Will, Outbound to Hungary

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I've been in Hungary for 10 days now, and I couldn't be happier! I arrived in Budapest last Wednesday night and since then it's been a whirlwind of excitement and adventure! I'm living just outside Szombathely (a town about the size of my hometown of Gainesville) which is 10 miles from the border with Austria. It's so beautiful here, and the weather is way better than back home (I wore a SWEATER in August!!!) On my first full day in Szombathely, I think I woke up around 1:00 pm (due to jet lag) and we went to the nearby town of Koszeg to buy gifts for my host sister's host family in America (she left 3 days after I arrived.) Unfortunately, the shop we were buying the gifts at was closed, so we didn't actually end up going, and we just got chestnut ice cream, but I'm not complaining! Koszeg is a beautiful little mountain town right on the Border with Austria, and its centerpiece is a whimsical church that almost looked like the Cinderella castle at Disney! It was basically the quintessential little European alpine town. That night we went to the Savaria Karneval, which is a 3 night Roman festival in Szombathely featuring food, costumes, parades, and more! We ate Langallo, which is this really yummy pizza-like thing that's fluffy bread with sour cream, ham, and onions. The next day, I woke up a little earlier and we attempted to get the gifts again, this time driving 1 hour to Sopron, which, when you look at the map, is a Hungarian city almost completely surrounded by Austria. It is called the "city of loyalty" because it was able to choose whether to be in Hungary or Austria, and it chose Hungary. It is another beatutiful town, and this time we actually got the gifts, which were hand-painted porcelain bells from a famous china store. Then we got walnut cake! After we came back to Szombathely, we went to the Karneval for lunch and then I met with my other host sister, who had just gotten back from exchange in Ohio and who I would be living with for the year. I had a second lunch (Chinese food, my favorite!) with her and then we went out for lemonade with her friends. I was very happy to meet with more local kids! We also picked out my Toga, which is traditional to wear to the Karneval. We then went to my host mom's office to see the parade, and it was so cool to see it from above and not in a huge crowd! The parade was so cool! There were acrobatics, music, and costumes, fire, and more! We are more street food for dinner and then we had this amazing grape juice! Basically, the grapes go through the same process that would be used to make wine, except the fermentation to create alcohol is skipped, so the drink is non-alcoholic. It was amazing! The next day my host sister left for America, and I said goodbye in the morning before I went out to lunch with my host sister and host grandpa! We went back to the Karneval for the last night for dinner, and ate pig leg and listened to... American country music performed by Hungarians???? It was very funny and they had such good accents I thought they were Americans! The next week I got some much needed work done with my online algebra class, as well as finally unpacking! Friday was the first day of school, and it was so fun! There wasn't much learning, but I meant some new people and the teachers were very nice and excited for me! I'm so excited to go back on Monday!!! Today we took the new family puppy to obedience school, which was fun and interesting, and as I'm writing this we are preparing to leave for the village fair, which is for our village outside of Szombathely! I'm so excited for the coming weeks and I'll keep you all posted! Hungary has been an absolute dream and my host family has been so sweet and fun to live with!