God I'm tired.
I've have been traveling for 8 weeks now. 4 more weeks to go.
Since I got back from Budapest, all I have been doing is sleeping.
I find it incredible to remember that I have approximately 10 trashbags of clothes waiting for me in cincinnati.
I only brought a backpack to budapest, and when I came back to england I was shocked to remember that I still left 1/2 the contents of my small suitcase here. I wear the same stuff over and over again.
The great thing is that I really don't need anything.
I eat potato pasties(45 p) and pb&j sandwiches(10 p.) and smoke rolly tobacco, and I've lost a bunch of weight and my body feels muscley from walking all the time. It's like I really don't need anything. I feel like I could go anywhere and do anything and be fine. It is an amazing feeling to shed excess in your life, to trim it down to the essence of what is best, most poignant. I have clothes, I have sketchbook and jewelry supplies, I have journal. I have eyes to see things and ears to hear things.
When I was in budapest, my purse was stolen and I lost a lot of money, my oyster london transport card, my driver's licence, my camera, my credit card, my phone, etc.
But I don't need those things. I really need very little.
I feel like a tramp, but its sort of beautiful.
Getting back to the budapest airport may have been the hardest thing I ever did. I had just enough money to get back from the london airport to take the bus to bristol. No phone, no food, no credit card, and I don't speak Hungarian. I had to take two trains and then find the airport. They were Communist era trains where even the information people didnt speak english. My friends in bristol didn't know I was coming that day. I am notorious for getting lost even in cincinnati. If I got lost, or missed my plane I would be totally stranded, I had no where to stay and no one to call and no money for food or accomodations.
That sounds extreme, and maybe I have done harder things, but I can't even tell you the feeling of strength and accomplishment I felt when I finally got back to england. I seriously got back there by the skin of my teeth. I feel like I have this attitude now that I can seriously do absolutely anything.
I am so glad I did this on my own and with no one else and without a school tour group or guides.
If I would have just cowered along with some group of people I would have never known that I was capable of getting myself out of such dire situations.
Budapest was the best of times and the worst of times. I stayed with my friend who is studying there and she lives in a large house with many Erasmus students. Erasmus is a program in Europe where the students get PAID to study abroad for a year. So I hung out with French, Spanish, Belgium and Slovakians. It was amazing. They have money and their study abroad studies are easy so they have a sort of party death wish. They drink every night and live in this house of utter debauchery and sin, complete depravity. But you know it is fucking beautiful. These people where some of the most intellectually stimulating, literate, well-read people I have met in my life. Philosophy, film, literature, the arts...cultural differences, anything and everything were topics of conversation. Picture this: beat-poet, romantic self-destruction, the movie The Dreamers, the book On the Road, Howl, 20's depravity. Fucking beautiful.
It was amazing and awful to be in a non-English speaking country. I will clarify. I loved speaking Spanish with the Spanish guys, out of everyone who was nonSpainish I was probably the most fluent. It was also entertaining to speak in spanish with the French boys, because it was like we were on equal footing as far as language goes-Spanish being neither of our primary languages. There were downsides. Try discussing exsistentialism and nihilism and Nietsche and Schopenhaur with language difficulties. You try and most succeed but sometimes there were frustrated pauses. I find more than ever words are truly inadequate. But also, to stretch your brain and to try to express yourself in different languages is like diverting your thoughts down a different turn in the river. It inevitably leads you down a new path, an unfamiliar one. This is so refreshing.
French. I learned many useful french phrases. I am awful at spelling it since I learned it by listening. I was told I was very good though, except I have a very difficult time with the swallowed "r" thing they have going.
Phrases I learned-
"Tu es un fouf" You are a cunt
"Tu es un garcon atarde e feinante" You are a lazy retarded boy
"Puis je acheter des ciggarettes?" Can I buy some ciggarettes
"Je suis irve" I am drunk
"Aller au diable" Go to hell
"Mon amour" My love
"Je ne voulons pas mourir seul" I don't want to die alone
"Je t'aime" I love you
"Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir" Do you want to sleep with me tonight?
"Por que paux" Why not.
Sorry If I totally butchered the spelling. The boys delighted in teaching us all dirtiest words.
So, why have I not mentioned any Hungarians? Because they hate us. I hung out with Western Europeans the entire time. If you are in Budapest and do not speak Hungarian, they will be fairly nasty to you. It is a huge ordeal just to order a coffee, let alone find your way accross the city (like I had to) maybe this puts it into perspective. I was stared at like an animal in the zoo because of my "different" haircut and my glasses. Budapest is very conservative, the girls dress like moms during the day and hoochies by night. My friend and I also got stalked. we walked up a secluded hill one day DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY in attempts at looking at a national monument. A guy followed us up the whole way, cornered us and unzipped his pants and started masturbating in front of us. He then followed us down and we ran away. It was so terrifying because no one was around we could have easily had much worse happen to us. No one speaks english and we couldn't even call the police, they don't speak english either.
Ok, so it does seem hypocritical that I am complaining about lack of english. I tried to learn Magyar (their language) it is extremely difficult and everytime we tried to use the language people would just stare disgustedly at us and refuse to interact with us anymore. Even people who had been there for 3 months still couldn't say more than simple things like "hello" or thank you. Hungarians also have the lowest rate of multi-linguism in Europe meaning hardly anyone speaks anything except Hungarian. Also the language is very different from the Romance languages. I can for the most part figure things out if they are in french, spanish, or italian because there are a lot of similarities in words. You can at least guess. Magyar has NO resemblence. "Vino" is close to "wine" as an example of italian to english. But the Magyar word for wine is "bor" ha. Not even close.
Anyway. I am reminded of how much I need to improve my languages. The French I was staying with never complimented anyone, so if they did throw you a bone, you felt like a champion, and they said, "It is so nice to see an American speaking another language" when I was *trying to speak spanish. It made me happy, but once again, embarrassed for America.
This has been such a long post. But once again, I am truly glad to be myself on this trip. If I had been with a bunch of other Americans I feel like I would have been a tourist, I wouldn't have gotten to know anyone or done the things that europeans do normally. I would have just taken pictures and clung to the people I was with. I wouldn't have gotten a real honest opinion on my country like I am now. I'm not intimidating because there's only one of me. I'm not really worried about seeing the sights or doing touristy things, all though I've done a few of those, but more trying to be integrated in the culture and do the things that they do in that city. It didn't really work that way in Budapest, but god it was still amazing.
Next is istanbul, and maybe paris, to visit my new friends. I am so broke though its sad.