Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's Official: Spring is here!

Yup, I'm calling it. It's definitely Spring here in Hungary. I even changed the picture for my blog to put a splash of color on it, because that's what I'm seeing around here. The coming of Spring here has been so long-awaited for me, and I've never been so excited to see the seasons change. I think I know why: I am from Colorado. You see, in Colorado there is no easily identifiable change in seasons. It's not like you walk outside one day and say, "Yup, it's Spring". I've seen it snow in August and I've worn a t-shirt and flip-flops in January in Colorado. The weather is so unpredictable in Colorado that I never knew what it meant really to put all your winter clothes away for part of the year, and take them out for only a few months. Anyways, this is probably why I am so excited about Spring here. My little ones are excited too...the tights with flower patterns on them are emerging, I see people wearing lighter jackets (including myself...I FINALLY put the pea coat that I usually love, but lately love to hate on the hook for good). Yup, birds are chirping, the trees are budding, the sun is out, people are happy, I am DEFINITELY happy, and life is awesome. Pretty soon I will begin to wear flip-flops before the accepted Hungarian cut-off date of switching to open-toed shoes...therefore you might see another post with angry tones toward the old women staring at my feet soon.
  • Also, prepare yourself, Hungary! Mom and Pops arrive to Budapest one week from this very day. Excitement is building!

Monday, March 23, 2009

English Labels Gone Wild

This is what happens when you don't proofread the English on labels of items in classrooms...or maybe my school supports both Britain and the reefers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Hungarian 2nd graders are scared of...

Today in my 2nd grade classes, we talked about what we are scared of. Here are some of their answers. If you sit and ponder the fears of Hungarian children, this might be of interest to you...
  • Ghosts
  • Mean dogs and cats
  • Snakes
  • Aliens
  • Dying (to ask the word for it, most of them approached me and died on the spot...they had interesting causes of death)
  • Getting punched
  • No PSP
  • No TV
  • Water monsters (whatever that is)
  • Cat dying
  • Black clouds
  • Mommy and Daddy
  • The dark
  • Closet monsters
  • Angry Hanna
  • No stars...this goes along with Angry Hanna. Angry Hanna = No stars = One less step closer to 10 stars = No candy
  • No spaghetti
  • Burglars (also some good acting out on this one)
  • Global warming (David came and acted this out by saying "Earth...boys and girls are very hot...Earth BOOM! Bye bye!"...yea, amazing kid)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today Was A Good Day

Here's why:
  • I somehow put just the right amounts of milk and sweetener into my tea this morning. It tasted like perfection in a cup.
  • Arrived to school...had my Little Monsters 1st period. The biggest Little Monster, Marci, was not there today. Class was only moderately loud.
  • Akos, my little English phrasebook on legs, walked into class with sunglasses and a shirt that said "Future Rock Star". He greeted me with, "Hi, dude!"
  • Lunch today...csirke paprikas (chicken paprika)...my absolute favorite. We even had animal-shaped noodles, which my favorite colleague and I proceeded to play with while we ate. Double bonus!
  • All week it had been up in the air which lessons were actually happening this Friday, due to an activity planned for the kids...this morning I was informed I don't have to teach at all tomorrow. My weekend starts...now!
  • BECAUSE I don't have to teach tomorrow, I get to grab an earlier train to Kaposvar to hang with my partner in crime for the weekend. Believe me, a couple extra hours are worth more than you'd think!
  • I walked out of the school and I was standing on the street corner, waiting to cross...of course, the bus started coming around the corner. The light wasn't changing. At first I was like...Whatever. Life is good already. I'll wait. Suddenly, the light changed. I decided to see if I could sprint fast enough to make it...just for funsies. Made it! I rock.
  • Get to come home to flowers adorning my whole apartment, due to my lovely first grade boys, who gave them to me for Women's Day. Every time I look at them I imagine the sheepish smiles I got as they each handed them to me saying awkwardly "Happy...Women...Day". I had to take pictures, since they are so beautiful. And that, my friends, is, as my kids would say, Hanna's wery good day. Also, it's only 2:00pm :-)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Random Monday Thoughts...

Monday is always the longest day of the week for me. I'm out and about from about 7:15 in the AM and aside from a brief 15 minute block of time to come home and change out things, I don't get home until at least 7:30 in the PM. That's a long day. Because I am out for so long during the day, I also get to observe countless happenings in Budapest. These observations lead to many random thoughts and lots of analysis in my head. Here's a little view into the head of Hanna (scary, I know) with some of the random thoughts I've experienced on Mondays recently...
  • Every time I jaywalk across the street here, people look at me like I am a horrible criminal. Why? There are no cars coming within miles (ok, not MILES), yet there is hatred in their eyes. Oh, most of these people lived through a time where breaking simple rules meant you were not "working for the good of the whole" and your hands were cut off (ok, again an exaggeration). Therefore, Hungarians follow rules.
  • There are many homeless people in Budapest. How on earth do they not have homes, yet they somehow all have cell phones?
  • The woman who stands on the street and hands out advertisements between Oktogon and Coffee Heaven is there EVERY DAY at all hours of the day...I would think she would make a lot of money doing this so often, but if she's standing here ALL DAY handing out papers, she's obviously never out having fun with that money.
  • Coffee Heaven...this place is so commercial. I should be at some local cafe, enjoying a coffee that is at about half the price of this. Whatever, this is one of the few places in Budapest where I can a) enjoy a large cup of coffee, b) eat a dang good sandwich, c) get free wireless, and d) simultaneously hear 5 different languages being spoken within 10 feet of where I am sitting.
  • It always snows or rains on Mondays...the day I am outside most. Awesome.
  • If people are going to grafitti obscenities in English all over town, could they at least have the decency to use proper grammar instead of writing things like "F*&^ you're money" in huge, red letters on building for all to see? No sir, I am not money and please don't use that language around me.
Ok...that's just a little view of Mondays in the life of Hanna. Ok, get out of my head now... :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More on Indiana Jones....

So, remember the epic story of how Indiana Jones is a parent of one of my students? Well, I have a huge update friends...if you haven't read the beginning of this story, I would recommend reading it before continuing. Either way, the shock value of this story is still high. First of all, I received an update recently on the current occupation of the man who I thought was ACTUALLY Indiana Jones. I was informed that he is a hunter. How anyone makes this their daily occupation, let alone in Budapest, Hungary is beyond my comprehension. Anyways, today I walked into school a bit antzy because I had to substitute and take all 30 children in my 2b class...this class includes the four boys that make me want to tear my eyes out every time I have them. As I walked down the hall to their class, I noticed some of the boys in the class were playing "guns" in the hallway, and shooting with their fake finger-guns into the classroom. Naturally, I just thought, "Boys...", and turned to walk into the classroom where my horror of 2b was blown out of the water by what I saw. I turned to see the former Indiana Jones playing guns with the kids. But formerly being Indiana Jones, he did not use his silly fingers as guns. No, he was pointing a hunting rifle as big as me at all of the children and pretending to shoot. Now, this was a source of HUGE culture shock, because if this were to occur in America, chaos would ensue and the story would inevitably be all over national news. But in Hungary...it's a totally normal way to play. Shocked, I looked at the teacher who looked at me like "Awww, isn't it cute?" (nem, no ma'am, it is NOT). When he finished his pretend mutilation of all the 2nd graders in the classroom, he put his huge hunting rifle back into it's lovely velvet cover, tipped his hat, and said "Csokolom, visontlatasra", and was gone.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Sport of Statue Accosting 101:

People in the States have been led to believe that the most popular sport in Europe is soccer, but I've come to learn that the people of America are being deceived. Let me be your witness, friends...the sport of the day in Europe is not football...but Statue Accosting. What is this crazy debauchery, you ask? Well, it is exactly as it sounds...you find statues...and accost them. Example A: Now, there are some rules when it comes to playing this intense game. First of all, it is imperative that you spend a minute or two coming up with the best way to accost. As seen above, coming in from the front is not always the best approach, although it may seem to be. It can sometimes benefit the hilarity of the picture if you are to deceive the witnesses and go around. Also, if a statue is positioned in a way that you can get the most laughs out of the picture by making it completely and totally inappropriate, it might just be necessary to get the best score (no pun intended) and to just be inappropriate. You also get bonus points for every onlooker that you are able to offend in the process of accosting. This is also a sport where people who are tall have a possible advantage. Please note the challenges a short person might face, and compare it with that of a tall person below. The results are sad, but true. Example B: The last piece of information you might want to know before taking up the sport of Statue Accosting is to know your subject. For instance, it might benefit you BEFORE you hug a statue to know how many people the person the statue represents killed in his or her lifetime before becoming a statue... Example C: Due to the lack of statues to accost in the USA, the sport is not expected to take hold anytime soon...but I will keep you updated on any such activity occuring to the best of my knowledge...happy accosting!