China Series: Disenchantment

Boy am I homesick as the holiday season rolls around yet once again.

Where is “home?” Right now, it’s somewhere with continuous sunshine under a blue sky, and brunch. Preferably I’d have both, simultaneously. Maybe a view of the beach thrown in here and there. Definitely not what I see out my window every morning when I open my eyes. I want to prepare for the “cold” season by surrounding myself with autumn-themed decor, ordering hot cups of sugar water from Starbucks, and listening to that never-ending loop of preemptive Christmas music.

But alas, it is but a wish, even with Santa in the picture.

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My Solo Trip through Central Eastern Europe

Greetings from Hungary, everybody!

These past few weeks have been some of the best days out here on my journey. To start, I have been getting closer with my friends from the program.

To highlight a few of them, I will start with my friend Batu, from Turkey. He is here studying engineering in his third year of college. He never learned English in school; he is actually self taught in it. He has learned a good amount of phrases but struggles a lot speaking with those who have studied it and with me who has practiced it all throughout my life. Although we have a language barrier we have become close tight knit friends.

We have broken down the walls between us to share personal stories about who we are, where we come from and what we aspire to in life. We now call each other “best friends” which I really believe, because we have earned each other’s trust.

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Still in China and Still Alive

Hey world, it’s been a while and I still have no idea what I’m doing! But hey, every day is a brand new day, or so they say… here’s my update, over a month after which I arrived in China!

Wait, does that sound choppy?

Which leads me to my first observation: my English is deteriorating. Proof? I had to google the “opposite of improve” to grab the word “deteriorating.” I’ve also been Google translating certain Chinese characters into English. I guess it’s really as they say, language is a skill that you either use or lose. I mean, I’ve been using English with my friends on a daily basis, but only to discuss basic matters, like food, classes, weather and how the smog seems to permeate our entire vicinity before magically disappearing a few days later.

All of my classes are taught in Mandarin, and the local language is, of course, Mandarin with a heavy Northern accent, which prompts me to think and speak in the same manner. While that’s great for my Chinese, it’s not so much for my English. But enough about my little conundrums, here’s a report on China:

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I am Finally International!

Greetings from Hungary!!!

Wow, I am finally here and it has in every single way exceeded all expectations that I held for this wondrous journey to Pécs, Hungary.  Immediately on my arrival to Budapest and traveling to Pécs, I met other international students studying in the same city as me. I asked them how it was in Pécs and they gave me descriptions of a beautiful city with rich history, a great ambience and lovely people. They were not wrong at all.

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Lessons From a Samurai

If you had told me four months ago that I would have the chance to be able to swing a real katana, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. I would respond with something like, “No way, I’m way too clumsy for that.” However, a few weeks ago I got to do just that, and I learned quite a bit from it too.

Some friends and I had been planning a trip to Japan for some time. One of the reasons we went was that one of my friends was from Japan and was about to start a summer internship in Tokyo. So, jumping at the opportunity, we decided to have a last hurrah before the end of the semester and the four of us proceeded to book our tickets and accommodations.

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