Patrick "Pat" Murray
2007-08 Outbound to Hungary

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
School: Bartram Trail High School
Sponsor: Bartram Trail Rotary Club, District 6970, Florida
Host: Kecskemét Rotary Club
         District 1910, Hungary

Pat's Bio

Udvozlom! Hello my name is Patrick Murray. I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I moved to Jacksonville, Florida about 5 years ago. I live with my Mom, and Dad. I have one brother and one sister. My brother’s name is Mike. He attends college in Miami and lives in the dorm. My sister’s name is Shauna. She lives in New Jersey and is a high school math teacher. She will be getting married this July.

My interests include playing hockey. I have been playing hockey for almost 11 years and have been fortunate to travel all over the U.S. to play in tournaments. I also love going to the beach and hanging out with all my friends.

I hope over the next year I gain new friends and have the most exciting experiences of my life.


September 25 Journal

 It has been about one month since I have left home and said goodbye to my loved ones. Everything has gone smooth. I’ve been extremely busy since the second day that I have been here. Nothing too amazing happened on the first day when I met my family (the nicest people you could meet) and drove home from the airport with an awkward silence for about 30 minutes. Once we arrived to my new home I was shown the house and where I would sleep. After that I ate a little and then went to bed about 5pm (that would be 11am Florida time) and I didn’t wake up till the next morning.

This is when I met my new friend Mark. Zsolt (my host brother), Mark, and I went in to the city and they showed me all around- where to go and where not to go. Around noon, my host mom drove us to the biggest lake in Hungry- Lake Balaton. Here we met some guys from Austria and played handball against them. For the next couple of days I adjusted to the time and where I was. On the weekend there was a family day for my Rotary Club where Hungarian gulaus (this is a traditional dish) was made over an open fire. We also played a lot of soccer. A few days later I went and played soccer with my host brother and more of his friends. That was a lot of fun and I met a lot of nice people.

These first two weeks may sound a bit boring compared to what I have been doing lately. Last week I went to Slovenia, about an 8 hour car ride, to the longest river in Slovenia, where my host family and I met with the other exchange students and Rotarians from my Club. In the morning we got up and ate breakfast and little did I know what I was in for. I went downstairs and was handed a wetsuit and a helmet. I put on the wetsuit which was about an inch thick and jumped in a van not knowing where I was going or some of the people I was with. We traveled up the windy roads of the Alps till we got out and unloaded rafts and paddles and headed into the coldest water I have ever been in (even with a wetsuit). We were white water rafting somewhere in Slovenia, somewhere in the Alps! And I had the time of my life- until the next day…

The next morning was similar, we ate and then I put on my wetsuit and jumped into a van and I expected that we were going to do the same thing as the day before, but was I wrong! It was just us kids! All the Rotarians left us with these guys that brought us up a mountain and through waterfalls which was some of the nicest sights I have ever seen. We arrived to the top of the mountain and one of the guides, whom I just met the day before jumps from about 40ft from the waterfall and was expecting me to do the same without second guessing! I just stood there and looked down. It was a long way down! Then I saw my host brother jump from the waterfall and of course I could not let him show me up! So what did I do? I jumped and it felt like the longest fall. About half way down in my fall I thought what if I land wrong, how am I going to get to the hospital? But then I hit the water and it was the most fun thing I have ever done. It will be pretty hard to top that for this year I thought to myself. That was until I was told we were going to Croatia!

Croatia was an even longer car ride than the trip to Slovenia, but was it worth it! We arrived and went to the beach. Now, I thought the water was clear in Florida but once again, I was wrong. The water was cold but it was the nicest water I ever swam in. Once again, it was a great trip! I don’t know if it is white water rafting or just playing soccer with some friends but this is a month that I will remember for the rest of my life! Thank you Rotary for making these unbelievable memories to last a lifetime!


November 8 Journal

 It’s been two months but really it feels like 3 weeks! The time is flying! So far this month, I have been going to school each day and I have also taken several trips to Budapest. It’s nice living only about 45min away from a city that is so big and has a massive amount of history. In 4 weeks I’ve been to Budapest 5 times and it never seems to get old or boring. The first time I went, I went by train with a girl form Taiwan and a girl form Brazil. We were lucky to meet my friend Mark who helped us purchase our tickets. It was such a good thing that I ran into him because we would have been going nowhere fast! Once we arrived, I think we all had the same thoughts running thru our minds, “Where do we start?” We began to walk and the then the girl from Brazil called the other Brazilian Rotary Students that were in Budapest. They came and met us and showed us all around! About a week later my host father asked me if I would like to go again and of course I said yes! This time we traveled by car. It was much easier and much faster! On this day I went to all the historical sites including the Parliament which is the 4th largest and most expensive in the world. Some how my host dad convinced the security guard that I was Hungarian and he got me in for free! The other times I went to Budapest, I enjoyed shopping and seeing more sights.

School!

School is a much different here than it is back in Florida. Each time the teacher walks into the room, all the kids stand at once until the teacher tells us to be seated. When I was back in Florida I never could have thought school could be so boring, but was I wrong. I also never thought I would be taking Hungarian Literature . Not all school is boring though, I do like English class and it is funny when the teacher asks me to give tests to other kids and talk to them in English. This is where school has never been so easy. Computer class is fun as well because the teacher tells me and the girl from Brazil to sit in the back and surf the web.

Sports!

Lately I have been going to handball training with my host brother. I had never heard of handball before but I think it’s one of the most fun sports I have ever played. To me handball seems to be a mix between basketball and soccer. It’s played on a basketball court but they use soccer nets for the goal. It’s a lot of fun! Lately I have been hearing a lot about hockey. I was talking to a man from our Rotary Club and he told me that by December 1 there will be an out-door ice rink in my city and we will be able to play every night! Also, that same man has a son who is younger and who plays hockey in a city nearby. He asked if I would like to train with them!

Food!

Hungarian food is not my favorite, but it’s not too bad. I have soup with just about every meal. Also, most meals include bread and potatoes. This would be a usual meal for lunch or dinner. Every day my host mother makes me three sandwiches just to eat between classes - not as lunch. I try to eat them but most of the time I end up eating 1 or 2.

So far I am having a wonderful time and I have the best host family. I couldn’t ask for anything else. I hear In December that I’m going to Austria for a long weekend with all the exchange students In Hungary and then again back to Austria in January with my host club for a ski trip. And from what my host father tells me in February I’ll be off to France for more skiing!

Until next time,

Hello from Hungary!


January 10 Journal

 The New Year is here and things only seem to be getting better! I am not going to lie- October and November were not the most interesting months, but now that it is winter and snow is on the ground, things just seem to be a lot more fun!

I don't know if anything can top this December! Earlier in December, I went to Budapest and it had the coolest Christmas market - that was until I went to Vienna, Austria with all the Rotary Exchange Students in Hungary and you know when a bunch of Rotary students get together there’s never a dull moment! That was very cool even though we only had about 3 hours in Vienna!

Christmas was a blast and Santa literally came early this year. It was the 5th of December and Santa comes at night to give you candy. Like most other exchange students, we had a Rotary Holiday Christmas party and that was a lot of fun too but I was a bit nervous. Nervous, because the 3 exchange students in my town, myself, a girl from Brazil, and another girl from Taiwan, had to sing a traditional Hungarian Christmas song in Hungarian to over 100 people! But once it was over it was a lot of fun! Also, right before school let out for winter break we had a secret Santa with our class and that was a good thing because now it seems much easier to talk to kids from my class!

Also, we celebrated Christmas for 3 days-December 24, 25, and 26. The first night, Christmas Eve, was the most fun because my host’s extended family came over to our house and we ate a lot and sang songs and gave gifts! On the 25 and 26 we still did a lot of eating and played around! On the morning of the 25th, I was finally able to play hockey outside on a frozen pond. This was something that I had always wanted to do. It was also snowing. It was the coolest thing! I have been playing a lot of hockey but nothing serious, just some fun pond hockey!

I really love my host family! And I don't want to change. I have been here for over 4 months and no one really knows when I am changing, so I guess that’s a good thing! I hear it may be some time next month after the ski trip to France I got as a Christmas gift from my host family!

New Year’s Eve was nothing different then back in the US, just a lot of people came over to the house and we just had a lot of fun! I can't wait to see what the next month brings me or just this weekend because I am leaving to day to go skiing in Austria with my host club, and if it's anything like the rafting trip I took with my host club, I know it will be great!

And finally, Zsolt and I thank everyone who sent us Christmas packages! Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Patrick


March 18 Journal

 It has been some time since the last journal. I think I was just about to leave for Austria. I have been doing a lot since then and school- well school is still the same! I also have changed families and my new host family is amazing.

My trip to Austria was a ski trip with my local Rotary club. It was a lot of fun and I can even admit, that even being only my second time- I wasn’t bad! It was only for a weekend but my host father told me it was practice for where I was about to go…FRANCE!!! Nine days of skiing in the French Alps! This was a trip of a life time. The trip was a Christmas gift to me from my host family, and it was only a week or so after I got back from Austria. We started from home at 8pm, my host father drove, drove to France! The 18 plus hour drive was nothing for me and Zsolt (Host Brother), we sat in the back and slept all the way until Italy. By then it was morning and light out. Four hours later we were in France, with all the smelly cheese, wine and baguettes you could ask for. I thought it was real neat that I could have dinner in Hungary, Breakfast in Italy and be in France for lunch. The only down side was that I forgot my CAMERA! But when it came time to go skiing everything went smooth until my host brother put me on a black diamond! (I think he just wanted me to look stupid) Just in case anyone wants to know if there is a difference between the black diamonds in Austria and France, Yes! I went down both, but, in France I went down with my face. I’m sticking to the blues and reds from now on- at least in France!

Little over a week ago I got back from Rome, Italy, where I spent a week with my parents and had a blast. It was a great time. The food was incredible and there were so many great sites to see. I think we went to about 100 or so churches, not to mention- the Coliseum, and other ancient spots. My mom and dad seem to be the just same as I when left them back in August.

School, oh, school. Friday, I am in the library (as I am writing this) and I take a look around, not many kids are here, but it’s early in the morning. Now, I notice all the guys are wearing suits and the girls are dressed up. But me no, I am wearing a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and it turns out that it is some big holiday (the equivalent to 4th of July). It would have been cool if my host family would have told me important things like this- but no heads-up today. Sooner or later though, another Rotary exchange student, a girl from Brazil, comes in wearing jeans and a shirt and apparently no one wanted to tell her either that we should be dressed up at school. But it was all ok.

The latest and greatest thing happened to me on Saturday! This was the nicest and coolest thing over the past 7 months. Thursday, Zsolt called me asking if I wanted to go to a concert on Saturday with him and I told him yes, but first let me ask my new host family- so I did and they ask “With who When, What time,”- like all normal parents and then they told me it was no problem. So I texted Zsolt and said “yes, but can I spend the night?” (knowing it would be too late to bother my host family). Five minutes later I get a reply: “Yes, But be here by 7:30 we are driving”-Zsolt. So Saturday rolls around and my host parents told me they would drive me to my previous host family’s home. I go to ring the door and Zsolt answers. And SURPRISE!!! All my friends and first host family was there! It was so nice but it wasn’t my birthday; my birthday is in August. It was my Name Day, and it was so much fun. I never had a surprise party. My first host family told me that they make a bigger deal for name days then they do Birthdays. A lot of people came from all around the county. It was the best!

So on a happy note, I got to run and also I have class!!!