Tuesday, July 31, 2007

on my way...

to Lake Balaton! I leave tomorrow and will stay with a Hungarian family I met through my ELL class this year. should be fun! I'm kind of grateful to be going to a lake, even if it isn't the same one where all of my "family" is. It'll be a good way to end my summer -- and when I come back, I'll be in my new house!

I'm so excited. I stopped by a few days ago, and they had more furniture in! Whenever I get the internet hooked up in the new place, I'll upload some pictures!

Right now I'm staying with the Kliewer family. I'm getting a taste of motherhood by staying with four kids ranging from 6 to 15 while their parents are celebrating their anniversary in Prague. They're good kids, and most of it has been fun. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to my parents for a) spilling things all over freshly cleaned floors b) arguing over bathing and/or bedtime c) being a sore loser at board games. All of you parents out there -- how do you DO this? :)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kerr Lake

For those of you unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this location, let's just say it's an annual tradition in our extended family. I equate it with those other important events like Christmas and UNC beating Duke (wait, everyone doesn't celebrate that? Heathens).

and this week, for the first time ever, I'll miss it. sad.
So, since half of my blog readers will be camping this week, consider this your send-off. Visit the Freeze Maid Dairy Bar for me. and stay up all night at least once talking by the fire. And Kathy and Karen, I entrust the future of The Project to you! Don't let it die! :)

I'll be thinking about you guys.

Friday, July 27, 2007

prepare for a statement bordering on blasphemy...

I think I may love Lake Balaton more than the beach.

I know. I know. It's almost un-American. but Lake Balaton is amazing. Heidi and I decided to drive up for the day and visit the small town of Tihany. Beautiful day, grass instead of sand, no crowds, cold water, and Old European charm.

I'm going back next week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

wonder of wonders...

last night while walking home I actually got cold. We're talking goosebumps and shivers. I never thought I'd be so grateful to be cold.

and just so you know I didn't exaggerate... (because you know how much English teachers love hyperbole!)
bbc link

Crazy. It's just an estimate, but still!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm both proud and slightly embarassed by this....

Heidi gave in to temptation and bought the last Harry Potter book after church Sunday. We took turns reading it, and now we've both finished it. 600+ pages each. in two days.

We're such nerds!

but it was worth it. a great ending to the series.

AND the temperature has finally dropped! although I must say your suggestions cracked me up. the lake! and Scotland! oh, the memories. I laughed so hard. love you guys.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

ways to stay cool in the Budapest heat wave

  • Pull all of the shades and close all windows. PRO: no longer is there blinding heat and sunshine pouring into the room! CON: the apartment now resembles a small stuffy cave VERDICT: somewhat worthwhile, if used in conjunction with other methods
  • Try to nap until it all just goes away. PRO: the ability to dream about igloos, snow storms, avalanches CON: Dreams are more likely to be about wandering lost in the desert, and you wake to find yourself sweaty in a dark cave. VERDICT: sleep is almost impossible. Next.
  • Eat nothing but lemon sorbet. PRO: it's tasty and cold! CON: Man cannot live on sorbet alone. VERDICT: Well, it's always good to have a frozen treat, but the benefits are short-lived.
  • ride around in your air conditioned car. PRO: yay for cool air! CONs: the 10 minute walk to the car in the blistering heat, the inferno when you first open the car door, the ridiculous prices ($6.94 a gallon today. really.) VERDICT: not worth it.
  • wander around the air conditioned mall. PRO: somewhat cooler air CONs: the temptation to spend money on unnecessary items, being part of the mobs of people doing exactly the same thing. VERDICT: not worth it. plus, we heard all of the frozen food at Tesco melted, because it's all gone. bad sign.
  • freeze your water bottles. PRO: icy cold goodness! CONs: the coolness only lasts for about 10 minutes. and Heidi pointed out there isn't even condensation anymore. VERDICT: worthwhile, if you're willing to have a constant rotation of 10 bottles in the freezer at any given time.
  • Put the fan behind your frozen water bottle. PRO: it made us laugh at the sheer ridiculousness CON: didn't help at all, and the ice melted within minutes VERDICT: utter futility -- unless you desperately need comic relief.
  • Put a cold wet towel over your fan. PRO: it's better than the water bottle CON: it still doesn't work. VERDICT: It's a good way to dry your towels.
  • Freeze your cold wet towels and place them on your heads. OK, we haven't really tried this one ...yet...
Anyone have better ideas? Please....we're desperate!

Friday, July 20, 2007

How hot IS it???? part two

It's SO hot that on Bartok Bela, the road I live beside, they actually had to stop the trams today. Why? because the asphalt was melting.

I feel like I'm spending far too much time on the heat, but really I can't think about much else. Today on our way to lunch (in air-conditioning!), we passed an outdoor thermometer. It read 43 degrees Celsius. in the shade. According to onlineconversions.com, this is equivalent to 109.4 degrees. in the freakin' shade.

I am pretty proud of myself, though, because in spite of the intense heat sapping my life away, I still managed a 97 on my final exam in Hungarian today! Class is done, and I'd say I can now understand about 6% of what's going on around, as opposed to the 3% I knew before :) Hey, it's a start.

I'm going to go take a freezing cold shower. I never thought I'd look forward to that...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How hot IS it????

It's SO hot ... that the slices of Trappista cheese I took out of the refrigerator melted together before I could eat them. Seriously.

On the bright side, my voice is back -- although I sound kind of like Amy Winehouse. or somebody that smokes four packs a day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I really miss air-conditioning.

It's currently 6:30 here in Budapest -- and the temperature is still 100 degrees. 100! with no air-conditioning! and it's supposed to be 104 for the next two days. Seriously, we are in the middle of a record-breaking heatwave. They're giving all of the animals at the zoo icy treats. which just makes me want ice cream, except that would involve going out into the sun again!

You know, it really is an inconvenient time to have throat problems, since I never in my life have wanted hot tea any less than I do right now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

not a good morning.

So at some point Sunday I came down with a miserable cold that completely robbed me of the ability to talk. I skipped Hungarian class yesterday and just slept all day (although like a good student I called and got my homework assignment! I practice what I preach!).

I still can't talk today, but I don't feel feverish or anything, so I decided to at least go and listen. I got up, got dressed, and went outside -- only to have my cheap copy of the key get stuck in the door.

It's not the first time this has happened. I believe it's the fourth. However, it is the first time this has happened when the other people who live here are not in the apartment. or even in Hungary.

So there I sat on the doorstep, coughing and sweltering in the ridiculous heat, which is supposed to reach over 100 today and already feels like it. I tried to remove that stupid key for at least 20 minutes. No dice.

I pulled out my phone to call someone, when I suddenly realized a) almost all of my friends aren't currently in the country b) I can't speak anyway!

I debated asking the neighbor for help, but I realized a) I have no clue how to say that b) I can't speak anyway! I decided standing on his doorstep at 8 in the morning coughing and whispering in a language I don't speak or understand wasn't exactly the best way to build relationships.

Fortunately, about that time, he came out for his morning smoke. Thank God for Sandor. and while I'm usually not a fan of smoking, I was pretty darn pleased that he chose to endanger his health today. He tried the same jiggling/ yanking combination that had failed me, and then he went for the tools. Yes, my neighbor broke into my apartment!

It was an interesting process, especially since it drew a couple of little old ladies who wanted to watch the fun. And all I could do was croak "I'm sorry! Thank you very much!"

So I'm taking this as a sign not to go to class again today, but to stay home and sleep instead!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Your Hungarian history lesson

I was on YouTube looking for something entirely different when I stumbled upon this. It's a little long, but the first few minutes are definitely worth it. It's footage from the failed revolution against the Communist government in 1956. Basically, the Hungarian people put up such an unexpectedly strong fight that the Russians agreed to leave peacefully-- then additional forces came back in the middle of the night to completely destroy the city. Sad.

In other, less note-worthy news, my sore throat of this morning has turned into laryngitis. That means Hungarian class should be really fun tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

nem jo beszelek magyarul!

Hungarian is such a strange language for English speakers. For instance, when asking yes/no questions, you have to raise the intonation on the second to last syllable. Not the last. the next to last. It's like saying: Can I borrow your dictionary? I cannot do this for the life of me. Also, Heidi says Hungarian is much like Yoda-speak. Agree I do. Here are literal translations of some sentences from my class today:
  • The car a helicopter below is.
  • This the old man in the hospital is (not to be confused with This the man in the hospital old is, which has an entirely different connotation).
  • These the tall (plural form) trees (plural form).
I'm such a nerd to actually enjoy this.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

things I love about Budapest

  • the weather. well, sometimes. but today it's perfect! so I decided to spend the way at Margit Island with my Bible, my journal, and a Harry Potter book (yes, I finally succumbed! good summer reading, I have to say). I was also in a prime position to watch
  • the people. I absolutely love to watch people. Today was particularly good, as I was surrounded by slightly lost tourists, kids playing soccer, guys practicing some really cool martial arts moves, little old ladies chatting away, and an old guy in a flesh-colored speedo. OK, that one terrified me a little and forced me to avert my eyes -- but the rest were fascinating to watch!
  • public transportation. I'm car-sitting for a missionary family over the summer, which is exciting -- except for when I drive in Budapest. It's kind of nightmarish with a car of this size. For instance, on Thursday I drove around the street where I live for at least 45 minutes trying to find a place to park. I ended up with a space I created 4 blocks away, and had to walk back late at night to move it so I wouldn't get ticketed in the morning. yikes. but public is always reliable! In fact, when I walk out of my apartment building, I am at the 6 Tram stop, which will take me all over the city. Praise Jesus.
  • big city convenience. I love Diosd, but after living in a place where there are no places to buy food aside from the convenience store, it's great to live in a place where I can walk to cheap and tasty Chinese, Turkish, Greek, American, or Hungarian. By far, though, the most exciting convenience is that I just ordered sushi to be delivered to my door. A full meal, plus delivery and tip, for well under 10 dollars.
All of these things, however, do not add up to my absolute favorite thing about Hungary -- my friends! So guys -- I know you're living it up in the Land of Plenty, but come back soon! I miss you.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Boldog Belated Szabadsag Napot!

I think that sort of means Happy Independence Day... as you can imagine, there wasn't exactly a huge celebration here. But Heidi did make a special flag cake with red white and blue sprinkles. And I actually saw fireworks on the 3rd. From the windows we could see the fireworks show from Hemingway's, a restaurant nearby. So, yay for the Fourth!

and also a happy birthday/anniversay to Granny -- I couldn't get to the phone, but I thought about you! Love you.

Class is going well. We haven't really learned much that's new, but I'm definitely getting more confident about actually using it. Today kicked my butt, though. I do know my numbers, but the teacher made us do math. in Hungarian. Sadly, the hardest part was the mental addition and subtraction! Clearly, I am meant to be an English teacher... no numbers except for grades!

Monday, July 02, 2007


The placement test for my Hungarian class today kicked my butt. I felt like I hadn't learned anything at all! So I got stuck in the beginner class, where we spent all day learning sounds I already knew.

But I feel pretty certain that all I know will be covered in the first week or so, so I think I'm going to learn a lot and enjoy it. The people in my class are great, so it should be fun.

Now -- can you believe it -- I have homework! off to recite Hungarian nursery rhymes.