I have a reliable source (I have quite a few, actually) who can confidently state that apart from language practice seminars, department’s eves, constantly varying means of commuting and the great coat-hanger aka the statue of Pázmány Péter in Ambrosianum, what every one of us will remember are the Christmas parties held on the last week of the autumn term. Trust me – having the experience of three Christmas parties so far and now writing about the fourth one as a nostalgic ex-student of the university, I know what I’m talking about.
Together with some friends who have, like me, already obtained their degree at Piliscsaba, this year I was eager to get back to the campus to attend the traditional celebration of Christmas. What I met was a somewhat daring and reformatory party organized for anyone who was interested. Let’s make this clear: by anyone we mean the teachers as well, for they are entitled to have fun too of course.
One of the novelties of this year’s party appeared right at the start: our organizers had prepared a warm-up game for us. Instead of the usual way of forming groups, chairs in Room 126 had been arranged to form a great circle. I was rather ignorant of the significance of this upgrade until the moment we were asked to move around the room anti-clockwise in accordance with names of different cards that were called. This involved sitting in random people’s laps or supporting one (or two, or three) random student(s) sitting on you until most of us did at least a half-circle around the room.
I did mention some teachers were also happy to participate in the game, right?
After breaking the ice and pleasantly embarrassing some lucky or unlucky students and teachers, some more traditional games followed, this time in smaller groups. Each team was accompanied by one or two teachers – in ours, Professor Ocskóné and Professor Barcsák provided their help. Games included drawing a Christmas scene on the top of our heads, listing Christmas songs and –films, solving a crossword and writing a Shakespearean sonnet to a pair of Christmas stockings. (In our case, a slight misunderstanding led to the birth of the infamous sonnet, “Shocking”.)
Following the games, teachers and some willing students brought about a touching atmosphere performing a set of well-known Christmas carols, the choir being led by Kinga Földváry and supported by András Cser and Gabriella Reuss among others. Members of the audience also joined in towards the end of the performance before breaking up to lay their hands on the tempting heaps of cakes, sandwiches and cookies – to quote Professor Cutland on the speed of disappearing food, I must also say that the department “has a healthy appetite”.
Those of us who had waited (and travelled) a long time to attend this year’s Christmas party stayed behind to chat, to catch up, and to familiarize with some new faces at the university. I hope that for them it was also a night to remember and that they also caught the bug of nostalgia which will start to bite when they leave the campus after their graduation ceremony. I certainly have many years ago, and, as always, was happy to return for a night of good-humoured gathering unique to those who attend our university.
Pictures by Rebeka Pap.