Hello from (presumably) somewhere over the Irish Sea! I’m currently on the flight back from my trip to Budapest for the ETSN Youth Platform’s autumn meeting, so here’s a bit of a rundown on how it went.
- We had a talk on the funding and legal matters of the YP
- We tried out a ‘3D Virtual World” which was really more like a video game that had your documents/stuff from the internet/links incorporated into it. That was pretty technically impressive, to be fair.
- The Council decided we need to have one of us be a supervisor for each project so I chose the blog project and have been helping them out.
- We heard about ECHA 2018 in Dublin and discussed what we’ll contribute to it. Mad how much more expensive Dublin is than most European cities.
- We had lots of time set aside for the project leaders to make progress on the projects. Beforehand, they presented to us about their progress so far or lack thereof and what they’d found challenging or needed help with, and after the project work sessions we had a debrief where they talked about what they’d done. So it was definitely the most practical, work-focused, concrete meeting we’ve had so far, which I appreciated.
General Abroading Stuff
I have some things to say to Hungary/Budapest/the hotel.
- Why did you freak out when I said I’m a vegetarian, and give me fish instead, and then be confused about why that wouldn’t work? Why did you then proceed to give me literal slabs of grilled cheese for future meals? Apparently this is a thing lots of continental Europeans eat. Personally I think the bread/other substrate is an important part.
- Budapest, you need more pedestrian traffic lights, for real. Had some very stressful experiences running down entire long streets to find a crossing in the dark/while running late for flight.
- Why did the hotel have a dentist? Or at least a sign for a dentist?
- Please do not change the stops on your bus route when it goes in different directions. I guess I should’ve believed Google Maps when it didn’t give me the same route back as it had on my way in, but oh man why did the airport shuttle bus stop somewhere I connected to on the way from the airport but then not stop there on the way to it? Very confusing, and led to lots of stressed-out getting lost and arriving to the airport only an hour before my flight when I’d meant to arrive 2-3 hours before it.
- I had great fun getting Anna (from Greece), Marco (from Italy) and Robert (from the Czech Republic) to try to pronounce Irish names like Caoimhe, Siobhán and Sadhbh. They concluded that Irish sounds nice but looks awful and is very inefficient with its letters. It really was amazing fun though, like chocolate for my brain.
Things I Learned
- Italian is a beautiful-sounding language, oh my God. I got Marco to read out the first verse of TS Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (which is in Italian) and honestly it was amazing.
- Hotel staff can be super helpful. I’m always really dehydrated in hotels and this year I’m super broke so couldn’t buy tons of water bottles, so I went down to the bar and they filled up my empty bottle for free. Also, they printed my boarding pass for me at the desk.
- If you’re lost in a country with a different language (maybe in general to be honest), go into a hotel and ask a receptionist. They’ll generally be able to speak English.
- Czech people (two of them, at least) don’t know that the backwards peace sign means ‘fuck you’ in Ireland.
- Greek has a letter that literally just looks like a curly bracket.
- If you’re really unhappy about something, speak up! You might succeed and change the thing for the better, or you might fail and get impeached/resign and then at least you don’t have to be associated with and work on a bad thing anymore. Win-win when you kick the fear out. Also, if you’re feeling it, chances are other people are too but also don’t want to speak up. So just be open.
- The Hungarian government is intense and oh boy funding has strings attached.
- Survivorship bias is a hell of a drug.
Personal Development Payoffs
- Having learned in Ireland over time that buses going in different directions generally have their stops on the opposite sides of the same road really helped when I needed to find the bus from the shuttle bus to my hotel without being able to read Hungarian.
- I realised that I’ve actually picked up a lot of knowledge and experience in my five years of blogging and was able to help and advise people with actual good, actionable advice.
- All my public speaking practise has definitely made me more articulate and better at thinking on my feet.
I am very much in Dublin finishing this post ten days later, in case you were concerned that I've been in an airplane for that long. But yeah, there's a quick rundown on the meeting. You can watch a video one of the project leaders made about it here.