Friday, November 18, 2011

You know you are an international school when

The hallways are quiet this Friday morning. The record-high enrollment of the year seems a fantasy. Most desks sit empty in the high school wing. 

No, the bus drivers haven't gone on strike again. We've been spared serious bouts of sickness so far. Today is not a national holiday. Why the dramatically low attendance at ICSB?

In this case, kids are missing because "I" stands for International. For a small, international school like ours, sporting opponents are hard to come by. Clusters of schools form quick and busy tournaments so that more teams will come and play.  An away game is away. The girls' volleyball teams along with coaches, parents, and siblings are driving 5 hours west to Salzburg, Austria for a Friday-Saturday tournament.

Because we are an international community and many of us long for rare English-language events, another huge group of students and staff has driven eastward to the city of Debrecen, Hungary. The draw this time is a seminar and concert led by Hillsong Australia and Darlene Zschech.

All this travel sounds glamorous.  In reality, driving to Salzburg from here is not unlike my drive from Dallas to Little Rock last weekend (for my brother's wedding). The trip to Debrecen compares to the Chicago day-trips of my childhood. Fun, but no big deal. Such is the nature of an international school in the heart of Europe.

I'll tell you, though, that just like the village-view out my classroom window, the ordinary and day-to-day of life here is still pretty special.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Facing the Tanks

October 23 is a national holiday in Hungary as we commemorate the revolution of 1956 that began on that day. The rest of the story is that on November 4, 1956, more than 2000 Soviet tanks rolled though the streets of Budapest, firing into crowds of citizens, shattering the structures of buildings, and subduing the revolution.

But the national Hungarian heart had been stirred, and revolution would one day succeed. During that time, Hungary would become a gateway for East Germans, Hungarians, and others from behind the Iron Curtain to freedom. For more of that story, I recommend that you read James Michener's book, The Bridge at Andau.

Happy November 4th, everyone!

Thanks to Dr. Gabor Gyori for the photo and reminder.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On the street where you live

This past weekend, Budapest glowed with autumn sunlight. Walking down my street, I noticed how--in the right light--common scenes were especially beautiful. These moments prompt me to talk to God about how thankful I am for this life and how concerned I am for the dear people of this city. Join with me as I pray not only for my school out in the village but also for the city where I live.
Trams crammed with people
The elderly visit this pharmacy a lot

This square, Kosztolányi Dezső ter, is serene. Many homeless persons rest on the benches.

Sirens wail as emergency vehicles rush down Bocskai street to (often) limited medical facilities.
A tension exists between accepting traditions, styles, (Starbucks) and values from beyond our borders
and maintaining a rich heritage.
Budapest's municipal government has high hopes for public transportation expansion
and a growing economy, but the reality is not quite so rosy.

Thanks for walking and praying down my street. You are welcome to join me in person anytime!
 Just buzz #31.