Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?

We are in the throes of Spirit Week (not to be confused with the recent Spiritual Emphasis Week) leading up to our big, multi-national basketball tournament this weekend. Go Bulldogs! This means that our days of classes have the added benefit of functioning around hilarious and conspicuous costumes for dress-up days, meetings to plan class cheers, decorations, competitions, explanations for my confused ELL students, and general revelry.

In addition to these fun times at school, the book club for many ladies in the area met tonight in Diosd. I led the discussion on Elizabeth Gaskell's Victorian novel, North and South. I was fascinated by this book, and we all had some great comments. The sum total of my day, though, included 14 hours at work, because it was 10 o'clock before I walked in the door of my flat. Jaj.

Such is life these days. I'm pleased to be a part of the many exciting and significant things happening in students' hearts here at school. All the opportunities are good. But I'm pretty tired, and I'll keep praying for another English teacher to join our team here at ICSB.
Now, it's a little after 11. I've got to head out at 6:15 in the morning, so it's time to go to bed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



That's right; what looks like a greeting in the English language is actually used while parting in Hungary. When I first moved to Budapest in April of 2008, my brain could hardly adjust to this would-be lingual contradiction. Since then, though, the usage of the Hungarian "hello" has changed. More and more, people will say "hello" to mean, well, hello. Gone is the singular "goodbye" translation. The word fits somewhere between the casual "szia" (hi) and quite formal "Jó napot kívánok" (I wish you good day).
People in my apartment building use "hello" most when greeting me on the stairs, perhaps because they can't tell if the person bundled in hat, scarf, mittens, and tights is a teen who would not require a polite greeting or a woman who would. And so this word that seemed so strange to my ear because it was almost English is now commonplace.
Such is the case with many parts of life here in Hungary. The cars parked on sidewalks, people staring on public transportation, grocery stores without bags, paying of all bills at the post office, or ubiquitious white Hungarian cheese that seems to take on the flavor of whatever dish it is in once struck me as odd. Now, they are just commonplace. In fact, I had to sit and think for a moment to remember things that were once odd to me.
I don't have life here mastered, of course. Knowing little of the language is still quite a barrier. But many things that were once intimidating, strange, or frustrating don't even catch my attention now. My, what a difference TWO YEARS make. I'm thankful for the semblance of normalcy, of feeling natural here. Life is still quite the adventure. There are always new challenges. But hello now means hello, and I can get the hang of that.