A Trip to Hungary

I came across this website called workaway where users can trade skills (physical labour, web development etc) in return for food and accommodation. This idea appealed to me quite a lot as a way of travelling on the cheap and getting to experience new cultures. After a couple of days of being on the site I was contacted asking if I would like to go out to Hungary to build a website for a dog and horse ranch. Yes Please! I’d been to Budapest a couple of time already  knew I loved the city so was excited at the prospect of visiting the more rural parts of Hungary.

The ranch was gorgeous. A stretch of land with woods and a little house and lot’s of grounds for the animals. Speaking of which, there were 40 dogs plus pups, 10 horses, 10 goats, some cats, some birds and a rescued terrapin who’d just layed eggs! The animals weren’t worked in a typical farm sense, but some of the dogs are going to be trained up in search and rescue which sounds pretty awesome.

The ranch was being set up to be a centre for people do have animal related therapy as well as participate in dog training and other workshops. My role was initially to develop a website to promote this as a non-profit organisation to get sponsorship to help set up the ranch fully. However, there wasn’t very good wifi signal which made it hard to devote time to the site. I did venture out into the little town a couple of times to use a cafe to start the process but the world was conspiring against me and just as I was making progress my laptop charger broke and nowhere in the town sold them.

Putting the website to one side I got stuck in with the more physical work – from building fences to picking cherries and making jam, from cooking to walking the dogs. It was brilliant. Such a vast change from sitting here at my desk looking out at a busy roundabout working on at a screen all day! The trip was made even more of an ‘experience’ by the lack of drinking water on the farm (we had to fill up as many water bottles as possible on the bi-weekly shopping trip to town, but we could use a pump on the farm to get non-drinking water) the lack of electricity and the heatwave (36 degrees most days!). It felt so good to get back to nature (even if it was far more primitive than we had expected).

My friend, the other workawayer, the host and myself quickly formed a little family – the four of us and the animals. It was fab. Made even better by being able to see the stars each night, which was definitely one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. I’m planning on finishing the website as soon as I can and hoping to go back out and visit in the not too distant future.


A Quick Catch Up & Results

So, I’ve finally found an opportunity to sit at my desk again and breathe. It’s been a pretty manic two months – hence the silence on here.

I had a little look back at my previous posts which were from May 18th, right before the hectic rush of deadlines and exams. So, I guess I’ll have a little back look at that first.

I had a couple of horrendous exams. One looking at the theory of Object Orientated Programming and the other a closed book ‘Web Technologies’ exam in PHP, JQuery and SQL. They were hell. Particularly the web tech one. That was supposed to be the thing I’m good at but in the moment I just forgot the syntax, and there was no way of checking even the simplest thing to get myself on the right track – it was the most soul destroying, self-confidence crushing exam I have ever taken (and I took the UKCAT for med school a couple of years ago!). So, in true British fashion we went to a local pub (The Bevy – check it out) and drowned our sorrows with cheap drinks and excellent Indian food.

As soon as I could after that horrendous week I decided to get out of the country and take a bit of a break – I’ll give full details on that adventure in a separate post! I came back to finding out an ex-colleague and good friend of mine from the hospital had died, resulting in a lot of fundraisers and catch up with the clinic family in his honour. You can see how everything has been going, if you’re curious, here.

And, in a totally different train of thought, I also came back to my results:
3D Modelling and Animation –  76%read my post from the time
Time Based Media - 66%my post about that one
Web Technologies Book Club - 80%a bit I wrote about that project a while ago
Portfolio – 71%  – Looks like I didn’t write about that one, which is a shame – it was a pretty cool project re-doing my portfolio and creating a group showcase based on Where the Wild Things are
Web Development – 80% - I wrote a bit about that near the start of the project

Web Technologies Exam – 47%
Object Orientated Programming Exam – 53%
See I told you the exams went badly…

Overall though it looks like I managed to get 70.5% for the second year (which is a first by 0.5%!)