How I Beat the “One-Two Combo”

Nostalgia (näˈstaljə) n.: The sentimental state of mind in which wistfully great memories of the past slap you in the face with reminiscence and a heavy longing for their return. Sometimes, it punches you in the stomach too. Believe me, this “one-two combo” is no joke; it’s been hitting me a lot lately. And the more you get hit in the same place, the more it hurts.

Last week, I sat in class rescheduling my final exams for an earlier date. I pulled up my calendar and counted down the days until I left Budapest. That’s when the motherfucker hit me. I was already feeling nostalgic just thinking about returning to the States, but counting down the days did something different. All of a sudden, I realized that my departure was imminent and tangible; there was virtually no chance of me staying in this country (or continent for that matter). And even if I somehow found a way to do so, would it still be the same without the people who helped me construct such a profound framework of memories?

I pictured an hourglass, slowly dribbling grains of sand into the already-brimming bottom bulb. Time was running out, and reality was ready to grab me by the throat and throw me back into corporate America. Nostalgia, you really, really suck sometimes.

But over the past week, I spent some time thinking about how I could beat this feeling, how I could counter Señor Nostalgia and his mighty “jab and cross.” Because, you know, I’m still human and would appreciate the 1-minute break. I re-read my blogs, re-looked at my Budapest pictures, and even re-perused all my emails saved in my “study abroad” folder… And the transition from my first arrival in Budapest to this very day was unreal. The amount of fun, friendships, and personal development in character and worldly knowledge was something I could never exchange for anything else in the world. I started to understand how important this entire experience was for me, and I felt better. A lot better.

You’re right. You’ll never be able to completely relive the memories you have made for yourself and those around you. But what’s important is not that the memories have past, but that they were created in the first place. Nostalgia is a funny thing; you hate it because you want such great times in the past to be recreated, but you love it because the past created something in you. Whether it was your personality, comfort zone, wistful memoirs, appreciation for the world, or stomach, something grew. You are now able to say that you know more about the world around you; that you met amazing people spanning across several continents and countries; that no matter what country, what language, or what culture you come from, we can relate to each other. There is something more intrinsic than just communication when it comes to building strong relationships; a giant web of your personality, actions, and honest effort is what makes or breaks true friendships. This is how I realized the incredible value of my time in Budapest, and how it took the entire experience to gain this much from it.

To be completely honest, I’m still not completely un-nostalgic. I still yearn to go back in time and see Wax Tailor with my friends, travel to Barcelona and rage at Abroadfest, and even go to Szimpla again and have a couple beers with my friends. But I think I beat Señor Nostalgia in the best possible way- to learn as much as possible. Besides, I can’t physically punch a feeling anyway.

I am truly blessed for this experience, and I will treasure each and every moment I have left in this country.

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25 Random Facts About Budapest

After surviving in this Eastern European “Sin City” for the past 2 months, I have come up with 25 random facts about Budapest that a travel guide would definitely refrain from telling you. If you’re ever here with friends, family, or just yourself, feel free to refer to these survival tips.

1. Szia(see ya) means hello and good bye

2. Public transportation is impressively set up, but buses are always late

3. The ruin pubs are infamous for having paintings and pictures of animals having sex. I’m all for equality but this can come off to most as a bit strange

4. Everyone’s name is Lazslo, Gabor, or both

5. Gypies are an actual threat to your wallets, phones, and moneyz

6. Clubbing doesn’t end at 2, it starts at 2

7. Noone eats peanut butter here! Are you fucking kidding me!!

8. Many parts of Budapest’s city center possess a profound architectural juxtaposition between classical buildings and modern advances in the field

9. Tempelfit is for gays

10. Walking in front of a car, bus or tram? No problem, they’ll just run you over

11. Most Hungarians under the age of 40 speak English; otherwise, good luck getting home

12. Or just go to Deák Ferenc Ter; we’re all too familiar with this central meeting point

13. The metro stations are the most delicious-smelling stations I’ve ever been in

14. Apparently, working for Hooters Budapest is a highly regarded occupation… And I can see why 😉

15. Wanna passionately french kiss your lover, spouse or random stranger? No problem, just do it right where you’re standing!

16. Cars typically park one wheel onto the curb… Goodbye suspensions

17. Elevators in the metro stations are long and almost completely vertical… That’s what she said

18. Don’t have a bus pass? No problem, just walk in that shit anyway!

19. Budapest is shaped like half of a bike wheel, with the main streets looking like the spokes

20. For decimals, a comma is used in place of a period

21. It’s common to say “szia/sziasztok” when entering and leaving a locker room

22. Lose electricity, internet, and utilities in your flat? Don’t count on getting it fixed soon since customer service is virtually non-existent

23. Leves has the best soup/sandwich combo I’ve ever encountered. 990Ft will definitely get you enough foods in yo belly

24. The creators of Microsoft Office, ballpoint pen, and Prezi are Hungarian

25. By Lonely Planet 2011 Rankings, a38 is the #1 bar in the world (it’s on a fucking boat!)

Well there you have it, folks. 25 random facts about Budapest comin’ from ya boy Jason. I’m here for another 3 months, so there’ll definitely be more things I uncover about this city. Until then, ciao!

f**king beach party

f**king beach party