I took my algebra and MPS finals back to back this past Friday. I had studied all week for them and I'm glad they are over and done with. I enjoyed both classes, but they both had their difficulties. Algebra is a course that every math major must take and is the foundation for much of high-level mathematics. I took it last Fall at UT, but dropped it halfway before the midterm because I couldn't follow the professor during lectures and the textbook wasn't a big help neither. My professor here was the exact opposite, writing detailed proofs on the blackboard and going through many examples. We covered a lot of material and at times it was hard to keep up at his pace, but at least he was thorough. I just hope I don't have to take it again next semester. Its the only class I took this semester that I needed for my degree back home.
MPS is a whole 'nother story. The problems we had to solve weren't what I was used to at all and I didn't know what to do most of the time. Every now and then I would get one right without any help, but it was tough. It didn't help that half the problems we were solving were contest problems given to Hungarian high school students in the 1930's. The MPS professor is a teacher at Hungary's Fazekas high school, which offers college-level math classes. The material in my MPS class was just as tough as anything I've taken at UT. I'm going to keep my Hungarian Problem Book, partly as a memento, partly to show it off to anyone who's interested.
And now, my days in the Budapest Semester in Mathematics are numbered. My last final, combinatorics, is at 8am on Tuesday morning. Later that day I'm starting a three and half week journey of European adventure. I'm catching an afternoon train to Prague to go see the Franz Kafka museum and the old town that everyone has been talking about. I'm taking a night bus back to Budapest on Wednesday night and arriving Thursday morning just in time for the BSM farewell party to get my transcript and say goodbye to all of the great friends that I've made here. Later that day I'm taking an overnight train to Kiev, Ukraine and then onto Dneperpetrovsk, Ukraine to see a distant relative, Nataliya Nechukhayeva, and her family. My travel plan after that takes me to Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, England, Switzerland, and back into Budapest to get few last licks before I jet back to San Antonio on June 18. I'm also meeting up with my mom in London, who is flying in to sightsee Europe alongside me.
Sounds epic? I know. The best part is that I hope to travel with only a backpack. I'm not known for travelling light, so this is going to be a real challenge. But that isn't anything compared to what this guy did: Here is a recent article in the New York Times about a guy who walked from Vienna to Budapest along the Danube River. Maybe I'll do that the next time I'm in Central Europe.
Now I have to study. It's 2 days until I'm done with school, 26 days until I return to Texas. Start the countdown.