Folyosó Spring 2020 - Page 3

Inside the Miniature

Gergely Sülye

I was walking to the bus stop at the end of a school day. The Sun was high, but its rays were already getting orange and ripe, reflecting off of buildings or shining onto the grass on the field next to me, undisturbed. There was a building a bit ahead of me that caught my attention. It stood out because its featureless wall stared right at me, just at the right angle where I couldn’t see but that particular side. I had recently gotten into miniature building. It wasn’t anything big, not even a hobby, but as it comes to any other beginner I was good at distinguishing a good and a bad quality model. This house in front of me was awful. Something even a child would outperform if they had the chance. If you were to put this on your miniature landscape, then you certainly don’t have good taste. No, I don’t think you’d even have taste at all.

Thinking about landscapes, I looked around to see how severely this one building would ruin the surroundings. The field was beautiful, the huge water tower looking down on it filled me with a sense of security. What a shame, I thought. It was masterfully crafted. I could almost imagine myself admiring this scenery at some kind of exhibition. As I continued walking, I played around with the idea of comparing real-sized things to their miniature counterparts. Suddenly I was overcome with an odd sense of uneasiness. I looked at the featureless building again, now showing more of its walls at my current angle. It was in the distance now, being smaller than before. It looked just like a miniature. I looked back on the field. It was also far enough that I could barely see any specific details; the grass looked like a smooth green carpet. At this distance it really could have been made out of fabric for all I knew. Then I noticed the sky. There were no clouds, just a gradient which shifted from bright blue at the edges of the horizon, going gradually darker as it reached the darkish blue top of the sky. It was comparable to being in a big room, on a small miniature set. The further corners of the room appearing dark as they were so far, at least in the miniature’s proportions. I almost expected a big face to walk in from the big blueness and look down on me. But of course there was only space out there. The scale of proportions between the standard sizes and miniatures is nothing compared to the difference of scale of humans and the cosmos. Yet humans can shape both the miniature and large-scale worlds, with enough effort, that is. It’s only obvious, since only a lot of small details can make up something bigger. In terms of scales, there is always a smaller measurement, a building block. Even the featureless wall was made up of delicately placed bricks, measured amounts of cement, particles of paint and random specks of dust sticking to it. Of course this is not visible from far away, nor is it significant at our scale of the world.

Now thinking about abstract and faraway concepts, I made my way to the bus stop. The odd feeling I had was still so strange and new that I just had to go to the bottom of it. Having retreated into this rare state of meditation, I kept waiting at the stop, although no longer for my drive home, but for my answers. My bus paid no attention to me, just as I paid no mind to the bus. It slipped away in front of my nose and made its way further down the road, gradually becoming featureless as it eventually turned into a dot on the contrasting horizon of the blue sky and green carpet.

World Encounters

Szabina Tamara Da Cunha Carvalho

When watching Werner Herzog’s documentary Encounters at the End of the World, I really enjoyed the scenes where scuba divers were swimming under the ice. They recorded life in the sea, something that is rarely seen and that humans don’t have much information about. The scenes were dark—not much light gets under the thick cover of ice—but even so, they were fascinating, and this scene just adds to the mysteriousness of sea life. It was interesting to see how different species easily exist even under conditions that would never allow humans, the most advanced creatures on Earth, to settle on that part of the globe. I found the recordings extremely scary, yet very inviting. It looked as if we had stepped into another dimension, untouched and intact, sealed from us. It is also funny to think about how these stupid-looking shells just chill in the mud as we rush to catch our bus in the morning or struggle over things that don’t make any sense, like the physics chapter exam. Now I understand somewhat better why people commit to the exploration of marine life. However, no matter how much we know about animals and the plant-life of oceans, it will always be a small portion compared to what it still holds in itself, especially in such a cold place, where discoveries are hardly possible due to the harsh conditions. We might know more about the outer world, outer space, than we know about parts of our own globe. This is why I think it is at least as intriguing to see a jellyfish float under the ice, living its best life, as to see a blurry video of Mars: they both give us a little insight, a “sneak-peek,” into a world that we will never fully understand.

We Took Everything for Granted

Eszter Aletta Hevesi

In Hungary we have been in quarantine for more than two weeks. Since it started, everybody has been craving some kind of exercise, even though they had a lot of opportunities beforehand. The enclosedness has a major effect on our physical and mental health. For example, people start to get deep into their thoughts, just like I did.

The human body has been exciting my imagination for a long time now. We took for granted that we can walk on the banks of the Zagyva or run in the Tiszaliget. Now that it is taken away from us, it feels like we are injured and we can’t do what we want. We are trapped in some way. Before, you didn’t think about any action that you did everyday in the interval between getting out of bed and falling asleep with your eyes closed. Most of your everyday habits are “coded” in your brain. You don’t need to think about the motions you make before you get out of bed or how you make coffee in the morning. Walking is an even more ordinary motion for you. You just do it in a precise way without thinking about how you will put one foot in front of the other.

You saw many people, cars, plants, trees when you could go out. They are the part of the everyday sights through the window of a car or a bus. A long time ago there wasn’t any of that. It is interesting to think about that four billion years ago the Earth didn’t exist in the form we see it nowadays. There weren’t any people on the surface, nor even any plants or cars. And now here we are in the middle of overpopulation and Covid-19. We know that we brought it on ourselves. We took everything for granted on the Earth, while it is a rare blessing for all of us. We don’t respect any of the species who conquered Earth before us, but we should. We should be grateful for every little bit we have on Earth and in our lives.

At this time we should appreciate that we live in a civilized society and that most of us have a body capable of achieving wonders with its brain, which can create magnificent buildings and understand and react to others.

It Is Still Better in Fiction

Kázmér Kaposvári

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to have the ability to reverse time a bit? I know you thought about it many times in your life because of some decisions you made. We all make serious decisions every time we take actions, and I am pretty sure all of us have had some which were, in the end, not so great. Now I am going to tell how serious and ridiculous this idea is, the idea we all thought would come in handy in some cases.

First off, let’s see the positive side of this ability. It is completely understandable that we make mistakes sometimes when speaking. Imagine yourself giving a speech in front of silly students; imagine that you are just so nervous that you make a pronunciation mistake and everybody is just laughing at you. Now you could say that it is not such a big deal, but for the person who made it, it might tear his world apart that a whole school just laughed at him. This is a serious issue nowadays, as there are similar situations around the world; some of them might be worse, like bullying. I think that the ability to reverse these things must be your own right. Because there is no justice system in the world that can determine these situations and make a true refund for the stress and humiliation that you had been put through.

As anywhere else in the world, there are people who would just use this time-reversing opportunity for their own benefit. I am talking about those who would make infinite money by playing the lotto. It is the easiest way to become a billionaire. The only thing you have to do is just see the winning numbers of a round, then go back in time, and you know the rest. Let’s be honest, this is ridiculous, but if you had this opportunity you would use it as well. (Don’t say you wouldn’t, ’cause I just know you would; even I would.)

I think it is funny to think about how we all want this ability, and we want it even more when we see a film about time traveling. On the one hand, it would be really useful to have this for special situations that cannot be solved in any other way. In the end, though (even though I really want it), I say that it’s for the best that it remains in the world of fiction.

If you are still thinking about it, I don’t think you have fully considered what would happen if each and every one of us had this superpower.

Box Envy

Alexandra Klaudia Süveges

Once upon a time there was a small family. Two sisters, a little girl and a teenager. They were not poor, but they weren’t wealthy either. One day their father got home from work and called for them. He showed them a big treasure chest and opened it. There were two small boxes inside, one made of simple wood, the other of gold. The father said that the girls could have the boxes; they just needed to decide which one they wanted.

The younger sister went first. “I think I’ll go with the wooden box.” Both her sister and father stared as she reached for the simple one. The older sister was happy at first, knowing she’d get the gold box. But then, when she saw her sister opening her wooden box and getting all cheerful, she left her own box unopened and started following her.

She had been playing with it for a while—opening it, closing it, carrying it everywhere, and talking to it as if it were alive—when the older sister interrupted. “Sis, what’s inside your box? I’m dying of curiosity, you’ve been playing with it for hours,” she said, trying to touch it.

“I chose this box, it’s now mine. Play with yours.” With this she left the room and went to bed. The older sister went to bed as well and tried to sleep, but this box-thing kept her awake. She got out of bed and snuck into her sister’s room. The box was placed right next to her, on the nightstand. She grabbed it, almost opened it, then suddenly the light was on.

“What on Earth are you doing?” She pulled back the box.

“I am so sorry, but I just can’t get this out of my head. I NEED to know what’s inside….”

“Okay, what if we just switched boxes?” The older sister’s eyes went shiny; she immediately ran for hers and returned.

“There is my box, switch?” They switched.

“What?!” the older sister looked confused.

“What’s wrong?” the younger one asked with a grin.

“There’s nothing inside… did you take it out or something?” she asked, hoping it was just a prank.

“No, originally there was nothing there, but if I had chosen the metal box in the first place, you’d surely have tried to take it away; you always want things that aren’t yours.”

“Whatever… and what’s inside your box? I haven’t checked it.” The younger sister opened the box, and to her surprise there was a diamond in it.

Maybe sometimes appearance does matter after all.

Interview with Dániel Lipcsei

Each issue of Folyosó will feature an interview with a Varga student. For our first Folyosó interview, we are honored to speak with Dániel Lipcsei, a folk dancer in two ensembles, Rákóczi NéptáncetyüttesRákóczifalva and Tisza Táncegyüttes, and a member of Class 11.C at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium. Please scroll down for the full interview!

Let’s start with something recent: your performance of “Szászcsávási táncok” at the 11th National Solo Youth Competition. Could you say something about the particular dance that you performed? Where does it come from? It seems to go through several phases; could you explain the form and the parts?

This dance comes from Szászcsávás, a little town in Transylvania. In this village, Roma (cigány, “gypsy”) and Hungarian people live next to each other, but the Roma are separated to a place, the so-called Cigánysor part of the village (in Transylvania this is common in small villages, but now this seems to be disappearing), so their dance differs from the Hungarians’.* I performed the Roma dance. As you said, there were two parts. The first part is the so-called pontozó. (A bit of history about the pontozó: In lots of villages in that territory we can find pontozó danced by men, but in Szászcsávás only Roma people danced pontozó because the Hungarian men were taken to the army; since no one could teach pontozó to the youth, the Hungarian pontozó disappeared from this village.) The second part is the so-called csingerálás. Officially this is danced in pairs, so when men dance it alone, it is often called sűrű verbunk. This is much faster and physically demanding than pontozó. For the most part, we can find the same motifs in both dance parts, but in the pontozó, at the end of every tune, we can find a closing motif, and then the next tune picks up from there.

Do you see dance as a way to build understanding between the Roma and Hungarian peoples, as well as others?

Yes, definitely, because through learning these dances we can understand each other’s culture. When we learn a Roma dance, we should learn to think about it the way they do. Dance is a language; we learn more than the specific steps and movements. The steps carry a feeling and a way of life.

When did you begin folk dancing seriously, and how did this happen?

If we include learning folk-games, in kindergarten. But if we exclude it, I would say fourth grade. But I started to take it really seriously in seventh grade.

What is a typical practice session like for you, either alone or with one of your groups?

I would start with the group practices. In the beginning we warm up precisely, unless this may lead to injuries. Then we review the previously learned motifs or the choreography needed for the dance. After that we continue learning new motifs or repeat the choreography as many times as possible to make it perfect. A lot of times we change little things in order to get a better result. This goes on for 1.5 to 2 hours. Then we stretch our stressed muscles, stay to talk to each other, and then go home.

When I practice alone, it is a bit different. I shorten the warm-up and stretching parts, which is a bad habit of mine. Usually I learn new types of dances at home; I just rarely review those we learned with the group: for example, when we practice for a performance.

Does your dance group Rákóczi Néptáncegyüttes—Rákóczifalva focus on a particular kind of Hungarian folk dance: for instance, Transylvanian? What can you say about the group and what it does?

The group does not specialize in Transylvanian dances, or in strictly Hungarian ones. Each year we learn two dances. One from Hungary and one from Transylvania, because both are very important for us to learn. They differ stylistically, so it does not get boring, let us say, after six months.

The Hungarian folk dance that I have seen so far is a form of music in itself—with singing during the dance, and percussion created by the dance. Could you say something about the musical aspect of your dancing?

I would say that the music of Hungarian and Transylvanian folk dances are colorful. All of them are different, but we can find similar details in them: for example, the same tunes, same lyrics, and things like that. In different regions we can find really different dance styles and music because of the effects of the neighboring countries. For example, in the northern part of Hungary, dances and music are similar to Slovak ones, and so on with the other parts of the country. Some of them are slower, some of them are faster, but they all are beautiful in their own way. There were tunes during which people do not dance but instead sing while the music is going on. These are really slow and often about sad stories: for example, the death of a loved one or an unrequited love. I think that the most beautiful ones are from Kalotaszeg (a part of Transylvania); these are called hajnali.

Could you say something about a folk dancer or group whom you particularly admire?

The folk dancer I most admire is Szabolcs Kabdebon, whom I have known since fifth grade. We have become really good friends in these years. He is like a second father to me, because I can rely on him whenever I have problems in my private life. He completed the Hungarian Dance University, so he also knows a lot about dance. Also he is the one who taught me the dances of Szászcsávás, and he has already given me a lot of knowledge. To be exact, everything I know about folk dance is from him.

Of all the festivals, competitions, and other events in which you have performed, which ones stand out in your memory, and why?

Obviously the previously mentioned 11th National Solo Youth Competition. This competition had a previous qualification part, and getting into the finals has been my biggest achievement so far in folk dancing. But this is not the only reason why this is really important for me. We spent three days there and it was amazing! With me was my girlfriend, one of our friends, and my teachers (there are five of them because I take part in three folk-dance groups), who are also our friends. We had fun throughout those days.

Please say anything else that you would like about Hungarian folk dancing in general or about your own work and art.

I have only two things to add. I have said a few things about the Roma pontozó but nothing in connection with the Hungarian version. Since there is no Hungarian pontozó in Szászcsávás, I would like to present a Hungarian pontozó from the village Magyarózd (another little town close to Szászcsávás. I am doing this to point out the differences. The main difference is that Hungarians do not have the “bouncy” style that the Roma have. Their movements are more stuck to the ground. This difference applies not only to the pontozó, but to many dances across many regions of Hungary. Also, Roma dances are generally more free, whereas their Hungarian counterparts have stricter rules.

The second thing is that all folk-dance groups differ a bit from each other. They behave somewhat like families. Everyone can speak about their problems and we are always there to help. I have tried other kinds of sports, such as football and basketball, but I never experienced this kind of relationship between the members.

How are you continuing with folk dance during the coronavirus pandemic?

We are not meeting in person, but we still have plans: for instance, online choreography. The teachers send their expectations for the choreography and explain how the dance should be recorded. Then we record the dance individually, send our videos to the teachers, and they will put it all together.

How can we find out about your dance groups and future performances?

You can find and follow them on Facebook. The Rákóczi NéptáncetyüttesRákóczifalva and the Tisza Táncegyüttes both have their own pages, with information, announcements, photos, videos, and more.

Thank you, Dániel Lipcsei, for this interview! We wish you the best and look forward to your next performance!

*In this interview, “Roma” refers to the cultural and ethnic group also known as cigány (or in English, “gypsy”). “Hungarian” refers to the cultural and ethnic group known as magyar.

Strange Dude in the Neighborhood

Lilla Kassai

“Elm Street,” complained Miss Cand. “Such a horrible name for this street. And now that new man has moved into the house next door.”

The man she was complaining about hadn’t actually done anything wrong to her. Miss Cand was jealous of him because her beloved tabby cats had instantly started to lie in his garden, not on her couch.

Her nighttime spying informed her that her neighbour, Vlad—she got to know his name from Miss Darsey, the other old cat-lady in the street—was playing with her cats, and sometimes, as a tall, dark and mysterious young man, he brought home some pretty ladies around midnight, and Miss Cand never saw them coming out of his house in the morning when she got up.

Some time passed, maybe one or two months, and Miss Cand began exploring her new favourite hobby: stalking Mr. Vlad. She watched his house all day long, from her bedroom window. A week later, she knew Vlad’s daily routine by heart, except when he usually left for work. She never saw him coming out of the house during the daytime. She saw him only after sunset, wearing all black, which also disturbed her. 

“Just like the hooligans, back in the day,” she remarked on the phone to Miss Darsey. As Vlad was both ladies’ next door neighbour, they always gossiped about him and stalked him.

“Or one of those rockers who worship Lucifer,” added Miss Darsey, who was knitting in front of the window, surveying Mr. Vlad’s backyard “He never leaves for work, and almost every night he brings home a new … How to say … a new light-blooded girl, way after midnight. But I … I’m going to say it straight to his face, that we won’t tolerate this….”  she mumbled, and both ladies hung up.

A few days passed, and Miss Cand had no news from Miss Darsey. She decided to visit her neighbour alone. “I’ll give him the lesson that his parents forgot to give him,” she said to herself grumpily. Then she slipped her old cardigan over her home dress and walked over. 

She knocked on the door multiple times. “I bet he is sleeping in the middle of the day … Such a useless, worthless little….” Vlad opened the door, interrupting Miss Cand’s train of thought.

“Good morning! May I help you?” he asked in a polite tone with a slight East-European accent, but the old lady immediately snapped:

“You are a lazy, useless man! You are up all night, you get chicks, and you never work in the daytime!” she shouted, pointing at the man’s chest and marching towards him. A moment later, she was in Vlad’s living room. 

“Come in!” whispered the man with growing anger. The old lady immediately sat on the sofa, although he hadn’t welcomed her to make herself at home. He tried to warn her with the glance of his chestnut-brown eyes, but Miss Cand didn’t seem to pay attention. 

“So,” Miss Cand started. “When I heard you talking, I realised that you are not from this country.”

“You’re right, ma’am” answered Vlad, trying to calm himself.

“You migrated here, and you don’t do anything to make your country great!” cried the old woman. “ You are a useless weirdo, you have no place here … Go back.…” She couldn’t finish what she wanted to say. For a short time, she felt an enormous pain on her neck and something warm and liquid flowing down onto her chest. Then everything turned dark. 

“Such an over-patriotic frump,” snapped Vlad. “Such a bitter witch … I hope I won’t get a stomach ulcer from the tasteless, dense blood of this old wimp. The other, whose blood I sucked three days ago, is still torturing my digestive system.  What a schmuck!”

The Nose’s Lark

Gergely Sülye

I decided to go on a holiday today. I know it is quite sudden and unusual, but I think I deserve it. Furthermore, I just got a pimple, which I will have to check out before that idiot pops it and leaves a permanent scar on me. Honestly I really deserve a day or so off; I have been working non-stop for the past decades.

It is only right to make this extraordinary event special, so I will use all my savings to purchase goods befitting of a king. I have already arranged my travels with an agency; they will provide an authentic outfit and carriage. My first destination will be the Kazan Cathedral, where I, for the first time in my life, will worship god, since Kovalyov never went to church with me.

Next I will visit my family members. I haven’t seen them in quite a while and I bet they miss me too. Kovalyov never lets me greet them for more then a few seconds every time we meet. And an unwieldy few seconds they are.  His lips always touch their cheeks, so I am left awkwardly looking at my relatives’ sides, as if I were blind and needed to touch my surroundings before finally leaning in for a hug.

I live quite a carefree life, and without that man attached to me I think I could make it in the dating scene quite well; he always drags me down. The problem is that no woman would talk to me if I were missing my human. No matter how well I dress up, a nose will always be a nose.

By the end of the day, he will probably miss me way too much, so I think I will graciously return to that poor man. Maybe he will even take me out to pick up some women as a celebration of our reunion. Oh yes, I can’t wait.

This is an interior monologue based on Nikolai Gogol’s story “The Nose” and told from the nose’s point of view.

Mother Earth

Zsófia Szabina Gávris

Two weeks ago life was really easy. Days went the usual way, people went everywhere. I went to school, gym, shopping; I went out with my friends and boyfriend. I was free and everything seemed normal, I can say I took that situation for granted. Then Mother Earth got angry, really really angry. She had had enough of humanity and the damage we caused.

If I look back in history, every time Mother Earth felt overwhelmed, she did something to reduce her stress. Now she felt it again and stopped the lives of seven billion people at the same time. She stopped air pollution and water contamination, or at least reduced them. For her these are mental issues; that is why she creates pandemics, extreme weather events, and other things to alarm and warn us. During these weeks air has cleared a lot, and now we don’t take life for granted. Mother Earth knew how to fix problems; we are the ones who didn’t. Some may think it’s an accidental situation, but no, it is another alarm. We have to take measures for our Earth, for making her better and cleaner. Later on, the ones who respected this whole event and who followed the rules will come out better than ever. I respect this situation, and I stay home. Others should do the same to pull through healthily.

The ones who didn’t listen will feel it later, maybe in the further future, but they will feel it. And they will know that Mother Nature warned them, but they didn’t listen.

Penguin Depression

Dávid Preller

At first I was a bit surprised when I opened the video and was greeted with a message that said that it is not available anymore. Then I was surprised once again by the video of the lone penguin setting into the distant mountains. Why would a penguin depart from its fellow mates to wander alone and potentially die? Could it be that it was depressed? Or did it just set out to explore unknown lands?

The video starts with a group of penguins wandering on the snowy plains of Antarctica. Then the camera focuses on a lonely penguin a little bit behind the group, just standing in the snow. Suddenly, it start wobbling in the direction of the mountains, which is straight opposite to its group. The narrator also mentions that even if you grab the little guy and bring it back to its peers, it will start walking off again.

This scene makes you think. It is surely not natural or logical for a penguin to leave its mates to wander alone. So what made the penguin do it? I don’t think that most animals have such a huge range of emotions that they can suddenly realise how pointless their existence is and therefore fall into depression. But maybe they are actually more self-conscious than we know. It is also possible that out of the blue it decided that it was going to explore the wild unknown. Since this is how the frontier becomes the known land. One crazy person decides to venture into the unknown. Many of them fail, like this penguin possibly, but eventually there is someone who succeeds. We believe that animals rely solely on their instincts; however, could it be possible that they have a will of their own?  I am not much of a scientist myself, so I can’t really answer this question.

All in all, I really enjoyed this short scene. First it was funny, then it suddenly became quite sad as we realised that the penguin was going to die alone. But maybe for once in its lifetime, the little penguin was finally happy.

This piece responds to a scene from Werner Herzog’s documentary Encounters at the End of the World. The film was briefly available on YouTube. Afterward, select scenes could still be found, including the penguin scene described here.