Unique Terrain

Again here we are, another week and another update. We are 66% through the program, and the time flew by. Before I know it, I’ll be back home, next to my family and best friends in the suburb I call home. But until that day comes, I will make the most out of what I have left. This week was special, unique, and filled with a country I had never visited. Moreso, a culture I don’t know. Our group went to Budapest, Hungary.

Of course, in my typical sitcom fashion, we started the trip off with a time crunch. After being out all night, Mr. Bullett and I managed to rush to the Citadines, dysfunctional pack, and make it to the airport. Safe to say, we did not pack what we needed, not even close. Soon after that, we made it to the Berlin airport. After painstakingly waiting in the Whiz Airline security, where I got “randomly selected,” we made it to the gate. We made it with around 20 minutes to spare. Safe to say, I almost had a heart attack waiting in the lines thinking we would miss our flight.

After boarding and having a restless short flight, during the landing of our Whiz Air budget flight, the airplane touched and go’ed. Meaning, that while I was half asleep, I felt the airplane touch the runway, then take off again, and I was awake after that event. Then after we landed, we groggily met up with the others and headed towards the city.

Mr. Bullett and I after we landed

After a long 50-minute bus ride that looked like we were traveling in the middle of nowhere, we came to the city center of beautiful Budapest. It was interesting to compare and contrast the two cities. It seemed as though Berlin was more modern, clean, and efficient while Budapest wasn’t as much. However, I felt that there was so much more character in Budapest. The streets were small, cobblestone and bussing. Maybe I was the only one, but I felt like there was more history and culture. Granted, the public transportation wasn’t as good. The streets were not as pristine, and pedestrians didn’t wait for the lights to turn green to cross the road. I felt that there was more magic in the air. I can’t explain it, but it’s a feeling I get when I go to certain places, for example, Egypt. There’s just something in the air I can’t put my finger on. Regardless, after our lunch, we ventured into our Airbnb and decided what we would do for the first few days.

After venturing through the rustic streets, we came to our Airbnb, where we rested for a while. Afterward, we had dinner at a street market where I tried duck for the first time. It was interesting—obviously fattier than chicken and had a richer flavor, and I enjoyed trying it. From there, we went to what is called a Rune bar. It’s essentially ten massive bars congealed into one location. It was enormous and nothing like I’d ever seen before, and I appreciated its differences.

Duck Burger
Rune Bar

Fast forward to the next day, we went to get breakfast and go shopping. Mr. Anton introduced us to Zara, which isn’t in the US but should be. I loved that store. Next, we rested and waited for the highlight of our trip, the bathhouse. Hungary is famous for these bathhouses, giant swimming pools with bars where you can talk. It was interesting for sure. It was something so different, but I liked it. After venturing home, we fell asleep and woke up to a new day.

After going through the next day groggily, we had dinner and tried Hungarian food. I believe it was a stew; I got mine with lamb because I love lamb. Afterward, we returned to the Airbnb and waited for another highlight of our trip, the cruise through the city. I didn’t visit many tourist spots because of my laziness, but it was nice to get some of the city’s highlights, which I’ll put a picture down below. After that night, we returned to Berlin refreshed for the rest of the trip.

Pivoting to the prompt, I think I learned a surprising amount about leadership in Germany, which I wasn’t expecting. I did not lead anybody, but I learned much about it through my leader, Dr. Heidecker. At the beginning of the program, she told me that a team’s values and environment are reflected through the leader. If there is a toxic work environment, it’s due to their leader. She told me her mentor taught her that. It might be a statement so obvious yet profound. The environment she created for me was that of care and productivity. In the future, I will have to remember that whenever I become an academic leader. Ultimately, both the mistakes and benefits are responsible to the leader.

Last, my spiritual journey hasn’t progressed any more than usual. Having spiritual moments in a new environment, but who knows what’s in store?

Picture of the city center