I am Tatyana and I am currently living in Szentes, Hungary! I have been here for a little over four months now so I most likely have a lot to say.
Month 1 week 1: My first week was kind of crazy. It was actually crazy starting the first day! All of my flights were delayed due to one reason or the other. And due to the flight delay from Atlanta to Amsterdam was so long, I missed my flight to Budapest by 30 minutes. Paxton (another exchange student from Florida and going to Hungary) and I had to reschedule our flights but instead of going from Amsterdam and straight to Budapest, we had to go to Rome first and then Budapest. We were racing against the clock because we had to get to our camp by the 10th of August and it was already 7-something in the evening on the 10th. By the time we arrived in Budapest it was about 12:40 a.m. But we had a problem…our bags weren’t there. We waited until we were almost the only people in the airport to see if our bags would turn up but they didn’t. Paxton went to go file missing bag reports and then we were off to our camp in Szeged.
We arrived at our camp at about 2:30 a.m. on August 11th. We went to sleep and woke up later that day to start our new life in Hungary. I woke up that morning and met so many new and wonderful people. The days passed by quickly and everything was going well except for one thing…I still didn’t have my bags and I only had the clothes on my body and one extra pair. I was gross but I had to deal with it. We did some pretty cool stuff while we were at the camp though. We went to a Museum and had a cook out, went to one of the biggest water parks in Szeged, and unintentionally raced in Dragon boats.
My favorite experience while at the camp was when a few of us needed to go to the convenience store and we had already missed the departure earlier that day. Due to this, one of the instructors, Evett, took the five of us later that day. When we went to the convenience store near the camp it was already closed so she took us to one that was a little further away, but that one was also closed. Still needing things from the store, Evett took us to the center of Szeged. We walked around and got to sight see. Since by the time we would reach camp and dinner would be over we got to eat at McDonalds. On our way back, Axel (an exchange student from Australia) and I saw a cotton candy stand and bought the largest one possible. Almost to the camp, all of us were tired of walking. One of the people in our group said that they knew another way into the camp that would be a lot quicker and sure enough, they did, but that didn’t mean that it was an actual entrance to the camp. It was more like slipping through a hole in the fence.
Month 1 week 2: The second week at the camp was when our families came to pick us up. Before they came, all of us swapped pins and cards and took a big group picture. Finally my family came to pick me up and I was off to Szentes. My host mom asked me basic questions about myself on the ride. At one point in time my host brother, Maste, and my host mom were discussing something. My host mom turned to me and asked if I liked dogs and I responded with a simple yes. In turn she replied with “Good, the puppy that Maste brought home is yours.” And that my friends and family is how I ended up with a puppy in Hungary. I was really happy and to add to my happiness, my host dad bought me a bouquet of flowers. One thing that they taught us at camp was that when you greet someone in Hungary, you hug them while you give them a kiss on each cheek. They told us that since we are new to Hungary, we don’t have to do that right away since it might make us feel uncomfortable. Well I had to learn to accept it pretty quickly because as soon as I got home I met my youngest host brother, Benedek, and that is how he greeted me. Later that day I met my other host brother, Máté. The rest of this month was used for me to get settled into my new accommodations.
Month 2: September 12th is when school started. I had classes with Máté even though he is in 11th grade and I should be in 12th. It took 3 whole days for people to talk to me. I learned that Hungarians were pretty shy so I didn’t just go up and start talking to them because I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable. So I waited until they were comfortable enough to talk to me. That is how I met my four friends; Bianka, Bogi, Enikó, and Chenge.
If I am spending a day alone or just want to hang out with someone I go to my friend Meron. Meron is an exchange student from New York. She was originally supposed to be living in Eger but her host family moved to Szentes before she got here. Sometime late November or early December she will be going to her new host family in Eger and I will be the only foreign exchange student in Szentes. At one point in September, my family took a trip to Eger for Máté’s Water Polo match. While we we re there in Eger we visited a very famous castle from the 1600’s. Eger was under Turkish rule for over 400 years.
Month 3: October was an exciting month. October 17th to the 19th I was in Vienna, Austria with the Hungarian exchange students and Austrian exchange students. We went around and visited historical sites and ate delicious food. In Hungary, they don’t celebrate Halloween. But Rotary in Debrecen set up a Halloween party. I went as Alice in Wonderland. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures. But it was really fun. On Saturday, everyone who didn’t live in Debrecen started to head home. Me being who I am misread my departure time for my train. My train left at 12:24 but I thought it left at 12:48. There were no other trains going to Szentes that day so I was stuck in Debrecen with no one to stay with. Thankfully Axel’s host parents said that I could stay with them and so I got to stay an extra day in Debrecen.
Month 4: It is now November and nothing much has happened except that I spent 50000 forints on 3 articles of winter clothing. I honestly hope I do not have to go shopping anymore because shopping stresses me out. Around the end of October and beginning of November, my computer crashed and took forever fixing itself. This is actually the 4th time that I have written this journal. But now, thankfully, my computer is fixed and I can turn this journal in.
I would like to thank my home Rotary and my host Rotary again for allowing this to be possible. I would also like to thank my family and host family for also allowing this to be possible.