Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Heather!

Wow -- two of my favorite people have birthdays in three days. I'm kind of overwhelmed! :) Heather, you are an amazing friend, and I am so grateful the Lord brought you here. No one else makes me laugh quite like you can!

We had a joint celebration last night at a fun restaurant in the city. The whole thing is very retro, and all the decor and music is from the 70s. It was really, really fun -- except I couldn't get the Three's Company theme song out of my head after we left.

And tonight the Kliewers had us over for dinner and cake, so that was great, too.

and tomorrow we're having a coffee and dessert night at the Custers! I love celebrating.

oh my.

This is right up there with the Miss SC speech about "US Americans" and "the Iraq."

I can't decide what disturbs me the most about this video...

is it that she fuels disdain for Americans, and especially Southern women?

is it that she was "educated" in a NC public school?

or is it that I wasted part of my life watching American Idol when she was a contestant?

Now I realize not everyone knows where Budapest is, but this girl is beyond ridiculous.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Lisa!

In honor of your birthday, I took my students outside during study hall to play in this gorgeous snow. So, thanks for being born and providing an excuse to pelt students with snowballs. and of course for being a pretty cool girl!

The snow outside really is beautiful. This morning I woke up as the sun began to rise, and it was pretty much breath-taking. It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas :) We already put up our tree, and thanks to my package from home, I have an assortment of festively wrapped gifts underneath it! I love the holidays.

Monday, November 26, 2007

public transportation....

With our car STILL sitting on the side of the road over a massive puddle of expensive gas, Heather and I decided not to beg rides off people, but rather to take advantage of our morning breaks by sleeping late and taking a bus to work.

It sounded like a great plan.

It wasn't.

We left the house around 9:30 or so, because we needed to be at school at 10:15. We walked to the closest bus stop, which took us around 25 minutes. We got there in time to see three buses go by. None of them stopped. Now this is a busy highway, and not every bus will stop at this particular place. However, during the 20 or so minutes we stood in the freezing cold, two buses were supposed to stop. They definitely didn't.

Heather suggested hitch-hiking, but this kind of terrifies me even when I can speak the language, so I definitely wasn't up for that. We finally got someone from the school to agree to come pick us up -- just as a bus (not scheduled) pulled up to the stop for us.

Since I arrived at school after my class started (fortunately, only study hall), I have come to the conclusion that I am very grateful for public transportation, but even more grateful that I don't have to rely on it. Now if we could just get that car fixed....

It's almost time for the Christmas market! We went yesterday after church, but they were still setting up... can't wait!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

how did it get to be saturday already?

What I was thankful for this year on Turkey Day:
  • Hungarian stores are open all day!
  • the friends I have here
  • a invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at the Kliewers (with 35 people!) -- and it was nagyon finom.
  • through the wonders of slingbox, we got to watch the Macy's parade, a football game, and American commercials. ah, technology!
  • a time of Thanksgiving worship and prayer.
  • the chance to talk to Mom, Dad, and Kathy
  • no school! :)
What I was not thankful for this year on Turkey Day:
  • due to my lack of translation skills, the large quanities of cream cheese I bought to make cheesecake actually were cheese cream. as in spreadable cheese that would go great on your ham sandwich. so, no cheesecake, and frantic scrambling to find a dessert recipe I could make. It was good, but man, I wanted to make that cheesecake.
  • yet another problem with our car. and the approximately $70 tank of gas that puddled into the gravel below it as a result. Woohoo for car repairs!

anyway, I'm thankful for you, my faithful readers. It's good to feel I'm not totally disconnected from back home!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


The car is actually registered in my name -- after 4 months, 2 days of missing classes to attend to paperwork, 2 variations of the same form, 3 different Hungarian offices, 7 different "take a #" lines, and approximately 30 official ink stamps requiring signatures. whew. Thank God for Ildiko, a Hungarian who works at the school and tirelessly drove me all over Budapest and translated for me. Without her, I think I would have been tempted just to drive the car into the Danube and say forget about it!

So tonight I'm meeting with a family in my mission to discuss next year's plans. Some of you know I've been struggling with deciding where I should be next year. I'm really hoping that tonight will help answer some questions and maybe clarify some things for me. If you get a chance, please pray that I'll be able to clearly discern what my next steps should be. Thanks.

Friday, November 16, 2007

If Hungary were NC...

we'd be having a snow day right now.

and I'd celebrate by going to ChickFilA for a chicken biscuit and a coffee with hazelnut cream.

Oh well... it's Friday, which means a relatively easy day for me, so I can't really complain. I do want that biscuit, though....

Tonight Lisa B and I are hosting our senior girls' Bible study at our place. They wanted Indian food, so I'm trying my hand at a number of Indian recipes I've never attempted before. This could be disastrous, but hopefully it will be tasty! And we've decided to be super-girly and watch the quintessential girl movie -- Anne of Green Gables. Some of them have never seen it, so we'll eat our curry and naan to the adventures of Anne and Gilbert. It sounds like an odd combination, but I think it'll be fun.

Also fun is our ELL class. It's strange -- I hardly ever want to go before it starts. I'm tired and ready to go home and convinced that I don't have enough planned. but I'm always glad I did it when it's done. It helps that they're fun people, one of whom clapped for me as I entered the room -- "It's Paula!" I wish more people greeted me that way. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

tar heel pride amidst Wednesdah blah

The regular season for Carolina basketball starts tonight, and my boys are ranked #1 in the nation. One of my students (who is also from Greensboro, oddly enough -- in fact, the senior class has less than 25 students, and two of them are from Greensboro. weird.) is wearing a Duke sweatshirt and talking trash. I can't wait for the Heels to dominate this year.

I am not, however, as excited about work today. I briefly considered talking Heather into missing a turn and just driving to Croatia this morning before reason won out. I think I was inspired by the guys we just met traveling through Budapest. They're spending three months traveling through Europe and the Middle East, and I am insanely jealous. Austin met them at church and decreed that they were cool, so we had to hang out with them. And they were. They were hilarious, and they had great stories about their adventures while traveling. If you feel like living vicariously, check out their impressive blog. It puts mine to shame.

Hey, it's snowing again! I love snow. and I really love snow days. Maybe we'll actually get one this year...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

life is good.

Right now, school is out. I'm waiting for our Bible study to start, and I'm watching a beautiful sunset while listening to Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah. There are a few flakes of snow falling, and I am thoroughly happy.

Just wanted to share.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

yay! boo!

Yay... for snow! It's beautiful outside.

Boo... for the dollar. yuck.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

well, that was fast!

The car's fixed already! Yay! and relatively inexpensively.... it redeemed this cold, wet, foggy day!

as did talking to my mom, even if just for a few minutes -- Happy Birthday! Love you.

car trouble

Even though we STILL don't have the car papers in our name yet, we are already dealing with our second breakdown. Whoopee.

After school yesterday, the three of us were going to go to our local Spar and get some much-needed groceries. We made it a couple blocks, and then the clutch went crazy. It went all the way down and wouldn't come back up, and then we couldn't get the car to go into any gear. at all. So we sat there, blocking all traffic on the busy, narrow street trying to figure out what the heck happened. Several drivers nearby helpfully honked their horns, although one actually did help us push it to the side. It was lots of fun.

So the repairmen are hopefully getting it today, and we are again bumming rides from people. Please pray that this is something which can be easily and cheaply fixed. The dollar has dropped again, and today's rate is the lowest I've seen yet. Let's get on that economy, people! :)

Monday, November 05, 2007

the worst thing about daylight savings time

is that in Hungary, it means the sun starts setting at 3:30.

It's currently 4, and I had to turn on the lights in my classroom to see. So depressing.

Friday, November 02, 2007

the review

It may not have been the greatest party ever -- but it was pretty darn fun. I finally succumbed to the inevitable and dressed as Pippi Longstocking -- people have been suggesting that costume for years. I have to say, the wire hangers in the hair are not especially comfortable. And it's difficult to go through doors and hug people! Also in attendance were Ms. Scarlet, a 50s sitcom housewife, a mummy, Samson, Wolverine and Rogue, and a host of others. It was entertaining, for sure.
We had cobwebs, pumpkins, leaves, "shrunken heads" (carved from apples), and TONS of candles for decor, and we borrowed the school projector to play Hitchcock movies on the wall. The Birds was a big hit. We also lit a fire outside next to a graveyard we constructed, so really we had all the elements of a standard Halloween party.
But the big attraction for me at least was downstairs. A few weeks ago, Heather was in the garage and for some reason pulled up a board out of the floor. To her surprise, the boards concealed a set of stairs leading underneath the house. We lit some candles and went exploring to find two pretty large rooms in a cave below our garage and driveway. Plus, there's a trapdoor in the floor of one of those that leads to yet another set of stairs going into two more rooms carved from the rock. This was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. So we kept it a secret, fixed it up with a few candles and a skull from Lisa's science class, and sent everyone down one by one in the dark. How cool is that!
We talked to our landlords (who, by the way are amazing. They not only gave permission for us to light a fire in the yard, but they supplied all the wood and lighter fluid!) and they told us a little about the history. Apparently Budafok sits on a huge mass of rock that was mined for years, especially during the construction of Parliament in the late 1800s. There are a number of caves left under the town, and up until about a hundred years ago, families lived in the abandoned caves. The people who built our house just built above one of the old cave homes, and we had no idea. We are thrilled to finally solve the mystery of the hole next to our driveway -- it was the chimney for the cave home!
I thought that was pretty amazing, and tailor-made for a ghost story, so I threw in a homicidal miner and concocted a tale of how he still haunts the cave. Pretty fun.
Last night was cool, too. It was All Saints Day, the day when Hungarians decorate the graves of family members with flowers and candles they leave them to burn all night. So the three of us, Austin, and Minkee took a stroll around the graveyard last night -- which sounds weird, but it's actually really beautiful. And it means no school! I love long weekends.