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On a very random note, I just received word that my little sister and mother chose some very interesting costumes to wear to the sizable shindig my older sister held this weekend for Halloween.

My little sister dressed as…me. I worried that this included re-enacting of the many stupid things I have said and done over the years (Ashley, having known me for 22 years, certainly has the fodder…) but was assured that being “Robyn” for Halloween means wearing a Georgetown sweatshirt (with Obama pin, of course) and carrying around a copy of Harry Potter and a travelguide to Hungary. That does get the essence right, and includes a lot of my favorite things. Pretty accurate, I’d say.

My mother, however, chose to be something very terrifying. Something that strikes fear into the heart of every man, woman and child in possession of a working brain.

That’s right: she was Sarah Palin.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKK! Doesn’t get scarier than that! Nice one, Vicki Russo.

My mom and high school best buddy, Lauren, as Palins

My mom and high school best buddy, Lauren, as Palins

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In keeping with the trend of something beautiful for Mondays: sunset at Visegrad, from my first week in Hungary.

Today marks the anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Few Americans know much about it — myself included, before I came here — and yet, the uprising of the Hungarian freedom fighters against the massive power of the Soviet Union became a deeply beloved symbol of why Communism was a great evil to the Red Scare-ed U.S. The Hungarian Freedom Fighter was Man of the Year for Time magazine in 1956. Martin Luther King Jr. referenced them in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

And yet, the U.S. did absolutely nothing to help in this case. Sure, we commemorated the fighters, and had promised to assist, but both the U.S. and the U.K. found themselves more interested in causes that directly benefited themselves or too worried about saving their own butts to help. So we didn’t (yes, an overly simplified version of history, but it is true that the expected response from both America and Britain — to assist in any cause of freedom — was woefully absent).

It’s just another thought aout why we U.S. citizens should be very careful as we choose our next leader: our actions as a nation have long reverberated with very real effects abroad. It is crucial to be lead by one who actually cares about this.

… I am legally a resident of the Republic of Hungary, until July 31! I went to get my residence permit today — thankfully with my Hungarian-speaking landlady — and it was a mess. They just changed the rules on how to get on Jan. 1, and it seems the country hasn’t recovered from it yet.  I already spent a good number of my Fridays at CNDLS this summer (hey, sorry CNDLS folk… I swear I did most of it while entering stuff on Excel sheets! … )on the phone with the Hungarian Embassy, waiting for answers about Visas versus residence permits and what I needed (and more often than not, just waiting for someone to answer the phone, as the Consulate staff in D.C. seems to consist of one person).  Everyone at the Embassy gave me different answers. Everyone at the Fulbright Office gave me different answers. Even today, everyone at the Immigration office had different requirements. Which meant more than two hours just waiting, in a tiny, Soviet-looking room filled with exchange students from everywhere.

Well, everywhere but America it seems. There were Brits, Russians, Moroccans, Moldavians, several from India, even a Georgian (who, it should be noted, seemed to be keeping distance from the Russian who was pontificating loudly to two Czech girls about why Russia was in the right during this latest attack). Due to the latest machinations of the G.O.P and their Sarah-I-Can-See-Russia-from-my-fishingboat-hence-that-counts-as-“Foreign Policy Experience”-oh-P.S.-I-think-Jesus-rode-a-dinosaur-Palin, I kept finding myself covering my exposed passport cover with my hand, lest anyone see the USA embossed on it and mistake me for one of that side. I’d go further…but I’m trying to stop my Washingtonian-rant impulses, now that I live quite solidly out of the Beltway.

I did, however, get to meet another sort of political figure this weekend: a knight. No really, I did. (more…)