Helllllllooooo, unwilling but compliant constituents of physical law! Ooh, that’s catchy. I think that’s how I’ll refer to my fellow humans from now on. Anyways, It’s been a long time since my last blog. I mean, it’s been a really long time! I’m sorry if you were sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next installment, or if you were just concerned I might have died but weren’t comfortable asking someone. The answer: I am alive, this is me writing. However, it’s more likely you were just contentedly living your life, and then saw the link to my blog, which reminded you that you know me, and that I’m currently in Slovakia and not wherever you thought I might be. Well, glad to have you here.

To start, I think I have to mention I am in the middle of the longest drought of High Tatras activity this whole trip. I have been to the legendary Slovak mountains twice, and the next time I will be reunited with Tatras is not even in sight. Of course, I am the one to blame for this. I had the chance to hike in the tatras this coming weekend, the 17th, but instead I chose a trip to Budapest. I know what you’re thinking. Boy, Bergen, you have a hard life. You don’t get to see the awe inspiring Tatra mountains for the third time, because you’re travelling to the historic city of Budapest, Hungary, that’s brutal… and trust me, I know. I mean, I guess Budapest will be alright, so I have to remember to keep my head held high. It’s hard, though.

Ok, so that was sarcasm, just to make it clear for any European readers who might not have caught the air of tomfoolery. I am absolutely stoked to finally see Budapest. The joke is that I’m far too lucky, being given two fantastic opportunities on the same weekend. The pressure from having to choose between the Tatras and Budapest is a very privileged one, and I don’t forget that. I’m excited to travel outside of Slovakia and see part of Hungary, the nation of my host family’s heritage. It should be a great experience. I’ll be with my host mom and brother, and we’ll be joined by two of our neighbors. Not that those details really interest you, but now you know, and you can’t unknow. No take-backsies.

To be honest, I am lucky in all ways a person can be lucky, and I’m very grateful. I have a great family, caring friends, and I’m presented with countless opportunities I know many people are not fortunate enough to be exposed to. Two such opportunities would be the gap year I’m doing right now and the chance to attend Colorado College next year. If I wasn’t lucky enough to have the family I do, there is no way I would be going to Colorado College, and I probably wouldn’t be living in Slovakia either, being granted the time to relax and write a blog like this. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty to be thankful for at home in Minnesota, but I also want to spend a minute sharing what fortunes I’ve had here in Slovakia.

I’ll be doling out thank yous for my new friends, Nove Zamky, and my wonderful host family. Yes, I’m doling out the thanks. My gratitudes are currently being rationed and I am preparing to hand them out to the parties concerned with strict portion sizes. That said, all those wishing for thank you from me need only ask, and they shall receive. Similar to what Dumbledore said in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Albus says to Lucius Malfoy, “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it” (Rowling p. x). Dumbledore’s sentiment is strikingly similar to mine, and when simplified can be found to be exactly the same. With the primary requests -“help” and “thanks”- replaced by “it”, they both read, “those who ask for it shall receive it”. Isn’t that beautiful. So, I don’t know how we got here, but those who ask for a thank you from me, shall receive it.

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