Sunday, 28 November 2010

Be Yourself

The title sounds like a Nike advertisement or something, but anyway.

It started to snow two nights ago and alas, the cold days are here. It's wonderfully amazing how you can stand outside with everything white on the ground beneath your feet and you look up to a dark sky. Scary even. It feels like doomsday is near. I wonder if everyone else thinks the same. Hubs often looks at me and asks, "What's in that big head of yours now?" because I think too much (and also because I have a big head) and it's entertaining to him because he gets his kicks by guessing what I'm thinking of. He's wrong 90% of the time but he perseveres.

Right now I'm thinking about the sexual harassment that happened a couple of days ago. I was alone, getting something from the market. A teenage girl came to me, offering me her cigarette. I said no twice and then she smiled and planted a wet kiss on my cheek. I said thank you because I'm Malaysian and we're naturally polite. The tram arrived and I hopped on a different compartment once she got in because there was no way I would be stuck with a stranger who enjoyed touching and kissing me, no matter how cute. Just when I thought I was safe, she came looking for me in the crowded tram and said something in Hungarian and kissed me again! She even got off at the same station as I did and tried to follow me but it's a good thing I was wearing black (everyone here seems to wear black) so I lost her in the crowd. When I stopped to think about it, it sort of gave me a weird aftertaste. I was quite not sure whether to laugh or cry but I decided to laugh. It was a pretty interesting experience. I suppose that's another day in Europe.

So okay, you know how books you read can tell what kind of person you are? I used to think that this 2-year opportunity has broadened my horizon like never before and that I've changed. But the truth is, it has always been me. I picked up books by Indian and Chinese authors revealing the small details of reality in their countries and their hardships, I read travel books with a sense of humour injected to them, I found world news exciting, I didn't find typical chick flicks appealing and all this happened even before I had the chance to live abroad.  I know it's a long road ahead and anything can happen, but this is a damn good start.

I remember back when I was younger, most of my peers looked at me differently. It was almost as if I was an alien and I felt like one of those green creatures (assuming aliens are green). I knew I was different in so many ways but they all made me feel like it was a disease. I just couldn't see things the way they did, hence I did things my own way. I refused to conform and it disgusted me how those people just followed the crowd even when they believed something else. I had rough years and at one point, I thought everyone was right and that I was the one who needed to be fixed. But there was one eccentric lecturer in our department who pointed to me that I was indeed different but in a really, really good way. Coming from a jaded man who thought that people in the country were all typical and identical, he showed me how ridiculous it was to be afraid of being myself. I was 21 and yes, it took so many years to be proud to be myself. Such is life.

No man is an island but the location makes a difference so choose the people you surround with carefully. Negative people will only obstruct you. Don't give them the satisfaction!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Magical Egypt

Days are getting shorter and according to the weather forecast, some flurries are on their way so snow is expected by the end of this week. Depressing.

Egypt was an amazing spiritual journey. We encountered many surprises along the way so it wasn't all about the architecture and landscape. The cultural and political aspects were equally an enriching experience. We will definitely come back and next time, it will be the Niles River cruise to Aswan. Yup, so specific because we only found out about that magical place when we got there but we didn't have enough time.

...and more photos on Facebook of course.

Oh, I love this new song by Katy Perry aaaand the video was filmed in Budapest!

Monday, 8 November 2010

I Wish

Alright, I'm officially done with GRE after months of revision here and there. It was tough and my score is good enough but I wish I did better. Never mind, let's move on.

So last week the whole class went on a field trip to a place called Baja, situated in the south of Hungary. We were there to experiment some river measurements. I won't bore you with details but this is why I study water engineering. I love working with nature (and sometimes people) and I want to be able to show a photo like this...

...and say "This is my office". The best part was to ride a speedboat into a forest where we were introduced to a very unique forestman and his family.

We had some local cuisine which was extremely good and interesting (he can catch fish by using his bare hands!). I especially loved the homemade cherry & cranberry syrup. Later in the pitch black, we were driven back on the same speedboat to the mainland by one of the forestman's children who didn't look a day over five years old! Of course, not before I had to pee outside the house in the dark at the risk of encountering some nasty forest animals. The fact that we saw two snakes by a river a few hours before did not help me at all. It was the longest 30 seconds and I even had to wear a head torch light with a friend waiting for me nearby. At any rate, it was a really good day and I don't mind repeating it again.

It's Monday today. We're leaving for Egypt this Thursday. I can't wait to see the pyramids and sphinxes! So far I've only read about them and a few months ago I saw a very amazing documentary on an architect's obsession with the pyramids' design. He discovered a theory on how they were built without even going to Egypt and when he finally did visit Egypt, he tested his theory with the help of some other people and they found a secret tunnel! I don't plan to excavate any tunnel in Egypt but I'm so excited that I get to see the majestic structures standing right in front of me and that I can actually touch them.

I wish someday soon I'll get the perfect job that enables me to travel around the world and in that way, I'll never actually work a day in my life.