2:20 am CET
Boldog Új Évet, everyone! Happy New Year! It has certainly been a crazy year, hasn't it? Spent in several different countries from as close as Canada to as far away as Israel. I have gotten a taste of the world, and for that I could never be more thankful. Another year gone by is something strange to think about, though; so much has happened, but it doesn't feel like it has been another whole year. It feels as though I got here yesterday, nervous and without a clue as to how to get by. I've learned so much this year, not just from school, but from life; I think this year, being away, I've really learned first and foremost how to live.
I spent the first half of my day watching YouTube videos and sleeping, so very much the same as what I have been doing these past couple weeks. I met Jacob and his family around 5:00 and we went to dinner at this nice traditional place off of Kálvin tér. I had a lovely time and the food was great; I was definitely happy to be with other people for dinner rather than the normal evening alone. From there we took the 47 to Szabadság híd, where we got off to walk down Váci utca, the major tourist shopping street. I finally found a big Hungarian flag!! I was so excited when I saw it. I bought it (obviously) and I've already started to think about where to put it once I get home in February.
We walked a bit more and stopped for some chimney cakes (chocolate and cinnamon) before continuing onward to Vörösmarty tér. From there we took the metro back to Blaha Lujza tér and their hotel. We hung out there for a while, and then Jacob and I left for the Oktogon to join the growing festivities. On the way, I bought a vuvuzela-type horn that had a small Hungarian flag attached to it ('cause you know, if you can't beat the noise of the obnoxious drunken crowd, join 'em!). In Oktogon they had a screen set up on the side of a building where they were playing a countdown of the best twenty Hungarian and international songs of 2010 (though why a Justin Bieber song was #4 I will never understand. They actually didn't get to the #1 song because midnight struck just after song #2 ended. It was really quite hilarious). Since there weren't too many people yet, we walked to Hősök tere to see if anything was happening there, but--surprisingly--nobody was there except for some people setting off fireworks in the middle of the square.
We took the metro back to the Oktogon (it had gotten quite chilly by then) and took our previous spots by the screen. The intersection had started to fill up and there were hundreds of people crowding every nook and cranny of the Oktogon. People were blowing horns and shooting off fireworks and singing and dancing; it was certainly a loud, energetic party. I amost got hit by a rogue firework, but we were able to evade it when it went into the snow. When it came close to midnight, everyone starting pulling out their bottles of chamapgne (or, in the case of the trashed trio next to us, they brought out another bottle) and, though there was no discernable countdown, when a guy with a microphone started speaking, everyone began cheering, so we took that as a sign to blow our horns and cheer, too. We stuck around for a short while, but we soon moved toward the tram station so we could catch one back to our respective living spaces. On the tram home I met this really nice Hungarian guy who had somehow figured out that I was an English-speaker and started a conversation with me. He was interested in American politics and culture, so we talked for a good 15 minutes before he had to get off at his stop. He was really sweet and kind, and he said that my accent was very nice. That's definitely something I have never heard before (and probably never will hear again). When he left, a small group of drunk people got on, and one of the guys kept asking me in Hungarian to blow my horn so he could dance to it. His friend, luckily, spoke some English and she explained what he was talking about when she saw my smile-and-nod-deer-in-headlights expression. They got off soon after, and I got off when we arrived at my very own Móricz Zsigmond körtér.
Now I'm in my room, trying to warm up a bit and listening to different arrangements of "Auld Lang Syne" on YouTube. I don't know what it is about that song, but it always makes me cry. Or maybe it's just because the one I'm currently listening to has about a thousand people in Edinburgh singing together and holding hands.
... I'm such a sap. Anyway, to you all again, my dear readers: Happy New Year!! May it be prosperous, healthy, and full of light and joy. Be well!