A Glimpse Into the Future and the Past

This morning, I went on a tour of my school.  My contact lady came to my apartment and brought me to the school.  She only had time to give me a quick tour because everyone is very busy since school starts in two days.  The school was very nice, and she said it has been recently remodeled.  I was introduced to many other people who work at the school, but could really only talk to a few because most didn't speak English.  The coolest part of the school (so far) is a huge painting of some ancient battle that was hanging in the entryway (it is a circular room that is open for three or four floors).

After my tour (and a few minor repairs to my apartment by the caretaker) I went out to explore some more.  I bought a sandwich for lunch, and I ate it while doing some people watching on Andrassy Utca (the main pedestrian street).  Next, I wandered all around and found some cool stuff.  I found a large market that was pretty empty today, but I bet it's pretty crowded on weekends.

Also, I found the train station.  There's a building that could cause some culture shock.  It was pretty crappy and had a remote, rundown, desolate feeling that doesn't seem to exist in the rest of the town.  It's a good thing I don't want to leave yet, because I don't think I could if I wanted to.  I saw what may or may not be a ticket window, eventually found a timetable poster, and never did figure out which platform was which.  I have to say though, it was pretty cool to see a timetable that lists final destinations like Transylvania.

One of the most interesting parts of my day was this monument that I saw:



I briefly saw it when I walked by and laughed because it looks like a guillotine cutting into a rock.  However, I took a closer look later on and realized it's much more complex than just a bit of art.  The blade says "Trianon" which, for those with less than perfect memories of historical subjects, was the treaty Hungary was forced to sign after being caught on the losing side after World War I.  Hungary lost about 2/3 of their territory from this treaty, and these areas are still part of other countries.  The rock in this monument is actually a map, with the guillotine splitting off some of the major areas lost.  On the steps in front of it are rocks carved into candle holders with names on them (I assume they are the names of towns or regions that were lost).  I noticed there were ribbons in the color of the Hungarian flag wrapped around parts of the statue. 

This is very interesting, because right now Békéscsaba is about 10 miles from the Romanian border.  Pre-WWI Hungarian borders would be much farther away.  This is the second reference I've heard about the Hungarians being bitter about losing their terrritory.  My contact person and school director were talking about it on the day I met them.  I'm very curious to see how many more glimpses I can get into how the Hungarians feel about this topic.