“Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations.”

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Curd Snacks, Soul Calibur, and a Wistful Heart

Well, as you can see I've been doing a great job of periodically updating this blog! (heheheh....) Quite a lot has happened since my last update. I ended the past semester with straight A's in my classes, the ERASMUS students have all returned to their respective countries (with the exception of the few who decided to stay for a whole year) only to be replaced by a new crowd, and I've had a plethora of new adventures and many reassessments of my previous plans. First of all, it turns out I'm not going to Greece. Instead I've applied for a bilateral agreement program to Saint Petersborg State University, and I should find out by the end of this month whether or not I'm accepted. I wrote my second choice as Tomsk State University and then for third and fourth I wrote two universities in Ukraine. Hopefully all goes well in regards to that.

Suvalgyk Mane!!!
Last month I also managed to visit Vilnius for the second time. While there I met with a friend and we walked all over the city, watched all of the Harry Potter movies in one sitting on Lithuania's Independence Day, had a brutal snowball (more like 'iceball') fight in the woods, and I ended up discovering the most amazing snack in existence on planet Earth. That snack is no other than "varškės sūrelis", something that doesn't seem to exist outside of Eastern Europe (more accurately outside of the Baltic States, although, I have been able to find some in Poland in the really big, remote grocery stores). It's a type of cheese dessert made from curds, usually covered in chocolate and flavored, sometimes with a special filling. They are AMAZING. You can think of it as very soft ice cream that doesn't melt. I ended up buying around 30 packs and hoarding them back to Poland (and possibly eating a third of them on the bus, woops).

With my return from Lithuania began the new semester, and after my nightmares of the art history classes, I've made sure to stay as far away from such topics as possible. Instead, I'm taking several classes on EU policies and politics as well as a class on globalization's impact on youth psychology and a class about food in cultures, the latter being a bit of a disappointment as there's no real eating involved in the curriculum (haha). I've gotten a new flatmate from Romania who's quite the extravert, and for a couple weeks I had a new roommate from Turkey before he moved out to live with his friend. I've also met tons of new exchange students in my classes from all over; Greece, Korea, Australia, Germany, etc. Ironically I also met a student from Lithuania and we lamented together over the lack of varškės sūrelis in Poland (and, for that matter, the rest of the world).

My Ukrainian friend, who's quite the nerd and intellectual himself, had recently obsessed over emulators. It all started with my reminiscing of playing the Sega Dreamcast and Gamecube as a child. After hearing this, he soon downloaded a Dreamcast emulator on his computer and we spent hours and hours playing Soul Calibur one Saturday night together with my flatmates. I got so into the game that I actually had lost my voice the following morning. From there he got Soul Calibur II for Gamecube and yet again we played endless hours together. My best character was Sophitia, a Greek warrior-girl wielding a blue shield and sword, and with her I was able to nettle my flatmates and friends to no end executing amazing combos. After a while, however, we grew tired of the game and haven't touched it in about a week now.

I think it started around the talk about the Dreamcast that I really started to develop a feeling of yearning. My parents recently moved out of the house I had lived in for most of my teenage years and as a child, although my room had already been 'remodeled' into a cross between an animal room and storage by the time I moved to Poland for college. From this stemmed a yearning for home, my childhood, and the faded memories I had once lived. And with this yearning came a strange craving for musics I had heard when I was a child, most of them in English (I've rarely listened to music in English over the years due to my obsession with learning and discovering foreign languages). I rediscovered bands from my dark ages in middle school such as My Chemical Romance and AFI, other bands that my dad had on his iPod when I was little (Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Queen, Kansas, etc.) and simply miscellaneous songs I used to like before I had discovered Korean and Japanese music for the first time all those years ago. I even began watching films in English starting with Big Fish, then Studio Ghibli films, and eventually watching films such as Frankenstein (1931) and It's a Wonderful Life (1946). There's one thing I've been constantly reminded of from this and collectively over the past few years, and it's that English itself has an endless amount of amazing culture to offer that I shouldn't neglect; English is just as valid of a language as any foreign language out there.