Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Boys are phooey

Many have heard me say that "boys are phooey." I got this from Dezi. She is one of the smartest 7 year olds I teach. She has already clued into the fact that no matter what, boys will be phooey. Fanni would not play with Szabina because she wanted to play with an older boy. Balint and Nandi were misbehaving today. They like to say "bad words" to see what I will say to them. They are not bad bad, but bad enough that makes them pause when they say it. Mark was a good kid today. I am not sure how this happened, but I will take it. This was just the beginning. I could really expand on it, but I don't have the energy to write a very long post about this right now.

I will say this.

I don't know. It just seems like there are certain days when all the boys here in Mariapocs just act "phooey" and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

I leave you with a picture!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Kecskemet was beautiful. I still have yet to believe a certain museum exists because We walked for 90 minutes, asked three different people and still could not find it! The architecture is amazing, the ice cream was awesome and the weather was beautiful. Not sure how else to describe the weekend.

I got a new bag for the future adventures. It is a bigger bag, but very good for week long trips or more. I got some more new shoes and I got some Chocolate cream liquor for drinks. All in all it was a really good weekend.

I don't have any picture because of the big rush on Friday, but I should get some later on.

I am dreading going back to work, weekends always seems so short, but at least I was lucky enough not to have to work on Saturday! I know this week will be fun. We are going to be doing lots of things for Easter, I just don't want to go.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My new name.

I love Cseni. She insists that everything has to be done in English.

She wants the kids to stop calling me Tara, Tara tanar neni and Tara neni.

Instead, she asked for a translation.

I am now Tara teacher aunt.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oreos are like drugs

Ili wanted to teach the kids "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar." I thought this was a good idea, even though they are unsure what a cookie is. I brought in my secret stash of Oreo cookies and gave them each one so they could try it.

They kept harassing me for the rest of the class for a cookie. They started to look like they were in withdrawal after just one cookie. It was crazy. I put my "cookie jar" down and they tried to steal them. It was crazy.

I stupidly repeated this song with my small group of 3rd and 4th graders. The same thing happened. I need to figure out a way to make oreos, or find a way to import them to Hungary.

As promised, pictures of the new neighbours:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I have two new next door neighbours!

I walked out my front door this morning on my way to school and was greeted by the two most adorable puppies. I was a little confused at first as to who they belonged to by Laci, the Religious teacher for our kids told me that they belong to Pap Istvan.

My longing for a dog grew so much more when I saw them. I will just have to play with them when I miss having a dog around the house.

I will be better prepared to take a photo of them when I leave the house tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Calm days

Sunday was a relaxing day.

I am really glad I have my bike because I can go places without having to ask people for rides, and the weather is getting much better which helps. I went to visit Andi in Nyirgyulaj to walk in the woods. I ate before I left on the 8km ride and as soon as I got to the house she offered me food. Even though I told them I already ate, I was offered a full lunch. Two servings of meat soup. Prok stuffed with sausage, potato wedges on the side. Stuffed cabbage. Cakes they made the day before. Delicious, but so much food.

We did eventually go for the walk. It was really nice out so we were out about two hours. I got to see the fields where Andi played as a child. She said that everyone in the village used to have a plot where they could grow what they wanted, but no ones does it anymore, except old men who grow grapes. It is sad for me to think about. Even Andi said that as a kid she knew almost everyone in the village and the would spend a lot of time together, now, she doesn't know many, and Nyirgyulaj is only about 2000 people.

We got back to her house and I had a little time before I had to start biking home. They tried to feed me another full lunch but I was still very full from the earlier one. I was given two of the sausages that had been made at the pig killing to take home. Zsolt, Andi's brother-in-law thought it was important that I have something to drink before going home. Instead of water, I got Jagermeister. Yum!

It was quite a nice day, I had lots of fun!

Today, my future changed. All of my girls are obsessed with High School Musical. They think Troy is just dreamy. Dezi told me that I was going to marry him. I said he was too young. She told me, he graduated and will be the new Tanar Bácsi at our school. Hmmm, invasion by HSM. I think I would have to flee.

I love the Hungarian spelling. Chad became Csed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Debrecen and flowers...

Today I met up with Jamie in Debrecen. It was a beautiful day, even when I started it at 6am. I have started to get into the bad habit of getting up early.

Anyway, in Debrecen it was sunny, though a little cloudy. It was good to walk around a new town and see a little bit more of Hungary! We both got some new shoes for spring break and were asked by the owner if we would tutor his daughter. We had a good long conversation with him, but the best part was when he said that our accents were beautiful, the Israeli one was an ugly accent. I am not quite sure why he decided to tell us this, maybe in the hopes that we would help, but Debrecen is way too far for us!

Mosaic in the ground, very pretty!

Bell in the Reformatist Church

Statue in Kossuth Ter

I came back. I met with Ili to have some lunch. Very delicious meat soup, stuffed cabbage (with corn, not rice) and some walnut rolls. The walnut rolls are the next thing on my list to make!

Ili had some plants for me so we came back to my house and put them in the ground. It was still a gorgeous day out even at 4 in the afternoon. Ili's husband called my cell phone with the news that the Hungarian Prime Minister is resigning. ( I looked later and I read different stories about what is acutally happening. I am interested to see how it turns out.) I can already tell that the three boys that live next door will try to ruin my plants (shakes my fist.) Their mother came up and asked why I planted it there. There is a big area to play in the back and front of my house, so I chose the small side part. "But, this is where the boys like to play." We will see about that!

Anyway, here is the new garden. So far, at least.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tenger Ész

The poster for the show

I walk into school on Friday just before lunch expecting a long Friday afternoon. The first thing that happens is that Kata tells me I will not be teaching. The next thing she tells me is that I am taking the kids to a play in Nyirbator. I am a little confused by this at first. I have not heard about this, and I am told 30 minutes before we are leaving.
We finish lunch and rush back to get everything ready. The bus leaves at 12:30. The trip between the two towns isn't very long, about 15 minutes, but some of the kids take pills so they don't get sick on the bus.

We get to Nyirbator and settle into the theatre. It is full of kids. I have no idea what we are going to see so I am expecting that anything could happen. The lights go dim and it appears to be a modern dance sort of thing. Then it changes and I try to understand everything. It took a lot of concentration but from what I understood, the basic story was:

A man, similar to Popeye the sailor get stranded on an island. This isn't an ordinary island, and luckily he still has some spinach left over from when he fell off the boat. Dancers in very vibrant colours keep dancing around. The main inhabitants of the island are vegetables and fruits. Tomato, the love interest. Vegetable, Tomato's father. Evil guy, I don't remember his name, but he had an orange mohawk so I call him carrot. He was accompanied but raisin and grape. Interesting companions I must say.

Tomato hates Popeye, they go on a date. He kisses her, she kisses him. Then they start talking about babies. I am not sure how this happens. Whether she is already preggers or not, but they start talking about how she has to get married. This is where carrot comes in. Of course he is in love with Tomato and hates Popeye, because Tomato now loves the new guy. Anyway, competition ensues and Carrot cheats. He is then at his wedding to Tomato when Popeye and Vegetable interrupt and and say that Carrot cheated and Tomato should be marrying Popeye instead. Eventually the creepy neon clothed people beat Carrot down and take him and his friends away. In the end Popeye is rubbing Tomato's belly and they get married. Vegetable becomes mayor. Not sure how that fit in, but they made a big deal and a song out of it.

Yes, that is what I sat through, struggling to understand. That is when I realized I have gone crazy, most likely because of the lights during the show.

Crazy neon coloured people. Raisin is in the puffy purple striped pants. Grape is in the black robe. He is acting as minister at the wedding.

Carrot and Vegetable

Tomato and Popeye

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A day in the life of a garden.

I decided to start a garden. This is a crazy thing for me to do, but I will enjoy spending time outside and the products of my hard labour (if it works out.) I mentioned this to Ili last week and we went to inspect my yard to see where the best place would be.

Odd events that happened this week relating to my garden.

Tuesday, Kata tells me that I will borrow her shovel and rake. Not can, but WILL. I said ok. I would get it Thursday after school.

Wednesday, Zsofia asks me what I should plant in the garden. On the way to lunch, I am thinking vegetables, not flowers so I list off a bunch of vegetables that I know the names of. I said maybe a flower, I am not sure.

Today, I go into class and see a flower sitting on the desk at the back. It is gorgeous. The kids are just finishing math and Cseni is there. Zsofia comes running up to me to tell me that the flower is mine. For my garden.
She comes up five minutes later with a bag of something. She takes it out and it is a bunch of seed packs. She goes through listing them all.

Now I have to build a garden big enough for sweet peas (velőborsó), herbs (metélőpetrezselyem), three types of radish(karalábé, retek mikepércsi vaj és retek ropogós nyári), squash (patisszon), red cabbage (vöröskáposzta), lettuce (fejessaláta), two types of peppers (paprika alma és paprika édesalma) and my

I spent two hours working on it today. It resembled a grave, but now it looks more like a garden!

My flower

My garden

Mr. Squiggly, my co-worker

Mr. Squiggly and I looking at the hole we just dug.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The needs of a yoga ball.

I gave CPR to a yoga ball. I know this sounds weird. It is. I didn't breath into it. I just pumped the imaginary heart. I am not sure how else to describe the motion. It is what it is.

This is what I get when I go to aerobics.

Andi asked for some yoga balls and we finally got them last week. I love them, it just makes me smile when I sit on them and bounce up and down.

Never did I think I would be trying to revive a yoga ball.

I guess they need air too!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Erin go Braugh!

Cead Mile Falite

You do not understand how happy this made me when I walked into the classroom today.
Ili is taking the week off to get better, and yet she still managed to get things to the school, through Dezi I understood.

I wore green, was told I looked like Snow White and resisted the urge to pinch everyone not wearing green. Next year they will all know the rules so I will be able to pinch them all!

I made Irish soda bread today for some of the teachers. I think they liked it. It turned into a game of who could guess what is in it.

Eventually I made cards with the kids

And this is what I saw outside when I was out with the kids during freetime:

Hard to believe that they were using a gas tank to light the pile of sticks about 20 m from the school, with the kids playing around the yard.

I love the carefree feeling in this country!

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 15th

I had been told about March 15th. Ili gave me a cockade earlier in the week. I was not too shocked when I walked in on Friday and there was new decorations and the kids were dressed up. The first thing we did was took pieces of crepe paper, in red, white and green and tied them to pussy willow branches. I am not sure why, but I think it was a memorial of some sort.

We later made large cockades with the kids and did some English vocabulary based on the holiday. The kids learned cockade, Hungarian Flag, National Song, Hussar and tri-colour. These were not very easy for them, but they managed very well.

I was not able to stay for the ceremony at the school because it was being held at 5pm and I was supposed to be on the train to Kosice. I am sure it was quite lovely!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Kosice. Kassa. Same place, different names. Beautiful.
The setting is wonderful, the buildings that are put next to each other. You have a Communist memorial and a greek Catholic church. The buildings is the main Corso are in Neo-classical style. The colours are the pastels I have come to love.I just wish more things were open, although we were able to do many things!

You can even see the burial place of Ferenc Rakozi, see a book written by Martin Luther and be creeped out by stuffed animals. It is quite the experience!

I was told not to speak Hungarian because the Slovakians are not very fond of them. Checking into the hostel it was easier to converse in Hungarian so that is what ended up happening. He was such an adorable man, taking almost 15 minutes to write everything down in such a precise manner.
Hungarian came to the rescue once again. While on a tour of the crypt int St. Elizabeth's, the women tried to speak in English, but soon asked if we spoke French. Jamie and I both said yes, so soon we listening to French and then translating again for Margie. Near the end, I said Igen instead of Oui so she asked if we spoke Hungarian. After that, the conversation changed once again. I found it much easier to think in Hungarian than French. Who would have thought that would ever happen?

Anyway, back to the pictures!

I love this door.

I also really liked this handle. It was on the door to St. Elizabeth's Cathedral.

The trip felt like it was more of a culinary experience, even though it wasn't Slovakian food exactly.
Lunch, perogies, three kinds. FINOM!

Dinner. Broccoli pasta. REAL broccoli!

Even ice cream exists! You can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

In the biggest Cukraszda that I have ever seen! two stories and the place to be on a Saturday afternoon!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My kids

I love spending time with my kids. I have mentioned this before. I eat lunch with them, the teachers no longer give me weird looks. I don't like going upstairs to a room on the other side of the building where I would be eating all alone. I like the noise of the lunchroom and I like chatting with my kids while we eat.

Today, Kata asked me if I was going home after I brought the kids back from lunch. I said no. This is the first time. The kids were going outside to play in the yard, and I had no plans at home, so why not go out and play some games with them. Kata had no idea why I wanted to stay. She kept asking me why.

(In Hungarian)
"I like to play games with the kids."
"There is nothing to do at home."
"I don't have anywhere to go."
"I like the kids."

I ran out of reasons. She finally gave up with a shrug.

Is it so weird to want to spend time with my kids when I am not teaching them?
I learn so many different things from them everyday, good and bad, and want to teach them as much as I can.

I am going to miss them so much.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This really made me laugh.

Daily routines:

10am: Have a snake.

Maybe you are hungry for a little snake, but I think I would prefer a little snack.

Kids these days!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hungarian Baking

So, for the CETP bingo I am supposed to make a Hungarian dish. I am not that great at cooking so I am going to make some Sour Cherry cake. Ili gave the recipe to me, and she has given pieces of it to me a few times over the year, so I decided it was finally my time to attempt it.

Here is the piece from Ili:

Here is my attempt:
going into the oven...

The final appearance:

I think it looks like it, maybe not exact, but close. What do you think?
It smells really good too!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Just dance

Today, Ili played me "Hello Tourist" by Emil Rulez. I loved it. The kids heard it and started dancing. I started dancing too. Soon, Balint and and I were doing a simplified version of the Csarda.

It was great fun.

If you want to hear it, and you really should, go here:
Hello Tourist

Lyrics, listen carefully:
Hello tourist du bist in Budapest,
Capitol of Hungary
For a little money i will show you
This beautiful city

I'am a student I'am 23
I study sociology
On the very famous Eötvös Lóránd
Science university

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

This is called danubius
Which is a river and also a radio
That is a bridge wich is called lánc
And also one radio

To the right side you can see the buda part
Wich is one half of the city
To the left side you can see the pest
And the parliament of hungary

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

Look at the hill there is a castel
It was the old king's residency
We have no more kings
Because Hungary is a parlemental democracy

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

I'am sure you are tired now
You can to left now this ship hapci
If you liked the tour you can give me now
Some Hungarian money

We will stop now you can go to casino
Bye-bye arrivederci
I hope you enjoyed the sightseeing tour
Auf wiedersehen bonne nuit

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side
Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How to go to the ball...part három

Hevesi Ball. Very different but just as awesome!

Briggi, being too trusting, ate a csipos (spicy) pepper

Palinka to start off dinner. The other option was Sherry

Lyla, Lauren and Jamie watching the performances. I was dancing and singing along.

Full shot of the palinka. I like the little cup, handle and all!

We all got flowers, well, Jeb didn't, for Women's Day.

Serious discussion at the ball

Ready to go. After 50 minutes of drawing raffle tickets.

Fancy drinks!

The prize table. I didn't win anything, again.

Jamie and me. All dressed up!

Don't know how else to describe this ball. That is why I posted pictures.

Why I love riding the bus at 7 am. Where it looks like there is no road, there is no road. It is not a trick. Just as soon as you about to fall asleep, the bus hits a pothole and BAM, you are awake!

Friday, March 6, 2009

How do you draw Jesus?

Today the kids were making cards and drawing for their mothers. It is not Mother's day, but it is Women's day. I got flowers from Nandi, Zsofia and Laci, all pink. I am not sure if they are trying to tell me that I like pink, but that is what I got.

Mark comes up to show me his drawing. There are flowers and a house and in the middle, there is a frame.

Mark asks me to draw Jesus in the frame. At first, I thought I did not understand what he asked me. But then he said it again.

I have no idea how to draw Jesus. I asked him what he wanted, to be specific. Is he going to be with Maria? is he a baby? or a man? Mark says that he is a boy. No hair, just a crown and he should be wearing a long shirt. I do my best. Even with all the details, I still have no idea how I supposed to draw him.

I later heard Mark tell Balint and Nandi his mother likes Jesus, so that is why he wanted him on the card.

This is Mark after eating candy and cake for Balint's birthday:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Women's Day

Women's Day is on Sunday. Jamie was told that this "holiday" is one of the holdouts from the Communist era where men show their appreciation for the women in the workforce.

I was told today that there would be no school in the afternoon tomorrow, the kids would go home, but us teachers...I am not sure yet. I just know that I will not be teaching the kids again until Monday.

I will let you know what happens...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Boldog születésnapot

I came into class after lunch and the first thing that Balint tells me is that it is his Birthday on Friday. This will be the third Születésnapot (Birthday) of the year, Szabina and Dezi had theirs in January. I asked Balint how old he was turning.

He held up his right hand, the thumb and index finger out, and said "Seven!" I asked, "Seven? That is only two fingers!" He looks at them and tells me, "seven."

I really wished I had a picture.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The case of the missing key

This is quite a funny story. Or sad, because Istvan has to keep replacing the entire lock.

Early in January, the key for our classroom door disappeared one day. No one knew exactly where it was. It was thought that Kata, Ili or I had taken the key home with us, but after checking with us, it was determined that the key had just went away. The kids swore they never took it. It was just gone.

When Ili was looking through one of the cupboards last week, she found it in the back. No one knew how or when it moved there, it just was.

Today when we went in to take the kids to lunch, the key was not on the desk where it usually is, so I assumed that Ili had taken it. When asked by the cleaning ladies, neither of us had the key. The second key had disappeared. Kata opened the door this morning, and spent the entire morning with the kids. The key however, may or may not have been there the entire time. Who really knows.

Maybe my classroom is haunted by a key-loving ghost, who, when sick of the keys decides it is funny to return them.

I hope that is the case. It would make class time a lot more fun!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A walk through town

Today, Kata wanted to take the kids on a walk through town to look at the various buildings and signs.

I never realized that there was a library here in town. I really wish I could have taken a picture...It was like a dream room, I want one almost exactly like it when I have my own house.

I also got to see the post office. Not sure how much mail I will be sending out from here, but always good to know where I would have to go.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Creepy...and Fields of Ice cream

The weekend was amazing. Hitting up the massage place and the baths made a great combination! Bathing here is very specific. Tepid pool, 30 minutes, dry sauna, 10 minutes, ice cold water, 1 minute, very warm water, 30 minutes. Repeat as necessary. I do not think I will ever understand the whole hot sauna to the freezing water, but it is the experience that counts.

I got to see another side of Szolnok, and it was relaxing.

Then there was yet a third side to Szolnok I got to see.

The setting: Szolnok Train station, the fog has set in, very dark, lights are out.

Two girls arrive at the platform 40 minutes early, a train is sitting there. It is not the warmest weather outside, so they decide to enter. The lights are out and there is no one else around...

Suddenly, there is a lurch, the train has just moved slightly. Run to get off, confirm that it is the right train, and re-enter. Wait another 30 minutes. The lights switch on, but there is still the "scary movie" setting...

On to happier thought....well not really.

Where has all the ice cream gone? As of October 1st, all the ice cream stand and booths closed. Good luck finding ice cream. After being told several times that ice cream is not in season, we determined the following:

Russia has cut off the ice cream supply because the crops failed this year and so it was in high demand. You need a good connection to the black market to access good ice cream, and that is only if you are willing to pay the high price.

I can actually picture the colourful fields of ice cream, growing. Multicoloured flowers depending on the flavour. People walking down the rows harvesting the ice cream with their little ice cream scoops and putting them into the cooler bags, to ensure it makes it to the packing area.

Then, I had an epiphany. My dream job would be as ice cream harvester.