Yes, it’s true, we had some difficulty opening the prized Hungarian wine (which I can’t remember how to spell!) to celebrate our last night together in Budapest. After a bit of improvisational fieldwork, we managed to pull it off (i.e., pried out the cork). We worked on the collective report this morning (humoring me as the anthropology department outsider as &emdash; apparently &emdash; only a temporary accommodation, while I commandeered the laptop I was threatened with later revisions). Oh well. I always think a bit of mystery and intrigue makes the story more interesting!

Broughton and I headed across the Danube to the old part of Buda for sightseeing, while Ioana, Zhixiong, Julie and family went on their own separate missions. We reconvened for dinner at a Persian restaurant, with Nitsan and Alyssa, and enjoyed long conversations with lots of food sharing. Cleo kept us entertained. Did I mention what a good nanny Frank is? 🙂 After we returned to Keripesi and gathered in our Eastern European colleague’s room (host of the region par excellence), we all let down a bit. It’s been an intensive four days. Even though we worked at a relaxed pace, there was deep thinking and serious consideration of methodological issues in general and our own particular projects in specific. Overall, a success; Julie deserves the credit for leading us through, and we each get a bit of a pat on the back for hanging in with each other for so long. 🙂
The farewell celebration lasted past Julie’s bedtime (!), including a few drops of absinthe, several handfuls of peanuts, and some shop talk (anthropology department dynamics &emdash; interesting! Over the course of this whole trip I’ve learned about some pros and cons in terms of the anthro dept’s governance structure (compared with the Communication department), and their TA system. Anyway, they noted my upcoming birthday and we shared a few warm moments with each other. It’s been a pleasure getting to know each other so well.
Today we disperse &emdash; Julie on holiday to Germany with Frank and Cleo, Ioana to Prague with J., and Broughton back to the US via the UK. On Wednesday, Zhixiong flies to Beijing via NY (don’t ask) and takes the train to the Chinese-Russian border, and next Sunday I’ll leave for Brussels. Next time we see each other it’ll be back at UMass, probably in that oh-so-familiar anthropology department lecture room…
[Written on 16 May, posted 17 May, and backdated.]

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