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So far pvige has created 10 entries.

How to (Not) Change the World in Five Months

By GGY Fellow Parker Vige.

I leave Budapest in five days. That’s one more day than four, and one less day than six. It seems to be such simple math, yet why can’t I understand it? I was suppose to live and work in this beautiful ‘Paris of the East’ for fives months, but where have the elusive months gone? If I’m counting correctly, I arrived in the city to enjoy Christmas holidays in December — 1 month. Then January rolled around and I was still here — 2. Of course February soon followed — 3 —and then March — 4. We just came out of April, so I suppose I can count that month now as well — 5. Oh. 5 months.

Thinking of my time working with DIA in Hungary it seems to be only a few weeks, but as I reflect back on my experiences it seems […]

By |May 20th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

A Place is a Place…

by Parker Vige

Security. Then luggage. Coffee. Next, we wait. Board the plane. Sleep.

I arrive in London at 6:23AM, November 26th. I step off the plane, walk through the tunnel connecting the gate, and here all of the faces which have grown familiar after 13 hours of flight scatter at impossible speeds. I chuckle to myself; it’s blatantly obvious I’ve overestimated my abilities in planning such an ambitious, idealistic trip across Europe.

The next stop was border control. How hilarious (foolish) it is, in hindsight, that I believed somehow my status as an American passport holder would grant me some sort of expedited experience. It did not. I waited in line for two hours. The unmoving queue provided me an abundance of time to further procrastinate making actual plans for my travels. I knew where I would sleep that night and that was about all I could handle at the time.

No […]

By |January 26th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

Down to the Nitty-Gritty: What’s Going on in Budapest

by Parker Vige

I stepped foot onto a new airplane runway and, in effect, onto Hungarian soil one month ago from today. The days between then and now have seen countless twist, turns, and detours, not unlike my Gap Year as a whole. This blog post is my way of taking you back with me down the winding road, through Budapest, which in due course leads to the coffee shop I sit in now.

Tearing down any emotional facade, I will admit after four long months away I very plainly missed my family. There could have been a no more apt remedy than having my mom and best friend visit me in likely the most breathtaking city of Eastern Europe. You can imagine how three people living in my one-bedroom flat took a toll on our cordiality, but it was a small price to pay for the relief of having love […]

By |January 26th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

New City? Here Are The First 5 Things To Do

by Parker Vige

You’ve finally taken the leap from being an awkward, camera touting tourist to being a full-on resident in your new city of choice. I say, Congratulations! It takes quite a lot of energy and ambition to move your entire life to a new place in the world, no matter how attractive and promising this place may be. Now that you’ve finished the unpacking and made all of the beds so-to-speak, what’s next? Maybe I can help.

As I set my bags down, and scanned over every inch of my new Budapest apartment, it wasn’t clear whether I should feel excited, anxious, trepidatious, or perhaps all three at once. In truth, it doesn’t matter what our age or experience, a big unfamiliar city is imposing even for the best of us. For this reason, I did what I do best, and began researching. I was searching for the quickest […]

By |January 19th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

For those moments that challenge you.

by Parker Vige

One week ago from today, surely half-past 10PM if not later, I sat alone on the icy bench of an abandoned train station situated in the rolling hills of Italy. My thick coat and worn blue jeans proved inept as they tried fighting off the chilly winds reaching for my warm, Louisiana skin underneath. Moving my thoughts from the bitter, cold night I tried focusing on what surrounded me, but it was no use. No matter how hard or long I stared into the distance, my eyes were met with the ghost fields cloaked in a midnight garment. The hints of isolation tugging at my thoughts led me to my next question, Why would someone bother to build a train station in the middle of nowhere? And most importantly, how did I end up here?

To answer the latter question, I had to remember back several hours. It […]

By |January 12th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

Owino Moses: The Storyteller

by Parker Vige

Whether it was the African heat or the lack of ventilation, I sat in an uncomfortable pool of sweat, as if someone was breathing hell’s fire down the back of my neck. Wait? Someone was breathing down my neck. I turned around to find Moses, my host father, closely following my movements. Slightly taken aback, I inched my body forward on the couch.

“Wow,” he explained, “I couldn’t read that many pages in a whole day.” So that’s what it was, he was watching as I quickly flipped each page of my book.

“You know PAKA, I have a book that I want you to read, let me go and get it for you.”

Before I could open my mouth in opposition, he ran out of the room and quickly returned with his prized possession, “The Last King of Scotland.” He explained that he had never read the book himself […]

By |November 11th, 2015|Gappers in the Field|

Why Ugandan Math is Different than its American Counterpart

by Parker Vige

It had been a lengthy, breathtakingly hot day in the Jinja market, and it was long past time for us to make our way home. It’s worth mentioning at this point that I’d grown increasingly mindful regarding my spending habits, a decision directly responsible for the next situation described in this post.

“1,500 shillings! That’s it?” I confirmed with Winnie. I couldn’t understand how the price of this bus taxi was the equivalent of $0.42.

“Is that too much Paka?” Winnie replied. Of course it wasn’t too much. I was more than eager to part with less than half a dollar to get me out of this African heat. All I could say was, “lets go.”

I walked around the vehicle, to the side where one would enter, and noticed the front windshield had been smashed. Not the most comforting sight, but nothing to fret over when one pays such […]

By |September 29th, 2015|Gappers in the Field|

Welcome to My Humble Abode

by Parker Vige

I’m almost certain that the speedometer in Moses’ car never once dropped below 90 mph as we barreled down the hills of Uganda in an attempt to make the 4 hour journey from the airport to home in under 2.5 hours (sshhh, don’t tell my mom). I decided that perhaps I was safer in this circumstance because Moses did not look down at his nonexistent iPhone incessantly to check a message, therefore I just enjoyed the ride instead of being anxious. Finally, we made it home safe and sound on Wednesday night around 1 am.

I was astonished to find almost the entire family still awake to greet me upon my arrival. They showed me to my room, which was built just recently, and I gladly headed to bed.

My first full day at the project was quite an experience. I woke at 6:30 am to have my shower; […]

By |September 10th, 2015|Gappers in the Field|