In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia
For A Minute There, I Lost Myself
It struck me as the bus was heading out of Prague en route to Budapest. It was an odd, completely inexplicable feeling towards the city—itself immobile under its own weight, its people pacing within its borders as I rode high in a bus through that imaginary barrier that separates a city from its surroundings like the film of a soap bubble. The feeling was at once a subdued feeling of comfort as well as a strange panicked feeling, as though once I passed through the film I would no longer be able to breathe. As I said, the feeling was completely inexplicable, but since it’s me, of course, I tried to rationalize it and as a result spent the entirety of the 7.5 hour ride doing nothing but listening to music and thinking. Literally, that’s all I did for 7.5 hours. I’m not even going to try and summarize the “conclusions” that I came to, but I will share what was important about that feeling: I am now deeply and permanently attached to Prague. When I am traveling through Europe and tell someone I’m studying there, when I return to the US and hear the word, when I type the letters P-R-A-G-U-E, I will always have an intense visceral reaction to it, emotion will always swallow me for some brief second, and I will (hopefully) have the same positive feeling I have now as I type P-R-A-G-U-E. You may be thinking “well duh you feel connected to it, you’ve been living there for like two months now” but I want to stress that had I simply returned to the US prior to that bus ride I would have never felt such a strong connection as I do now. Vague, I know, but as I said, the whole thing is completely inexplicable… just the feeling itself is significant here. A sort of turning point, I guess.
(full disclosure, this post is going to be torturously long, if you’re waiting to go to the bathroom or if there’s popcorn waiting in the microwave [and if so I’m super jealous] you should tend to those things now…)
Anyway, so as I mentioned in my last post I just went on spring break, which was incredible. And seeing as I never posted about Budapest, here are a few highlights from there + spring break:
Went with a few friends from the program. Jaxson and I stayed with David (one of my best Pomona friends studying in Budapest) while Sharon, Caroline, and Brittnay stayed at Versailles.
“Versailles is in France, not Budapest. Get yourself cultured,” you say.
True. Budapest’s version of Versailles does exist, however, and it belongs to a friend of Sharon who offered to let them stay there while it was unoccupied. Anyway, it is an apartment right on (and with views of) the river, hidden in an unassuming apartment building that would never suggest that the interior was literally modeled to look like Versailles. One of the bedrooms contained a spiral staircase to reach the closet. In a word, absurd. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time there before going out each night.
Let’s see… Budapest happenings. We went on a self-guided (read: directionless) tour that ended with us sort of accidentally climbing this hill that I will call a mountain. Great views at the top. Went to the baths, got a massage. David took us to this lovely island where we got to watch the city light up as the sun went down.
The morning we left was a bit bizarre. Our bus was to leave around 6:30 am, so we decided to just not sleep that night. We all hung out together at Versailles until around, oh, 1:00 am? Maybe later? Either way, we left rather late to go to this club (I really liked what I saw of Budapest’s nightlife! Quirky places with lots of people) and, pretty reasonably, expected that when we returned to get our bags from Versailles it would be the same as we left it: empty. False. Apparently the cousin of the owner had arrived there sometime between when we left and when we got back at 5:00 am and brought about 40-50 people with him. Quite a surreal scene to return to… but I guess that’s Versailles?
Well just kidding about the “torturously long” and “spring break” part. This entry has been sitting on my desktop for ages and I just need to post it. It’s been too long since I’ve made an entry and now I have been in six different countries since the last post. So I’m a little overwhelmed with trying to record everything especially since I hate writing laundry-list accounts of what I’ve been doing because I think they are stupid and boring to read/write. The spring break one will probably be like that though, since this kind of traveling necessitates it.
Anyway, just got back from Berlin with Milia (another best friend from Pomona, studying in Jerusalem) and her friend Jacki this weekend, which was awesome. I needed about eight more days there. Such a cool culture, such absurd nightlife. ArtArtArtArtArt. Milia and Jacki are coming to stay with me in Prague (and Bari [cousin, gah sorry for all of these descriptions I don’t really know who is reading/what you know] is here too!) for the next few days then we’re all headed to Paris this weekend for Easter break. Excited about reuniting with my roomie and the rest of the Paris people, Milia & Jacki’s Parisian 21st birthday celebrations, and wine & cheese picnics errday. I’ll try to get back to this soon…