Thursday, February 2, 2017

Monthly Rewind: January

3 Things About My Life This Month

1. My first week in Budapest was really, REALLY tough. It seems like such a first-world problem to be traveling to a foreign country and have difficulty fitting in, but that's exactly what happened! I was so stressed before leaving for France last semester but this semester I thought I had everything figured out! I had done this whole study abroad thing once, with all the highs and lows, so surely nothing could surprise me now? Well, I was wrong. Very, very wrong. My first week in Budapest felt so lonely and my emotions were all over the place and it's only thanks to my family and friends that I finally feel settled in and now, I actually love it here! Just two weeks can make such a huge difference so if you know anyone having a tough time abroad, I'd say just give it time. I had a lot of high expectations for myself and didn't give myself the time I needed to adjust but everyday just gets better and better.

2. I am finally cooking for the first time in my life! I live in an apartment in Budapest and while eating out isn't expensive, it's a lot more expensive than cooking, which is why my mom gave me a crash course on Indian cooking while I was home for break and now I've been cooking every week! I didn't think I'd like cooking, but I am discovering this whole new side to myself that I never even knew existed! I like cooking! I like grocery shopping! Stirring a pot in the kitchen is relaxing, not boring! I feel like a full-fledged real adult (which I know, is not actually true) and it's both terrifying and very, very exciting.

3. America's 45th President is every bit as terrifying as I thought he would be. I yearned to be among protestors during the Women's March, the day after Trump's inauguration, but I was so uplifted to see the massive support that existed; the resistance. But that high has plummetted with Trump's actions this last week of January. The Travel Ban is not okay. It is not who we are as a nation and my heart goes out to the refugees and Muslims who should be able to find a home in the United States and cannot. I myself am a first-generation immigration and I am lucky enough to hold an American citizenship and know that despite the color of my skin, I can (and hopefully will!) be allowed back into my country. But the fact that so many others must pay the price for being born with skin that isn't white or into a religion that isn't Christianity is absolutely disgusting. I am shocked and distressed by Trump's actions, but I take hope from the lawyers who are working tirelessly, the protestors who haven't given up, and the courts who are calling out the unjustness of this new administration's actions.

Top 3 Books I Read This Month

I actually had a really tough reading month. I read a lot of books by beloved authors that somehow didn't make the cut or impress me, but I am still thrilled to have found three books that took me by surprise and put a smile on my face. 
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A Gentleman's Guide... isn't out for awhile (check out my pre-review here) but you should all pre-order this fantastic, LGBTQIAP+ YA historical fiction. It does such a good job of addressing issues like privilege, women's rights, race relations, and LGBTQIAP+ problems in an accessible manner and this book is also just so, so hilarious and an absolute adventure to book. You can't go wrong with it. My review of The Dark Days Pact got a lot of attention this month but if you haven't read this series by Goodman, you need to rectify that now. It's by far one of my favorite books of the year already. And Pretty Face by Lucy Parker is such a gem. I adore this author to pieces and her latest book did not disappoint in the least. 

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Obsession of the Month

Um..BUDAPEST! After all the traveling I did last semester, I wasn't sure if Budapest would be a big enough city to entrap me all semester. But, guys, I love this city! The nightlife is amazing, the people are so nice, Hungarian food is delicious, and the program I'm in is wonderful! I've been studying Hungarian for the past two weeks and though the language is tough and something I am not obsessed with, the people I've met are definitely friendship material! So, yes, I am obsessed with Budapest! This city is gorgeous, the history is so incredible, and I cannot wait to discover even more of it in the next few months!

3 Things I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

1. I am going to Prague! This first weekend of February is going to be spent in Prague along with three other friends and I am so immensely excited! I've wanted to go to Prague for a long time, but it's a trip I've been saving for this semester because of its close proximity to Budapest. I cannot wait to experience this city in all its winter glory--stay tuned on Instagram for updates and photos! :)
2. My math courses are FINALLY about to begin! For those of you who don't know, the program I am part of this semester specializes in mathematics courses for undergraduates. A lot of these classes aren't even offered every semester at my school so I am really excited to have the opportunity to study them here, in Budapest! Plus, after two weeks of intensive Hungarian, I am ready to finally be working on some math!!!

3. Birthdays, Galentine's Day, Friends, Relatives, and More! One of my close friends here in Budapest is celebrating her birthday this month, so I am really excited to plan a wild night as she turns 21! We're also planning an epic Galentine's Day and many of my friends have relatives coming to visit them at the end of the month who I'm really looking forward to meeting! When you know someone for just a few weeks, getting to meet their close family and friends is such an eye-opening experience and I'm really looking forward to becoming closer with the friends I've made and continue to expand my friend circle here, in Budapest. Plus, just because I don't have any other travel plans lined up now doesn't mean that I won't have some coming up... ;)

How was your January? Is your 2017 off to an amazing start? Any good book recommendations? I'm struggling to find some cozy winter reads for when my classes get intense and all I want to do is escape into a book. Any travel plans or recommendations for Central/Eastern Europe? I am always looking for more places to go and advice on what to do while there! Have any of you been to Budapest? Are you as in love with this city as I am? I want to know in the comments below!!


  1. Sorry to hear it wasn’t an outright adjustment in Budapest, and happy to hear that you I finally feel settled in. It’s wonderful that you enjoy cooking! I need to check A Gentleman's Guide further. I think I’ve seen this cover before, but I don’t recollect what this book is about. I loved Act like it and looking forward to read Pretty Face. Looking forward to your discoveries in Eastern Europe. I hope to see updates from your trip to Prague. It sounds like February is going to be another month filled with traveling, studies and events. Good luck with everything!

  2. Awwww, Keertana, I'm sorry to hear that your start at Budapest was rough! Wishing you the best this semester. <3 Glad you're getting some "adulting" experience - cooking is harder than people might think!

    I just double-checked real quick to make sure I commented on both of those posts - phew! I loved The Dark Days Pact. Book three needs to be here right now. o_o

    Have a wonderful February, lady! =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  3. Glad you've finally settled in! I had to learn to cook when I was younger (like 15 so not that young) but now I'm the only person who cooks and I have 3 hungry men to feed not just myself lol. i'm glad you've been enjoying it! There's something to be said about taking the time and cooking for one's self I think.

  4. I never cooked, but then like one year or so into uni I started. Before that I lived on noodles ;) And I found it so fun

  5. I'm glad you've adjusted well despite a rough start. I know it's terrifying to be in a foreign country but you're a strong, intelligent woman so I know you'll make it anywhere.

    As for the Cheeto-in-Chief, yeah... well, the good thing about his election is that it mobilized a lot of people against him - and I'm one of them.

  6. I'm glad that things are getting better and you are starting to really love Budapest. That's awesome you're loving to cook too. I started cooking a bit more this week because I'm trying to eat healthier, but still nothing fancy. It's a work in process! hah

    Have fun in Prague this weekend. It seems like you'll have a nice February.

    Everything happening in the U.S. is just terrifying and sad to be honest. Our country is turning into something he never wanted to be and I don't understand how people can defend the actions of the president.

    to end on a lighter note, I'm glad you loved The Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue. I SO want to read it.

  7. I never been to Budapest but I would be curious to see

  8. I'm so glad you are now enjoying Budapest! AND you are cooking? Wish I felt the same way. :) Nope, not my thing, but I do enjoy the eating. :D

    As far as what is going on in the US... much of what the GOP has been doing isn't a surprise to most of us who have been yelling about it all along. Now more people have been aware of it and have now begun to be active to stop much of it. Victories have already occurred and a few of the democrats and a smaller group (but still encouraging) republicans are even standing up to what is going on with Lord Dampnut's policies (anagram for his name via Colin Macharie). The resistance has also not waned and even scientists are starting to get more involved in the process and have been considering running for office. Yes, more damage will be done, but it isn't all doom and gloom either. Hold onto that. :)

    Hope you have lots of fun in your studies!!

  9. I really, really want to visit Budapest! It looks beautiful! Sorry to hear you had some time adjusting, Keertana, but happy to hear you've settled in. Cooking! Yay for you! I do a lot of audio book listening while I'm cooking. There's something to be said about eating in and relaxing, especially in the winter when it's so cold to go out at night.

    I visited Prague a couple of years back and loved it! My husband and I went to Prague Castle and the Cathedral there. But I think the highlight was the ballet at the Prague State Opera House. The building is gorgeous and the ballet was a treat! We got dressed up even though not everyone does.

    I got a copy of Pretty Face and I'm so excited to pick it up after loving Act Like It!

    As far as recommended reads, if you haven't picked up Magic Binds from last September, you really must! I've personally been on a Lisa Gardner kick and have re-read a bunch of her books. Just finished The Neighbor which I highly recommend and can be read as a stand-alone.

    Can't wait to hear more updates, Keertana!

  10. Glad you are liking cooking and all it has to offer. I actually really like experimenting and finding new recipes, it can really be a lot of fun.

  11. Ahhhh Keertana, I'm insanely jealous of all the travelling that you're doing. I'm glad that you're finally settling in Budapest, it looks like a beautiful place and I can understand how difficult it can be settling in a new place. I look forward to seeing all your beautiful photos! I started Act Like it this week on audio, although I'm not the biggest fan of the narrator, I am really enjoying it. I can't wait to read Pretty Face which I also got a copy of! I hope you have an amazing February Keertana!

  12. Maybe you'll become an expert cook and will start another blog on cooking :D
    Looking forward to your updates on your trip to Prague too!

  13. Very good article,Thank you
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