The important reason is GameOver Hate, a conference I got accepted into which concentrates on finding ways to prevent online hate speech and building better online communities. The conference specifically concentrates on gaming and ingame behavior, as the trash talk and pure hate found in many online games has become quite notorious. It's a frequently discussed topic with lots of people clamoring for a change, but it has been nearly impossible to actually do anything about it and the hate culture still lives strong.
GameOver Hate is held in Budapest, at the European Youth Center situated in the Buda side of the city. It's sponsored by the Council of Europe and works together with their No Hate Speech Movement. The conference lasts for an entire week, with a schedule that's packed full with stuff to do (including gaming!). There are about 30 gamers participating from all over Europe and one person from the USA, with ages ranging from 15 to around 30 years old.
Day 0: Arrival
I arrived in Budapest on a Sunday with just a little over 4 hours of sleep the previous night. It turned out to be one of those days for me where it feels like everything goes wrong - firstly, I misplaced my sneakers and had to run to the airport wearing my high-heel feetkillers (no other shoes with me), and second, bank decided to have an indefinite service break so I couldn't withdraw any money in any form at departure and arrival. So, for the first time ever, I ended up in a strange country, in poor shoes with only 1.5 euros to my name.
Killer shoes. In more ways than one.
I was saved by Kipinae and her friend, who happened to be on the same flight and going to the same conference. Luckily, there was no need for money besides transport - all hostel expenses and food is paid for by the conference sponsors. I remain hopeful the bank has fixed their problem by Thursday when we have the first (and only) free time.
First day was mostly about orienting to a new place, sleeping, gawking at all the ironwork and crumbling buildings, and meeting new people. I immediately felt at home with the group, since everyone was using the same terminology as me, talking about games, and I didn't feel like I had to keep back a part of me for fear of not being taken seriously. This has definitely made me even more eager to see what the week holds!
The view from the hostel balcony. The hostel is up on a hill, so that there's a
brilliant, clear view of the entire city spread out on both sides of the river.
I also don't need to worry about getting homesick. Out of all the participants, seven people are finnish and an eighth lives in Finland even though she's not originally from there. I try to mingle with all the other participants too, but it seems that no matter what group I drift into, there is always a finn in there already...
Sidenote, Mechwart is an awesome name. Really. Totally sounds like something pseudo-English that they'd have in an anime series.