All Kiiinds of Flexin’ at Flex Gym (Hungary Edition)

Good God. And here I thought I was ready for a real bodybuilding gym. Pumped up, pre-workout shake in hand, and ready to push some heavy weights, I took the local bus over to the Buda side of the city. After 20 minutes of Pantera/Children of Bodom screaming into my ears, I walked into Flex Gym with more confidence than what was actually warranted. Don’t worry folks because that changed as soon as I stepped foot into the front entrance. Like letting go of an untied balloon, my ego deflated real, real quick. All I saw were nice, heavy-duty weights… and Dennis Wolfs everywhere. If you don’t know him, look him up… it’ll give you an idea. In fact, this was the first time I’ve ever felt remotely intimidated entering a gym. 

Fortunately, the owner of the gym, Adam, was a kind enough guy who made me feel a little bit better about where I was. I signed up for a month, and with the student discount, it was no more than about $48/month. As I walked to the locker room, located on the 3rd floor (yes! the gym has 3 friggin’ floors!), I could’ve sworn I saw Evan Centopani 3 times… It isn’t doppleganger week yet, is it?

It was leg day, so I hit the squat rack in an attempt to recondition my lower body. That is, until a giant among men came up to me and asked when I was finished. The last thing I wanted to do was piss off a local, most-likely amateur bodybuilder, so I said “now.” Yes, laugh all you want, but if someone the size of a bear comes up to you with a scrunched up face and subliminally asks you to move, I think you would’ve made the same choice!

Overall though, my gym experience was awesome. Flex Gym is equipped many modern equipment built for bodybuilding and powerlifting. This is perfect for me, and even though I’m usually the smallest person in the gym, their presence simply provides another (gigantic) motivation for me to continue my commitment towards the sport that I love. 

Das right Budapest! I’m still tryna get big even with all that drinkin!



Drinking, Drinking, and More Drinking

I thought it wasn’t true. There was no way that anyone could handle so much consumption so often. But all the rumors about the excessive, alcoholic-level drinking are nothing short of the truth. Szimpla and Instant have become my homes at night, and the drinking festivities never seem to end. The good thing is that I’ve gotten to know and spend time with many amazing people since my arrival, and every night seems to be special in its own, drunken way.

I’m currently living in a 3-bedroom flat that could honestly fit 3-4 more people with some room to spare. We’re located in the heart of Oktogon, one of the most popular districts in the city center. Our flat can’t be in a better place, strategically located near all the popular ruin pubs and bars that Budapest has to offer. One of my flatmates is a fellow trojan by the name of Alex, and he’s quite a chiller. The other is a Frenchie also by the name of Alex, and the dude is hilarious. Being smushed between two Alex’s, I’d like to say that I’m the nice, wholesome filling that provides the flavor in our flat.

The first week of class was extremely laid-back, and my classes seem at the very least interesting and easy. Currently, I’ve enrolled in: Tourism Management & Marketing, Risk Management, Business Games, Business Intelligence, and Services Marketing. Risk Management, Business Games, and Business Intelligence are the most interesting to me, as they are the most applicable to my professional career. Otherwise, Corvinus has several beautiful buildings next to the Danube that’s worth checking out. I’m also taking these courses with the friends I’ve made here, so I can always count on them to act as my alarm clock when needed.

Well, that’s that! I have to go get ready for Ciprien’s Moustache Party. Where’s my sharpie…

The Most Insane 2 Weeks

I can’t even capture (or remember) all the things I’ve done so far in Budapest. To start, I’ve been living in the Marco Polo Hostel for way too long, almost hitting two weeks. My flatmates and I struggled with about every obstacle possible in searching for a flat, but in the end we’ve settled on an amazing 2-story apartment that we are tentatively dubbing “The Penthouse Palace.” I’ll post pictures of it later.

This is nothing new, but I completely underestimated the amount of drinking that occurs in this country (or continent for that matter). I’ve consumed high levels of alcohol 10/12 of the nights I’ve been here, including going to ruin pubs, hostel parties, dance clubs, and the like. Though my liver tells me to stray away from another night of complete alcoholic slaughtering, I’ve met so many great people so far from countries around the world, including: German, French, Brazilian, Dutch, Russian, Austrian, Italian, Croatian, Greek, Polish, English, Singaporean, and Japanese.

Gyming has been a bit difficult for me, but I found a small basement gym called “Astoria Fitness” right next to my hostel. I’ve been 5 times, some with other people, and it’s been helping me keep off too much fat. But otherwise, I plan on looking into a gym later today once I move into my flat. Gotta start pumpin’ iron again!

Even though I’ve only been in Budapest for 2 weeks, it feels like months. I can’t fathom what living here for 5 months is going to be like. Once I get more time, I’ll post pictures and videos of Budapest!Image

The Lady on the Plane

It was quite nerve wracking. I’d never been to Europe before, and I’m spending almost half a year in a country that neither the language nor the geography did I understand. Each minute that passed had made me doubt my decision, and I asked myself whether or not I made the right choice with going abroad. But it was way too late for that, and I knew somewhere inside all this anxiety there was excitement. I just had to find it.

As my parents wished me off, I boarded the plane and waited no longer than 30 minutes before it sailed towards the Atlantic. Here is where I sat next to a lady with a wonderfully colorful red shirt with black diamond patterns. She had a very motherly disposition with a kind face and warm smile. We engaged in a light conversation, exchanging our destination plans and living locations in Georgia. Her name was Sherry, and she made her residence near the Blue Ridge Mountains, almost 90 minutes north of where I live.

Sherry and I began to talk about richer topics, whether it was the importance of experience, or the ability to take care of your loved ones. Two hours into the conversation, it reached a critical point. As I was explaining to her my obligation and responsibility to my parents, she told me that her son passed away 4 years ago. Although I do not know the cause, she began telling me the story of her son. He was not only a bright student, but he also had a dream much larger than his own life. During his adult years, he moved to San Francisco where he worked to provide bare necessities for the less privileged and homeless, taught classes for disabled children, and opened his own soup kitchen. I was a little embarrassed, but my eyes started swelling with tears.

Sherry told me that she forwent her only opportunity to visit him right before he passed because of certain obligations at home. In a way, her mind out-reasoned her heart, and she was unable to see him before the unbearable happened. She told me to always listen to my heart, no matter what. The mind may try to convince you otherwise, but the heart speaks so much more that logic simply cannot explain.

That is what Sherry taught me today. We rely too much on the mind, with logic and reason dominating our decisions, even though our hearts tell us to do something else. To forget the intrinsic power of the heart is to abandon our “6th sense”- our ability to make decisions because something much more powerful inside us is speaking. All we have to do is listen.

As we arrived in Germany, we exchanged business cards and phone numbers. Though I don’t expect to see her again, I am thankful that she shared her wisdom with me. I hope to write her soon, so that I can thank her for the kind, thoughtful, and deep words. What an amazing introduction to my trip.