My orientation here is going well.  I'm meeting a lot of interesting people, learning a lot about Hungary, and even learning a little Hungarian.  Even though I'm getting pretty sick of my temporary hostel life, I am enjoying Budapest.

One of the main themes that I've been learning about is the Hungarian outlook on life.  Supposedly, they are very pessimistic and generally depressed about life (which seems to be supported by the extraordinarily high suicide rate).  I am told they never encourage children in school, they only criticize them for mistakes.  In my opinion, that is one way to make kids grow up without ever being happy.

Even the beauty of the city has a depressing outlook.  Remnants of communism are everywhere, and just about everything seems run down.  In a way, it seems to make everything more beautiful.  Rather than taking everything at face value, it requires you to imagine how it would look if history had been more kind to this city.

The people fit right in with the rest of the city.  The men look rough, the women are gorgeous, there are dogs everywhere, and everyone looks like their grandmother just died.  They smile so rarely, that they look like the happiest people in the world when they do.

I have one more day of orientation and I will be picked up by someone from my school on Saturday morning and taken to Békéscsaba.  I'm pretty sick right now, so I'm hoping to feel better before I have to go about my big move and start my new profession.  An interesting side note is that it is Hungarian law to get a note from a doctor in order to call in sick from work (the Hungarian who told me this said it's left over from communism when the state "didn't trust anyone and believed everone was criminals").

Now for dinner, I'm going to hunt down my first Gulyásleves of the trip.