Saturday, December 5, 2009

The past week

Mikulas Nap,

Some of 1a douring their performance. Laci, in the middle, is a Krampusz.

2a waiting to get their presents from Mikulas

Palika, Mate and Balazs in their costumes for Mikulas

Erika in her costume

Now, 2a

A video of Nandi and Zsofi playing the fruit game

My favourite sentence of the week,
"Have you got any nuts?"

It was a long week, but I am sad that it is over. I just hope the next two weeks go as well as this one did.

Christmas countdown is on!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Parent-teacher night Pt. II

About a month ago we had a night where the parents could come in and talk to us about their kids. Sanyi decided it was a good idea and scheduled one again. We sat through an hour of him talking about different things for all the kids, not eating lunches, snacks, messing around in the school and so on. I wasn't really paying attention, but then I heard my name. I don't really know exactly what he said, but Ili told me it was something like, "Tara has some teaching techniques I have never seen before, but they seem to be working because the kids are still learning." I am sure there was more to it than that, but I guess I will never know.

We spoke to both classes about the kids, spending more time with 2a. Dezi's and Zsofia's mothers are still trying to convince me to stay longer. I said maybe.

I now have to start on my Farsang costume, I just hope it works out how I have planned it in my head.

Wednesday I leave for Serbia. YAY!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Here are some mini apple pies I made. They smell really good! I just hope they taste good too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Timi called me in to the office today and showed me the county paper. She had sent in pictures from our Halloween party, and the paper had finally included one.

Here it is:

I know the quality isn't good, but it is a picture of a picture in the paper.

And, something for you Briggi. When we went to Eger a couple of weekends ago, we went to Teca's cellar and I found this!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A heartbroken Mark

I knew something was up when Mark came in to the classroom and put a handful of candies onto Fanni's desk. Fanni said nothing, she just put them into her desk. All morning, Mark kept looking over at Fanni, I was just waiting for something to happen.

I came back to the class after they had a concert and Mark was really upset. He wouldn't say what was wrong. I had drawn a dragon in his memory book and hoped that would make him happy, but no.

We went outside for a little bit and Kata and Ili were talking about Mark. They said that he likes Fanni and that she did something to him. Ili had a word for it in Hungarian, but did not know how to translate it.

I felt bad for him. He has become a better student, but I guess there was always going to be the day when his heart was broken. He still has lots of time though, he is only 7.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Memory books

My 1a and 2a kids have been bringing in books all week and asking me to draw in them. I can't count how many fairies and princesses I have drawn in the past week alone, but it has been fun.

I really like the idea, because it is a way to keep track of their classmates throughout the year, even though they don't usually change.

I will bring in a book of my own starting next week and ask all of them to draw and write something so that I will remember them.

I am going to miss them so much when I leave, but the memories will be wonderful!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

It is Remembrance Day. Here is a poem for you to enjoy

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I got the kids to make poppies. It was an interesting thing to watch them try and cut out the parts, but in the end, it worked out.

Ili also gave me a bottle of hand disinfectant and said, "this is for Serbia."

For some reason, I could not stop laughing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Terrible Tuesday...

Today, I finally realized that my neighbours moved out. Yes, it took me three days to notice that I no longer have anyone living right beside me. I was a little concerned with where Palacsinta was, not being within the gates for the last few days. I was walking by their house and noticed that it was empty. I had no idea they were leaving.

I am sad that I now no longer have my pets, Palacsinta or Borszokany, but I do like the fact that I will no longer have to hear chanting at any time during the day.

The other thing that happened today was when I was on my way to school. I went to look at the clock and saw that there was no power. This, was not really surprising, as you may know from my last experience with having no power a few weeks ago. It only got worse as I got to school and found out that there was no power there either. It wasn't expected to be back on until 4:30 either. Boo.

It is really not much fun trying to teach in a dark classroom, or venturing in to the windowless storage room to get things for the kids during PE.

I only hope that they have fulfilled their power outage quota for the next 8 months. I really enjoy using lights and heating especially when it is so dark out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Letters to Santa

My 2a kids were starting to write their letters to Santa yesterday. It may seem a little early, but, here, Santa comes on December 6th. A few of them showed me, a few of them kept it secret.

What made me smile was when they started talking about writing letters to Jesus, the one who brings presents on December 25th. They had no problems about writing the letters, but questioned how they would get them to him. A couple of the suggestions were to thrown them up in the air until they didn't fall down and the other, to put them on a plane that would fly to Jesus.

I don't think they have come up with a final solution, but there is still time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Everyday randomness

This week meant back to school.

Monday, I was "lucky" enough to go with the upper classes to Nyiregyhaza and see a show. I was told that my lacking a grasp on Hungarian would not be a problem was not a problem, it would be mostly dance.

The description of the show was about a boy trying to find his ideal girl, but having a lot of problems on the way. I am pretty sure that in the end he married a robot. The show was full of crazy dancing, music and people dancing in their underwear. Honestly, I was in shock for most of the performance.

Tuesday, Ili gave me a book that used to be hers. It is from a long time ago. It is also in Russian. My goal for the new future is to learn at least a few of the letters of the Russian alphabet. I would then be able to pronounce some things, even though I would not know what on earth I am saying.

I started teaching one of my girls, Blanka, mother today. She took English in college and has a really good grasp. She just wants to practice and make sure about things in the different tenses.

I also thought about doing a short version of snow white with 2a for Farsang. I need to either find a script that would be appropriate for 7 and 8 year olds with a bit of English, or write my own.

I also am starting to plan my trip to Serbia! Yay, it is 3 weeks away from now, but I am starting to count down the days. I haven't left Hungary in a while, so I am really looking forward to heading off!

The week is half done!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Here are some pictures from last night! I hope you had a safe and happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Halloween went so well on Tuesday, that the kids wanted to continue it on Wednesday and Thursday. Many of them brought in costumes and changed for the English classes.

We did some Halloween inspired activities and now, for the most part, both the 1a and 2a classes can list quite a few creatures in English. We had a pirate, a vampire queen a witch girl a black cat and some other common Halloween costumes. We pretended to be them and also made quite a few crafts, including a pumpkin, a spider and a ghost. It went pretty well, at least I think so.

Today, we made mummies. The kids really enjoyed themselves. I think the best part was when Márk told his mother, "I wrapped Bálint in WC paper today." She was relieved when we told her that we made mummies, and said I was afraid he was being bad. There is a long back story with Márk. If you know it, you probably understand her reaction. I must admit though, he has been much better this year. So far.

Here are some of the mummies:

Overall, I think it was a pretty fun week and that we all had a lot of fun.

Break is starting tomorrow. I am happy that I will have time off, but I will really miss the kids.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today was Hallowe'en. It was a good day.
I came home to get ready for the afternoon and found Palacsinta going after this:

I am not sure if she is the new pet next door, it appears that way, but I never know. In the spirit of today I named her Borszoka'ny. Borszi for short. She is the tiniest thing ever and I really hope that Palacsinta doesn't squish her.

The afternoon went well. Chaos, but what do I expect. We had the kids draw on posters, make pumpkins and spiders and sing a Hallowe'en song.
Here is a group of my 2a girls drawing.

My boys

The class showing what they made:

Ili as a ghost:

Me as a witch:

I love hallowe'en. It is my favourite holiday. How can you not like when random people give you candy?

Friday, October 16, 2009

To have or not to have power

Today, there was no school. The mayor wanted to have a thank you lunch for those who helped when the painting was being returned to the school. Most of us were there by 10. That is when the alcohol pushing started. I stuck with water, considering it was 10am and not 10pm, but eventually had some palinka just before 11.

The snack was szalonna. It was good, but a bit salty.

We soon headed to the gym where Gabriell had some competitions set up. We were divided into groups. The mayors office, two from the school and another group I am not sure from where. It was fun, though the team from the mayors office continually cheated. Our team came in third, not bad, but that is what you get when your team is wearing heels.

Later, we had lunch, sertes porkolt. It was pretty good. I really liked the side of pickles.

I got home and noticed that my light wasn't turning on. I went to find the light bulbs, but then noticed that everything in my house was off. I flipped all the breakers and then thought that the town was just working on something. If you knew me last year, you would realize that coming home to no power or water was not big shock. The town would randomly turn things off and I wouldn't know because someone would forget to tell me. It was also a work day, and they are still doing construction on the church so I really did not think that it was a big issue.

At about 5:30, I started to think things were a little off, because the work outside was all done. It was also starting to get dark. I called Ili to see if there was construction being done, and noticed that my neighbour, whom I share an entire wall with had power. Pisti, one of the caretakers at the school, showed up at my door to check the breakers. He agreed that they were fine and said he will think about what to do. Later, I am told that they are trying to find the electrician who was working in town today to see what happened.

Just before 7, the power comes back on. One of the town hall women tell me that they had hit a switch this morning, thought nothing of it and just never turned it back on because it didn't affect anything. Except me!

I feel the love. And the cold.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Yesterday, I started carving pumpkins. 1a was amazed that I could carve right in the classroom.

I have 5 pumpkins to carve in 2a, but only got through two of them today.

I am starting to think that the kids think that all jack o' lanterns look the same. When I asked both classes how to cut the face, they came up with the same features.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of 1a's pumpkin, but I will get one next week.

Here are the ones for 2a:

Monday, October 12, 2009

To all Canadians:

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!


The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher's Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations by Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Tomorrow, I will go to Tata. Carla is having a little get together and I look forward to catching up with a bunch of the other teachers. I also look forward to getting out of here and being away from issues at school.

I don't want to be on the train for so long, but I think it will be worth it.

This week, long like the rest, has finished. I didn't realize how important weekends were last year. My schedule has changed countless time this past week. I hope it is settled, but I never really know.

I go in. They say there is a problem. They point. I nod. The point. I nod. Things are moved and then they are happy. Repeat.

Blowing off steam is vital at some point. Thank you Tata and Carla!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kids being kids

One of my 1a girls gave me a piece of paper today.

The page inside says "Áilávju Tara."

I have finally gained control over Mark. Now, it is time to conquer Laci's stubborness.

Happy October 6th. Although, I don't think it is a happy occasion.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Been a while

I haven't posted anything in over a week. To be honest, it is because when I get home from school I am just exhausted and don't want to do anything. This year is really taking its toll. I like almost all of the kids, but it really takes so much time to make sure that 19 kids are all at the same point. I have tried going through them one by one, but getting through the class just takes so much time that the other kids are bored and start to do other things. Just keeping control of the class takes so much energy.

I went to an apple festival last weekend.

I went to visit Andi and caught up on anything I missed during the summer.

I lived through another week. It sounds bad, but its true.

I sound bitter again. I really don't mean too. I think I am just tired.

I am looking forward to Hallowe'en though. I am going to be a witch.

I will post some pictures soon. We are having a fun day tomorrow, on my day off, so I should be able to take some good ones.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mentem hoz fodrász

The experience was not as frightening as I thought it would be. I had wanted to cut my hair for a while, and not having anyone around willing to cut it, I went to a professional.

The building just looked like an average house so I really had no idea where the place was until they opened the door. I asked for it to be cut to my shoulders and it worked. I don't have bangs which I am happy about and it is not too poofy, though it definitely has more volume.

Last week, our school started building a ramp up the front steps. I thought this was a good idea. I wasn't sure they had finished, but today everything was put away so I knew they were done. The only problem is that the ramp does not make it all the way to the top step. It is about 6 cm too short. I really hope that they fix it. I will try to get a photo, though it will be hard to be inconspicuous.

Tomorrow, I am lucky enough to have a while day of classes, plus an extra couple of hours with parents. I just hope the parents that we really need to talk to show up.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ujszasz in the new year

Last year, I spent a lot of time throughout the year in Ujszasz. This past weekend I got to revisit the town for the celebration of it being a town. When I arrived I was interested in seeing how it was different then when I was in the flat 3 months ago with a totally different group of people.

I also went into Szolnok to visit Emily for a few hours. It was good to just sit and talk and not really have a care in the world, at least while we were at Fregatt.

The weekend was a good break among the ones I have spent at home. I got to hear a Quintet play the Muppets theme song, something I did not think would ever happen. I watched a play for kids, understood quite a bit of it and questioned why so much of it was about good and bad wine. I learned a little about shuttlecock and played it. No, it is not badminton. I got to meet a bunch of new teachers and share a little of my own experiences with Hungary.

I must admit, this is the weekend where it really hit me that this is really a new year. Things will be different, and I hope just as good!

Wow, I just noticed I have already spent more than 1000 minutes on the train.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long Days

This week I will be working everyday, every class. It has already taken its toll on me. I ran around with the first graders, 4 different times today (about 2.5 hours worth) When I am with them for 9 hours straight, what else can I do for breaks. They need to get out and move.

I still have 2 more days to go this week. By the end, I will be beyond exhausted, but, I will really need to get out of town.

Hopefully, next week I will have a little more energy and I will be able to write some interesting events, but now I need to rest. I can already feel the sickness drawing me back in.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blue Houses

This weekend was one of the big pilgrimages here in Mariapocs. Luckily, I felt much better today than I did yesterday and Friday so I actually could enjoy some of the things there are to do out there. I first went out at 9:30 and there were probably about 7-8000 people already waiting for the main service. I lasted about 30 minutes into the service before the heat really started to get to me, so I walked around a bit. I came back to the service just after 11, and I would guess that there must have been over 10,000 people watching the mass, not to mention the people who were waiting in line to see the picture and those who were down the side road doing some shopping. All of Pope's field was covered in cars, buses and amusement park rides. (That field held over a million in 1991, when Pope John Paul II came to visit the town.)

I did not really buy much, though I was really tempted by the langos, kurtos kalacs and the fagylalt. I headed back towards the church and was caught right in the middle when everything was ending. It may not have been as busy as it was in Csikszereda, but it was quite the journey to walk back. What would usually only take about 2 minutes took nearly 25. I really should have timed it better.

It has been quite a day so far, and now things are going to start wrapping up, although everything wont be fully gone until late tonight.

In reference to the title of this post, I learned today that houses that are painted blue mean that there is a girl for sale. I am pretty sure they mean to get married, but I can`t be positive. Mariapocs has 2 blue houses now, I should keep an eye out for when they are no longer blue!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yesterday was not a fun day. Having to be around little kids when you are sick never is fun. Not only that, but we had to do an open class for parents who want their daughter to join 2a, even though she has much less English then ours.

I had such high hopes for this weekend. I was going to go into Nyiregyhaza today, Debrecen tomorrow, and then stay around here on Sunday to walk amongst the pilgrims who are coming this weekend.

Today, I had to go to the doctor.
Tomorrow, I am staying home to try to get better.
Sunday, I hope to walk among them a healthy person.

I really hope that this cold goes away quickly. Maybe I will try getting to Debrecen next weekend in order to actually meet the new English teachers that are there.

I really love my kids, but sometimes they are just grimey little buggers.
I hope this will be my annual sickness. I just hate being sick.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Yes, I am a teacher AND a real person.

I am sure this will sound kind of ranty, but I really got the feeling of being watched and talked about today.

I went into Nyirbator to do some shopping and as I was taking the bus back home, there were so many kids just looking at me. I recognized many of them from being at my school last year, and they now go to the high school in Nyirbator. It was very interesting to note that there were many different groups with one Pocsi kid in it. All of a sudden, they would notice me, look at their friends, look back and then, I am guessing, tell their friends who I was. At this time I would have 3 or 4 kids just staring at me. It doesn't bother me, but I guess I really am noticing it this year, because the 8th year has graduated and moved on.

I guess for them to see me, as a teacher, doing something like go grocery shopping, it odd. I am a person too! I have to go to the store. I have to ride the bus. I have to walk on the sidewalk. It is just life.

I remember when one of my friends and I went trick or treating in my neighbourhood and we went up to one house. One of our teachers answered the door. I thought it was weird then, but she had to live somewhere.

Anyway, the more they see me on the bus the more they will get used to me being there. I hope.

My week so far has been beyond tiring. I worked monday and tuesday 8-4:30, every class, half of today and will be at school from 8-4:30 tomorrow. Ili and I were also asked to do extra classes because 2 teachers are already on the sick list. It is very frustrating right now. I just hope things revert to some form of normalcy in the near future. Or, I will go crazy

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mariapocs pilgrimaging. Part two.

Last year, my second weekend here, there was a major pilgrimage in my town. This year was a little different.

The painting left town in mid February so that repairs could be done to the church. It came back today. People hiked all the way with the icon, from Hajdudorog, over 40 kms away. Our school was responsible for the dinner after the ceremony so the teachers were preparing the meal starting at 6. At 7:30, along with some kids, we made the trek over to Pocspetri, our neighbouring town. We were followed by at least a few thousand people. The road all the way was lined with small red candles, maybe not the best choice because they were constantly kicked over, but still pretty.
You can see them here.

Arriving in Pocspetri, we now had Mariapocs, Pocspetri and people from all the surrounding towns with us. We waitied about 40 minutes and then in the distance you could see the lights of people coming towards us.
The bright blue light in the middle area are the leading motorcycles...

The painting was accompanied by three motorcycles, three police cars, 6 people on horseback, a group of boys dressed as soldiers and countless bishops and pilgrims. It was said that there were about 6000 people who were making the whole trek, which does not count the people who joined along the way. I must say there was at least 10,000 people on the walk back to Mariapocs tonight.
Here's the Black weeping Mary, almost in the centre.

Getting back to the school after the walk back, we were all cold. Pisti though some Palinka would be good. I needed to follow this up with something non-alcoholic, so I tried opening a bottle of cola with a knife. I was not very successful. Laci, seeing me struggling decided it was an appropriate time to teach me how to open a bottle using another bottle. I didn't fully come off, but with practice, I should be able to do it. I love my teachers.

All the women were trying to give me more food, even though they had all watched me eat about 5 minutes earlier. When the guests came in to eat, the mayoress starting pushing more food on me, I also got another shot of palinka. Sanyi told me I needed to eat because I was still too skinny. Even though I was supposed to be working people were treating me like I was a guest because they didn't know what jobs they should give me. It was nice, but I think it would have been better if I helped them a little bit more.

Anyway, my random thought of the day is that now I have been to three pilgrimages in one year, are all my sins erased, or just the one in Hungary....

Happy pilgrimaging (if that is a word, even if it isn't!)

((Enjoy the pics, you owe me ones of a certain chicken now!))

Friday, September 4, 2009

The importance of English coversation

Today, because I had the day off, I was able to go into Nyiregyhaza. I met Klara at the bus stop in Nyirbator and we rode the bus together. It was pretty uneventful, but very nice that I was not alone. I am not used to the fact that there is someone so close to me that I can talk to when we go places...

We met up with Christie and Amelie, a French teacher at one of Christie's school. We just sat and talked for a while. I know it has really only been one week since school has started and the feeling of being back in Hungary has really settled in, but I admit it really felt nice to meet and talk in English. Andrew, the new English teacher later showed up and chatted with us for a while.

We walked around Kossuth ter, followed by Korzo, a beer at one of the cafes and then fries at McDonalds.

I admit it is nice being integrated into a Hungarian community, where few speak English, but just spending a few hours with people you share a common language with is so nice!

I really hope that tomorrow will be an interesting day. I have been warned that the village will be packed with everyone coming to welcome the painting back, but I really want to see for myself. I know that there will be quite a number who are going to be sleeping in the school gym and that the teachers, including me, will be around to clean up and serve food, btu that is all I have been told.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Kata, the ostalyfonok for my precious little children in 2a, invited me to Nyiregyhaza for the night to go to the Vidor fesztival. I had no idea what to expect other than it was a concert. I must say that the whole thing was amazing. The centre of the city was packed full of people doing different things, all enjoying the night. At 7 the music started and it was beautiful. It was somewhat traditional Hungarian music mixed with the blues. All I can say is that it truly was an experience.

When Lovasi Andras took to the stage the audience sang along. I must say his voice was pretty good. When he was singing with the girl, it was a perfect duet. I have to try and find music by him now.

I am really glad that I could go considering how tired I was after a full day of classes. Thursday is going to be a hard day this year, but I will have Fridays to look forward to.

Ps. Kata speak no English so I like to spend time with her so I can practice my Hungarian. We filled nearly 4 hours with conversation in Hungarian and understood what the other was saying, which I must say is pretty good. I really am happy to spend time with people who don't speak English, because even though what I say may not always be correct, they help me fix it and sometimes even learn new words!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My favourite observations of the week

A man standing in front of the Penny with a chainsaw, no protection, just swinging it back and forth to entertain himself.

A man standing beside an abandoned food try at Ikea, drinking, putting it back down, then picked it up again. He later proceeded to the shelves of used trays and made a plate from the leftovers. All while we were watching him. Fascinating!

While sitting at Deli train station, a man was yelling at a woman and her son sitting on the stairs. A man, with a chainsaw, stopped, watched for a few minutes and then headed up to talk to them both. With the chainsaw.

I am not sure what is up with the chainsaws, but I guess it is not out of place to just carry one around with you.

Anyway, I thought these would be interesting to share.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First days...

Last year at this time I had no idea what to expect from the kids. I was there. They were there. We both had a look of confusion, not knowing what to expect from the other person who didn't speak the same language. This year was different.

Ili and I went into 1a with an idea to teach them some English so they could go home and tell their parents something. It went quite well, aside from the fact that one boy, Palika did not stop crying, and another boy Balazs, did not stop eating. By the end of the lesson, the kids could say:

Good Morning
How are you?
I'm fine
Thank you
My name is ...

All in all it was a much more successful day than last year. I think that having some idea of how things went last year will really improve how we work this year.

The only thing that really made me sad today was that my jeans ripped in both knees. A shame really, they were my favourite pair.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I heart my school.

School Opening. The usual. There was a ceremony. They handed out presents to the new kids. 2a did a little performance. All in all it was good fun for an hour.

1a, the new kids, all 20 of them, headed to the class and had a short speech from Igazgatobacsi.

I headed to the staff room to attempt to work on my schedule, last weeks version no longer worked. Ili was worried about it all, and asked Sanyi that I have fridays off. Yay for me! After two hours or working on it, we did come up with a set plan, but it will change. We have been warned. There is no finalized schedule for school. It just happens. Tomorrow I will go back in to sit through more arranging of the schedule.

I have been guaranteed a free friday. If the schedule doesn't change much, I will have a free Thursday afternoon too!

We will see how my school day tomorrow goes. I love how there is no set schedule and yet school is in session.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last day of freedom.

Budapest this week was really nice. I got to meet the newbies and just hang out with some of the other returning teachers. I also got to go a little crazy at Ikea, although not too much because I had to drag the stuff back across the country.

My house is feeling homey once again with the new things I have bought, the cleaning and my spending time in it.

Tomorrow is the opening ceremony. I don't really know what to expect. It will be different from last year in that I already know what it is, but 2a is supposed to participate and we have done no prep yet. It will go alright I believe. I hope.

At the end of last year I thought about how much time I spent on the buses and trains, so from now on, I will keep a tab and see how much of my life I actually spend on them.

Train time since August 18: 621 minutes
Bus time since August 18: 100 minutes

That is it for now. Have a good night.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Today, Ili and I had many serious discussions. Not very common for us, but still interesting. I learned that Kisleta, a town that is less than 6km from me, was the site of one of the recent murders. I will have to look at this more in depth. I heard that the men were caught, but was still warned because the people are not happy with each other.

Anyway, I head into Budapest tomorrow to meet the newbies. I hope they are great!

I should be back Friday, but who knows...

Monday, August 24, 2009


Ever since I have gotten back home I have been seriously slacking. I haven't really done much other than watch TV and sleep. Considering me first few nights back in Europe I couldn't go to sleep until about 4am, I think it is ok that I slept in.

Anyway, I will try to be better now.

I went to Debrecen to visit Carla for a few days. I was trying to put off packing for a few more days so I did what I could, then picked up and left. Anyway, Debrecen is nice, but we ran out of things to do there quite fast.

I came back Saturday afternoon and lazed around some more. I just haven't felt right being back. Today I had a staff meeting that was to decide how many classes everyone would have. I must say it is going to be an interesting year. I found out that I will have 10 classes with my kids. I will also have first grade to deal with. They will be spilt in two, with 13 classes each. Sanyi also wants me to continue with the older kids in the afternoon. So, according to my math I am up to 40 hours...I am pretty sure this is not possible because a) that is all the hours in a week, everyday, every hour for class and b) There is a rule in Hungary that teachers can only work 23 hours, anything over that is overtime. I highly doubt that they will pay me 17 hours overtime a week. Anyway, I look forward to what will happen.

I am planning on going to Budapest on Wednesday to meet the newbies as well as catch up with the other teachers. I don't have to be back until 4pm on Monday for the school opening, so I honestly don't know what day I will be back.

I haven't really written about being home... I know this. It is hard for me to write about it because it just felt like I went back to life. I was with my family and friends enjoying life. I treasured every moment being home, just to be sitting there with people I had not seen in 11 months. Last year was amazing. But to be home again for the summer, somehow just felt right. The problem is, being here feels just right too.

Anyway, I will hopefully be able to write about things as often as I did last year. Until then...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Denmark and Iceland.

Here is part one of my journey home...


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Las Vegas

I have not been posting in a while.

Because I have been home and doing things around here.

I promise that when I get back to Hungary I will have lots of photos.

Right now I am in Las Vegas. For the week.

I hope your summers are going well so far.

See you soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Life with the Danes...

So I have been here since late on Thursday night. Thursday was a very long travel day so I was very happy to arrive. I made it with the two bags, both just at the 20 kilo mark.

Friday, we went to the Hov (pronounced Ho) festival. We walked around a bit and then saw a Danish band, Roger & Over. They were really good, just a little country sounding. I do have to say, the Danes enjoy their alcohol. Maybe even more than the Hungarians. Only sad thing is that the cost of beer here is so much more, about 4 times as much. It was interesting to watch them.

Saturday we walked around town a bit, nothing too exciting. I bought a new dress for 100 kr, about 20 CAD or 3500 HUF. Not bad considering it is good quality. Also, down the main strip of stores was an exhibition of signs from around the world. They are quite funny, and I will post a few of them when I get them off of Lyn`s phone.

Today was relaxing time. Nothing too exciting, but that is what the rest of the week is for. I believe that on Thursday or Friday we are going to go to a Medaeval fair type thing. Other than that, we wil go with the flow. We don't leave until 2am on Saturday morning so we have plenty of time.

That is all for now. I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Right now I am sitting in Ferihegy. I have 5 hours before I can check in. This is going to be fun.

If all goes well I should be in Denmark with my sister at 11.14 tonight.

I hate airpors. And waiting.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Hungarian family

This year I had the chance to make a new family. Not very conventional, but they were the ones I grew to love over this year!

Briggi, Jamie and Margie. I spent so much time with you guys it was crazy. I am actually surprised that I survived this year and that I did not annoy the guts out of you!

Briggi and Jamie


Ili, my Hungarian mother. My Neni. Always there to help and feed me no matter what. I can hardly express how much she has helped me this year.

The one and only Ili neni! It took me all year to get her to smile.

My babies. All 7 of them. It may seem weird to some that I call my students my babies, but I spent so much time with them this year, I miss them already. Even Mark. They were always there with a hug and were good. For the most part. I can't believe I have another 2 months before I see them again.

My teachers. They have seen me this entire year, and still want me to come back. All I can is wow. They have a high tolerance for pain and suffering.

The other CETP teachers. I may not have seen you that often this year, but I knew that you guys would be there if I ever needed any help.

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who made this year awesome. I didn't want this year to end. I hope next year brings people who are as much fun as those that were here this year.

I miss you guys!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I went with Ili and Jancsi to visit their old home in Csenger. It is right on the border with Romania but less than an hour from here.

The Greek Catholic Church, very unique and different from what I am used to.

A statue for the Sister cities of Csenger in front of the town hall

Me and Szent Laszlo

My seatmate, Goli

They were pitting thick packing foam on the walls and then plastering over it, I was confused. Ili said it was for heat.

Three days from now I will be in Denmark. Yay for family!

Friday, July 3, 2009


I can't believe I never posted this.

My kids on the last day of school


I trekked all the way to Mateszalka, well rode a bus for 35 minutes, to get some last minute things. I am pretty sure they thought I was crazy when I was checking out.

The only things I had were 12 large chocolate bars, and by large I mean 300g each and a bottle of Unicum Next. Looks like a party, right? Sadly, the stuff is not for me.

Now I just have to figure out how to stuff 9 bottles of alcohol into a bag and keep the weight under 20 kilos.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I promised Briggi I would take notes during my trip with my teachers, so here they are. A direct copy of what I wrote down yesterday.


Trip to Munkacs
5am wake up
6am leave, no money because bank machine is broken again
6.30am stop in baklatoranhaza in an attempt to get money
7am finally have a bank machine work in Kisvarda
7.30am stop at Hungarian border. 30 minutes
8.30am yelled at in Ukranian for living in hungary, just me, lucky me, paper work is only in Ukranian and english though
Warned of what the task of the new teachers last year - running through the streets with empty beer cans tied to their feet. Told that things are spontaneous so I won't know until I have to do it.
8.45am Csaba wants to defend me by hitting the already pissed off Ukranian woman at the border. I tell him I will live.
9am finally cross into the ukraine
9.03 stop just across the border at a random man in the street to exchange money, only changed 5000ft to 190 Ukranian money, hope it is enough
9.30 first half liter of beer today
10.30am bought the most expensive postcards I think I will ever buy, 500 ft each but made on wood imported from Canada
11.21am back on bus, heading to either munkacs or a market in ungvar.
12.30pm on the way to Munkacs after the market and ice cream break, way too hot outside especially at midday
1pm saw a football field the was on a hill. angled and all
1.30pm pick up Janos and go to castle. Very steep and uneven road. walk around for an hour and take random pictures. Bought a mace keychaing and ili bought me a fridge magnet.
Going somewhere now, not sure where but there were asking who wants what and I was just added in. Palko sitting on the floor now. Things will only get crazier from here.
2.40pm back on the bus.
3pm at bar in Munkacs
4pm consumed 1 liter of beer and going to a palace now
4.10pm Ili called me fat
4.30pm Pisti admitted to drinking 6 liters of beer since this morning. He is my hero. Csaba said the prettiest girls come from Canada and wants to know where the handsomest boys are from.
He kept prompting for Hungary
5pm another boros cola later. Yum. Listening to really crappy Hungarian music. At least the Ukrainians were trying, right? Went to the spring to get some water, was told it would make you beautiful and I should wash my legs and arms in it. I have three layers of sunscreen on so I took them up on the offer. Mounted a deer. No, it wasn't real, or was it? Made it all the way down the hillafter finally stopping hiccupping. Made me sound like I was really drunk when I haven't had THAT much.
7.10pm heading to dinner now. Hope I actually get the vodka I intended to buy here, stores close soon. Pisti is now up to 7.5 liters. And is currently wearing Ili's handkerchief.
7.40pm ordering dinner now. Pretty sure I am getting vodka and beer but that is up to Jancsi and not ili. Don't want to have to think about things right now so it is better to be classy
7.55pm eating saslik
8.15pm three shots of vodka and half liter of beer later
sorry five shots
8.50pm I am way too classy to write
12.05am wake up at the Hungarian border with 3 liters of vodka and half liter of chocolate. limited recollection of the last 4
12.20am ili is my friend again. woot.
1.17am get home and go to sleep

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lessons in Hungarian cooking

Today I went to visit Ili. The apricots have started ripening and so there was jam to be made.

We spent a couple hours making the jam, from de-pitting the apricots all the way to putting it into jars. I even have some to bring home so everyone can try them.

Ili also decided it was a good day to start with my lessons in other Hungarian foods.

I started by making rántás. This is a main component in many Hungarian dishes, so an essential to learn.

I then started making Potato pancakes. I don't remember the Hungarian name right now, but I will remember sometime later.

All in all it was a good day. I have new recipes to try at home.

Tomorrow is my (drinking) trip to the Ukraine with the rest of the teachers. I will wish you all Happy Canada Day now, I am not sure what I will be like tomorrow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Something to watch...

If you want something that is pretty hilarious I recommend going onto Youtube and typing in "Leningrad Cowboys"

They have officially gone on my list of things to see before I die.

I heart you Jamie for finding them!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer time...

Time just flies by in the summer. I have been out of school for 2 weeks but it feels like I ended yesterday.

So much has happened.

I got to see Southwestern Hungary.

Tried to do a pub crawl in Pecs with some Swedes, but failed because everything closed at 12.

Was scared in a kocsma in Nagybajom. It was quite interesting because the name translates as "My big problem."

I got to visit with Franny and Jon in Kalocsa and was fed an enormous amount of food.

Had to say goodbye to Jaime when she left us on the 18th.

I was happy to see my kids, but was very sad again when I realized I would have 2 months away from them.

I cooked szalonna over an open flame

I put my liver through so much exercise it probably wants to hit me.

I had to say goodbye to my Hungarian big sister, Briggi, this morning. I was crying on the bus.

I have had so many random questions posed to me, my favourite being "Canada is a country?"

I love Hungary. I don't want to leave.

Where else could I go on a school drinking trip to the Ukraine?

Sorry for the long break, but I am back home. For now!

Me and Briggi after one week together.

In Nagybajom aka My Big Problem

Monday, June 15, 2009

This week.

As I mentioned, this past week was going to be a little crazy. Decoration and Graduation was nice. I rushed down to Szolnok to meet up with other teachers. Now I am in Heves chilling with Briggi. I will not be home until Sunday night, so I probably won't be posting anything online for a while.

I am off to enjoy South-Western Hungary for a while.

Enjoy your week!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Tonight was the serenade by the 8th year students. I was not at all sure what to expect. I just knew that the other teachers said it was going to be lots of fun.

It felt like a middle school dance. Students on one side, teachers on the other. There were random games played. Identifying the baby photo, charades to describe the teachers what would you take to a deserted island.

I even got a present for the graduating kids. I have barely spoken a word to them the entire year, yet they were thanking me for the past eight years. It was interesting.

Anyway, I think next year will be different because I will know the students that are graduating, even if it isn't very well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Final days

The countdown is on. The kids are going crazy, everyone just wants to be done with school.

This has not really been a normal school week. Most of the classes are spending time out in the sun. Tomorrow, Mark is going to have his birthday party. Friday is going to be another half day. The teachers need to decorate the school with flowers for the graduation.

There have also been a lot of after school things happening. Grade for all the students have to be in this week, so the teachers are sitting down and trying to figure out who gets what. I like this style because all the teachers get together and talk about all the students, who is good, who is bad, who is horrible. If another teacher wants to talk about the student, they do it in front of the rest, it is very open.

Tomorrow night there will be the serenade by the 8th grade students. We will have to be at the school for 7, and I was told not to expect to leave until 11 at the earliest. Most likely, after midnight. I am really looking forward to it! I suspect that it will be another event for the teachers to drink at. Pisti and Janos are quite entertaining after a few drinks.

Saturday is the actual graduation ceremony. It will be videotaped. I was told I had to be here because of that, so I am sneaking off after that. I hope to spend my Saturday afternoon sitting by the Tisza with friends at a pirate bar.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Here is what I learned today:

*Yelling matches do occur. Before 6am. Police show up. When they wake up.

*Big Mac meals for 49 people costs 54880 forint, roughly $305 CAD

*The Budapest Parliament building is the third largest in size. It follows Romania and Argentina.

*Only one of the lions on Lanchid has the tongue out.

*The Metro is hard enough alone. It is insanity when watching 48 other people.

*It is possible for a non-Hungarian to consume 8+ sandwiches in one day, along with soda, cookies and ice cream.

*Budapest feels too much like Toronto.

*When 45 kids from a small town see people of a different race, the kids have no tact.

*Four hours straight on a bus should not be accompanied with singing.

*Vomit at the very back of the bus smells as bad even way in the front of the bus.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Here's dinner

Today, I went to visit Ili. I got there and heard some squawking. Goli doesn't squawk so I was a little confused. All of a sudden, two chickens were being sliced and dices, their feathers plucked and cleaned. The whole process took 4 hours. I was a lot more disturbed by the chicken killing than the pig killing. I think it was because I heard the chickens and then the silence.

Anyway, here is dinner.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Ili gave me an assignment this week. I was to learn 30 new expressions. I figured that during the BBQ I could ask some of the other teachers for their opinions on what I should learn.

They were quite helpful, though some of the expressions are not for the young kids. In fact I was explicitly warned that some were 18+. They don't seem that bad to me, but maybe I just don't understand.

Anyway, here they are.

Meg tudom oldan - I can do it myself
Tudok bánni a gyerekekkel - I can handle children
Ne csalj - no more tricks or cheating
Szedd ossre magod - Put yourself together man!
Mi a csudát csinálsz itt? - What are you doing here?
Menj a pokolba! - Go to Hell!

And the 18+ ones
A rák egye meg - A crab should eat it
A kutya szokott izélni - (I don't remember the translation for this one)
Dinnye vagy - You are a melon/ you are stupid

Friday, June 5, 2009

Childrens Day/ Teachers Day

Today, instead of having school, we combined two celebrations. I am really loving these kinds of days, because it gives a chance for everyone to blow off some steam.

At 8am, everyone met at school, arranged the teams and got the instructions for the day. Soon we headed off to Pope's field. Ili and I were in charge of a station. We threw bean seeds into the grass and had the kids pick them up. They only had 30 seconds to get as many as they could. The first group did the best, even though they had the least amount of seeds in the grass. After every station had been finished, they gathered to see who had the most points. We also had some tug or war contests with different grades. Many times we just let go and so the kids fell down and piled up on each other. I can't imagine doing that at home! Soon it was time for lunch and the end of childrens day.

When we all came back to the school, Kata's husband Laci, was setting up a BBQ in the inner yard. We arranged some tables inside and outside, in case it rained. Sanyi cooked so much meat. I know he ordered about 1/2 kilo per person, I just don't know how many people he ordered for! The teachers spent the afternon drink, talking and eating. It was great. Soon Palko asked if I wanted to play table tennis. It was lots of fun, even if the wind was really bad. After nearly an hour and a half, Palko, Kata, Kata's son Nandi, Cseni and I went in to play some volleyball. It was fun also, even though I don't really like the sport. We came back out to more drinking and eating. And stories. It is really amazing what they talk about when it is not during school hours, and there is alcohol involved.

All in all it was a great day. I don't really remember this camaraderie between the teachers at home.

Teachers freezing on June 5th, crazy!

Measuring the seeds

Looking for the seeds

MMMMM, ice cream on a cold day

Ili, the neni.

Potato sack races

Krumpli, cuz I love her

Ili and the BBQ