As much as I love Texas, there are many things that I will miss from my time studying abroad in Europe.
- The breakfast
In Texas, a good, hearty breakfast may consist of crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, and pancakes if you’re feeling lucky. But in my opinion, the Brits take breakfast to a whole other level. For around 5 Pounds ($6.50), they’ll give you 2 or 3 rashers (slices) of bacon, a sausage link, a fried egg or two, baked beans, mushrooms, a grilled tomato, either hash browns or chips (french fries), and toast. The bacon in the UK is nothing like American bacon; instead of being a cut from the pork belly, it’s cut from part of the loin as well. This makes the bacon slices thicker and gives it so much more flavor – but the bacon is not usually cooked crispy (or burnt black as my sister likes it). The full English Breakfast will be sorely missed.
- Cheap Food
While on the topic of food, my travels in Budapest have surprised me with how cheap food can be. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that Hungary was ruled by the USSR for several decades. Here are some examples of cheap food I’ve had while in Budapest. At Via Luna, a Mediterranean style restaurant near my work, you can get a 3 course meal – including a soup, a main dish, and a dessert, for 1400 Forint which is a little over $5. Anything like this in the states would cost $10 – 15. And it’s not buffet style food either; we’re talking about freshly prepared dishes. A family-owned pizza place nearby has large pizzas for $4-5 which is 1/3 of the cost of a good pizza in Texas. If you like bread, then you will love Budapest. You can buy enough bread to feed yourself for a long time for just a dollar (I don’t necessarily recommend only eating bread). At the markets I’ve been to, you can buy a fresh loaf of bread for 15-20 cents – and I’m talking about Sunbeam or King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls quality bread, not that Mrs. Baird’s cardboard.
- The Sights
Although Texas has beautiful sunsets and scenery out in the country, pre-19th
century architecture is lacking. While in Europe, I’ve been able to see buildings that were around at the turn of the second millennium. I’ve seen castles and palaces built for Kings and Queens, parliaments built for governing bodies, as well as a house used by the fascists and communists to imprison and sign death warrants for thousands of innocent people. I’ve visited several churches in both the UK and in Budapest – from Saint Steven’s Basilica to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. These churches have some of the most beautiful architecture I’ve ever seen. Many of the churches walls were covered in stained glass depictions of the life of Christ, from birth to resurrection – each unique in their own ways.
- The Weather
While I was in Wales, the temperature was usually 55-75 F – of course there were heat waves, which would be miserable, but overall it was very pleasant. While I’ve been in Budapest it’s been in the high 80s to mid-90s. This weather is alright when walking around, especially if there’s shade. You may say something about how it was 114 degrees in Waco a couple of weeks ago and how it’s miserable. While the weather is cooler here, there is basically no air conditioning in Europe – so being inside is incredibly uncomfortable without a fan blowing in your face (which I thankfully planned for). It was still nice to not be melting from being outside for a few minutes, like I would in Texas.
I do miss a lot about Texas – friends, family, Chick-Fil-A, Whataburger, and Dr. Pepper just to name a few - but there will are a few things that I will miss from my time in Europe. I like to think of them as excuses to return one day.
Joseph is a second-year Masters student at the Bush School of Government and Public Service