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.