Saturday, February 28, 2009


I went to so many Pilates and Aerobics classes this week, I am honestly surprised I am not dead. I plan on going to more with Andi because she changes it up every time.

Ili wants to do some different activities with the kids during gym class. She brought in sheets with different positions demonstrated by a rabbit.

I spent the first 15 minutes of gym class doing Pilates with the kids. Something I never thought I would be doing.

I think we will do this once a week from now on, they really seemed to enjoy it!

I went to Szolnok for a relaxing weekend with Jamie and Emily, Massage, baths and shopping. Can anything get better than that?

We also planned out most of our weekends so now I have plenty to look forward to. Yay!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My future has been decided...

I found out today that my kids have created a schedule of who can hold my hands on the way to lunch each day.

I was speechless.

They were actually yelling at each other that it was not their day.

I love them so much.

I also had my future told by Dezi, in a MASH-like fashion.

I am going to marry Mark, my student, have 1 million kids, live in an apartment and drive a tractor.

I was left speechless once again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Whatever happened to...

The real story of the three little pigs?

Over the past month our class has been doing the story of the three little pigs. I know that they like to make the stories happy for the children, but I think this one may have went too far.

It seems to start off a little harsh, the mother pig says to the little piggies to go out and build their own houses because they are too old to stay with her any more. Although, not in those words exactly.

The pigs then walk up to some random man and ask for straw, sticks and bricks. I know that they are supposed to be big and strong, but really, some random man is just going to give them some straw, sticks and bricks? But yes, of course, he does. How could he not if it is a kids story?

Now is where it gets interesting. The pigs are still co-dependent on each other, and refuse to live on their own so, instead of building three houses with each of their own material, they build one giant house, of straw, stick and bricks. This is where it all gets messed up. How on earth can we feed the poor starving wolf, if the pigs live in a strong house. The wolf is not the smartest animal and is forced to rely on his breath to do all the work. If the house is solid, there is no way the wolf will be fed. We all know that two of the little piggies are supposed to be consumed, in order to make the story have a real meaning, but this does not happen.

Our class has two wolves, and still the little pigs stay secure in their little house. The little wolves have to waste their breath for nothing, and leave when they become tired. How is that fair? They should at least get to eat one of the little piggies.

Maybe it is just me, but I liked the real story of the three little pigs, the long version. The third pig proves that he is smarter than the other two time and time again. I think that you do need some tragedy to have an effective moral but I guess now we are making everything a little too happy.

I can recite the whole play, but I will refrain. I will instead post a picture that I drew today with the kids attempting to depict the story.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I just wish the snow would leave

I am really sick of winter. I thought it really had left when it hit 15 degrees almost three weeks ago, but no. By this point I think it is just here to remind me what I left behind at home. I can't complain too much, the temperature is fairly warm. It is the snow.

Today we went out after lunch to play in the snow, and I just did not care anymore. I went down on the ground and made a snow angel. My kids thought I was crazy at first, but then they started making them too, so I felt somewhat justified for my crazy actions.

Mine is the big one, Fanni`s is the little one beside it

I am getting to the point where I have no more ideas for the older students. I am supposed to be preparing them for an English exam in the distant future, but everytime I see them I can get them to barely speak a word. I love them to death, but they need to talk. I was so sad by the end, when Bia (one of the Biankas) came up and said "here is my homework." The very first lesson I had with her, the other Bianka and Anita, we were doing introductions. I said it would be good to write it down so that they could practice it for the exam. I never expected to get anything. I was just so happy!

Olga was excellent today! We were able to have a basic conversation between a shop clerk and a customer, and this is only her fourth lesson. She will definietly be ready to shop in August!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Olga invited me to lunch with her family on Sunday. I thought it would be fun, and she wanted to introduce me to her children, who speak some English. I arrived at 1 and the feasting began. I knew that I was going to be fed a lot, I am wherever I go, but I did not think I was going to be fed more than the men. Soup, Chicken, potatoes, rice, salad, more chicken. All full courses. I was given two servings of each. Not to mention the alcohol. Palinka, wine, Sherry.

It seemed there was no end in sight for the food. Olga spent the entire meal running back and forth bringing out more food. I spent most of the time talking with Amanda, a German teacher at the high school in Nyirbator, and Atilla's fiancee. Atilla, knowing more French was encouraged to talk to me in French. I was also attempting to follow the conversation in Hungarian. It is way too hard to think in three languages at once, especially since I have not been using my French very often.

Dessert came. Tiramisu, cookies and cakes made by the older women of Mariapocs for the Farsang festival.

I learned a lot about Olga's family and was highly encouraged to call them if I needed any help. I also learned that the English she would like to learn is that which would help her when she is traveling with her husband, Istvan. I have until August to make her understand quite a bit because they are going to Greece.

Leaving the house just before 7, I was not ready to have dinner, but was sent home with more than enough food. When asked if I cook here, Olga told me I needed to take some eggs.

This seemed to be a weekend in which my fridge became even fuller, with food I will be eating for weeks!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Pig is DEAD

I will start this post with a nice picture.
These are the icicles outside my house, I like how they are bent!
The rest may not be appropriate for everyone.
It can sometimes get a little graphic!

The day started off early. Andi asked if I wanted to see them actually shoot the pig, and I thought this would have been too much. By the time I got there the pig was on its back and the hair was gone.

I was told that the pig was shot between the eyes, not to kill it, but put it in a daze. This is then followed by cutting a slit in the throat in order to drain the blood. Singeing the hair is next, followed by the cleaning which removes the black layer of the burnt hair. After being told this, I was quite happy that I missed it!

You can see where the pig was shot in this one
Atilla, the pig killer, is an artist I must say.

I watched him cut the pig in half, to make it easier to carry and chop into pieces.

I do have a short video of him chopping it in half. Watch it if you want.

The next job was to start dissect the first half of the pig. This is really where the mastery of his art is evident! He said he does about 200 pig killings a year, and he has been doing them for 20 years. I was mesmerized but his quick cuts.

I can understand cutting like this when you have had all the practice, but I can hardly imagine doing this when you have had so many shots of Unicum and wine (Unicum Next is much better than the original Unicum, I think I had 7 shots of it yesterday, not to mention the hazi palinka and the beer)

While standing there I was able to try the pig skin, uncooked, with salt. It was an interesting texture and tasted nothing like I thought it would. It resembled a potato chip that was not firm. On our way inside, we passed by different areas, cooking different things.

The pig's heart, head, ears, lungs and liver cooking, later to be used in the liver sausages.

Andi and half of the pig

We went inside and had some blood pudding, literally blood fried with onions. This was something I never thought I would try, but admit it was not that bad. I was told over and over that if I did not want to eat the stuff I could give it to the dogs, but I ate whatever I was given.

We soon went back outside to watch them quickly take apart the other half of the pig. I found it quite amazing how easy it looked to take apart a pig that was 220kgs!

Antal carrying in a hind leg.

When this was done, the mincing of the meat was starting. They had to mince 10 kgs of pork for the kobalsz sausages and 20 for the salami sausages they would make.

Antal mixing the meat for the sausages.

When the mincing of the meat was done, Atilla moved on to chopping up what was in the pot boiling outside. At this time, I was able to try the tongue, the liver and the ear of the pig. The flavour was not something I am used to, but I was curious so I ate what was given me.

When all was minced Atilla soon moved onto the tables outside that were covered in meat. The pieces needed to be cut into smaller parts so they could be frozen much easier.

Half of the meat on display, waiting to be cut.

It is just like shopping at a butchers, but they know how old the meat is here!

The final process was to stuff the sausages, all 30kgs of meat. I watched this part for over an hour and could not help thinking that it was like a factory. The sausages that did not work out perfectly went towards dinner after the men had finished.

The sausages hanging after the stuffing.

All in all, it was a long and very informative day. I watched them take a 220kg pig and turn it into pieces of meat, before my eyes. It was a little crazy to think that the sausage that I ate for dinner, was a living, breathing animal 8 hours earlier. Andi's father said that they do this 3 times a year, and that way never have to buy meat at the butchers. I can see why!
I was asked whether I thought it was a positive or negative event in my opinion, and could only see it as positive. They are making their own meat, and use almost every part of the pig!

I may never look at a piece of meat again, but this will not stop me from eating it. I do highly recommend going to a pig killing if you ever have the chance.

Atilla separating the pigs skull from the rest of the meat!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why I hate Fridays

Friday is never fun. When you have an open day in the morning, followed by 5 more hours with the kids, everyone goes a little crazy.

I have to create my own ways to amuse myself. This is usually not hard, but when I have spent the last 2 hours yelling at the kids to stop doing something, it is a bit of a stretch.

Today, I was very bored. Ili and I started talking about hair, and somehow I got to the point where I gave Mark and Balint mohawks.

They look so innocent! It is so hard to stay mad when they look like this.

We also made the Hungarian navy, ready to defend their coast, or lack thereof!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It is official...

I signed my contract to stay another year. I am relieved. I am scared. I am happy.
I am unsure of what I will be teaching, whether I will have my kids again or if I will get the incoming class.
Sanyi wants me to stay and said another position is open if I can convince someone from home to teach here for the year.

Any takers?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fairies Rule (Farsang, my new favourite holiday!)

I have been looking forward to this day for so long. That sounds kind of sad, but really, what is better then dressing up and eating donuts. My school does think I have gone off the deep end, but who really cares when I started a fashion trend with the girls!

The day started off as per the norm, well I guess you could call it normal, the kids were acting like they were once again high on sugar. The festivities did not really start until 2 when the costume competition started. We started getting ready just after our return from lunch. The mothers all came in to help and see their children perform.

The costume contest was interesting, the kids had the option of performing in a group or by themselves, our class was a group. We sat through two and a hours of kids doing random things, some I understood, some I didn't. When I asked Ili what was happening she said she had no idea either so I was not the only really confused one.

Ili got up and did a performance with the kids, her students from 7a were paying very close attention though because they touched their nose when they were supposed to clap!

After this ended, we return to the class in order to get our kids fed, more food, and send them either to the rest of the party or home. I was asked by Cseni to do facepainting for some of the kids who won it as a prize, so I sat with Viki, Eniko and Kata doing kids faces. Almost all of the girls wanted the same make up that I had on, but after explaining to them I didn't use the same things, I did my best. This was soon followed by dancing around the dark hallway to disco music, they even played some Nirvana!

All in all it was a great time. Sanyi wanted to give me some Palinka as a prize but I said I would accept the chocolate bar instead. I still find it funny the looks I got when I walked through the hallway in my full costume! People were confused by me actually dressing up but I got many compliments from Pauly, Csaba, Istvan and Janos!

I have to say, it is no replacement for Halloween, but it was amazing. I really wish schools back home did more things like this!

Here are some photos, I will try to make the videos work!

Ili and the kids!

Some kids after introducing their costumes
(Sandi, Karolina, Zsolt, Chrisztopher, Erik, Andor, Mark, one of the twins)

Sanyi and Eric, the gypsy man

Fanni as a bee

Dezi and Zsofi dressed as flowers.

A fairies work is never done, until the wand is put down

Kata, the head bee, and me

Me not wanting to remove my makeup...

My kids doing their skit

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Farsang is nearly here

Today was the day to put your final touches on your costumes!

As of tomorrow, the competition is on for the best costume. Kata spent most of today working on the kids costumes and helping them practice their parts. Cseni spent the day shopping and bagging prizes for the kids to pick out tomorrow.

She told me that one of the prizes is to have the face painted by me!

I am so excited, I really can't wait. It feels like Christmas.

Olga invited me to lunch on Sunday, and Andi said the pig killing is on Saturday. This is going to be a packed weekend. I need to catch up with Zalan soon too!

Pictures here tomorrow!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Once again, why I love my school!

Janos, a teacher and Sanyi my director, blowing off some steam

I am almost done my costume.
I love how we can get so competitive over a Farsang costume contest.
This is going to be a fun week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How to go to the Ball...part deux

Gather a bunch of friends together and you are bound to have an awesome time. Join that with a Hungarian ball, and this becomes extraordinary!

Start the day off early, you always need lots of time to prepare, even though this may not always be for the same event. Combining this activity with any kind of alcohol makes the time pass faster.

Participation is key! Doing a march followed by the Hokey Pokey just adds to the amusement for everyone. To spice this up, perform it with a group of 7 year olds!

Arriving back at the table, it is a crazy feeling to see the copious amounts of alcohol sitting there, and then finding out that the Director sent them over for you to enjoy!

Following the great amounts of food, get up and sing! It is important to keep the audience entertained! This can be followed by dancing, with many different people trying to teach the traditional dance.

A picture that can summarize the night...

stay tuned for more photos!

on the train to Nyiregyhaza
Just to show your teacher solidarity, next day clean up is necessary!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Let's go shopping.

Getting away from playway, we took this week to teach about clothing. In the end, the kids were then to practice going shopping and buying certain items. It was quite a success, and they even dressed in the clothes they bought.

Here is Dezi, Fanni and Zsofia. Dezi and Zsofia were the shopkeepers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The lion really does sleep tonight...

This week has been all about preparing for the ball on Saturday. The teachers will have to sing and it was going to be three songs we have been practicing for almost 3 hours everyday after school. Most of the time it is not singing, but arguing about random things, but it is still a fun time to finally sit down in the same room with almost all the teachers.

Well, it was decided that the lion sleeps tonight would no longer be sung. It was deemed to hard to sing. The words are not the same in Hungarian, I would like to know what is being said, simply because I understand one word, zebraszalonna, zebra bacon. How can you go wrong with a song that contains that?

I also found out that there will be a costume competition for our Farsang costumes. Only Ili, Kata and myself are dressing up for the teachers. We will also have to recite a rhyme or do something to be voted best dressed.

I am looking forward to this more and more!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Being neighbourly...

As I was walking quickly to school this morning, I met my new neighbour who was bringing in the garbage bin with two of his boys. He stopped me and started to speak in really fast Hungarian, the only thing I said was Igen.

He was being friendly, I think, and I have no idea what he said. Is that a bad thing?

I hope he figures out I am the English teacher because I told him my name is Tara, one not on the list of approved Hungarian names.

I guess I will see next time I run into him.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I started today 4 hours before I would normally start today. I am crazy. BUT, I got what I needed at the craft store.

A mix of things:

Sanyi wearing a pink wig, followed by an orange wig and hat. I only have proof of the latter.

Hanging out in the library with the rest of the staff trying to learn the lion sleeps tonight and the banana boat song IN HUNGARIAN!

My older students, 10 this week, understanding what I said (for the most part)

Meeting with Olga and Piroska, and them being able to speak basic English.


Monday, February 9, 2009

School Milk

Sanyi came in the class near the time for tiz-orai (snack time in the morning). He was telling the kids something about milk, so I just thought that they would be be given milk with their snack. He then told me to follow him and showed me where boxes of milk had been divided for each of the classes. I brought it into the class. The kids went out 5 minutes later, but came back with hot tea. I was very confused.

Ili later clarified that the government or some official organization gives the children milk. I had never seen this happen before so I am not too sure if this is new or what. I do admit it is an interesting concept, but, if it only happens once in a while I must say it is not going to be very effective.

It even says school milk (iskolatej) on it!

My fairy skirt is slowly taking shape. I do need to get some more material so I think I am going to go into Nyiregyhaza VERY early. It is kind of scary that I need to travel almost two hours to get this stuff. Oh well, nothing else to do!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday talk

Today was a very nice day. I headed into Nyiregyhaza wo meet up with Christie. There was some stuff I wanted to get and so we hit the Tesco, followed by the Korzo (which I learned is actually open on a Sunday, yay!). We sat down for coffee and later had some lunch. It was such a nice time, even though the weather was not as nice as yesterday.

We were able to talk about so many different things and catch up on what we are doing. I need to sit down for coffee more often, it leads to really good conversation!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Afternoon's

I really hate working Friday afternoon. Who likes it? Having to be in school until 4 really limits weekend possibilities, but the main problem I have is that my kids take a Friday crazy pill. And it takes effect every Friday at lunch time.

Today, it was not just my kids. After coming back from lunch, we went outside for a break. It was a gorgeous day, 12 degrees. I was hanging out with the kids and then they noticed a pile of sticks on the other side of a fence. This, boys and girls, was not an ordinary fence. The thing looked like it is about to fall down and is topped off with barbed wire that was probably installed in the 1950's. Alex, the previously mentioned Aaaaalex, decided that because he is in third grade, he should be the one to climb over and retrieve the sticks. So, I spent the next 40 minutes chasing him down and making sure he did not climb the fence. While at the same time trying to make sure the other kids did not impale themselves on their own sticks. Fanni later told Ili that I was being very mean because I was not allowing her to use the stick as a gun. Let's just say I got plenty of exercise that I did not really want.

Thanks Aaaaalex, I really appreciate it!
I will remember this!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Farsang, Families, Fabric and Fairies

Two weeks from now we will be having a Farsang dance at school for the kids. It will be AWESOME! It is when everyone dresses up in order to scare away winter. I have already told the kids that I will be a Fairy.

I went into Nyiregyhaza today to meet up with Marci, who was very quiet btw, and buy some craft things and just shop. I learned a little about my new neighbours. It is a priest and his family, with three young boys. No wonder they are so loud. I am not looking forward to the days I meet them in person.

We made it to the craft store and I went a little crazy. Somehow, this stuff will be made into a fairy costume that I will wear for Farsang.

Next stop was coffee, because Marci could think of nothing else to do, although I do admit it was really good coffee. It was called Halloween Kave. I will have to go back and try others there at Cafe Noir (Ha! Black cafe). The wall paper was really nice too. I would love to put it on my walls but that would take forever.

Because we still had plenty of time left I decided to go shopping. I bought my shoes for the ball, even though I was told they were too high and I would not have a dancing partner. It is not my fault I am tall! I just want to see how I manage to do the hokey pokey in them.

Because someone would still not decide what they wanted to do, I went to the fabric store to buy some fabric. Not exactly sure yet what I will create, but when it is done, it will be amazing!

That was shopping in Nyiregyhaza for the afternoon. Props for getting a 4 on the history exam! Hope I was entertaining enough.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Today I had another lesson with the lower classes. I loved it! I only had 7 students and they were excellent It was so much easier than last week when I had nearly 20 students running around.

We covered opposites. Big, small, good, bad, happy, sad, thin and fat. I asked Edit what I should compare fat with because fat is not always polite, but she said use it anyway. The kids were awesome! we started drawing pictures on the board and describing them using the new words.

I can't count the number of times Alex told me how to pronounce his name. I was saying it in English, sorry! So forever his name is now Aaaalex.

At the end I was talking to Edit about what the charity ball is all about. Black tie all the way. Dancing, dinner, dancing, raffle, dancing, eating and then more dancing. Until 4 am. I am really looking forward to it. I think it will be amazing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I am actually teaching...using the written word!

So tonight was my first lesson with Olga. Piroska was off at her daughter's school. I think there was a ceremony or something, but I got the idea through my understanding of the Hungarian. I love Olga. She is a wonderful student. She does not know any English and wants to start learning it for no particular reason. She was a quick learner which works well for me. I just need to have lots prepared for every week so we don't run out of things to do!

My afternoon class with the older students was a little hectic. There were 22 kids and many of them had a wide comprehension of English. We did some descriptions of pictures and then a competition where they had to guess what was being drawn. It was a loud class, but I think it went well. I do wish that I could divide it further into older and younger.

Also today I confirmed that I am going to stay another year!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I am becoming one of those evil teachers...

Today I felt like I was one of the teachers the kids hate. It was cold here, but not cold enough for the ice to fully form. We now have to go outside for our Monday PE lesson since the schdule change, so the kids go directly for the ice. Fanni fell as soon as she hit the ice and create a puddle of water. After this, because I do not want to have to go through drying the kids again, I went around to all the puddles/ice to break them so that the kids couldn't slide on them. I felt like I was trying to help them so they wouldn't fall, but I could also imagine the thoughts that were running through their heads about how horrible I was for breaking the ice.

I felt even worse later on. I am not sure how I didn't notice on Friday, but when I saw Mark today he had a huge bruise on the side of his head that was the ugly green-yellow colour. I asked what happened and he tried to tell me the story, he fell into a desk. Ili clarified this for me. During Kata's class on Thursday, Mark on his return to his desk decided to go through all the desk to give high fives to Balint. He got caught on some of the bags between Fanni's and Szabina's desk. He then fell and hit the side of his head on the desk. I felt horrible but at the same time I felt vindicated for all the times I had to tell Mark to go straight to his desk. I just hope that it knocked some sense into his head, literally.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bruises, Bingo and Hippos

Another Eger weekend has come and gone and what an eventful few days it was.

Arriving in Heves on Friday night so we were much closer to Eger, and to spend time at Briggi's flat, I was able to wind down from the week. Friday was a fun night. It was relaxing time and we were able to watch Kontroll, an interesting view about the Control on the Metro in Budapest.

Waking up early in order to make it into Eger before the others arrived, we were able to score some coffee and do some browsing in the mall.

At the coffee place, waiting for the others

We met up with the rest and started our day exploring the beautiful city.

We made it to the top of the Minaret, to the castle and then to an awesome restaurant for lunch. All in all it was an great day.

Park on the castle grounds

Me leaning over the edge of the wall...probably not very smart.

Me in the stocks because everyone else was too cool to stand up there with me!

Then came to trip down to the szepasszonyvolgy (valley of the beautiful women aka the valley of the wine cellars) After experiencing the cellars in November, and partaking in a little to much wine, we wanted to drink less. This did not happen. There were 7 of us so we decided 7 rounds was a nice round number. After experiencing bad wine, sweet wine,

bargaining for a litre of wine,

drinking in the park,

conversing with the Croatians/Slovakians/Hungarians (who claimed they were a water polo team) rolling around on the ground outside one of the cellars, we decided it was time to go back in order to catch the last bus back to Heves. The trip back is always so much shorter, although this time seemed a little more violent. I do remember at some point falling, but at which point exactly, I don't know.

It looks so much better in this picture than in reality!

Earlier in the morning I wanted to get this shirt but we ran out of time so I went back with Jamie to get it while intoxicated. All was well. it is my favorite shirt and works for CETP Bingo!

The bus ride back was entertaining and the pizza was even better! Most didn't last long, and did not wake back up at 10 (I really tried to wake you Briggi) to go out to Unikum. A small water and bread party and we all went back to sleep. only to have the others wake up a few hours later. The night seemed very long, but when everyone goes to sleep at 9pm and you don't really get any sleep, morning comes way too fast.

Once again it was soon time to wish everyone a good week as we all parted ways.

Eger is a beautiful place. It is just down right gorgeous when you are with an amazing group of people!

I will return!

(Pictures to come when I get them from the rest!)