Monday, April 18, 2011

"I'm happy to report that my inner child is still ageless"

Last week, our match play finally ended with a victory as we secured 7th place in the top women's volleyball league in Hungary. After a somewhat challenging first professional playing experience, I was somewhat sad to see the season finish. Living in Bekescsaba for the past 4 months has provided me the opportunity to meet people and experience a culture that otherwise would have gone unnoticed on my world radar: witnessing a pig slaughter, chicken talons floating in my soup, the Hungarian language; among other things.

For those of you who don't stalk my life, cough-you know who you are-cough, my birthday was last Thursday. In the weeks leading up to this blessed event, I am always super giddy and overjoyed with excitement, but once the big day finally approaches I tend to simmer down. I have a super sneaky friend here who, during that week, had many random "jobs" to do around town. Insert here my first ever surprise party. Niki had planned this, probably right in front of my face since I understand very few Hungarian words. I was told that Thursday night, she, Zsoka and I had would hang out at Zsoka's house and talk about the season, maybe speak about plans for next year, but just have a good evening. Of course, I thought nothing of it. As we walked into her apartment, I was greeted by the whole team and a lit birthday cake, as they sang a Hungarian birthday song.

After the initial shock and awe, I was told "boldog születésnapot" by each member on the team before receiving the traditional cheek kisses. Kajla had made a dirt mound cake, similar to our worms and dirt cake that we Americans enjoy as children. We drank, ate, and enjoyed our end of season/surprise birthday party together. Zsoka made me a special sandwich consisting of pig fat spread like butter (of course from the pig slaughter I had witnessed) and onions. Despite how it sounds, it really wasn't all that bad. We went around the circle, asking everyone on the team what they planned to do for next season--information I am not at liberty to divulge--and what was happening in their lives. Unlike the team at UT, the team here doesn't spend every waking moment living together, so our lives are not so intertwined. It was a great evening and definitely a birthday I will never forget thanks to my many Hungarian friends!!

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