Fri. 2/2

Tonight, there was a school ball. It was pretty bad - none of my friends were there. The only saving bit was that at midnight, the teachers invited me upstairs and gave me champagne and congratulated me on turning 18.

Sat. 2/3

It was my birthday today. My host parents bought me a really nice cake, and gave me a gift certificate to a bookstore. I really loved it!

Sun. 2/4

Today was cool - we drove down to Budapest to see Miki. His apartment is really nice, and near a ruined coliseum My host parents went to a party in the same Hilton I stayed at, while Miki and I went to see The Barber of Siberia. It was fantastic! Then we met his girlfriend, who was really sweet. We went back to his apartment and talked for a long time.

Mon. 2/5

I found another place in Budapest I haven't been to yet. Today Miki took me to the Labyrinth under the Buda Castle. It was amazingly beautiful! It really looked just like something out of the Medieval ages - the rough-hewn rock passageways and all.

Sat. 2/10

Today was pretty decent. Nadia, Ildiko (her host sister), and I went to Miskolc. Only, they dragged me through just about every clothes shop there, I think. We did find one in the mall that was suitable, though. It had a coffee shop in the back. So I could sit down and drink my coffee while they shopped. Perfect!

Fri. 2/18

After school today there was a trip to Kasa (Kosice in Slovakian) to see "Cain and Abel". It wasn't very good, but it was something to do.

Mon. 2/21

Peter and I went with a bunch of the students who are studying English to the "English Teaching Theatre" in Miskolc. It was a bunch of skits in English, basically. It was OK - funny at times... Before it started, some of the actors came out and talked with the audience. Pete had been semi-hitting-on 2 girls next to him. One of the actors started talking to them, and asked who the best English speaker was. Pete pointed to me. Even after I told her my name was Steve, she kept thinking I was Hungarian. Which was cool, but rather silly. Finally, she asked me how long I had been speaking Hungarian. When I said, "I can't think of a time I haven't been speaking English," she caught on. It was amusing. Afterward, I convinced Olga to take us to MacDonald's for dinner. Only I didn't realise that it was considered somewhat expensive. I felt guilty for a second.

Fri 2/25

I went down to Pest again for the weekend. Tomorrow there will be a Rotary meeting - each country has to give a presentation about itself. TV will be there. However, none of the Americans were home to work on our presentation. So I hung out with Lauren and Pete (both from Canada) for a while, and eventually headed to Miki's.

Sat. 2/26

Today sucked. The Americans were comletely unprepared and uneager to do anything. Most wouldn't even bother to try to speak Hungarian, even though they all knew enough. Jess and I were the only 2 that talked in Hungarian - she talked about the United States, and I about Wisconsin. I wouldn't mind terribly, except that there were TV cameras there, so the rest of the Americans made all of us look like idiots.

Anyway, I did meet a pretty cool Hungarian guy there - Robi. We went back to his house afterward and hung out. He lives with his mom in a small apartment, but they're both really fantastic people. We all talked for a while - they both seemed impressed with my Hungarian. But then his mom started to get a bit too nice. She insisted that I call home with their phone. Then I told her that the family is going to come in a little while, and she offered me their apartment. She said that she and Robi would move out for a week so that we could stay there! It was so nice of her, but of course I couldn't let her do that, and I had already made reservations at a hotel anyway. But it really took some convincing before she accepted that we'd be staying in a hotel. Eventually, I felt I was overstaying my welcome, so I said I had to go back home to rest for a bit. They said I could rest there, but I had to take my backpack back, anyway. I wasn't surprised exactly at their openness with me - Hungarians will share anything - just surprised that they were so open after such a short time knowing me.

Then a bunch of the exchange students went out to a disco - the Face. It was OK. In the end, there were just seven of us. We ended up in a Turkish restaurant around 2 or 3 AM. That was pretty cool, actually - just haning out. Around 4.30, I invited Andrew back to "my" apartment (he had a long way to go home, and Miki had gone home earlier).

We woke up in the afternoon, and I pretty much went right to the train station. The ride home was really crappy. I was in a bad mood to start with, and there were no compartment cars. So I was sitting in an open car listening to thoroughly annoying people. Then a baby started crying, and later some idiot turned on a boombox that I could hear over my discman.

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