so go figure. I took the commuter train from the Zurich train station to Bach where the Schlessingers live and the train left right on time and arrived right on time. The trains in Budapest are also very punctual, but sometimes it is as if by accident whereas in Switzerland it appears that punctuality and organization is another law of nature. Im having a great time here and the Schlessingers have been great hosts. They took me to Lucerne to walk around in the old town and across the famous covered wooden bridge. We also went to the transportation museum and then for dinner went to a neighbors house for a "BBQ." Im kidding but the food was very good. One odd tidbit is that here people serve hot sauce and horse radish from a squeeze tube, like toothpaste. Though to be fair, in America we have cheese in a can, which in Switzerland much seem like a sin. The lake is so blue and the scenery is so pretty, its nearly impossible to not be in a good mood. To cap it off, a famous Swiss tennis player owns the apartment one floor up from us. Yes, that one. Ill let yall know if there are any sightings.

Friday, March 26, 2010

...And They're Off!

Whew! Three big reliefs today. First, I took my combinatorics midterm and feel good about it. The problem that stumped most people in the class, including me, was creating a recurrence relation to model the breeding of goats. I knew I should have paid attention to Sydney and Rachel and their 4-H activities. Yet another example of "what goes around comes around." Second, today marks the start of spring break. As usual, my Friday was packed. I had my combinatorics midterm bright and early at 8am followed by algebra at 10am and mathematical problem solving at 12 noon. I have an algebra midterm the Friday after I get back and homework up the waz-zoo in between, but I don't have to worry about any of that until later. Finally, the best news. I've been accepted back into UT for the Fall 2010! I took my time mailing in my application for admission, and after a few days of deliberation the University deemed me fit to return to campus. Thank you, Dr. Powers! Everyone in BSM is diffusing across Europe today. There are groups going to Greece, Istanbul, Casablanca, Prague, Latvia, and of course Amsterdam. Me? I'm going to Switzerland.

For the first part of spring bring I'm taking the train to Zurich today at 7pm. I'm going to go visit family friends from Del Rio, the Schlessingers, whom I haven't seen in a long time. The train is an overnighter and I'm arriving at 7:20am. I have a new book to keep me company: The Door by Magda Szabo who is a literary giant in Hungary, at least that's what the "About the Author" section said. I reserved a couchette on the train, which I am told is a bunk bed in a small compartment of bunk beds. We will see just how small this 6-bunk compartment really is. The Schlessinger's house overlooks Lake Zurich and very I'm excited for some tranquility. I've been invited to one of their friend's homes for Passover Seder on Monday night. Other than that I have no specific plans in Switzerland. On April 1 I'm riding the super fast TGV train to Paris to meet up with Rachel Hartnett, Kaitlin Speer, Alina Slavik, Ali Petlin and whoever else I know that will be in Paris at the time. I will update ya'll when I get to Zurich and throughout my travels this spring break. Let the whirlwind adventure begin.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Madness

Hey, hello! How are you? It's been a long time since I last posted anything substantial. The month of March was unexpectedly hectic with math homework and a little longing for Rudy's BBQ, but I think that's over for now. Well, the math homework will keep coming but I'm looking forward to it now believe it or not. I've been out and about around Budapest and central Europe (Bratislava!) and have a lot to share. Here is a quick rundown.

On the night of Purim, I dressed up in costume and went with Rebecca Graber to the White Angel club to go to a costume party. The party was sponsored by the Israeli Student Organization in Hungary. The club was packed and several people wore Israeli-themed costumes, such as a Bamba snack bag. I took advantage of being outside of Texas for Purim and went as a cowboy. I had my new boots and beltbuckle as well as my burnt orange UT button-down. I had to go to a costume store to rent a pathetic excuse for a cowboy hat, though I know I really shouldn't be talking. I'm not an authority on the subject. Rebekah (my cousin) if you're reading, I know. You don't have to say it. 

Hag Samay'ach and Hook 'em Horns!

The next day I went to eat a hearty Hungarian Sunday afternoon lunch at Agi Angyal's home in Buda. She is the cousin of George Fodor, a Hungarian man living in San Antonio whom I met through my Grandpa Max. Agi, her husband, and her friend treated me fantastically well. The food was delicious. It was also really cool listening to them talk about their lives in Budapest and the differences between the Hungarian and American cultures. Thanks again to the Angyal family.

Me with Agi Angyal

The following weekend I took the plunge and visited Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. I went with my roommate Andy and my friend Tao. We took the train early Saturday morning and two and half hours later we disembarked in another country. It was my first time to travel outside Hungary since I arrived in Europe in January. Overall the trip was amazing. It was full of adventure, spontaneity, and mystique. We met up with another group of BSM'ers Madav, Will, and Paul. Of course, it takes travelling between countries to see just how much cultural diversity there is in Europe. After spending two months desperately trying to learn Hungarian, I get to Slovakia and have to start from square one. Slovak and Hungarian have nothing in common; Hungarian doesn't really have anything in common with any language except Finnish and even then only a little. Plus, there is some strife between Slovaks and Hungarians from the history of the Hungarian Empire, which once extended into Slovakia. The Hungarian Empire even moved its capital to Bratislava, then Pressburg, when the Turks invaded and controlled Budapest. So not only didn't I speak Slovak, but I was trying not sound Hungarian (can you imagine?) to the locals.

Bratislava is definitely a hidden gem to Americans travelling in Europe. Its relatively small and compact with only 500,000 people. Anywhere in the old town and around the castle overlooking it is within a 20 minute walk from the nearest hostel and/or bar. We toured the Old Town, saw both funny statues and somber monuments. 

By the castle next to Old Town. The "UFO" Bridge is behind me.

Most inspiring was the Jewish Museum located in one of the last remaining original buildings below the castle. The only other original building houses the Museum of Clocks. We went there too, and it was exactly as advertised. The Jewish Museum holds hundreds of artifacts and mementos from Bratislava's once large Jewish community. There are dozens of Torah scrolls, siddurim, tallit, and Torah pointers. There were even pictures of the large synagogue with the castle in the background. The synagogue was torn down in the 1960's or 1970's along with much of the historic Jewish area of town to make way for the "UFO" bridge across the Danube. Next to the bridge at the site of the old synagogue is a black memorial to Jewish Holocaust victims and a relief of the synagogue that used to stand there. 

The museum guide directed us down towards the river to visit the Mausoleum of Chatam Sofer, who was a well known orthodox rabbi in Bratislava in the early 1800's. His sons were the rabbis of Bratislava until the 1940's. The mausoleum has been recently renovated and is housed in a new easily accessible structure just off of the main road along the river. Tao, Andy, and I walked over there and luckily found a person inside working as a guide. He told us about the history of the Bratislava Jewish community and about the history of the mausoleum. It is all that remains of the old Jewish cemetery. During World War 2 and the communist era of Czechoslovakia, many efforts were made to protect the graves. They were even entombed with a concrete shell while construction went on around it to build a tunnel for trams. The guide told us that after the war a few thousand Jews survived in Bratislava though nearly all of them emigrated after the war. Today the community has only 300 people.

After we had toured the mausoleum, we had only an hour and fifteen minutes to get back to the train station, which was a thirty minute walk away. No sweat, I thought. Let's go check out the Slavin war memorial on the way to the train station.... Not so fast, my friend! The Slavin memorial was dedicated by the Soviets to the Russian soldiers who died fighting the Germans to retake Bratislava in World War 2. The bodies of a few thousand Soviet soldiers are buried at the memorial, which is at the top of one of the tallest hills in Bratislava. While the memorial wasn't very far as the crow flies from the train station, we had to walk switchbacks through residential neighborhoods to get to it. Meanwhile the clock was ticking and we were running out of time until we had to catch the train back to Budapest. We started jogging up the hill and, exasperated, we reached the top with only 30 minutes to spare. It was worth it.

On Slavin Hill overlooking Bratislava

After 10 minutes of sightseeing, we only had 20 minutes until our train departed. Like in a scene from the Bourne Identity we ran down the hill. I glanced at my tourist map and yelled out directions to Tao and Andy, telling them to turn onto streets and go through unmarked pedestrian walkways. The sprint down the hill reminded me most a level in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 where you get trapped unarmed in a dangerous favela in Columbia and must sprint though houses and from roof to roof to reach your escape helicopter. It's a lot more intense in real life than on a video game I'll tell you what. Somehow, we made it down the hill and found ourselves where we had started the morning before in front of the train station. We collapsed on the station platform at 3:47pm for our 3:54pm train. At 3:51 the train arrived and at 3:54 the train left with us on it. We had escaped from Bratislava. I can't wait for the sequel.         

That was almost three weeks ago now. My weekdays are spent doing math homework and pretending to do math homework. I like all my classes and find combinatorics and mathematical problem solving especially nifty. I have, however, slacked off on my Hungarian learning. I only have Hungarian class on Monday and we had the March 15 national holiday two Mondays ago and before that I had skipped class since I wasn't feeling well. I had Hungarian class yesterday and the next two Mondays we have off due to spring break and Easter Monday. That means I'll have had one Hungarian class over a span of five weeks. Yikes. I'm going to do my part and back on the Hungarian wagon as soon as I can. Part of that involves me switching my analytical number theory class to audit. Its by far my hardest and most advanced math class. Its basically a graduate course and requires a lot of time put towards the homework and understanding the lectures, time which I don't have right now. Tomorrow I'll turn in the requisite paperwork and that'll be that. Once that is done I will have three math classes for credit, one for audit, and Hungarian for credit, which is still a decently packed schedule. I've been staying in town for the past two weekends to do homework while everyone else has bolted for weekend excursions. 

The Hungarian Parliament on March 15, 2010

I am glad, though that I was in town for March 15, which is a national holiday for Hungary and marks the start of the failed revolution against the Austrians in 1848. Its the Hungarian 4th of July and there is lots of flag waving. All the museums put on special presentations with re-enactments of events during the revolution. The thing to see, though, didn't have to do with Hungary's past. It had to do with Hungary's future. All the major political parties use the national holiday as an opportunity to put stump speeches in anticipation of the April general election, particularly the nationalist right wing party, Jobbik. We had been warned by Dezso, the BSM director, to watch out for rioting crowds and police riot controls. I had been hearing a lot about the growing extreme right wing in Hungary, which is partly based in the Jobbik political party but also in the Hungarian Guard, a citizen brigade of supporters. I rolled out of bed Monday afternoon, secured my passport on my person, and headed out to Deak Square to look for the hubbub. I found it. Too late maybe for the active demonstration in the cordoned-off street, but there were plenty of Jobbik supporters walking (or marching) with flags and banners.

By Deak Square, March 15.

Jobbik supporters with the Arpad Stripes.

The Holocaust Memorial Center had a temporary exhibit discussing the misuse Hungarian nationalist images for the extreme right wing movement. One of the images is the Arpad Stripes, which are red and white horizontal stripes. They have been used to represent the Hungarian Empire for hundreds of years, but also recently has their use invoked xenophobia and ultra-nationalism. A few hundred people in the crowd were wearing matching army fatigues and combat boots. I wasn't in any danger downtown walking around. Everyone was walking around amicably and quietly as if taking a stroll. In fact, the atmosphere seemed eerily peaceful, and a bit unnerving. I don't think there were any riots that day, but the rally was still a sight to see and I'm glad I was a witness to it. The opposition Fidesz conservative party and the smaller Jobbik ultra-right wing party are expected to win big over the ruling democratic socialist MSZP, which has been plagued with a lot of public incompetency and corruption. Yes, I am paying attention to Hungarian politics. Once you have the bug, you can't stop it. For more info, check out the Budapest Times or

That was two weekends ago. This past weekend was spent more light heartedly. For the first time since I arrived in Europe, Budapest had a truly gorgeous day with an afternoon high temperature of the mid 60's Fahrenheit; I couldn't let it go to waste. I finally made it out to Margaret Island to play some touch football with a few BSM'ers and some Corvinus friends. Margaret Island lies in the middle of the Danube north of parliament and is an oasis of greenery in the urban jungle that is Budapest. Its a well deserved recreation hot spot of the city. We found an open field and played some scrimmages. At first we only had five people: myself, Dan, Will, Paul, and Rebecca. After an hour and half of running around aimlessly, Kumar and Neal and ten of their Corvinus friends showed up and we played an actual pickup game. Corvinus is a university in Budapest and they offer many classes in English for international students. The BSM'ers know them since Kumar, who goes to Corvinus in Budapest, attends Denison back in America with some of the other BSM students. It felt great to play football on such a beautiful day. I hadn't had physical exercise for a while, and it showed. I'm still sore from all the running. I need to treat my body right from now on. Seriously.

Whew. A big update. Sorry for the massive blog cliffhanger this month. I'll be better at updating my journey's more regularly from now on. Promise. Scout's honor (Full disclosure: I was never a Boy Scout). I'll leave you with something to look forward to, as I am looking forward to it very much. This Friday is the beginning of spring break for us and I'm heading to western Europe. Civilization at last. First I'm taking an overnight train to Zurich, Switzerland, to stay for five days with the Schlessingers who are family friends with my mom back in day from Del Rio, TX. After that I'm taking the TGV to go to Paris to see a duo of UT friends who are studying abroad in Paris and an extra flying in from Dublin, Ireland. 

Until then, viszonlatasra. 

   In front of the Dohany Synagogue, representing Texas AEPi.

Differential Geometry in NY Times

Think Globally - Opinionator Blog -

Many of my friends are taking this class at BSM. Here is some insight to what math majors do all day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Eurotrip: Bratislava

To Bratislava and Back

I'm back from Bratislava, and all in one piece. The 36 hours I spent in Slovakia were nothing short of an adventure. We saw museums, statues, castles, mausoleums, old buildings and new buildings. Of course we went to pubs, ate like kings in restaurants and even made some new Slovak friends. I'll tell the story in detail when I have some time this week. For now, enjoy my pictures online and check out this clip from the movie Eurotrip. Bratislava isn't exactly how its depicted in the movie, but its close.

YouTube - Eurotrip: Bratislava

Friday, March 5, 2010

In Soviet Russia, Theorem Proves You!

I know I have to post more about my weekend a week ago, but I can't right now. Tomorrow I'm leaving with Andy and Taole for Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We are catching the 9:28am train from the Keleti train station to arrive in Bratislava at 12 noon. We will explore the castle that dominates the city and walk around in the historic downtown. We plan to spend the night in a hostel and return to Budapest sometime Sunday evening. I'll post pictures and a detailed narrative of the weekend trip as soon as I get back and have a break from school, which are less frequent each week. To tide you over, here is quick recap of what I did last Saturday and Sunday, February 27 and 28:


Mutual of Omaha by Rachel Shukert -

An essay on BBYO shenanigans. Gotta love those Jewish youth groups.

Mutual of Omaha by Rachel Shukert -

Pava Utca Synagogue and Corvin Mozi

Phew! That was a long break from posting. A lot has happened since I last posted, so I will fly by and tell ya'll all about it.

A week ago, Friday, February 26, I finally found my way to the Pava Utca Synagogue next door to my apartment. Thanks to advice from Nurit who works for the Jewish Agency, I was showered, shaved, and ready to go when I walked over to the Holocaust Museum at 5 pm. I wasn't sure where exactly I needed to go, but after some goose chasing with the museum employees and security guards, I found myself standing in a tiny but beautiful sanctuary. After a minute or two a guy named Daniel, who looked about my age, came by and showed me around. He took me upstairs to the dining  room where the Kabbalat Shabbat would be held. There were three other people up there hanging out, an adult couple and another younger guy named Andrash. Andrash and Daniel could speak English but the couple could not. Regardless, within five minutes of meeting me, the older man asked me to come to the synagogue for Passover. Everyone was really nice. For the night I was a novelty: a visitor from America. The service started in the downstairs sanctuary at 6:30pm. About 30 people attended the service most of which were from my dad's generation. It was a neolog service, which Daniel told me is a unique Hungarian "traditional" service. More observant than reform but not orthodox. It looked more like the Texas Hillel conservative service to me. The men and women sat in the same room but on different sides without a mehitza in between. Most of the service was conducted in Hebrew with melodies that I was used to back home. I stayed to eat for Kabbalat Shabbat and met more people of the congregation. I'm now Facebook friends with several of the people and on the email listserv for the Pava Synagogue. I'll be in touch with them and plan on going to more services throughout the semester. 

After I finished eating I went with my roommate Andy to go see The Book of Eli at the Corvin Mozi (movie theatre) across the street. The movie was in English with Hungarian subtitles. The Corvin Mozi was once the site of a battle between revolutionaries and the Russian army in October 1956 during the Uprising. There are several plaques commemorating the sacrifice made by the Hungarian fighters, many of which were children. There is even a life-size statue of a 13 year old boy holding a rifle outside the theater. Inside the Corvin Mozi looks like any American movie theater. We bought our tickets, 1300 forints ($7), and sat down in the theater.  A few minutes later a man shuffled by and said we were in his seats. I was confused since I knew no one was sitting there before, but then he pointed out that seats are assigned. In fact, my ticket had a row and seat number printed on it. By coincidence we were only one row off of our assigned seats, but stayed in the wrong seats anyway since no one seemed to have a problem. 

I will update more tomorrow. I've gotta go to sleep.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Registration, Rendezvous with Karoly & Tibor

Last Thursday, a week ago, was the official registration day for our math classes at BSM. I posted earlier the classes I intended to sign up for, but there is one change I have to make. I've decided not to take graph theory at all, not even audit it. I was initially planning on auditing it, which means that I would have to attend the four hours of class a week. But when I went to bed last night knowing that I'd have to wake up extra early to go to graph theory I said, "forget it." Plus, I'll be able to use those extra four hours to work on analytical number theory and for that class every minute counts. So now my schedule is the same as before but without graph theory. That means that I have three classes on both Monday and Friday and one class each on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. My schedule looks like a dumb bell.

The day before that, Wednesday, February 24, I was able to finally meet a local Hungarian on non-math terms. He is a 20-year-old student named Karoly and is a relative of Cathy Hirt, a family friend from when I used to live in Fort Worth. When my mom told her that I was living in Budapest, she gave me the email address of her Karoly, who is her cousin. A few days ago I emailed him and we made plans to meet up. In between bouts of number theory study sessions, I met Karoly and his friend Tibor at Baross utca to go to a nearby bar called Andersen Pub. I knew it was him since he was wearing his burnt orange UT hat, which made me feel immediately at home. The pub was just like all the other pubs I've been to in Budapest, we entered Andersen's by descending the claustrophobic stairs to the main sitting area which seems to extend indefinitely through a series of catacombs underneath a building. A big feature of Andersen's is their Meter of Beer, where you get ten small glasses of draught placed in a wooden trough a meter long. Karoly, Tibor and I talked about the differences between America and Hungary and what its like to be in school and go to bars and clubs in either place. This is, of course, the only things that college students do no matter what country you live in. I had a great time meeting both of them and look forward to hanging out with them in the future.

Also, my youngest sister Rachel turned 16! Happy Birthday, Rachel! Have fun driving!