Biochemistry: Check!

June 8, 2013 § 2 Comments

If I wasn’t still so utterly exhausted, I think I would be in a state of shock. Yesterday’s biochemistry semi-final was horrible! At one point I thought to myself, “You deserve to fail because you have no idea what you are doing“.

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The exam was divided into two parts. The first included 10 structures (out of a possible 200 total structures), 1 calculation and 14 open questions. The second part consisted of 40 multiple choice questions. In order to pass, we needed 13 points from the first part and 21 from the second. What did I get? 13 and 24! Safe to say that I scraped by there…

The room was heavy with emotion when they released the results. Many of the students were taking this exam again for the second or third time and therefore had a little more riding on it this round. Some people screamed out of happiness, others were hugging, some were crying and some escaped defeated.

Afterwards, Skjalg and I went to an apartment showing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what we wanted. It was spacious and located on a beautiful street near the Basilica, but it would have required too much work to make it feel like a home. Plus, it was filthy. I couldn’t believe that they would show the apartment in that condition. The first thing we saw when we walked in the dusty front door was a toilet. They were replacing it with a new one and had left the old one immediately next to the front door. To make matters worse, the spot where the toilet had been was just a huge hole in the wall, surrounded by debris and broken tiles. Luckily, it’s a renters market down here. When we told him that we were interested in having a place from August, he told us that that would be fine as long as we paid a deposit beforehand. I’ve never come across an agent who is willing to lose two months rent like that! I’m bummed that it didn’t work out, but we still have plenty of time to find a new place.

Once we were done with the showing, we met up with Jannie to check out the flooding Danube. It’s been rising steadily over the past several days and newspapers are saying that it will the be highest flood wave of all time. I snapped some shots of the river, which was much less menacing in person than it’s being made out to be in the papers. It probably didn’t help that there were tons of people sitting out along the banks enjoying the sun. It’s hard to imagine what it looked like before the flood.

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Yearly flooding of the Danube

June 5, 2013 § 4 Comments

So, what happens when you’re locked up in your apartment for days at a time, looking at nothing but biochem notes and structures? You miss out on pertinent news – like the flood warning. For those of you that have been following the news, you might have heard/read about the flooding in Central Europe. It’s been really bad in Germany and Austria and has slowly been making its way to us. The Danube is the second largest river in the continent and runs through Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Ukraine and Moldova. Since Budapest is built right on the banks of the Danube and is almost completely flat, it is quite susceptible to flooding.

The peak of the flood is expected this weekend or Monday. I’m crossing my fingers that I will be able to get to my exam on Friday! Though I don’t think that will be a problem since we live about 1 km away from the river. But then I don’t know much about floods….Our school is located a little closer to the river than our apartment, hopefully that doesn’t present a problem.

School

Here are some pictures from The Budapest Times. These were taken either last night or early this morning, when the river was just beginning its rise over the bank. One website captioned a photo with “yearly flooding of the Danube” which I found amusing and therefore decided to use it as the title of this blog post. You can follow news of the flood on The Budapest Times website.

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Margit-sziget

January 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

This past weekend we took a study break and went for a walk around Margit-sziget, or Margaret Island. It’s an island about 2.5 km (1.6 miles) long and located in the middle of the Danube river, which passes right through the middle of the city. We’ve heard a lot about it, it’s especially popular in the summer, but we have never actually been out there.

winterpark

We didn’t expect to see anything more than a running track and maybe some outdoor pools, but there turned out to be a lot more to it. After about 20 minutes walking along the water, we climbed up to the running path and low and behold – a zoo! Not a huge one, but it had some deer, miniature horses and birds (white flamingos maybe?).

zoo deer zoo horses zoo birds

A little bit further down we came across these beautiful medieval ruins. I was curious about them and looked them up once I got home. The ruins are the remains of a 13th century Franciscan church and Dominican church and convent and a Premonstratensian church from the 12th century. The buildings were destroyed during the Ottoman wars in 16th century. There is something both eerie and beautiful about being in the presence of so much history. Nothing gives me a a greater awareness of the concept of time than that.

ruins

After passing through the ruins, we reached a little outdoor workout area. I snapped a couple shots of Skjalg testing out the machines.

skjalg park workout

The last surprise of the island was a small japanese garden with a thermal fish pond. It was a cold day and the heat from the pool created a thick mist over the pond.

duck mist

I only had my phone with me, so the shots aren’t the best quality. Now that I know how beautiful the island is, I will be sure to bring the camera along with my next time.

creepy statue
runningpath shadow sun

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