Monday, February 26, 2007

blast from the past

Nik, Stace, Al, and anyone else who might be interested: Scroll down all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the mp3 player. It's the four of us as college roommates singing back in 1998! In case you weren't around for our illustrious career (ha!), Nik played guitar and sang melody with Stacey, while Allyson took the high harmony and I took the low. Fun stuff. Thanks to Geoff for sending it. and girls -- I love and miss you! Wish I could be there for the wedding this weekend!

While you're there, notice the counter -- I realized I'm getting close to 10,000 page loads! Will it be you???? :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I love my life.


Sometimes I can't believe this is the life that God has called me to.

Case in point -- this weekend I needed to leave Hungary for visa purposes, so Austin and I rounded up Heather, Jonathan W, and Whittington, and off we went to Vienna for the night! At the risk of sounded like a MasterCard commercial, let me just say that we rented a car (Heather and I drove to Vienna and back!), ate a nice dinner, got coffee at Starbucks, and each spent about $30, plus gas. How is this possible, you ask? Chalk it up to the miracle of friends and amazing hospitality. First of all, one of the men in our mission directed us to a local man who rents cars pretty cheaply, and even gave us a 10% discount. He runs everything out of his house, where his wife baked us dessert and made us coffee! Such a sweet man. Then, Austin emailed some friends of ours that we met over the summer for our training who are now teaching in Vienna. They took us out, gave us a personalized tour of the city, and put us up for the night. Here are some pictures....

This is from the restaurant we went to -- where the pork chops and wiener schnitzel literally come on a sword! Beside me are Kristin and Rachel, teachers at the Christian school in Vienna.
and naturally, Jonathan and Austin really enjoyed the sword, complete with ketchup 'blood.'

outside the Opera House

So this isn't the greatest photography, but I love how Jonathan looks vaguely demonic. Plus, you can see the Rathaus behind the rink. This was such a cool place, and it was fun to watch Heather leave everybody behind when they raced...

A great trip, lots of great people...yep, life is good.

Monday, February 19, 2007

more pics

These are from Fisherman's Bastion and St. Matyas Church....beautiful!

long overdue pics...

Today's a workday, and I have a few minutes before our meeting, so I thought I'd share some recent pics.

This is quite possibly the worst group picture ever taken -- we all look terrible! It makes me laugh every time I see it. Remember folks: ALWAYS warn people before you take a picture! Valentine's night at the quarry: me, Heather, Emma, Sara, Allison, Jonathan W., Austin
So they don't hate me too much, here's a cute picture: Whittington, Allison, and Sara.

This is from our balcony during the last (and pretty much only) snow we had.
Valentine's at the Greek restaurant: Lisa A, Hannah, me

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love Day wrap-up

Valentine's was full of positive things, such as some cute Valentines, an excellent meal at the local Greek restaurant, and a student's gift of string cheese. You might think this is odd, but I love string cheese, and the Hungarian version is less than satisfactory. Liz's mother had brought back some from the US, so I got to indulge a little. To me, that was love!

I also had a lot of positive affirmation about my teaching, which is always wonderful -- especially around February when I just don't care anymore. Really, I miss block schedule. a lot.

The highlight would have to be our surprise excursion. Austin and Jonathan W. took some of the single girls to our local rock quarry to thank us for the many meals we've cooked for them. When we got there, they had a fire going --with smores! and guitar music! (well, until we broke a string. oops.) It was a lot of fun and a nice break from the norm... although getting up to come to work this morning was twice as hard as normal. I am so looking forward to this weekend to get some sleep... and Monday is a workday! WooHoo!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

retro lovin'

I had almost forgotten the California Raisins, but I saw this and it came flooding back! Enjoy your Love Day...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

thinking ahead

I'm inching toward a pretty big decision! Heather and I have been toying with the idea of moving further into Budapest for a while, and last night we met with two teachers who have done that to talk over the pros and cons. While it may be a little more expensive, and a little more of a commute, both of us left dinner really excited about the possibility. So today during study hall I spent some time looking at apartments in the main parts of town. I think we can swing it. Apartments really are pretty cheap here -- and they're furnished! It will be nice to be closer to everything going on -- and not have to wait forever for public transportation to get back into Diosd. Case in point: last night we left our apt. to go downtown at 6. Because of the bus schedule (and a very late bus!) it took us almost an hour to get there. Keep in mind that by car this takes about 15 minutes. On the way back from the restaurant around 9:30, we narrowly missed getting the volanbusz back to Diosd. We had to wait another hour for the next bus, which meant that instead of getting home at 10:15, we got home after 11. and I still had work to do.

It will be so nice to live in a place where buses or trams run regularly and there are restaurants and cafes nearby! If everything works out, we'll get a place at the end of the school year -- so when you come to visit, you won't need to get a hotel to experience the city!

also exciting -- the cute little restaurant we went to had pretty cheap Hungarian food, and I finally experienced stuffed cabbage. It's pretty tasty, but I was a little surprised to see that it came with a side of fatback. Yep, fatback. I thought that was just for good ol' Southern cookin'!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


It's so helpful to have highly extroverted friends! Today after church I was just hanging around the lobby talking when Austin ran over to us and announced that we were going out to eat with some Hungarians. He apparently just started talking to the people in front of us, and they invited us out to eat. We went to this really cool restaurant (and even cooler, the owner goes to our church and gave us a 30% discount!). I love it whenever I can actually communicate with Hungarians, and these guys spoke English really well. They tried to help us with our horrible pronunciation, and we laughed and talked and ate for a couple of hours. So I didn't exactly get a lot of work done today, but it was well worth it to make some new friends at church. Plus one of the guys is a salsa instructor, so I think we're going to try to take some classes! I know -- you're trying to hold back the laughter picturing me dancing the salsa. Go ahead; it makes me laugh too! but I think it will be fun -- as long as I don't kill myself. I've been hobbling around all weekend, but I believe my limp is a little less noticeable now, and I'm not quite so slow. How did I get so accident-prone????

Just finished reading Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, who was killed in the Holocaust midway through writing it. The manuscripts of the first part were just published last year. It's so good; I highly recommend it. It also made me more aware of all the talent and knowledge that was lost during that time period. We're reading Night right now in my Sophomore class, so it's all hitting home -- especially since they mention Budapest so often in the book.

Spiritual Emphasis Week was really great. The speaker, Don Stubbs, was interesting and genuine, and the kids were honest and open in return. He challenged them to take ownership of the school and rise up in leadership, and they responded to that. I got a lot out of it as well; a lot of what he spoke about was what I've been reading and praying about lately. I've been struck lately by what it means to have Christ dwell in us, to be identified with Him. Funny, that's a pretty basic principle of Christianity, and only now do I feel like I'm starting to grasp it! I also realized that this week marked 16 years (I think!) since my baptism. Who would have thought back then that now I'd be in Hungary? Weird.

Progress reports are due this week -- time to enter some grades!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


So it wasn't the most exciting basketball game ever, nor was it especially well-played by either team. Still, seeing UNC win at Cameron (as well as seeing that freshmen ruin his consecutive free throws streak! and that obnoxious sophomore cry after his fourth foul!) made it worth the lack of sleep I'm now facing. That, and large quantities of both coffee and Mountain Dew.

They do not help with my most recent injury, though. It's not as embarassing as the Lollipop Guild sprain, but it's close... so last night, the single teachers got together for Austin's Southern Style Spaghetti, followed by the guys playing basketball. Heather and I felt a little guilty for watching them work while we ate our carton of ice cream, so we hit the other end of the court to shoot around. I was just casually shooting the ball and turned to chase down a bad shot when all of a sudden it felt like my calf muscle detached itself from the rest of my leg. I definitely yelled out something not-so-missionary-like as I hit the floor. oops. As a result, I am once again hobbling down the street and up multiple flights of stairs. sigh. You know, it wouldn't have been quite as bad if not for my stupid pride. I mean, really -- the guys were really playing. I was basically just standing there. I felt like such a loser.

Oh well. I can handle being a loser if I get to gloat over the Dook fans today -- even if I have to do it on crutches!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

super bowl festivities

So I made it until about noon yesterday before I found out who won the Super Bowl. stupid internet... but it was still fun to watch the game. Now, I'm not really a football fan, but it was weird to know that that was the only football game I saw all season. strange.

but not as strange as the pizza crust we attempted to make last night. The deal was that Austin and Jonathan W. would host at their place if the girls brought food, so Heather and I decided to try out the bag of specialty pizza flour. Then we found that all the directions were in Hungarian. Now, we could figure out the ingredients pretty well -- but the amounts? questionable. and the actual preparation? impossible. It was edible and even complimented, but it just frustrated us. Why does almost everything we try to cook with yeast in it take a bajillion hours? and never rise? and stay doughy and dense in the middle? So you cooks out there -- what are we doing wrong?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

an excellent --and productive! -- weekend

Those aren't words that are often used together in describing my weekends... but this time, I think it's true. I came to school on Saturday AND Sunday to get work done, and I even skipped the postchurch nap. I went for a long walk, washed several loads of clothes, went grocery shopping, and still had time to eat at a Hungarian restaurant, hit up an Irish pub, and hang out with the other teachers.

Sadly, I still have a lot of work to do! I'm trying to double up so that we can have a Super Bowl party Monday night -- yes, Monday. We weren't crazy about watching a game at 3 a.m. tonight --although that is exactly what I plan on doing Wednesday to watch Carolina play Dook! Hopefully the travesty that was the State game will give the Heels added fuel to trounce them. Seriously -- I didn't see the State game. What in the world? sigh.

This week is special at the school, as it is Spiritual Emphasis Week. I'm kind of excited about it; they have a speaker flying in from Chicago, and we'll have daily chapel. It's really fun to see the students take charge, play the music, and lead prayer and Bible study. Last week, for instance, they decided to focus on worship in a different way. The entire chapel session was free for students to visit different stations and worship as they chose. There was one with art, one with music, and a special room for quiet prayer and meditation. They also had scripture in all the different languages for students to read and meditate upon. It was great to see students with that much freedom to worship and see how meaningful it was to them. I love that the atmosphere here isn't controlling and rigid, but rather stimulating and encouraging.

Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am to be here? even when I'm a little homesick, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. Now if I could just transport you guys back home here, life would be pretty perfect!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

carolina blue sky

again, what is going on with the weather??? Is this really February?

I've decided that all this beautiful sun and sky comes at a cost -- a horrible, hurricane-force wind that tunnels directly down the street I walk down a hundred times a day. Today I literally almost fell over. I'm almost ready for a trade back to the depressing fog. It's gloomy, but at least I don't risk having my laptop fly away...

My kids are testing today, so I have some time to update on some things before I have to start grading them. sigh. I hate grading. and there is no scantron machine here!

so I'm having a meeting in the next couple of days about the visa stuff, but I'm thinking it looks more likely that Austin and I can just mail our passports back to the States, since we were fortunate enough to get duplicates before we came. WooHoo! That would save so much stress, particularly since we're getting started on the Dreaded Senior Thesis Paper (cue the Jaws theme, Darth Vader march, or something similarly sinister).

ELL is going well, and so is my tutoring of Marton and Zsuzsa. Marton's birthday was yesterday, so I gave him some of my peanut butter! I'm really curious to see what he thinks about it, since they definitely don't have it here.

So Heather invited Austin and Jonathan W over for dinner last night, which led to some interesting cooking problems. like when I realized we were out of flour, so I walked all the way down to CBA to buy some (40 cents for a bag!). Then I got back and realized I was out of baking powder. oops. but everything went ok -- we're starting to really get this cooking from scratch thing down! well, we can fake it, at least :)

and my kids today showed me a website that streams sitcoms! The Wonder Years! The Office! Mystery Science Theater!!!!! Sure, it's probably illegal, but until it's shut down, I'll be singing along to my favorite theme songs. "In West Philadelphia, born and raised...." Ah, all is right with the world.