In my last post, I wrote how busy my first weeks were here at Trinity. Well, life only got busier since then but I can’t complain. The workload for my classes is enormous, I only study this much at home when I have exams: hundreds of pages to read and at least three papers to write every week. But, since my classes are all so interesting, I even enjoy writing critical discussion papers on 80-pages long Simone de Beauvoir texts. I also got a job on campus, so now I’m working in the Watkinson Library which is the special collections section of Trinity’s library. Working there doesn’t sound interesting if you are not like me and you don’t get excited by the fact that you are holding a book in your hands that was published in 1609 or in 1815 in your favorite place in the whole world, Lisbon.
I’ve also started my classroom placement for my Analyzing Schools course, so every Monday I walk down to ELAMS, the nearby public school and spend three hours with my adorable 4th-graders. They are such a lively group of students and they very much remind me of the children I volunteer with back in Hungary. They are incredibly honest, they are eager to talk about their lives and they are always so excited when I arrive. It’s also so interesting for me to be inside a US public school, trying to understand how the education system works here and trying to compare it to Hungarian system which is so different but also so similar if I think about the huge inequalities.
Recently, in the course of just two weeks I spent one weekend in New York City and another in Boston. It’s really hard to compare the two cities, especially because New York has been on my bucket list for ages and I had such high expectations for it (that the city hasn’t failed to fulfill) but I didn’t even really know anything about Boston before.
It might sound dumb, but my very first impression about New York was just how gigantic that city is. I got off the bus and for a few hours I was in a shock: there were so many people everywhere, everyone was in a hurry and I couldn’t see the top of the buildings. Slowly, I got used to it but two and a half days were only enough to get a glimpse of life in the Big Apple. I spent my time with Kármen and Trixi, the Kellner Scholars studying at BGIA. We had amazing food, we enjoyed the amazing panorama from the Top of the Rockefeller Center, we went to a random festival in Little Italy (it felt so charmingly Southern European, I was so happy), checked out the famous architecture of the Guggenheim Museum and walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve also paid my tributes to John Lennon at the Imagine Memorial in Central Park and annoyed my fellow Friends fans back home with posting pictures of the famous building from the TV Show Friends. As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to check out the world’s most famous soup cans by Andy Warhol in MoMA but I wasn’t lucky: they are currently in Paris in another museum. Anyways, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Matisse’s Dance certainly made up for the lack of them.
All in all, my weekend in New York City was amazing but I’ll definitely have to return to see everything else that I planned because obviously, I couldn’t see half the things I wanted to in such a little time. While New York felt huge and incredibly chaotic, Boston felt so strangely European I could immediately imagine living there. I loved the old downtown area of the city, with all the early US History that is on those streets, the Irish pubs with their amazing IPA, the lobster roll that I finally could try and all the locals enjoying their Friday afternoon near the harbor. To Boston, we went with Juli and stayed at a friend’s place near Boston, in Swampscott, so we got to see some amazing sights near the ocean and colonial houses at Marblehead. We also visited Salem, which was so packed with tourists given that Halloween is approaching, that it was really hard to do anything. Two things are for sure true about our trip to Salem: the strangest thing is when you find Hungarian goulash in a restaurant in a New England town and that the most wasted money of my whole life was the amount I spent on the entrance ticket to the Witch Dungeon Museum.
As great as these two weekends were, coming back to campus felt like coming home, so I guess I finally got used to Trinity. Also, life on campus is never boring either: in the last couple of weeks, I attended my first Shabbat dinner, realized that there is a marmot living near the McCook building, checked out Trinity Restaurant where lovely old ladies serve you food, gave out mason jars to people in the smoothie line with Green Campus Club, officially got addicted to Peter B’s iced latte and we even had our own Octoberfest on the Main Quad with beer, pretzels and bratwurst.
I’ve also decided to go home for Christmas, so anyone reading this at home: be prepared to meet me for a fröccs before I come back for the second semester.