Discovering the CEU Rooftop

March 1, 2019

Before I came to CEU, I did as much research as possible: I followed the news, checked the syllabi, and even Googled the photos of the buildings. Evidently, I was too excited, even though I knew that, surely, some things were going to be different in person- not bad, not good: just different from what I’d imagined. The only thing I never doubted was the idea that I was going to spend a lot of time at the CEU rooftop. I guess, everyone needs to have that “special” place to go whenever they want to be on their own. I was sure that when discovering new songs or finding an interesting book on library shelves I would directly take them to the rooftop.  

However, no matter how good I imagined it to be, I was still amazed by the scenery. Of course, I never missed the chance to go there with my classmates to do our assignments or just to have conversations. However, as a result, one of the most intense falls in my life passed by and I did not even notice how I missed going to the rooftop just by myself.  

The view of the Danube from the CEU rooftop. Photo: Shushan Abrahamyan

Nevertheless, who seeks shall find, as they say. Once, I had a free two or three-hour period before a meeting. The fact that neither my computer, nor the printed readings were with me did not stop me from going to the rooftop. I decided to take any book from the library, go up to the roof, and read it. Interestingly, the book I found was simply the quintessential of what I really love. Instead of describing how enchanted I was, I’d rather just say that I didn’t notice how those hours passed and how I missed a number of messages, including an e-mail about the cancellation of the meeting. In any other case, I might have been disappointed, but not this time. I was only happy that finally something triggered me to go the rooftop on my own and read not for assignments, just for my pleasure. I caught myself on that thought only when the lights at the rooftop lit up. Suddenly, the bells of the two cathedrals started to ring simultaneously, and I noticed that I was the only person still on the terrace. I simply stood there enjoying the combination of those sounds and views. It took me a while to convince myself to leave the terrace…  

I know, usually this might not be something people write about, and I know that this might sound romanticized somewhat. But from that day on, I haven’t missed the chance to go up to the rooftop on my own and just enjoy my time listening to music or doing homework. It is just a new “tradition” that got added to the others I’ve acquired in Budapest within a few months  

By  Shushan Abrahamyan, one-year MA student in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at CEU