For the past three weeks there have been bugs everywhere. They are huge, horrible looking things. The kids have gone crazy collecting them, putting them all over their clothes and playing with them. Translated, there are the "changing bugs." I was fine with there existence, an occurrence that only happens once every 4 years, according to Ili, until I was riding my bike on Saturday night.
The stupid little thing decided it wanted to fly right at me. It was dark, I was not wearing glasses and therefore I was hit in the eye. It was not a pleasant time. I want to step on everyone I see, but I refrain, because they are not all at fault. I still hate them!
A bucket full of them:
They are each about the size of a Cadbury creme egg. (You can tell what is on my mind)
Today was the finals for the story telling competition.
The kids did very well. Dezi and Zsofia placed first for first grade, Laci placed first for third grade. Kata was third for fourth grade. Albi placed first for second grade.
I was there just to watch, but ended up entertaining the kids, who wanted to walk up and down the halls. The older ones just wanted to play with my camera so I have a lot of random pictures.
I really enjoyed listening to them for the two hours, I just wish I understood more of what they were saying. I have decided to start reading Hungarian kids stories. I just hope I will be able to understand what is written.
Zsofia and her new glasses, which I think are really nice
Some kids from Mariapocs wanted to do a "family" picture. They said I was the mother. Wow. Anyway, from left to right: Roland, Karolina, Albi, Me, Reni, Szandi and Kata.
I messed around with the picture a bit, which is obvious. Me, Dezi, Albi's stomach and most of Zsofia
All the kids that competed. They came from all the villages around here.
Today, there was a story telling competition. "Túl az Óperencian" which Ili roughly translated as "Over the Ocean." I got to watch my kids, as well as kids from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades recite their stories.
This is when I realized how important memorization and recitation is here. The kids learn so many different things and are expected to be able to recite them at any time. I did not really understand much of what they were saying, but, I was so proud that they did so well.
At home, we do speech arts, but this does not begin until the 4th grade. It is similar, but I think there is more focus here on being able to speak in front of an audience.
This is an important skill that will help them later on. I have been told most exams are oral rather than written, so organizing your thoughts quickly in your head is important. I just wish I had the same preparation when I was a child.
I love potatoes. They are my favourite food. I look forward to mashed potato day at school and I could live off the potato, in any form other than scalloped.
I realized that I talk about potatoes a lot when Ili asked me if there are potatoes in Canada. She thought that I was so happy to eat potatoes here because there were none at home. I explained that as a kid we had them almost every meal, and I still love them.
This is me eating Jamie's potatoes in Kosice.
I look like I am giving her the evil eye, it was unintentional. I think I feared she would want them back.
Maybe not midweek, but it did feel good to have a break.
Monday afternoon I headed to Kisvarda. I needed to return some things to Margie and I have not had a lot of one-on-one time with her recently so I decided it would be nice to stay the night.
I met her at the train platform, met some students, ate some ice cream then headed off for dinner. We met up with Mike, another English teacher in Kisvarda and went for pizza. It was good, contrary to the opinion of one of Mike's students.
It was good to just sit there and talk. It started to get a little chilly so we headed back to Margie's house. We talked about many things, but too soon, it was time to get ready for bed.
I had an early train to catch, but that was no problem because I was ready at 6am. We ate some fruit for breakfast. Something I should do more often now that there is some widely available. I decided to head into Nyirbator and do some shopping before heading back home. I met up with Ili and we bought some groceries and then went back to her house and talked about some more random things, Mark being a topic we discuss a lot. Too soon it was time to head off to school.
These days gave me the opportunity to practice the future tense. Something I learned just yesterday.
En fogok Te fogsz O fog Mi fogunk Ti fogtok Ok fognok
Friday afternoons, as I have mentioned are crazy. This one was no exception.
Sitting outside enjoying the not as nice weather, I got hit in the face by a soccer ball. The boys didn't mean it, it just happened. I couldn't be mad, so I just brushed it off. I was just happy I was looking to the side or I would have broken my nose.
Saturday I was wrangled into taking a group into Nyiregyhaza for an expo sort of thing. It was the aerobics team. We arrived at a large gym complex and everyone got ready. They went on, did an amazing job and then had the day free to explore. Andi was teaching a lesson later on, but we were able to head outside and look at the displays.
There was a climbing wall outside. I sized it up for a good 30 minutes, but too soon, it was time to go in for Andi's lesson. After my attempts at following the whole routine, I soon gave up for a rest.
Heading back to the wall, I eventually did go up, making it all the way to the top!
Things were still in full swing, but the girls were getting a little restless. We took the group over to the Korzo, which was having a birthday party. There was a little carnival set up and fashion shows going on. I tried to follow as much as I could, but most of it was a Q and A about the different stores.
On the way back, the girls saw some "celebrities." Singers from a Hungarian Idol-ish show were there and they all went to get pictures and autographs.
We eventually made it back, sat through a 50 minute awards ceremony and then headed home.
It was a good few days, not what I planned, but still a good time. For the most part at least. Getting hit in the face is never fun.
That is the best reason. It works for everything. I have said it countless times to explain things. I was just surprised when I heard it from a Hungarian.
Going over days for the next two weeks, Sanyi said that plans are not what he said they were two weeks ago. I was just trying to figure out why things changed when he was so sure about the plans. I guess I had a confused look on my face. Edit, the other English teacher at the school was standing there listening to Sanyi talk to Ili. She just turned to me and said, "This is Hungary."
I guess I really never know what to expect, from anyone.
This being Easter break, Easter had to be spent somewhere. It was a good choice to spend it in Krakow. Once again I am trying to think of what to talk about. The break-dancers in the square. Finding the perfect picture. Stuffing myself with perogies at the market. Going into the Castle. Riding the bus back from Auschwitz with a Spaniard sitting on my shoulder. There are so many more random moments, too many to list.
I loved it so much. I really want to go back. The 10.5 hour night train ride back was worth it. I am just sad that I didn't have more time.
Fried cheese. Beer. Perogies. Beautiful. The most appropriate words I can think of to describe this places.
Bratislava. Walking through the city, going to the castle, eating ice cream. It was a city of random statues. Made things a little more fun. Not much could be better.
Brno. I would say that this place was even prettier than Bratislava. The castle was very different. The prison definitely had a creepy feel to it. The weather was gorgeous which helped to create a lasting impression on me.
I know this isn't much description. I just don't want to get too bogged down in detail.
I am home. It was a great adventure. I have many more stories to tell, but they will have to be for another day. I am a little too tired now. I will post a few pictures now. The rest will have to wait.
Today, as I sit and think about packing, I feel like I am actually leaving my home. It is only for a short week, but I will still miss being here. I feel like I belong here and I don't want to leave. Ever.
I have been here for just over 7 months and I feel like I never want to leave. It doesn't even strike me that it is Easter and I am not going to be with family. I have a new family. We may not always understand each other, but the feelings are there.
Ili told me today, when I go home, I will always have a home in Hungary.
Kata asked what I am going to do after my second year here.
48 hours from now I will be on my way to Bratislava. What have I done to get ready?
I am not sure why I don't want to pack, I do want to travel, I just don't want to think about what goes in and what stays out.
If I leave it to the last minute, I know I will forget something. It is only 6 days, but I always forget something important when I don't focus on packing.
Sometime tomorrow, I will force myself to arrange things that I can throw into my bag on Wednesday. Luckily, Sanyi cancelled school on Wednesday so I don't have to worry about missing the train to Budapest, but I have a feeling that something will go wrong.
For a relaxing time, head to a thermal bath. They are quite the hot spot at any time, but just be sure you know what they are good for. The different mix of chemicals are all good for different ailments.
Jamie and I decided to hit up Hajduszoboszlo for a quiet weekend before Easter break. We got there early in the morning, well 11, because of the travel time and grabbed the bus into town. Sitting in the baths for extended periods of time without consuming food can be dangerous, so we had some lunch beforehand. It was finom!
Getting to the bath complex, we paid, changed and followed the halls to the pools. There were 9 pools that were open and at least three that I saw that were drained. We tried almost every single pool and just relaxed. It was quite the feeling just to sit there and not have to really do much.
After spending about 3 hours there we decided it was soon time to head home, but with a stop for ice cream first. I had Kinder, Venetian dream and Cherry. They were good, the Venetian dream had little orange chunks in it which was a little odd, but still delicious. We soon had to part ways again, remembering that we will see each other in 3 days when we meet in Budapest to head off to Bratislava.
I got home, saw that my Cukraszda was still open and headed over for some more ice cream. There was NONE left. I left with chocolate cake and chocolate turo cake instead. They were yummy.
I am procrastinating right now. I know I have to pack but I don't want to. I made bunny ears intstead, for the kids, Ili, Andi and myself.
This is what happened when I tried to return the shovel I borrowed to Kata.
I tried to go over earlier in the day, before I went to Nyirgyulaj to visit Andi. I tried to open the gate, but it wouldn't open so I went home. I played with the dogs some more, of course.
After getting back from Nyirgyulaj, on bike, I quickly changed and brought the shovel and rake back out. I walked to the end of the path where Kata, a different one, and one of the cleaning ladies at our school, was walking. She told me to put down the rake and shovel and follow her. She literally lives right across from me, right beside the Cukraszda. She is telling me about her son, a 24 year old who just sleeps at the house and leaves when the sun begins to shine through the window. She then moved on to talking about her daughter. She is 27, got married last year and now lives in Budapest. I saw the wedding album and there were some really cool photos in it. I was there about a half an hour, already detoured from my original goal, and told her I really had to return the shovel and rake. She made a point of showing me that looking through her window, you look directly at my house and she told me she watched me dig my garden. A little creepy, but sure, why not.
I went back and grabbed the two and then began the trek across the road. Kata also lives right across the road, but the different road, she lives beside the school. I tried the gate again. It didn't want to open again and Wanda, their dog was going crazy with me at the gate. I tried to go through the school yard, as her backyard looks onto the yard, but no luck. I tried the gate again, and lo and behold! It opened. I felt a little dumb for it not working until now, but oh well. I knock on the door and Laci answers, her husband. Kata comes running over and tells me to come in because she had just made some suti! I am not allowed to leave without taking some fresh apple cake. She begins to pack up some toltott kaposzta too, without me noticing until she asks if I have any sour cream at home. I do. Any bread. I do. I am sent off again. I am almost out when Laci beckons me to come back. He is going down into a cellar type thing, hard to describe, but think bomb-shelter-esque. He comes back with three apples. I say sure 3 is good. No. I escape with 6 apples.
All this, because I wanted to return a shovel and rake.
Today was an amazing. The weather was well above 20. There was no cloud in the sky. The moon was visible, even at 1pm.
After teaching in the morning, I spent 2 hours outside playing with all the kids. I just wanted to be out in the sun. When I did go home, I spent the next hour and a half playing with Krumpli and Palacsinta in the yard. I think I have started the training of Palacsinta, he sits when I say sit. Lie down is not as easy, but we will work on it.
I can already see the beginning of a tan on my arms. Soon I wont be super pale!
The past week I have been trying to think of the perfect names for the puppies next door. I wasn't sure if I should use English names or stick with Hungarian ones.
I decided that when I have a dog I will call him Palacsinta. I think this would be the perfect time to try it out. When I mentioned it to Ili, she said you can't name a dog that, and I said why not? I decided on the dark brown one, he was definitely a Palacsinta.
It took me forever to think of an appropriate name for the other one. When i was playing with him today, the name came to me. He is now Krumpli.
For those who don't know Hungarian the dogs are now Palacsinta (crepe) and Krumpli (potato). I think they are perfect, and unique.