Registration and Szentendre

September 6, 2014 § 7 Comments

(Get comfy, you’re in for a long one!)

Yesterday I lived three days in one. Or at least it felt like it. I began the day selling my books at the school book fair. It was so much more hectic than I’d imagined it’d be. The book sale before our first year was on the ground floor and only a handful of students had tables, everyone else had to have their books on a blanket on the floor.

Up to 2 a.m. pricing my books for the book sale after registration. Couldn't randomly price them without KNOWING so I looked up the ISBN numbers, rated the quality and placed them at a price that I would feel comfortable buying them for.

My 2 a.m. book pricing mess. Couldn’t randomly price them without KNOWING so I looked up the ISBN numbers, rated the quality and placed them at a price that I would feel comfortable buying them for.

PriceTags

The suitcase I used to pack my books weighed in at what felt like 200 kilos. This made it so that it took me a full 10 minutes to just make it out of my apartment building. One cab ride, complete with an angry cab driver, and a half-dislocated shoulder later, I was at the Basic Medical Science building. This year’s book sale was upstairs. I’d been warned by a friend I’d met on the first floor that it would be hectic and yet that did not prepare me for the scene I was met with when the elevator doors opened. The entire floor was packed with tables and first year students already buying books. I pushed my way through the crowd, likely making a few people angry, as I searched furiously for my sale station.

Jannie had gotten there before me and luckily spotted me in the chaos. After setting up, time flew by. I met so many students who know me through this little blog right here and it was such a surprise (and so nice to meet you all)! After talking the ears off of pretty much every person who approached our table, I had to run downstairs to partake in an introductory “lecture” for the first year students. The acting director of the English Anatomy department holds a speech at the beginning of the year to introduce the students to anatomy, the biggest class of the first year. She’d asked the future TA’s of anatomy to join and since I was selling my books, I said I would be there. We didn’t do much other than stand there on the side, but maybe it was nice for the first years to see people who have made it through.

After an hour or so more of book selling (and talking) I rushed home to drop off my suitcase and change for a day trip to Szentendre. Szentendre is a beautiful little town with cobblestone streets a 40-minute train ride from the city. We’ve been told about it so many times before, but never gotten around to actually going. Our friend Amir, whom Jannie, her sisters and I had dinner with earlier this week, is an amazing planner and life enthusiast. He was telling us about all of his trips around Hungary and even of some of the adventures he’s had here in Budapest. One of those trips sounded too good to pass up, and that was wine-tasting in Szentendre.

On our way into the town, Amir told us of five things we were going to do. I’m a horrible travel planner myself, so I love being in the company of someone who knows exactly what to do and just decides that we are going to do it.

  1. Dinner and wine-tasting – of course!
  2. Walk down by the river
  3. Christmas store
  4. Marzipan Museum
  5. Chocolatier

SzentendreCanalJandASzentendreCanalSzentendreTownSzentendreTown2FoTerCentrum

Amir told us that there was a "street" that would take us to a viewpoint over the city. The street ended up being this tiny alley - one that I would have never thought to enter. On the way, we passed a hidden outdoor langos restaurant. It was the size of a small bedroom, yet packed with people enjoying the savory (and heavy) Hungarian dish.

Amir told us that there was a “street” that would take us to a viewpoint over the city. The street ended up being this tiny alley – one that I would have never thought to enter. On the way, we passed a hidden outdoor langos restaurant. It was the size of a small bedroom, yet packed with people enjoying the savory (and heavy) Hungarian dish.

Can you spot the restaurant?

Can you spot the restaurant?

Cobbelstones

Just a glimpse of the fantastic Christmas store. I felt completely transported. There were beautiful ornaments of every shape, color, size or style imaginable. We will definitely have to make a trip back during Christmas.

Just a glimpse of the fantastic Christmas store. I felt completely transported. There were beautiful ornaments of every shape, color, size or style imaginable. We will definitely have to make a trip back during Christmas.

ChristmasStore2

Amir’s favorite was the dark, matte royal blue and Jannie’s the white, silver or gold. It was fun to talk about how our families celebrate Christmas. Amir is Pakistani/Israeli, but his family celebrates Christmas because they find it to be such a lovely holiday 🙂

JanniesMan

Jannie and I need to learn how to pose. This was the best shot of 5 pictures...

Jannie and I need to learn how to pose. This was the best shot of 5 pictures… I have no idea what I was going for

A peak at the restaurant we would be having dinner at, before heading down to the river

A peak at the restaurant we would be having dinner at, before heading down to the river

Danube Danube2SzentendreStreetUmbrellas GreenDoor

I couldn't help by eavesdrop on their conversation. A Hungarian man approached the steel drum player and upon learning that the musician wasn't Hungarian, began to speak perfect English. He told the musician of his love for steel drums and said that he wanted to learn to make one of his own. The musician began to tell him of how to do this as I was called away to the marzipan museum.

I couldn’t help by eavesdrop on their conversation. A Hungarian man approached the steel drum player and upon learning that the musician wasn’t Hungarian, began to speak perfect English. He told the musician of his love for steel drums and said that he wanted to learn to make one of his own. The musician began to tell him of how to do this as I was called away to the marzipan museum.

MarcipanMuseum BeautifulVines

MarcipanWoman

The above cake was so massive and the ingredients so shocking that I couldn't help but calculate its nutritional value.

The above cake was so massive and the ingredients so shocking that I couldn’t help but calculate its nutritional value. That’s enough to sustain a 2,000-calorie diet for 216 days – or a 1,200-calorie diet for almost a year!

MarcipanMJMarcipanParliament

Selfie attempt fail. Guess I need some more practice

Selfie attempt fail. Guess I need some more practice

Chocolate bounty from the Chocolatier. My favorite was a dark chocolate cup with a peanut butter cream filling.

Chocolate bounty from the Chocolatier. My favorite was a dark chocolate cup with a peanut butter cream filling.

Small and charming table for dinner. Jannie and I had no idea what awaited us for the wine-tasting that followed.

Small and charming table for dinner. Jannie and I had no idea what awaited us for the wine-tasting that followed.

It was really difficult to take pictures that capture the pure beauty of this wine cellar.  It is 220 years old and 600 sq. meters. It stays at a constant 15 degrees, winter and summer. Makes for slightly chilled red wine, but it was delicious nonetheless.

It was really difficult to take pictures that capture the pure beauty of this wine cellar.
It is 220 years old and 600 sq. meters. It stays at a constant 15 degrees, winter and summer. Makes for slightly chilled red wine, but it was delicious nonetheless.

WineCellar2

The first half of our wine flight. We started with light, freshly bottled white wine, dipped into heavy, dark reds and then he pulled us out with some sweet dessert wines before finishing with a strong black liquor made from poppy seeds - a Hungarian favorite.

The first half of our wine flight. We started with light, freshly bottled white wine, dipped into heavy, dark reds and then he pulled us out with some sweet dessert wines before finishing with a strong black liquor made from poppy seeds – a Hungarian favorite.

Second half of our wine flight. Was such an amazing experience to try these fantastic Hungarian wines in such an old, charming cellar.

Second half of our wine flight. Was such an amazing experience to try these fantastic Hungarian wines in such an old, charming cellar.

Before Amir suggested flash (I'm not much of a photographer, I just like taking pictures ;) )

Before Amir suggested flash (I’m not much of a photographer, I just like taking pictures 😉 )

WineTasting

After the train ride home, we headed for the famous ruin bar, Szimpla kert. I’ve lived here for two years and have never been there, which is shocking to most. Amir felt it was absolutely necessary that I make the leap. If you are planning a trip to Budapest or live here and haven’t been there yet, you must visit – it is amazing!

http://ruinpubs.com/index.php?id=romkocsmak_adatlap&kocsma=7

ruinpubs.com/index.php?id=romkocsmak_adatlap&kocsma=7

mtro.hu/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/szimpla-3.jpg

mtro.hu/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/szimpla-3.jpg

As for registration, well, that was one of the most stressful 10 minutes of my life. Our adrenaline rush didn’t subside for nearly two hours after.

We ended up with almost everything we wanted. I have about half my classes with Jannie and half with Skjalg – which is actually perfect!

Planning our classes went through several phases…and I think I spent way, way too much time on it all. It did work out in the end though, so who’s to say it wasn’t worth it.

Phase 1

Random crazy person sheets with scribbles and time slots…

FirstDrafts

Phase 2

Modern day technology user. I used the notes from phase 1 to make up these possible schedules here. These I sent to Skjalg and Jannie, so we could start narrowing the classes down.

Phase 3

Mapping! Jannie and I sat for several hours before registration and made up these little registration maps. We wanted to make sure we had back-up plans for everything. In the end, I think we must’ve had something like 50 potential schedules. Jannie ended up getting most of the green path (our first choice) whereas I ended up with the blue path.

PlanABPlanCD

Final product

Well, not really final. I have some scheduling conflicts to work out – i.e. find a Hungarian class I can sneak into! I will be meeting with the physiology tutor on Tuesday (I’ve been accepted as a TA in physiology as well, so will be TAing for both anatomy and physiology ). I hope everything works out smoothly….it’s a little bit of a mess to look at right now.

3rdYearSchedule

 

Otherwise, I’ve spent the entire day inside. I set up a grocery delivery from Tesco for 14:00-16:00, but by 17:00, I hadn’t heard anything. After waiting in the call que for 20 minutes, I found out they were experiencing major technical difficulties and that the delivery wouldn’t be made until between 18:00-22:00. Safe to say I’m not in the best mood. Ordering groceries online is amazing – when it works as planned! I’d planned to be boring and stay in anyway, but I don’t want to be forced to do so.

Tie it to a Goal

September 3, 2014 § 5 Comments

During an unintentional philosophical discussion with my brother today (on Skype), he shared with me the following quote:

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The topic of discussion was one of our favorites: the pursuit of greatness. We were raised to be the best possible versions of ourselves at all times. We were raised to seek out challenges and the dark corners of the unknown. We were taught to accept a constant state of change as a means of fulfilling all that of which we are capable. I remember one instance very well, which I’m sure my mom will love to see that I’ve shared here. I was about 8 or 9 years old and we had been given our very first report cards at school. I remember very clearly that we had no idea what any of it meant. We stared blankly at our own cards for a while and finally began comparing ours to each others in efforts of understanding what the letters meant. I soon learned that mine were what was considered “good” and couldn’t wait to go home and show them off. When I finally brought it to my mom, she saw my “B” and said, “That’s good, Bianca, but what did you do wrong?”.

I’m sure that garners an array of reactions, but for me, that is one of my favorite memories. Sure, it didn’t feel so great then. I didn’t really understand what she meant, much less what the grade itself meant. What I did learn was that I could do better and most importantly that I should strive to do better. I learned that I was capable of the best if I worked hard enough and smart enough. And it was later that I would learn that the act of even striving for the best made me stronger, regardless the outcome.

On Monday morning, we begin medicine. Yes, we are two years in. We started at the basic of the basic. We fought through classes we didn’t see the point of and survived exams that felt completely unrelated to our chosen career path. In those two years, we learned the entire healthy human body, in and out, and now, we will learn everything that can go wrong with it. As one of my TAs (teaching assistants) told me a couple of weeks ago, “Now, you start medical school.”.

It still feels a little scary. Sometimes I catch myself thinking things like “this is where they are going to find out I’m a fraud” or “This is where I’ll realize I’ll never be a doctor”. Scary, mean thoughts, I know, but they are there nonetheless. I used to be more affected by thoughts like that, more so by ones I had of myself than those others had of me. Over time I’ve come to realize that I find them motivational, in a twisted kind of way. Those thoughts arise when I need a little kick. Nothing motivates me more than telling me I can’t do something. (Example: Jannie moved this past weekend and Skjalg told me I couldn‘t carry the four large, packed IKEA bags I was eyeballing (he actually said “don’t” because he knows how I react to “you can’t”, but I heard it as the latter). What did I do? I loaded up! And I’ve got a strand of broken blood vessels on my shoulder to prove it.)

I’ve spent the majority of the past 24 hours putting together my schedule for this next semester. Spending so much time organizing classes I know so little about unleashed a flood gate of negative motivating thoughts. There is a lot more pressure on us this year because we no longer have our schedules planned for us. There are schedule suggestions, but we no longer have to adhere to our oh-so-comforting group number. Bye, bye, Group 12! Hello, Change!

Throughout this planning marathon, I’ve been thinking about Baba Shiv’s TEDtalk “Sometimes it’s good to give up the driver’s seat”:

Oh, how I wish I could give up the driver’s seat for this semester schedule! But no, it’s time to step up and embrace the change once more.

At 18:00 tomorrow, 180 or so of us will furiously activate our semesters in the online registration system and go head-to-head in a battle for the classes of our choosing. Each of the subjects is divided into about 15 groups and each group has only 9-12 spots. We’ve gotten recommendations from students who have completed 3rd year about which professors to take and have built up potential schedules from those recommendations. Jannie, Skjalg and I are planning on taking as many classes together as possible, but have been warned that no one ever gets the schedule they want. I think it’s safe to say I’m a little stressed…

Otherwise, a lot has happened these past two weeks, including the end of nursing practice, the passing of my 27th birthday (which I spent alone *party*), Skjalg’s two-day stop off in Budapest before flying off to Thailand with his dad, and Jannie’s return to Budapest, complete with a move to a new apartment and visit from her two sisters.

Now I am off to bed, registration day awaits!

Nurses tried to find something for us to do, so they printed out their information sheet. At least I know the average weights of babies/children now!

Nurses tried to find something for us to do, so they printed out their information sheet. At least I know the blood pressure ranges of babies/children now! (Look how easy the Hungarian is, Mom! 😛 )

Cheers to this random guy, who kept photobombing this newscaster no matter how hard the cameraman tried to avoid him. Made me laugh hysterically – and out loud! – at the gym. I blame the endorphins. He even got his own sign-off!

Procession of St. Stephen's Hand on August 20th

Procession of St. Stephen’s Hand on August 20th

View of the fireworks on August 20th from the comfort of our dining area

View of the fireworks on August 20th from the comfort of our dining area

Happy birthday to me! Looks so gross, I know. Made myself a protein cake with protein ice cream, which I enjoyed while Skyping with my brother - who made sure to laugh at the site of it!

Happy birthday to me! Looks so gross, I know. Made myself a protein cake with protein ice cream, which I enjoyed while Skyping with my brother – who made sure to laugh at the site of it!

:)

🙂

Lots of books to sell at the book fair this Friday (5th)!!!

Lots of books to sell at the book fair this Friday (5th)!!!

A happy, happy day when Buda-B got accepted as an anatomy TA. Watch out, Group 14, here I come!

A happy, happy day when Buda-B got accepted as an anatomy TA. Watch out, Group 14, here I come! (I’ll be a teaching assistant to my former anatomy professor 😀 )

2014-08-29 21.14.24

Sklajg’s first day back in Budapest, before heading off to Thailand. It was my replacement birthday and we spent the day in the park sipping sipping champagne – perfection!

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Bubbles and snacks! Tuna salad, holiday dip with greek yogurt and veggies

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My first attempt at proteinpow.com's spinach pancakes - topped with greek yogurt and Walden Farms pancake syrup.

My first attempt at proteinpow.com’s spinach pancakes – topped with greek yogurt and Walden Farms pancake syrup.

Drive-by opera sighting

Drive-by opera sighting

Don't forget to look up when in Budapest. You never know just how beautiful the buildings are going to be.

Don’t forget to look up when in Budapest. You never know just how beautiful the buildings are going to be.

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