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Last weekend was fantastic…  Earlier my mum and I decided to go, this year again, to the place my great-great grandfather and his brother (Marian and Florian Bilicki)  used to make our famous and beloved Tokaj wine. Actually it was a harvest festival, as in every year, in Hungary, all the wine-producing villages and towns organize events with concerts, a procession with folk costumes, folk songs and dances etc. But before, I found out that there would be three girls from Poland to visit us that weekend who, when I asked whether they wanted to join us became so excited about it. So we decided to go together wih them. But I didn’t tell them, before the arrival, the fact that the grandfather of my grandmother and his brother, whose cellars we were visiting were also from Poland…

We were lucky to be invited by the woman who owns some of the vineyards and cellars of Florian – her kindness was endless: she offered us a walk in the yards, made us visit the old cellars and we also had the chance to taste her wine.  The next day we attended a mass – such a mass I’ve never attended before, it was generally a celebration of the wine with the small church being decorated with grapes, the wines being blessed and the priest talking about the Polish-Hungarian friendship and “wine relations” 🙂  Besides this, we went to see the town of Tokaj which lies south of Abaújszántó and is maybe the most famous of all villages and towns in this region. While driving there we saw the gentle landscape all around us, with huge fields of grapevines and green hills in the far distance. After returning to Abaújszántó, however, I realized the view from there is definitely nicer than from Tokaj 🙂 At the end of the day we met a group of pilgrims who were visiting the statue of Virgin Mary that looks over and guards the vineyards, we picked the very special and very sweet grapes from which our Tokaj wines are made of.

I believe it was one of those things that make life more round and more complete… Now I feel I have a great fire in my soul, a great love towards this corner of the Earth and I have a dream to find out more about the story and spread it so that Florian’s soul could be reborn again.

Some pictures to show you what I felt there:

So… Summer. Wandering around some parts of Europe, trying to fulfil my dream to see foreign lands, feel foreign feelings. Finland, Estonia, Latvia and then finally back to Lithuania once again. It was so wonderful, can’t really find words for it – and do you know what the greatest thing was? Discovering these countries from a completely different angle than from tourists do. Swimming in a lake in Finland by night, picking blueberries in an Estonian forest and standing at the very end of Saaremaa island was something that I could describe best as “uplifting” but even that word isn’t enough for that.

And then – Lithuania. The feeling I missed the most – being a part of a multinational community that is there for the same reason but is a mixture of many different cultures and ways of thinking – was totally present here. The worries I had – that being in the same country for the second time will disappoint me or that it will lose its wonder – disappeared from the first second I put my feet on Lithuanian soil. Really, really, there are so many things to discover there, even a life isn’t enough to get to know it… There were some places I visited for the first time this year, some others I revisited. There were some people I met for the first time, some I met for the first time this year. And there were people I wished to meet, but either one of us didn’t have time for that or they were staying far away from Vilnius.

And then came the terrible few days before my Business French language exam when I almost died from being exhausted and totally nervous… but I did it, and I think I also passed the exam (but I don’t want to feel happy about it too soon)

Now I’m more relaxed and balanced, but also stuck in Hungary for at least six months. But I like my internship place. I just feel the urge to escape once again from here.

As a continuation to my last log, here are some pictures of the wonderful day when I met Natalija in Balatonföldvár 🙂

Thanks, Nat and Shadi, for some of the photos! 🙂

Tihany, my favourite place in Hungary:

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The Lithuanian cake! (Well, the choice of this cake was – believe me or not – totally unintentional! We only found out about the colours after having it on our table :D)

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The calvary of Tihany:

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…and the abbey:

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Hungarian king Andrew I (who founded the Tihany abbey) and his wife, Anastasia from Ukraine:

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Some traditional houses 🙂

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A part of old Hungarian folk life: the oven called “búboskemence” 🙂

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Picking some lemongrass to go with my lavenders I had collected before (Tihany is famous for its lavenders):

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The lake:

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After taking the ferry and arriving back to Szántód on the southern shore of the lake, Nat decided that we could hitchhike our way back home… 🙂

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This was already on the shore of Balatonföldvár. You can see such sunsets from the southern side, while those on the northern side get the sunrises 🙂

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Two of us, while the Iranian guests of my neighbour were also attending our sunset-watching session, talking, laughing and having a good time 🙂

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Me with the beer and birthday wishes 🙂 (as I had my birthday on that very day :))

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Black Daemon and Blonde Cyclone. Interesting names for beers…

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And as a finish for the day, we went to the centre of Balatonföldvár to sit in a bar (and listen to variable quality karaoke singing :D) I have never sung karaoke and I tried to convince my friends to form a choir (I was too afraid or sober to go alone :D) but I had no success… maybe next time! 😀

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I’ve been thinking how to sum up some of the most memorable moments of the past few months (I’m talking about positive moments of course) And later I realized that the best way would, probably, to share some of my pictures instead of trying to explain this period by words. (In the future I might write captions for some of the pictures though :))

So, look at them and enjoy!

And I haven’t written anything since that post from Hungary! But well, I can of course solve this situation with my present post.

Those 13 days in Hungary were great. It’s weird, before that I didn’t really miss my home but now that I returned, and saw my “normal” environment, I started to plan right then about what I am going to do after I arrive back. And usually where my dreams are, I am there in my soul, too.

After Easter, we went to Balatonföldvár just like all the time (but if there is a place in the world I never get bored of, regardless of how many times I visit there, that’s Balatonföldvár). I incredibly loved those few days, even though I didn’t do anything else than sleeping, walking, biking, eating and gardening. And lying in the sun, a lot. About the gardening part, to be frank that was only on the last day, but I worked very hard – I re-planted two hibiscus bushes (one of them was taller than me), a redcurrant bush and a rose bush, I dug out a small tree that just grew wild and that we decided not to keep, and I planted some gladious bulbs and “Scottish wildflower seed mix”, the latter I bought in Scotland of course.

We had some fun experimenting with the Cassis de Dijon and the Calvados that I brought from France, we made Kir Royal (Cassis+champagne), “normal” Kir (Cassis+white wine), however once it turned to be too sweet, once too sour, we just couldn’t find the right proportions! Next time I got to buy a book of cocktail recipes as the other solution – having a skilled mixer in my family – just can’t work out…

Now I have been back to France for quite a while and I need to work on 3 presentations of which 2 are in French. I have already suffered a lot with them but the bigger part of the work is still to be done. Well, at least now I have got an idea so the work is going to be faster from now, I hope.

And so I am in Hungary for almost two weeks, celebrating Easter with my family. I am over a very tiring time and I hardly can believe this country I am being now is my homeland. 😀 (If you reading my blog have visited home after a period which is longer than one month, you will understand me!)

My flight has an interesting story as well. In France I got to know someone who had worked for Air France before and for this reason could provide me with tickets at a reduced price – which, as a result of a code share agreement, could be purchased for Malév (Hungarian Airlines) flights, too. But as it was the day before Easter, there was of course over-booking for almost every flight and it wasn’t even certain that I could enter the first flight in the morning. But I managed it, thank God 😀 – and, top of this, I got a seat in the business class… 😉

It was already weird at the airport where I saw all those signs in Hungarian and when I entered a Hungarian supermarket. And it was embarrassing, too… Because in France I found out that swearing aloud (in Hungarian of course!) was a good way of relieving stress of being in a huge crowd approaching the metro in the morning. And one time something fell off my cart and I forgot about myself… do I have to say more? :S Well, I really need to drop this habit as I usually don’t have a dirty mouth. 🙂

On Saturday evening there was the usual resurrection mass of Holy Saturday that I attended, and yesterday it was the day of celebration with my family. Later today we are going to Balatonföldvár, the town which I adore to our house which I adore. 🙂 So no Internet for a few days.

So, see you later! And enjoy the spring if you have it right now where you are. 🙂

Yes, you know there are sometimes such cases when you are having so many problems that you can’t even talk about them… But I owe a story about those happenings that made my stay here, in France, very hard in the preceding weeks. I am very ashamed and angry of myself that I let it happen. I made tons of mistakes and I let other people make a big harm to me, fool me and cause me a lot of grief. I apologize that my story will be long and messy, but maybe from it you will understand what kind of difficulties I had to endure.

All the things started with moving in the beginning of March, from the student’s residence in a southern suburb of Paris to a room in a “colocation”. I was about to visit there before moving, but I misunderstood the hour and missed the opportunity to do that. But, because I was in an urge, I moved there anyway, just to see that there is practically no window in my (basement) room… just a little one for the air to change. And there was a transparent door that opened to the garden, but that was in the basement, too, and one had to go up the stairs to get into the garden – that means that the light coming in from there was limited as well, plus my room could only receive that light through another glass door. It was really a surprise, because shen writing the ad, she somehow “forgot” about the fact that there weren’t any windows in the room…

It was so depressing to wake up in total darkness and after a day in the sunlight, descend to the artificial light, that I decided to ask the flatmate if she could try to find another one to rent the room from the second week of March. (I knew if wasn’t impossible, because there were lots of people looking for flatshares, even in the last minute, and not only from the end of the month). She said that she will try and if she succeeds, she will give me back the remaining three weeks of my monthly rent. To avoid her saying that there was no one interested, I also posted several ads in housing sites, for which I got a lot of replies, but since I could not organize visits, I gave them the telephone number of my (former) flatmate. Who organized visits, but as I got to know later, only for people who wanted to move in from the 1 April. So, she fooled me, actually… (And – I am so angry of myself when writing down – she made me lose a big amount of money :()

Anyway, before knowing that this would happen (actually, being afraid of this a little bit but hoping for the best and paying trust in my flatmate) I visited another apartment that I really liked (actually there was a room to share with another girl, but she seemed kind and sympathetic at that moment when I visited…), so I decided to move there on the next Saturday. I brought just one baggage of mine with me, because they were quite heavy to bring together. Right after I arrived (around 8 pm), I wanted to go on MSN to talk with my mother, but then came the other shocking news: there was no internet in the flat. I couldn’t imagine, even in my wildest dreams, that a fellow student would not have internet in her flat… especially, when she offers it for flat-share. I should have asked it previously, I know. But for me it comes just as naturally as a bathroom or electricity or I don’t know what… I quickly made up my decision. As I had paid my first month of rent anyway, I decided to go back to my previous place and continue looking for a new place from there. I called my former flatmate and asked her if I could return, she said no problem – but she wasn’t there at that moment because she was gone to a party far away from Paris and since I had to give back the keys, I couldn’t enter the apartment. I asked then my “new” flatmate if I could stay just for the night if I pay some euros as I was in really an emergency situation, but she said no, “her flat is not a hotel” and “you have to go to a hotel now if you don’t want to stay for at least one month”. I tried to call everyone, other places I had refused earlier, if they still have those places available (of course they didn’t have them), my former roommate from the students’ residence who was, later on, staying with friends in Paris (I was begging her that I could stay for just one night) but she refused me, without asking her friends if I could stay by them for just one night… After about one hour of trying and words from the girl’s part as “do not consume my electricity” (I had to put my mobile on the charge), I had to leave at about 11 pm, still not having any place to go. I went into the cheapest hotel I could find there, but it was full, my only luck was that the porter called another hotel for me, asking for a lower price, and at the end, I ended up staying there for the night, still shocked and at the edge of a nervous breakdown…

Next day, I went back to my previous place then. I would have gone there anyway, because one of my bags was there. Even though I had said to the girl before that I wanted to go back for a few days, the girl immediately “welcomed” me with my bag in the door, and urged me to leave. I explained her the situation, but she literally sent me to hell – “you can’t come back, we have started renovation in your room, any anyway, you have chosen to go away so now bear with consequences”. And that “you can come back in the beginning of April, if you want, but until that you will lose your money”. About the renovation and the proposed new inhabitant of the room that we agreed to search for, she said “the renovation is going to end in one week, if we find someone to move in from 15 March, I will give you back the half of your money”. But I had to leave, without having another place to stay for the next night. It was in the morning hours and I still had the chance to go to an internet café (because she even didn’t let me use the internet in the apartment to find another place).

I went to the internet café then and started looking for ads and tried to e-mail my coursemates if they could accommodate me for a few days, with no result. Then… I somehow had the inspiration to e-mail someone who had previously offered me a room in a homestay, for a very cheap price, but… very far from Paris, in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. A few minutes later my phone rang and he told me that the room is still free and he would be ready to come for me by car to Paris. I was in some kind of disbelief (after being at the edge of total fear and exhaustedness) that maybe this would be something that gave me hope and chance… I met the man who explained me that his wife was Hungarian and this is why he e-mailed me about the room earlier. He was overall very kind and friendly, I could see that he suffers a lot of being alone (because he and his wife had no children).

I accepted the room – he told me that I could stay as long as I wish – at first just until the beginning of April when I was planning to move again, as in the meantime I got another possibility and place to move, a small room in a flat very close to my school but for quite expensive. I visited it and was satisfied with it, the flat, the room and my future roommate so I decided to move there. But as the days passed and I got more and more used to the long time spent travelling to my school and back – I had the thought that maybe it was the fate (or God) that took me here. And that my task is to bring some kind of happiness in the life of someone who has been so alone in the past years. And I was also well aware that from the money I save if I decide to stay here in the suburb, I can freely travel or do anything I want.

So, I decided to refuse the new room, making sure that I am going to stay here, in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (Elancourt) until the end of my stay in Paris, that will last until the end of May. I am feeling more and more comfortable here, enjoying the fresh air, the silence, the balcony and the sunshine.

It is Lent. And I have had my calvary. Now I feel a little bit dead inside – but Easter is all about resurrection, getting a new life out of death and decay. Maybe it will come to me as well. I hope.

I am glad February is over (it was a clever guy who invented 28-day Februaries!) Together with the second half of November, it wins the award “szirmaik’s least favourite time of the year” every year, as it’s still cold outside, the gray sky doesn’t even let the sun shine through the clouds, it’s raining, there are no green leaves on the trees… So, I am cheering for March.

I have had one free week, as there was no school (ski break for some people, slack week for me :P). Most of the fellows travelled to other towns (or other countries)… but not me, I didn’t have money for that as my @>Đä]đ&#] scholarship is being delayed. But well, I’m going to have some weekends and a spring break later to do what I want 😉 I was, however, searching for a new room for myself, in which I succeeded :). The old one, in Savigny-sur-Orge, was WAY too far from the city, so the new one had to be in (or very near) Paris. Actually, it’s in a little suburb, Ivry-sur-Seine, just near Paris and metro. I really like the environment and the flat, even though my room has only a very little window and therefore, together with the glass door in the little “salon”, receives only a little bit of daylight 😦 But well, my room is very big, home-y and the apartment has access to a garden – what more can I ask for, especially when the spring is coming?

And the more the spring comes, the more time I am going to spend outside. I want to gaze at the sunsets and at the water of the Seine, I want to go picnicking somewhere, I want to spend hours walking around unknown places, just listening to music… Too be honest, I miss the summer a little bit, I miss my “real” home of my heart, the Lake Balaton, the sunsets, the smell of mud and freshly cut grass drying on the sun, the stars above me when I walk in the garden in the night… But well, everything has its own time and there are some months left until July that I can ENJOY, especially if I can do it in such a beautiful country as France 🙂

Well. I decided to write here regularly. At least once in every two or three days… Even if it’s a total nonsense, but still, it will be fun to read it later.

The last weekend I didn’t do anything. Almost… I must tell that at the moment I am residing in a student residence in a southern suburb of Paris, but I am thinking of moving somewhere inside Paris from the beginning of March. My roommate Tanya is interested, too, but the question is difficult – renting a flat in Paris is VERY difficult and expensive so I have to do a lot of research on this subject. For example, last Saturday I went to see a small flat in the 19th district of Paris which I loved – but unfortunately the agency required such papers from me that I didn’t have and probably couldn’t even provide. Anyway, I don’t give up. I am still looking for lodging ads of private persons and sub-lets and also mailing people – maybe some day I will find the perfect one. I still have almost two weeks left from February.

Other. There was a conflict with my school earlier this year as according to our Erasmus contract, we were supposed to get 1500 € for the semester. But they, instead of transferring in euros, wanted to do that in forints, according to the exchange rate in the summer (!!!) because, as they said, they received the scholarship from Tempus foundation in euros that time, and they converted it to forints immeditely… Unfortunately the exchange rate of the forint dropped seriously since the summer, due to this economic crisis… so think about it, if we first convert the 1500 euros to forints in a, let’s say, 240 Ft/€ base and we know that consequently, now when we are travelling we would need to change our forints back to euros on a 300 Ft/€ rate… it’s like receiving only 1200 € instead of the original 1500. And they really wanted to do this… until we, students didn’t regress and warned them with lawsuit if they don’t pay the money in euros. Finally, they agreed to do that, so I won’t be exposed to the drop in the forint’s exchange rate, at least in the context of scholarship. Or maybe. Because now that they decided to transfer in forints, the had to collect everyone’s €-account numbers and start the procedure again from the beginning. So… I am keeping my fingers crossed that the money will arrive FAST – that means before the beginning of March.

So, this for today. I didn’t have the energy to re-read what I have written, but anyway. Have a nice evening 🙂

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“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there” and “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

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