Where I learned to be social… It was really the time of my life.
~See Lemons Backpack
Random Observation/Comment #211: Jake, James, and I would make the hottest person imaginable if only our powers were combined. Separately, we do a very good job attacking and defending our different fronts. I usually get the intellectuals and Asian girls. James goes for the tall blonde girls that like eccentric guys with white t-shirts and tattoos. And Jake gets the cute girls that just so happen to enjoy his creepy look and fun sense of humor. I deem this a quality observation.
There were plenty of memories from this trip, but I rather not explain all of them in detail on this blog. So instead, I’ll just write some vague moments that sound very interesting, but have a great story that goes with them. I could have probably posted these as separate status updates. Half of these will be for Natasha because making someone smile is fun.
Remember the time when… more »
Random Observation/Comment #208: As the trip winds down, I feel this nervousness that I can only describe as the feeling I get right before I wake from a lucid dream. I try to concentrate on my hands and relish the dream state, but I know it’s slipping. It’s like the universe realizes I’m close to finding the meaning of life, so it just resets itself and brings me back to square one. Why not a few more days? A few more hours? I guess I’d always want more from this dream. At least it’s a dream I will always remember. I’ll probably think of it whenever I yawn and forget to cover my mouth.
I dedicate this entry to the typical questions that I will definitely be asked by my friends. Since no one reads this, I will have to say this again anyway. Of course, I would love to relive these moments and share the stories in person rather, so please feel free to ask. Plus, I tend to answer these types of questions based on the person I’m talking with. If I think you’re the type of person that wants to hear about locations for your next personal travel, I’d try to talk more about my opinions of the major cities. If you’re the type of person that’s into food, I’d describe the specialty meals and different cuisines around Europe. If you love partying and alcohol (and who doesn’t), I’d talk about some crazy nights/mornings I had. And if you’re Jake, James, or Justin, who want to hear about “slamming European bitches,” I’ll try my best to go into as much detail as possible.
Random Observation/Comment #207: Christian is a gentleman and a scholar – or in more colloquial terms – he’s freakin’ awesome. Not only did he act as a tour guide and “couchsurfing-type” host for a week, but he also reminded me of something very important: a summer is not a summer vacation without friends. Yes, I’ve met quite a few random people during my travels of whom I refer to as friends, but it’s not the same. My stay in Denia made me miss my best friends back home and cringe at the fact that I missed another summer that I could have spent growing closer with them. Seeing Christian and his friends reunited in random clubs and local drinking areas was inspiring and it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling of community. As with all observations, I compare it with my life. I’ve realized that I’ve been doing the opposite of what I’ve always wanted – to hopefully be missed and to feel at home somewhere. Of course, this process of growing my contacts around the world is quite important and I really needed this experience to clearly discern my feelings about the matter. This phase of adventures in Europe has been envied by most, but I think they fail to realize the fun within their own country provided by the close friends that make life worth living. It’s not always the history, club scene, night life, or number of museums in your neighborhood – it’s about the interesting people you already know and have the potential to meet. These 6 months of networking have been exhausting, but I’ve developed many new ideas and improved communication skills. If not just to open my eyes to an outside perspective of the US, it has been worth every penny. This is the worldly knowledge that pushes me closer to maturity.
Christian’s countless acts of kindness made me grateful beyond belief. Although we only shared one class at Cooper during my master’s course, we met up in the middle of Spain for a full week. He picked me up from the station by car and welcomed me into his summer house in Denia and apartment in Valencia. The large family of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews (some applying multiple times) created a lively, warm, and fun-loving house. During the night (or what locals here consider the beginning of the night at 2AM) I was deemed “el Chico Americano” by his friends and spoken to by those who wanted to practice their English (or those drunk enough to tolerate my broken Spanish). The club scenes were legendary to every extent of the word. The club Hacienda was actually a favorite of his brothers’ and parents’ since 40 years ago. Generations of party-ers grew up here jumping walls and stealing shrimps from crazy restaurant owners – I, of course, did my samples of the tradition.
Random Observation/Comment #206: There’s always a level of sadness during transitions. I’ve found that I’m always looking for excitement, yet I deep down yearn for a conservative state of equilibrium. No matter how much I reject these routines, I desperately cling on to creating a new familiarity. When you’ve grown accustom to the freedom and the friendly faces, it’s hard to let go and move to that next phase. It’s hard to say good-bye – and not to Germany or the lifestyle of vacations, but of newly found friends. I could come back to Hamburg, but it would definitely not be the same without the people that has made this trip incredible.
As I mentioned in the beginning of my writings about Hamburg, I had created an interesting group of friends from different countries throughout this 5 month study. Their openness to mingle allowed the single Chinese American loner to tag along and par-take on their adventures. From birthday parties to ICE nights, we lived the life that all college students would envy. We made excuses for our stupidity and, honestly, would do it again in a heartbeat. I think I speak for all of us when I say that this trip has been an eye-opener in so many ways.
Random Observation/Comment #205: The less I post; the more fun I’m having. Without this me-time, I do feel a little bit claustrophobic, but at the same time, I’m usually spending it with people for a good reason. It’s not exactly what you can call “efficient,” but I feel these small social breaks are mandatory for an enjoyable lifestyle. I sound like a damn Vulcan. The last two weeks have been filled with non-stop fun in Belgium with new friends, Schliersee with nature, and the rest with Natasha. It isn’t until this 22-hour train ride from Hamburg to San Sebastian that I have time to relive the happiness. Pictures and words will not do it justice. I am grateful for those last weeks of memories with good bye parties, but saddened by the last sight of each of my acquaintances. It seems surreal that we said good-bye, but I’m happy we can now call ourselves facebook friends.
This large dorm-style openness and friendliness was what I missed in my university years. I remember a few shenanigans from the Cooper dorms, but nothing compared to dinner parties thrice a week and bonding moments over a few stories and shots of exotic spirits on a regular basis. Memories of this experience (as a whole) will stay with me forever, and I hope the personality quirks each person represents can be found again in my next adventure.
Random Observation/Comment #204: This soul searching business is wearing me out. I’ve written and thought so much about each subject methodically, yet I can’t make a solid decision. Every damn methodical and calculated approach has been used, but I don’t feel like I’ve gotten anywhere (Where you goin’? – Nowhere). If I really had a passion for this thing (whatever this thing is), shouldn’t the answer be obvious? Maybe I just want to always continue soul-searching as an excuse to travel and prolong my final decision. Can I have a career in soul searching?
I’ve come to the conclusion that my twisted version of productivity and efficiency sets an invisible bar for my happiness. It has only happened recently, but I feel like the energy has been sucked from the marrow of my bones and all my muscles just mush with no will to do what I know I must.
Random Observation/Comment #203: I seem to make more interesting observations and comments in my twitter feed. They are definitely more succinct and directly relate to my everyday life. I’m tempted to remove this section, but I really like how I’m keeping track of the posts with the comment numbers.
Ever since I’ve started writing, I’ve been trying to cling on to some type of purpose behind my entries for sanity and time efficiency reasons. After a little more than a year, I’ve found that I have no idea what I’m actually writing about. I’ve veered off topic so many times that it just jumbles between traveling and careers and just randomness. And, even though there are multiple cases where I’ve tried desperately to find some coordination and path, I simply just forgot about the nice structure one arbitrary day and reverted to writing what comes to mind about my current situations.
Random Observation/Comment #202: I consider myself a quiet guy with a lot to say. It requires a bit of prying, but it’s quite easy to get me on some weird topic rant. Since I try to gain a little bit of knowledge in everything, I’m sure it won’t take a long time of searching to find something we have in common or something we can just debate about. With this being said, I guess I play more of a responsive role as a travel partner. I walk around making observations and enjoy the new environment with open senses, but I’ll put in my two cents when the time arises. There’s this side of me that gets lost within the moment and feels the need to be secluded, but another one that wants to talk about what I’m seeing and express those sporadic jokes that run through my head (instead of just taking a picture of it to laugh about it later). I write this entry to answer a question that has been bugging me: Should I fly solo or look for a travel buddy?
Random Observation/Comment #201: Over the past 6 months, I’ve become a travel guru. I wonder if I have to wear any special attire. In boy scouts, the badge I sew on would probably be of a guy wearing a backpack with a hiking stick. In real life, my uniform would probably include sandals and the same badge, but with me also fighting a tiger. I could always use that huge Europe Lonely Planet guidebook as my weapon – that’s pretty much the only use I have for it anyway. FYI, everything in a guidebook can be found online. I think you’re just paying for the binding.
When I first started planning, there were many – well, I guess they can’t be labeled “mistakes,” but I’ll call them “miscalculations.” It was very – what’s the word I used? – Oh yes, Anal. The way I did it before, I basically saw everything there was to see through other people’s blogs and photographs. I used Google Earth, Google Maps, and Street view to actually walk through the major cities to the point where I recognized the exits to the underground stations in London. Everything about the city was mapped out in my mind before even arriving to a detail that made me wonder why I even needed to go. It was definitely a lot of work, but it was quite comforting for me (but mostly my parents) knowing that every step was planned along the way. Since then, I have learned a great deal about traveling and created my own refined methodology. I’ll try to stay on topic this time and write about this travel-planning process with the results for this August.
Random Observation/Comment #199: The past 4 months have passed by unbelievably quickly. It felt like just yesterday we were all drinking our first beers in public, dancing on tables, and finding valid excuses to party every day of the week. I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time getting to know everyone, especially the “Hungarian group” (to which I will dedicate this entry to). I hope we will all stay in touch through tweets, status updates, and random pokes through facebook, email, or any other social network. If anybody (Hungarians and everyone else I’ve met abroad included) visits New York, you will have a personal tour guide and possibly a place to stay. Either way, I hope we will always be international friends. It’s incredibly sad to see this Hamburg University Chapter come to an end, but as with all good memories, it will have a fantastic finish tonight. Let’s make the last party rock the house (dormitory/apartment/whatever). May our paths cross again in the future…
In most of my journal entries, I think about the beginning and then flip through my mental photo album of these moments to find the right words. Each quirky personality comes to mind through the crooked smirks, embarrassed smiles, and uncontrollable laughter memories we shared together. I can’t quite pin-point how I exactly became a fellow-Hungarian, but our relationship grew from just being with each other in our happiest times. Whether it was a relaxing walk through Berlin, a well-cooked dorm goulash dinner, or another alcohol-filled night at the bar downstairs, the time we spent together will always remind me of freedom and friendship.