The Lovin’ Spoonful sang it best: “hot town / summer in the city / back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.” I don’t know a song about living in an actual oven, so this one will have to suffice for now. To cut to the chase, Budapest = HOT. Although it technically gets hotter in Georgia (where I am from), air conditioning prevails in the land of cotton. Air conditioning is not common here in Budapest (or Europe for that matter). The only places that I experience unnatural cool air are in malls, grocery stores, and, very rarely, restaurants. In order to stay cool, I just succumb to crying in the shower, fully clothed, while cold water washes over me and my tears.
Lake Balaton, or the “Hungarian Sea,” is a popular destination spot for many looking to splash around in the summertime heat. This lake is the largest one in Central Europe. With all of these fascinating facts aside, I must confess now that I did not go there. Due to money constraints, two friends and I went to Lake Velence instead! Located a convenient (and cheap) 45 minute train ride away, Lake Velence is the third largest lake in Hungary. It is also one of the warmest lakes in all of Europe. I understood why once we arrived: On a good day, I am 5’2” (158.5cm) tall. I could walk almost anywhere in the lake and still touch the lakebed. Due to the shallow nature of the lake, it warms up ridiculously easy and stays that way. Bec, Amy, and I sat by a covering that played awesome music. Please just click “best music ever.” < yes. this.
As far as friends go, almost all of mine from this past year have gone. Only a small handful from last year’s Central European Teaching Program (CETP) group are returning. My friend Bec and I, both usually quite busy during the school year, now have a lot of free time. My summer has consisted heavily of people watching while drinking iced green tea – sitting on the steps of St. Stephen’s Basilica is a prime location. In order to stay entertained, we meet up daily and walk around the city. Bec and I even found a frozen yogurt place while roaming on the sun-baked streets. Here is a glimpse into the life:
You can find this sweater on sale at Zara now!
As far as food goes, I cannot seem to keep anything heavy down. Good thing I love salads and fruit anyway! Unfortunately I left Bec’s flat (really my friend Cindy’s) last night and had to vomit. I tried to be polite/loyal to my jealous toilet and vomit in my own household – but if you do not remember (or are new to my blog), I live a good 45 minutes away from the heart of the city. I thought that I would just have to be strong for that amount of time, but no, the celestial beings floating around in the sky had other plans for me. Leaving Bec’s flat, I take a tram, a metro, then another tram to get to my flat. On my last leg home, all trams in my district stopped working. I was at least eight or more stops from my stop – too far to walk, too poor to call a taxi. When the driver made the announcement (in Hungarian – so fluent I tell you what), I started laughing. A few other passengers (note: they were not nearly as amused as I was) and I exited the tram and waited for a replacement bus to come and save us… and it did a little over an hour later. I arrived home over an hour and half later than anticipated for my sexy date with the toilet. I made it. I survived.
I still have about a month before school starts again, but more importantly, I am going to celebrate my one year anniversary of being in Budapest in sixteen days! St. Stephen’s Day, the biggest holiday in Hungary, is the day before the one year mark. I cannot think of a better way of ending my first year in this great country. I am elated. Soon after, orientation for new CETP teachers begins – of which I am working. If any of you readers are going to be there, I will meet you then! Feel free to come bearing gifts.
A Lesson from Miss Jennifer: Do not eat heavy foods during the summer. You will just waste your money. The trams also might stop working too. Just avoid it for your own benefit.