All Quiet on the Christmas Front

Merry Christmas, dear friends and readers! I hope your day has been, and continues to be, joyous!

It’s been an uncharacteristically quiet Christmas here, with my family members on 4 continents this year! I miss the days when we’d all be gathered in my grandparents’ apartment, sleeping on the living room floor and crowded around the dining room table or relegated to the kid’s corner.  Still, knowing we’re all safe and well is what’s most important, and I’ve enjoyed spending time with my mom here. We’ve spent the day as any other, but at a relaxed pace.

Harry Potter VII, Part I is on TV now, which reminds me so much of this time of year, maybe because the characters are old friends. In fact, totally coincidentally, I’d been listening to the audiobook of Goblet of Fire earlier in the day. RIP Dobby; you died a free elf 😦

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Today, I have the ultimate visitor.

My mother arrived today for the holidays, and my apartment feels like a different place already! Messier, but more home-like. She brought a suitcase stuffed with clothing, gadgets, and miscellaneous items, including a frozen hunk of beef! Not sure about the customs regulations on that one, but it arrived untouched, still mostly frozen, and all proof has since been eaten 🙂 I’m looking forward to showing her what my life in medical school/Budapest has been like, since she left on the first day of the semester and didn’t get to meet any of the people who have become such a big part of it.

On that note, a shoutout to fellow group member and reader, Clare!

ETA: Hours into her visit, my mom fixed the flickering desk lamp that I’ve ignored dealing with, and it took all of 30 seconds. I need life skills, stat.

Today, I received my first care package!

Full of assorted items (food and clothes, mostly) from the good ‘ole USA, courtesy of my generous and thoughtful cousins.

There really isn’t anything in particular I crave from home – Oreos and other packaged foods being among the most commonly missed items – but I do get nostalgic for their presence if I think too much about it.  The fact that certain things aren’t readily available is a bit unsettling. So, it’s nice to know they can always be shipped over!

The self-portrait of a foreigner: box full of snacks from home. :)Pardon the quality, I was to busy unpacking my popcorn bowls to take good pictures.

The self-portrait of a student abroad: box full of snacks from home. 🙂
Pardon the quality, I was too busy unpacking my popcorn bowls to take good pictures.

Today is Saturday!

Or so it feels, since we have the second 4-day weekend in two consecutive weeks here!  Even though we just had a long weekend, this one is much appreciated!  The rest of the semester is going to be a stressfest, so I’m trying to enjoy it as much as possible amidst the studying. Bianca, Rina, and Skjalg came over for lunch – a great Asian noodle dish mainly orchestrated by Rina, though the rest of us peeled and deveined the shrimp and kept the conversation lively.

Today (November 1) is “All Saints/Souls Day,” designated to remember lost loved ones.  Instead of the trick-or-treat of Halloween, it is customary in Hungary to go to the graves of family and friends in the cemetery and bring flowers. We’ve got a candle lit here in the apartment, and it’s comforting in a way to know that we all miss people who have passed away.
Not so infrequently, I will reminisce and reflect on the absence of my grandparents or my german teacher (a grandmother-like figure), whose deaths have been the most significant of my life thus far. The thoughts always seem out of context, though, because my memories of them are rooted in the past. While we move forward, they will always be at a standstill, so it’s nice to stop and, just for a moment, match their pace.

Woah there, didn’t mean to get all macabre. This is all to say, nicely done, Hungary!

Today, the eagle has flown the nest!

And here I sit, with an open window, cup of coffee, anatomy notes, Born & Raised, and the anticipation of a Skype appointment with Markie later in the afternoon. This 4-day weekend has been quite the rejuvenator, but I know that its restorative effect will only last so long once classes start again tomorrow. But then, we wouldn’t appreciate the vacations if it weren’t for the work!

My neighbor across the way has just stepped onto his balcony garden for his routine inspection.  He reminds me of my grandpa, making sure that all is in order. The external wall of his apartment has these beautiful vines (?) of red, orange, yellow leaves. They’re the type that people would hang up as decoration, so it took me a while to realize that his are real.  It’s a little slice of autumn whenever I look out.

Jarkie is a sad panda lately, which has caused me to reflect on the nature of gut-wrenching, sleep-stealing sadness. I have yet to reach a meaningful conclusion.

Today, I’m comme çi, comme ça

If I hadn’t skipped yesterday’s post, it would’ve been entitled, “Today, I handled human limbs“.
Since we’ve started our next anatomy unit, we got the upper (shoulder to hand) and lower (hip to foot) parts of the cadaver, which we will be using for dissections the rest of the semester. It’s a whole new world of structures to memorize, a realization that detracted from the coolness of it a bit in my mind. I think I’ve also been desensitized to the novelty of it, having grown up surrounded by formaldehyde, and I wish I could bring myself to be more excited. The locomotor system is still fascinatingly complex, so maybe I am just feeling my physical limitations when it comes to the cutting specialties of medicine.

Today, though, I got the benefits of home cooking from my aunt. She gave me a little cooking lesson (shrimp, — Jarkie, I know you’re wondering). We cooked with soy sauce for the first time in far too long! I love visitors! Though they do take away some study time, they give life so much pleasure.

Today, weekend: redux

I’ve always wanted to use the word “redux”! I’m crossing that off my bucket list.

It seems as though a cold has stricken Budapest, and not passed over me. On my way to school on Friday, I couldn’t help but notice the people coughing and sneezing around me. Being sick reminds me how much to value not being sick. I think I’m on the upswing, though, so here’s hoping that’s the case. This is hopefully not related to my bucket-list comment. 😛

My aunt from HK is in town for a few days, and I met with her today to be coddled in the way relatives do.  🙂 It so happened that her visit is work-related, which is a happy happenstance indeed. Sometimes, I wonder how I ended up living in Budapest, how my parents and relatives ended up leaving their homes and settling where they did, whether I am somehow betraying their efforts by leaving the U.S. Then, I consider that maybe – especially nowadays – our world is just a continuum of space that we occupy.