What would Zoltan do?

I know that I’m not Hungarian and that spending 6 months in a country certainly does not make you part of it, but I still can’t help but feel emotionally attached– even now.

When people belittle or insult it, I become angry and insanely defensive. When they compliment it, I share their praises. When I see things that remind me of it, I can’t help but smile. It was only 6 months, but there are so many memories attached to this one place. Some that are slowly fading, others so permanent that they’ve become part of me. Fond memories to cling to, less spectacular ones that I leave to be forgotten.

The sad reality of things is that I will probably not return to Hungary. Not for a long time, at least.

It’s difficult for me to describe. It’s like, a part of me wants to repay it for my adventures and experiences. Like I owe it some sort of allegiance… allegiance, which I happily and freely give. I know I have no legitimate claim or connection to the country or its people, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling this strong, personal attachment.

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Good Question

The worst part about unemployment is my 4-year-old nephew, Matthew.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the little punk. Since he and his mom have been living here, my pit of despair doesn’t seem quite so boring. Between constructing increasingly complicated train tracks, being defeated by a miniature Iron Man half my size, and learning the strange names of all the characters in Cars, I’d say my schedule is pretty full. And hey, it minimizes that all too familiar familial tension. Apparently even my stepfather realizes it’s a bad idea to fight in front of a 4-year-old.

But even so, I have to repeat it. The worst part about unemployment is Matthew.

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Graduation blew right past me, but this is what I remember.

Friday morning – International Center Graduation Celebration. Free gifts. Free food. It hasn’t hit me yet.

Friday afternoon – Last shift (and what feels like the longest shift) of work ever. I say goodbye Revelle ResLife and realize it is quite likely I will never find a job that permits me to watch as much television as I did. I think I’m starting to feel it.

Friday night – All Campus Graduation Celebration. Fireworks and fine company. It’s hitting me, it’s hitting me. I can’t sleep for most of the night.

Saturday morning – I drive to pick up a gown from my friend in North Park. Yes, I am too cheap to buy my own (and let’s be honest, an ugly recycled graduation gown should not cost anywhere near $60) and too tall to borrow one from anyone else in my apartment. I am scattered and unprepared.

Saturday afternoon – I get it together. Graduation gown aired out and hung up in the closet. Graduation stoles pinned and ready to wear. Graduation cap and Muir College tassel waiting on the table. Totally ready to go–


Bonnie, late. Rush, rush, rush. Lost on the road, frantic directions, finally makes it. Picks me up. Sprinting out the door. Gathering by 4pm? Leave Costa Verde at 3:54. Still time. Traffic, traffic, traffic. Probably late. Realize cap is at home. Stopped dead traffic. Freaking cars. Freaking out. 4:13pm. Definitely late. See Heather. Beg her for a cap. Still need a tassel. 4:24pm. Totally late. Terrified fear of missing graduation. Dropped off. Rush to field to join the line, tassel-less (of course). Hot mess. Truly FML.

But then, Pauline runs slow-motion like some sort of hero from an epic movie, my tassel in hand. Eureka! The day is saved!

I proudly walk across the field in my goofy looking hat and my silly looking graduation costume to the sharp sounds of bagpipes. Everything else really is a blur. I remember it in flashes. Waiting for the lines to move, walking onto the stage, hearing my name called, shaking hands with the Provost, taking pictures, taking more pictures, looking back at the nearly empty field and leaving.

What a fitting way for me to graduate. Of course this would happen to me– all the fear and stress of being late for the ceremony, leaving my cap at home, not having a tassel to turn over to the left side of my hat. And then it all ends well with a series of selfless friends and enormously good luck.

In a way, this embodies my college experience– self-imposed pressure, overreacting stress, major breakdown, barely-made deadlines, and then… calm. Maybe this is the way I work. Maybe this is the only way I know how to be. Either way, it is done. I graduated! It feels like everything else I do– a crazy mess followed by a sigh of relief and a comforting knowledge that everything always works out for the best.

Phew. Congratulations UCSD Class of 2010!

“I tell you, there is much to tear the heart”

Second star to the right!

I am somewhat of a trickster when it comes to learning. I somehow manage to cling to the threads of my oddball childhood by passing them off as a part of higher education. Yesterday in COHI 123: Children & Media, we watched Sesame Street. A few weeks ago, we watched Disney’s Peter Pan, which despite its slight problems of racism, sexism, other-isms, will always be a classic in my book.

Before my stepfather went on a vindictive raid of my childhood memories and decided to sell nearly everything that has shaped who I am today, I had in my possession a massive collection of Disney movies. My sister and I would play and replay those VHS tapes until we had the dialogue memorized or until the cassette just broke from overuse. We popped them out of their sturdy plastic cases and listened patiently to the hum of the VCR as we waited for our movie of choice to rewind. And Peter Pan was always high up on the list.

Years later, I began to read J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, a twinge of skepticism skipping around inside my head. Would it do the movie justice? Would it ruin the idea of Neverland I had imagined for myself, so many years before? W0uld I even like it? And I was older then, so I thought maybe I wouldn’t. But I swear, I loved it from its very first lines.

All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One d ay when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.

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Quarter of hell– PWND.


In the spirit of finals