So I haven't written on my "present" blog since being in California, which feels like forever ago. So much has happened between now and then. For brevities sake, I continued through California, saw friends in Arizona and New Mexico, then spent three weeks with my dad in Texas (but also during that time I drove up to Kansas to watch the eclipse, though it was a bit overcast). I then flew to New Jersey and saw my two favorite bands (The Bouncing Souls & Lucero) perform on one stage! It was an amazing summer needless to say, filled with friends, family, national parks, music, and booze!
It was then time to take the big trip east! I flew from Newark to Lisbon, Lisbon to Budapest. Thankfully, for a small fee, I was able to upgrade to first class on the last leg of my flight, which was pretty cool. I had already arranged a car to pick me up, and it was waiting for me as I exited bagging. As we pulled up to my apartment, we were stopped a block short, as they were shooting a motorcycle scene for a upcoming spy thriller (my guess is The Red Sparrow with Jennifer Lawrence). My landlord, was thankfully waiting in the doorway, and then showed me around the neighborhood, also taking me to different ATM's to get the rent, since my card wasn’t working right away. My colleague and office mate, Yoav, saw I had arrived and invited me over for a small get-together. By the time the day was over, I was exhausted. The next day, I found my office and began to settle in, which my office is one of the only ones at CEU that overlooks the Danube River and the Buda Palace!
Before I could get too settled in though, I was whisked off to Barcelona for the European International Studies Association, to give a presentation. For all my academic friends who may be reading this, know that this is one of my all-time favorite conferences to attend. Not only is it held in beautiful places (last time I went it was in Sicily, Italy), but most of the panels are critical and interesting. As on of my committee members Jairus Grove first explained it to me, "it's all the cool theory kids from around the world, who usually go to ISA, and without all the boring normative stuff." And sure enough that is what it was, both times. This time I was able to make a lot more connections and made a lot of friends who I will hopefully work with in the near future on different projects around militarism! The panels were great, the people were fantastic, and the food was amazing. I feel a little bad that I missed the last day, since me and some new found friends/colleagues were out till 7 am having fun! But that's the price for fun I guess.
I returned to Budapest reinvigorated to write. So far I have submitted one article for publication, another intervention series article, and a book proposal. I have also transitioned multiple chapters from dissertation format, to read more like a book should. Needless to say I have been a bit occupied. Though I have been trying to have fun as I have been exploring the city. The beginning of this past week my buddy Nic from SteakOut and his partner Kelsie, visited and we did a bunch of touristy things! Other than that I have been spending a lot of time playing my phone games, finding new places to eat, and arguing with folks on Facebook (mostly over the NFL players who have been kneeling in protest of the injustices folks of color face in this country and as of late gun control, which I will likely write about soon).
There is a lot of things you learn about yourself when moving to a new country all by yourself. First and foremost is how much you rely on your community and how much you miss it once you don’t have it anymore. So much we all take for granted. But sometimes we need to go somewhere else for inspiration, or to be remotivated. Or how much you miss the little things, like good tacos, and being able to clearly express your thoughts to a complete stranger knowing they speak the same language as you (likely). I have found the bureaucracy sucks just as bad in other countries as it does in the US (sometimes worse since I do not speak the language, though sometimes that makes it better, ha). I also realized that while I'm a decent cook, if my life depended on it, I could not make you an omelet (for some reason, there is something about folding the egg in half that always gets me). It gets lonely at times and it is those times I regret my decision, but then there are those moments when I am walking down the street gazing at beautiful old buildings or sitting in a café listening to all the different languages, that I am happy and thankful to be living in a different country & culture. That this is an amazing adventure, there is no doubt, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything (ok, that's not true, but there's not much I would trade it for).
I really hope to start exploring more of Europe in the coming months! I'd like to get a few more countries off my list (currently sitting at 30). So we will see what adventures are on the horizon. That is my update for now. Hopefully more folks come to visit me soon, and I can show you some of the beauty Budapest has to offer! :)