Budapesti!

Monday, January 31, 2011

I made it safe and sound to Budapest! I had a few snafus in all three airports, so I was thankful to finally land in Hungary!

More later once I get some sleep. I've been up since 8am EST on January 30th and now it's 5pm EST January 31st at home. You do the math, I'm too tired. So tired I have taken zero pictures with my brand new camera :O

Random: The toilet paper in my bathroom is orange and blue.
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In the heart of Budapest!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It never occurred to me to google my address in Budapest to make sure I wasn't living in the ghetto, but it turns out I'll be living in the heart of the city on the trendiest street in town - score! And my rent is super cheap! I'll be living and going to school in District 9, on the Pest side of the Danube River. District 9 is in the heart of the city and is the most popular and cosmopolitan district in Budapest. My dorm is on Ráday street, which is where all the hip bars, restaurants, and cafes are. My university is situated literally right along the banks of the Danube. I figured I'd be living in a suburban area or on the outskirts of town.

This is tooo much big city excitement for a small town girl ;) Now how am I ever going to finish start packing?

Ráday Street - jealous?

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T-minus 5 days

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

40,000 Hungarian forint
As my departure for Budapest nears, I vacillate from excitement to fear depending on the hour. I am excited to immerse myself in a new country and travel all over Europe (hello 4 day weekends!). I'm nervous about making new friends, getting homesick, and keeping my faith, among other things. Today I got my housing assignment and I'll be living with two other Americans, praise God. One is from IU. I thought I was going to be living with two Hungarians. This is like being a freshman in college all over again, ha. Except this time I have to pack my life into two suitcases instead of a Honda minivan. I have a packing list a mile long to get me through four months and two seasons in Budapest. I don't want to overpack, but what if I really need that that purple nailpolish or Vera tote? ;) My roomie from Btown (hi Kristen!!) is already in Copenhagen, Denmark and her packing pictures are slightly terrifying.

Other than not being packed and not knowing a lick of Hungarian (minor details, right?) I feel prepared. I'm flying there with two other IU students and our Hungarian tandem partners are picking us up at the airport. Fun tidbit: one of the orientation events is a pub crawl in Budapest. 

I found out about a new Hungarian saint - Margaret! Her father was a king and promised God his daughter would be consecrated to God if Hungary was spared from invasion by the Mongols. St. Margaret professed vows as Dominican sister at the age of 12. She died at 28 and is buried on an island in the middle of the Danube River (field trip!) St. Elizabeth is her aunt and St. Kunegunda (a Poor Clare nun) is her sister. Seems like a lot of Hungary's royal family became saints. More info on St. Margaret of Hungary can be found here. Time to start packing!

Sts. Stephen, Margaret, & Elizabeth of Hungary, ora pro me!


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2010

Saturday, January 1, 2011

+JMJ+

I spent New Year's Eve partying it up with Jesus in the adoration chapel with 3 friends. Possibly the best idea ever (hat tip to Liz Bee). I must admit I was feeling lame because here I am, a junior at Party School, USA, and about to embark on a 4 month adventure in Europe...and I had absolutely no wild or exciting parties to attend. However, spending the last minutes of 2010 in the chapel giving thanks for the past year's blessings and looking forward to the exciting opportunities ahead was perfect. Hopefully I can make this a yearly tradition. I wasn't watching the time in the chapel, but I knew it was 2011 when we started hearing the fireworks from downtown :)

I stole the idea from Carly to do a recap of 2010. I had forgotten I did so many fun/exciting things in the past year! Here are the highlights of my year.

1) March for Life. I rounded up a group from IU to go with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis young adult group. We flew to DC with the Archbishop on our own private plane and stayed at a swanky hotel. Sure beats a charter bus and sleeping on a gym floor!

Marching with Archbishop Buechlein, nbd

2) Spring break mission trip to East St. Louis (aka East Boogie). The most profound experience with suffering and poverty I've ever had (also the only time I've ever felt uncomfortable being white). ESL has the 2nd highest crime rate in the USA and has basically been forgotten about and ignored since the white flight in the 1950's and 60's. We did several service activities with the poor and homeless but my favorite was playing with kids in the projects at a daycare. We got so attached to those children in just 3 days. Many of them were so smart and had dreams of going to college - it was depressing to know that statistically, the majority will never escape the cycle of violence and poverty that permeates their city.

Playing games with the kids at the Roosevelt Complex ♥

East Boogie apparel courtesy of Walgreens

3) More Eucharistic processions and rosaries on IU's campus. The first procession we planned was in fall of '09 and since then they've gotten bigger and better! Praise God for an increasing Catholic witness on such a secular and liberal campus! I also worked on starting a pro-life club on campus.

Spring semester procession

Fall semester procession

4) MATT MAHER CONCERT. Matt Maher is my favorite musician ever and he finally came to Indiana to perform. I've only been stalking his tour schedule for the past 3 years. We sat in the front row and basically screamed like fangirls the entire time and ran out to talk to him afterwards. He's coming to Btown while I'm abroad...I'm working on convincing someone to Skype the concert to me ;)

"OMIGAWD I TOUCHED MATT MAHER!!!!!"

5) Road tripping all over the midwest with my friends this summer. Michigan, Illinois, and allll over Indiana. Convents, shrines, cathedrals, ordinations, lakes, retreats, amusement parks, and more!

6) Pilgrimage to Italy with the Fathers Dudzinski. Best (and holiest) ten days of my life. We traveled through Rome, Assisi, Nettuno, San Giovanni Rotondo, Lanciano, & Siena. The whole trip was so surreal it's hard to believe it actually happened. We saw the tombs of Saints Pio, Philip Neri, Maria Goretti, Catherine of Siena, Clare, Francis, Monica, Pope John Paul II, and several other popes.

First stop, Colosseum in Rome

"3 future nuns" and 3 Father Dudzinskis in Assisi

Viva il Papa!
Tomb of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's

St. Peter's Basilica, night tour of Rome

Eating gelato outside the Trevi Fountain. Sweet seraphim!

View of Assisi from St. Francis's hermitage on Mt. Subiaso

7) Alexa's entrance to the convent! Last February I got a text message in the middle of the night from Alexa while she was on retreat in Mishawaka. She couldn't sleep because she had finally discerned that God was definitely calling her to religious life and she had received application papers. I've joked that instead of weddings I'll be going to my friends' ordinations and professions of religious vows for the next few years :)

Alexa's entrance ceremony at St. Francis Convent


2011 is promising to be an exciting and challenging year as well!! Things to look forward to: living in Europe for 4 months, a summer internship out of state (I hope), and moving off-campus into my own house for senior year. I've already told my housemates we are putting a Mary statue in our front yard :)

Edit: I just realized every single highlight of 2010 was a Catholic event or something I did with a Catholic group. Who's a Catholic nerd? THIS GIRL.
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