Monday, September 22, 2008

Mariapocs, the village that believes it is a city at heart!

Summer has ended, something that is well known around here with everyone already dressing up in their winter jackets and complaining about how cold it is, even though it is still around 10 degrees. It was another rainy weekend and so Saturday was a wash out, literally, of my plans for the Medaeval fair in Nyirbator. I did still go out there because there was nothing happening in Mariapocs, making the 3 km hike to the bus stop in the rain. After getting to Nyirbator and realizing that I had gotten off at the wrong roundabout, I had to wait for Marci to meet me at the bus stop. After meeting up with him and his friend Istvan, we headed back to the house to get out of the rain and dry off for a little while. After eating some Guylas, pancakes and some very serious games of fekete peter, we headed back out in the rain to see if there was anything set up for the fair. There was nothing much so we continued on to get some ice cream. Returning back to the house, Marci and Istvan had to start getting ready to go back to school in Nyiregyhaza. When they were leaving, Judit, Ili's daughter, and her boyfriend from Csenger showed up. We stayed at the house playing with Goliath for the next few hours until it was once again time for people to go back to the city for the night.

Sunday was a much more exciting day. The sun did come out for a short while in the morning so it showed hope that there would be no rain and that the festival would be happening in the afternoon. Just before 2 pm I headed out to the area in front of the church where there were 25 tents set up. The towns around Mariapocs came together in order to celebrate the end of summer, or at least that is what it appeared that they were doing. After a school band opened the ceremony, there was a choir followed by five different groups of baton twirlers. I think they must really love their batons! There was also some traditional Hungarian dances, and near the end a somewhat traditional Irish dance. Near the end were more bands, but these were for a younger crowd. The first did some cover songs, that of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Franz Ferdinand, Blink 182 and others I could not identify, but the crowd of all ages seemed to be enjoying themselves. Later on was another couple singers who sang most in Hungarian, but mized it up by singing solo, duets and quartets. By the end, the last band was well know to many of the people in the crowd. It was amazing to see the reception they had. After watching them for a few minutes I understood why everyone loved them. It really made Mariapocs feel like back home sitting at the Molson Amphitheatre watching people perform with all the energy that was around...
video

After the performance, there was a wonderful display of fireworks that was amazing. I have to say that I am so happy that I chose to some to Mariapocs because I feel like I am part of something, so here are my reasons why I love Mariapocs:

1. I am treated like everyone's daughter, being shown everything for the first time with everyone wanting to help me no matter what the problem. I feel like I have been adopted by a family of 2200.

2. I have been told that even though I have a mailbox, I will most likely get my mail at school because everyone in the village knows I work there and they dont want my mail to get wet outside.

3. I learned that I will be having pilgrimages in my town until mid-November, although the one on September 7th was the largest, so I get to see different groups visiting and experiencing the weeping Mary.

4. Even though it is only 2200, it can really feel like it is like home with all the energy from everyone, especially on festival days.

5. I live right in the middle of town, so I have a 1 minute walk to school, two churches, the bank, the doctor, the dentist, the sweet shop and my two grocery stores. I can say I live downtown!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pornography...and the Principal?


My trip to the Ludwig Museum
So today was school field trip day, something I was told on the first day of meetings. I knew it was going to be an early morning because we were going to Budapest, and we live four hours away, on a good day. I was told to be there around 6:45am because the bus was leaving at 7am. When I got there, I was stared at by the kids, because many had never seen me before so I just waited for everyone else to arrive.

We did finally leave just after 7 and I knew it was going to be a long bus ride. We stopped once on the road at a gas station and I was continuously asked in Hungarian and English if I was cold. I am not sure how many time I was told a girl who doesn't wear socks will be sick. I want to see the amazed looks on their faces when i show up to school tomorrow NOT sick. After finally making it into Budapest we took a short tour through the city along the way to the Ludwig Museum on the Pest side. We were an hour early, considering we left five hours before we were due to arrive for our appointment, so we had to wait. We walked around the area, entered the labyrith and climbed a small building all while waiting to go into the museum.
When we did enter it was amazing, the building is only three years old, so everything is still in great condition. I was told we were going to see an exhibit by an American graffiti artist so I really did not know what to expect. We were divided into three groups, ours with 6 adults. We went into the first area and were told that the children could only go into three of the eight rooms because of the nature of the photographs. Looking at the pictures by Keith Haring it appears that they are jusst simple drawings, but after exploring other rooms with the principal of my school Szsanyi and another teacher, Janos, my impressions changed. This would be considered very tame...Walking around a room of pornographic prints and pictures with men who are probably twice my age just laughing at them all is really funny. I do not know how to describe looking at these pictures, depicting sexual positions as well as beastiality, but at least only Janos could speak a little English so it was mainly a bunch of looks between the three of us. This continued into the next area where Modern Art was displayed. Honestly, I am not sure how many of the pieces are considered art, but there were a couple Picasso's, a Jasper Johns, a Roy Lichtenstein and a couple Robert Rauschenburger. The best out of these was a nice painting by Robert Hamilton, Soft Pink Landscape, and then I noticed what the soft pink was...


After the museum we got a short tour of the concert hall that was attached to the building. It is like a theatre at home and has a wide variety of things, including operas, musicians and performances. It is new so it does not really compare to the theatre hall back home but I might consider going to see a show, although the other Opera Hall in Budapest looks so much nicer.

After making our way back through Budapest rush hour traffic, we finally got back on the highway to start making the trek home, or at least that is what I thought. Seconds after getting on the highway we pull over to a station that just happens to have a McDonalds. The children literally went crazy and wild, I am really surprised about this because Mariapocs does not have a McD's, but I guess they must travel a lot. The other teachers kept asking me what I wanted so in the end they bought a hot chocolate and a small fries for me. I am sad to say that they taste exactly the same as home. After spending nearly an hour in the McD's we finally got back on the bus and got ready for the bus trip home. About 30 minutes into the trip the children started to get restless so the teachers decided it would be a good time to start singing. I was amazed with how this worked out. Singing songs for the next 2 hours kept them entertained and on relatively good behaviour. I was eventually asked to sing and Edit said I should sing Old MacDonald. I did. I got a great applause after my third verse. The kids here must really like to sing because they sang so many different songs.

By about 7:50, we started down the road to Mariapocs after a very long and cold day. I have to say, overall, I am surprised with the children. The kids were from the 3rd to 6th classes and acted very appropriately at almost every moment. I really just hope they behave like that when and if I ever have to go into their classes.




Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mariapocs to Heves? Eger, Szolnok and Ujszasz...Never go into Detk!

My school days were very short this week...I am really happy I finally got a schedule...met some of the older kids who I may be teaching at a later point this year, not sure yet.

Since I was going to the Szolnok Goulash festival on Saturday, I asked if I could have friday off which was fine with Ili...So i made plans to leave Mariapocs around noon in order to be in Heves by 5 on Thursday...but Ili called me on Wednesday night and said that I was going into Nyiregyhaza with Szsanyi and Tibor in order to register, get a tax number and whatever else I needed to get done...so it was all ok...until I realized I wasn't going to be back in Mariapocs to catch my bus...and that is where the problems started...

I did end up finding another bus that would have me in Heves around 9 so all was well...I was on the bus for a good 4 hours...had another drunk elderly man trying to kiss my knee... and figured out where I needed to get off the bus...After getting off the bus I noticed that I was at a roundabout and tried to look at the schedule to see when my bus to Heves was coming...

Only in Detk, things did not work out how they were supposed to. There was NO bus to Heves listed so I was sitting on the side of the highway, alone at night(pitch black) trying to figure out what I was supposed to do...after calling Briggi, Emily and Jaime and realizing the bus I was supposed to take stopped a mile down another random road far off the roundabout I was stuck in Detk! The only bus left was to Eger, and after calling Hajni, I was on my way to Eger for the night and would have to go to Heves the next day...I am unable to express how it is to be sitting on the side of a Hungarian road with no idea where my bus is and NO one around... the best thing I can suggest to anyone is to never go into Detk, no matter what!
I had to stay in a hotel in Eger overnight because I had no other option but I was just happy that I knew where I was spending the night, rather than on the side of a random road...Things started to get much better by this point in time and the next morning, Briggi who had to register in Eger met up with me and her geography teacher Janos. We eventually made it back to Heves and walked around the town of 11,000 until it was time to go to Szolnok and meet up with Emily!

Dobo Istevan Ter in Eger!

Szolnok at night was great...went to Club Fregatt by the river and met some of Emily's Hungarian friends. For some reason beer kept appearing and it was a really fun night...but Briggi and I had too much cheap beer and needed to take a taxi to Jaime's house in Ujszasz...
Saturday morning was an early start because we woke up around 6am due to construction right outside of the house...I would take my church bells in Mariapocs anyday over construction!

After making our way back to Szolnok on the train we eventually met up with Emily...It was a very cold morning so after layering on the clothing we made our way to the Goulash festival! It was crazy...people everywhere were making large pots of Goulash and the smell was intoxicating!...this is the pot of Goulash we eventually ater our lunch from, IT WAS AMAZING!



After walking around the street and watching some dancing and children dancing to a beer drinking song, we eventually made our way back to the big pot to eat lunch...

Beer and Goulash...is there anything better?

There was a Renaissance festival that was happening at the back of the Goulash festival so we had our own private show of sword fighting



This is Atila, there are no words to describe him...he is with the slave that he bought for 800 forint...around 5 dollars...



After drinking a few rounds...



Rest and relaxation in Ujszasz before returning home on Sunday!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

pilgrimage

where should i start?
Briggi and Jaime decided to visit me...which was very nice of them considering how out of the way i live...after learning that they have to travel for like 4 hours early in the morning i felt really bad, but they really wanted to come and see my pilgrimage so it all worked out in the end...
So saturday started fine, with me expecting to catch the bus and meet the girls in Nyiregyhaza when their bus and train arrived around 10 in the morning...but that didnt work out...

After my 30 min, 3 km trek out to the bus stop, the bus did not show up so I had to wait from 8:30 am until 10:23 in the morning at the bus stop while they arrive around 10 am...and what an interesting wait it was...an older man invited me to another festival next weekend, the end of summer for fall...and another very creepy guy, who after knowing i really did not speak much hungarian, wanted to talk to me, although i am pretty sure it was more of asking me to sleep with him...hand actions included...so I just said NEM several times over and ignored him for the whole 40 min bus ride...after making it to Nyiregyhaza, 2 hours after I was supposed to be there...i met up with Briggi and Jaime, chilling in the park

We went into a museum which was featuring picasso, manet and many others...and say so many durers it made my heart stop...There is no way to describe a durer without seeing it...it was really amazing that they had so many of them in one place...after that room there were plates that were designed by Dali...and they are something that will stay in my head for a very long time...I can only say that they are graphic...very graphic...

The town square is amazing...i love neo-classical architecture and many of the buildings were so I just love staying there...although it was much quieter than the day before...this is the fountain that Briggi really wanted to take a picture of...i think it describes itself...


another fountain...modern style i think...


Jaime and me in the town centre...i like this picture of me...


We decided after buying our supplies for the night (beer, wine, and chips) we would have gelato and fanta for lunch...wild cherry is amazing!

The bus ride back was a long and arduous journey...40 mins on a packed bus carrying lots of alcohol and preapring yourself for a 30 min hike into Mariapocs...sounds like entertainment right...anyway, it really was fun and by the time we got into town things were already in full swing and so we decided to put our stuff away and venture out into the world of the pilgrimage...and what a world it is...I will start with a picture of my church...
The Greek Catholic Church or Maria pocs, that houses the weeping mary portrait...


It is really much smaller on the inside than it appears...although it is extremly ornate...It has wept three times since 1696, even though the picture was changed after the first time allowing for it to become a pilgrimage point....one of the most important ones here...we started by looking at the painting...lots of people around but it was still exciting...followed by a long walk down the booths that lined the streets selling a wide variety of things...too much to write down here...this is one of the best though...it is a honey cake rosary...I dont know what to say about it...

After walking down the long path of booths we finally made it to the Jesus cross...where John Paul II held mass for a million back in 1991...I like the cross...i think it is an interesting variation on the usual one...here is Jaime and Briggi with Jesus...doing the Happy Jesus pose...


The next morning we decided to venture out again...and it was even busier...I believe my town population tripled...if not more...IT WAS CRAZY...so many people in such a small place...mass was a big thing today...they even had a fire truck being used as a lift for one of the TV cameras...it was literally insane...

I love my town when it is quiet but I do love when it is like a market...i bought a basket in order for me to do my shopping...I am so excited...i feel hungarian now! but soon Briggi and Jaime had to leave so that they could make it back to their own towns...it was sad but i will see them for the goulash festival next week in Szolnok!...great excitement for me at least...

I did meet up with Andi later on...another one of the teachers at the school, or at least she is in school to become a teacher...she bought me ice cream so that she could practice her English...I have to say I like this trade off...it is much better that paprikas (peppers)...and she also showed me a parkette that I can go to in mariapocs when I want to be out of this bustling city...

I will just post random pictures now...just because they are fun!

This is Nyirbator...I like it there... it is going to have a maedival festival in two weeks which i am going to be going to....exciting stuff!

my house...in the distant background...right in the centre of town...i live beside the bank...the doctors...the dentist...the school...the bank...and a Roman Catholic church and the Greek catholic church...could i be any more central... that is it for now...I hope you have enjoyed it!... I know that I am really looking forward to the goulash!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mariapocs

So its been a week since i've been in my small town...what a time it has already been...
the first day, went to the school met some people...got a tour of my house from the entire town council...and what a house it is...nice and big for little old me...
slept really long that first day...around 14 hours...

friday was school opening day...had to wear black and white...a long ceremony all in hungarian...but it was ok...
sat and sunday passed by REALLY slowly in this town...nothing to do...no internet and no one really to talk to...

monday, the first actual day of school...went in at 745am cuz i was told to...but Ili wasnt there so i was all alone with a whole bunch of people that hardly speak English...went to class...and that was interesting...Was told 5 minutes before that i had to do run a lesson by myself for 5 kids that know no English... so i thought i would continue the colour lesson, but that didnt go over very well...went home after 2.5 hours...
tuesday was almost the same...spent 2 hours there...and went to lunch with the kids...
wednesday was just lunch and a drawing class...that i did not teach because Ili did...
thursday was a gym class...which i once again did not teach...later we went out for recess...and i was a great marvel to the children who crowded around and just stared at me...kinda weird...
friday...no school today, was told that i could take it off...i went into nyiregyhaza with Marci, Ili's son...really good day...lots of fun...ate some steak and rice, had some more gelato and some lemonade...ate so much in such a short time... it was a carnival day... and things started to get into full swing by the end of our trip...wish we could have stayed for a few more hours to see everything...hard to describe everything...didnt take any pictures because it would hardly be a true representation...anyway...thats where i am now...

looking forward to my pilgrimage this weekend...should be loads of fun im hoping...!
my room!







my living room: