Thanksgiving has come and gone but there wasn’t much of a celebration this year. Being in a country where they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving likely plays a large role in this. It is not that I didn’t get together with friends, consume excessive amounts of food, and enjoy myself. Instead it is the essential ingredient of family that was missing from my Thanksgiving. It is ludicrous to think that we get together to celebrate the historical event that Thanksgiving represents. It is not something we, as Americans, should be particularly proud of. All this considered, the holiday still brings about a certain longing for home that has otherwise not been present while in Budapest. It seems very superficial to want to be bursting at the seems with food, watching some subset of my family be merry or argue over this and that. On further examination though it is likely an essential part of being human to have this longing for your loveds one even if when examined in context it appears cliché.
I think that in times like this studying abroad in Budapest is the hardest. It’s not that the longing for my family and friends is unbearable, but rather that it mixes in with the surrounding emotional soup of studying abroad and fogs my lenses. It makes me feel even more an outsider knowing that the ones I love are not just a car ride away and this taints how I see the city at times. It can even do so much as make me not want to go visit friends here but instead be alone and reflect on what my life has come to, ending up so far away from home doing mathematics a subject that is very isolating on it’s own and without it being an unfeasible conversation topic for family gatherings. This perpetuates a feeling that math and scholastic endeavors in general have slowly been severing the ties with my family and the world around me. I fear to an outsider it appears I run around blindly and that I in fact have only grown more dumb by pursuing knowledge. In some sense I likely have and I think the time and effort I have afforded school has taken its toll on both my ability to socialize, and my desire to even try to connect with other people.
This all culminates in a weird soup, one I didn’t know they served in Budapest, which is a large bowl of my own anxiety that eventually when I am able to finish my Ph.D. in mathematics I will not be human in the average contextual sense of the word. I do not mean to say I will have transcended or become some enlightened sage, rather I may not live a normal human life. Pursuing my dream of being a mathematician may mean giving up things like having children, spending my twenties falling in love, or just having enough free time, energy, and capital to go explore the world as much as most people otherwise would. The cost is quite immense, and I am ready to pay in blood, however some times these moments of reflection can be harrowing and make me feel like that the roughly 50 percent chance I could fail would make my entire life up to this point a waste. Thankfully the best thing to do with these feelings is ruminate on them which FEA has given me a wonderful chance to sit down and do in their blog.