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

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I walked into school and noticed that all of the teachers were wearing fancy clothing, in black and white. I was confused. I asked Ili if there was a ceremony and she said no. The graduating students were having their photo taken today. I was supposed to be dressed nicely. Luckily, I could run home and change before the photo.

Later, as I was leaving class, the mayor of Máriapócs came up to me and gave me a bag. She told me that it was a birthday present. I was a little confused because it was Cseni's birthday, not mine, but she insisted it was for me. I love it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


My first week here I was warned not to go into the Kocsma's around town. They were for men and I should not go in there because I am a girl.

I kept to this advice for my local kocsma's, until today.

I was doing English with 7 girls, 12-14 years old and I was going to take them for ice cream. The cukraszda was closed. On our way to the store, Petra said it was cheaper in the kocsma across the road, so we went.

I took 7 girls into a bar, but they could only get ice cream.

My first time going into a Mariapocsi kocsma I was with 7 underage girls and I only had ice cream. Hm, that doesn't seem right.

"Hideg nincs csak szar ember"

"No cold, only weak men"

This quote aptly describes the pilgrimage. It was a really great time.

We left early on Friday, hit up a tiny town called Lompirt. The church there was decorated with the painted wooden tiles, beautiful. It was also the home of Ady Endre's ancestors. We got to see the house and the table where he wrote.

Next stop was the salt mines. Torda. Beatiful. The EU gave them over 5 million Euros to improve the site, and improve it they are. They are building many different attractions. Soon there will be a theatre, a ferris wheel, a lake to row boats and many other things. It is due to be finished in October so I hope to see it soon.

We made it to Korond late, but were still sucessful with out purchases. I bought 4 mugs and socks. I had to restrain myself from buying more.

Our homes at last. We had delicious soup and pork stuffed cabbage.

It was an early morning, the bus was leaving at 6 in order to make it to Csiksomlyo on time. They were expecting delay from the Romanians. We did make it to the site just over two hours before and proceeded to climb. It was quite the trek. I am not sure how long it was, but I would say that it was nearly 5kms up to the top. It was a nice walk, until it started to rain. Then it became even more fun in the mud. By the time the service started the field was filled with people, not to mention the people who were hiding out in the woods. There were probably about half a million people in that valley, celebrating that Protestantism and Zsigmond were defeated in 1567.

The walk down was a slow. It took a long time when we were all going up, but now, with everyone trying to leave at the same time, the paths were filled, people were trying to scale the hills and make it to the bottom safely. This was much harder than you think because it was now pouring rain. It took up about 2.5 hours to make it back to the bus and we were soaked. Despite the rain, I want to go back next year.

Sunday, we headed to the old border. A train filled with Hungarians was due to arrive between 11:30 and 12 and so the station was filled with people waiting to greet them. When it pulled into the station, the train was filled, all 13 passenger cars. It was the longest train I have seen so far. I could not even guess how many people got off the train. The sun came out so it was a much more pleasant day. We climbed up to the castle where there was a band playing. They were really good. I have to see if I can get any of their music.

On the way back we stopped at the big church in Csiksomlyo. There were still plenty of people around, but much less than on Saturday. We also stopped to see one of the churches in Csikszereda. It has a unique design. I really liked that there were the four angels on top looking down into the church.

Day four, time to return home, but we got to see many things along the way. We stopped in Szekelyudvarhely at the park. It was filled with Hungarian statue heads. Next was Farkaslaka. A small shopping site and the site of Tamasi Aron's tomb. I bought a shirt and some blueberry palinka. Yum!

Traffic was really bad. We eventually made it to Kolosvar and went on a tour of the town. We got to see the birthplace of King Matthias this time, but it was restricted access because it is part of the University. Continuing on our journey, we eventually made it to the border. On the way out and in I got a stamp from Hungary but nothing from Romania. It now seems like I just disappeared for 4 days. Making it home at just after 10 on Monday night, it was a really good trip. I want to go back to the pilgrimage next year but I was certainly glad to be back in my own house.

Sorry for the very long description. I had lots of fun and want to remember it!
Here are some photos:


Ady Endre's table

In the salt caves

Ferris wheel, inside the caves


The village that was flooded by Ceauşescu. The white line in the distance is the steeple of the church.

Scenery in Transylvania. a rarity of the trip, the sun!

Gypsy house.

A church in Csikszereda

Ili looking at the pictures, something she did almost the entire trip!

Pilgrims, Jamie and Ili