Monday, December 31, 2007

This makes so much more sense now....

not a Hungarian family.

a NC transplant family!

I really should edit the #s saved in my phone a little better!

:) (but now I'm confident this bbq will be great!)

Boldog uj evet!

I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do for New Year's Eve -- but then I got this message from a Hungarian family: "Don't know if you have plans, but if you'd like to come over tonight, I'm making Carolina BBQ"

Carolina BBQ! made by a Hungarian?

Now this I have to, taste. :) I'll let you know how it goes.

And it's snowing again! I just got back from a nice little walk outside... a good way to end the year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

christmas pics

the stockings were hung on the kalyha with care.... By the way, I used this thing a couple of times over Christmas. It's pretty cool; you build a fire in a hole in the wall behind it, and that heats up the tiles. nice to sit against, but I'm glad we dont' have to rely on it to heat the whole house!Lisa, can we keep the projector at our house permanently? because it's hard to go back to watching movies on a laptop now....

This is a house down the street that I always thought looked cool. This is typical Hungarian construction work; the houses are built very differently from those back home.

The Kliewers, from L to R: Natalie, Steve, Beth, Emily, Zack, Austin (he's pretty much a Kliewer -- and that hideous thing he's wearing was his gift from the little girls! hahaha), and Maddie.

so now I really should start taking all of this down, but I just can't bring myself to do it yet. Instead, I've watched an embarassing amount of Wonder Years episodes! Fortunately, I haven't spent all of my break doing that, since I dogsat for the Bullock family for a couple days. Their house is amazing, their dog is sweet, and they have Hungarian cable! I'm pleased to say I was able to watch (and sort of understand) a Hungarian game show, an episode of Strawberry Shortcake, and A Very Brady Christmas. Yes, you read that correctly -- A Very Brady Christmas has been translated into Hungarian! hahahahahaha

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I was going to post some pictures, but I left the camera at the Kliewers! I'm such a responsible yearbook teacher... :)

I finally got to see snow on Christmas! It wasn't much, but we still had snow from a couple days before, so everything was white - more or less!

So Christmas Eve, I went to a service held at the Hilton by the International Baptist church, who provided hot chocolate and plenty of Christmas carols. Christmas morning, I went back to Budafok Baptist with the Kovacs family. This time, one of the translators congratulated me on how well I pronounce Hungarian! That in itself was a huge gift, since that's quite a compliment. Language is so tricky -- even this translator, who spoke English very well, replaced the word for snowflakes with Frosted Flakes! I had to laugh at that one :)
After church I walked around Budafok in the snow for a while and took a few pictures before I drove over to the Kliewers for a late lunch. It was fun to see all the dolls and toys their little girls got, although I had less exuberant feelings about watching High School Musical 2. :) I ended up just crashing on their couch for the night, so the Christmas festivities continued in the morning with leftover Christmas cheesecake for breakfast!

I think the best part of Christmas, though, was opening the gifts from my family. Mom, Dad, and Kathy collaborated on a brilliant plan! Their gifts were all numbered, and the first gift was a DVD slideshow of pictures from our family Christmases since I was born. Then each gift was linked to one of the pictures. So clever and lots of fun!

So all in all, Christmas was full of love and family fun -- which is exactly how it's supposed to be!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


So I spent today with the Kovacs family, our landlords and their children/translators. They are such good people. Today they invited me to their church, Budafok Baptist. Since I was raised in a Baptist church, I was not shocked to find that when I picked up the hymnal, it automatically opened to Amint vagyok, Just As I Am. Some things transcend language :)
This came in handy later on in the service when my translator (who, incidentally, turned out to be Istvan, my miraculous student teacher from last year!) missed the hymn number for a song -- which was, of course, Just As I Am. He apologized, but I triumphantly turned to the right page and started singing. He was impressed. I love when I can pretend I speak the language better than I do!
I enjoyed the service. Aside from a few minor changes and the obvious language difference, it was pretty much like home.
After church, they invited me to their house for lunch, and she went all out. Fortunately, Balazs warned me to take small portions, and I was incredibly grateful later on when the food kept coming. We had appetizers, homemade bread, soup, two main courses with sides, dessert, coffee, and homemade wine from the grapes in their backyard. I feel like I can barely move :) But it was all delicious.
And Dora, their daughter, just found out her baby will be a girl, so we all gathered to watch a DVD of the ultrasound and heartbeat and to ooh and aah over baby clothes -- just before everyone dispersed to take part in the Universal Post-Church Sunday Nap.
It's hard to be away from my family, especially at Christmas. But I love how whenever I need a family fix, I somehow find one that welcomes me in.

It snowed again, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Tuesday!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I love Christmas break.

It truly is amazing.

Yesterday I went to the Christmas Market, which was a little bittersweet, since I'm still not sure if this will be my last time there -- but I compensated by buying a little souvenir for myself, just in case! (Thanks, Granny!) Then Austin and I went to a coffeeshop run by a missionary family at the school. I really enjoyed it; it was a great little place. The food and drinks are provided free, and they provide outreach to the visitors in Hungarian. Last night, it was a Christmas poetry reading done by local actors. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I could understand! I'm really glad I got the chance to see more of what our school families actually do in the community. Austin, Minkee, and I will be performing there in January, and I'm excited!

Then today I relaxed! I watched Elf this morning to get into the Christmas spirit, and then I did a little cooking. Mostly, though, I tried to set aside time to really seek the Lord. I realize now that I kind of had a militant attitude: ok, God, You're doing to tell me what to do next year, and I'm not getting up until You do! But it turned into a really great time of being reminded of God's faithfulness. So all that to say, I still don't have an answer, which is really frustrating, and I certainly still covet Your prayers! but I am not quite so stressed as I was before.

And I've been looking forward to this all day: I'm putting It's a Wonderful Life in my computer, which is currently hooked to Lisa's awesome LCD projector from the school! So I have a giant, wall-sized screen for my viewing pleasure, and I'll enjoy some tea and Ikea cookies while I watch George Bailey remember that life is, in fact, wonderful.

And it is.

Friday, December 21, 2007

didn't know I had skills like these, did you? :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It just might happen....

Dec 25
Light Snow
39°/26° 60%'s 10 -Day Forecast, you better not let me down!

more pics from the market and around Budapest -- and one random pic I took in the car as we drove through a tunnel!

Monday, December 17, 2007

playing with kids...

...does my heart good.

Heather and I stayed at the Hollowell's this weekend while the parents were celebrating their wedding anniversary. Heather and I enjoyed a break from the routine and lots of coffee and snacks, while the two oldest girls reveled in having Heather do makeovers for a fashion shoot. I entertained the youngest two with various games involving tickling, and we all enjoyed the sing along/dance party to such hits as "The Itsy Bitsy Spider (Remix)" and every song from High School Musical. oh, and it snowed a little, too!

I was going to post more pictures and some from the school Christmas concert on Friday, but this computer is being stupid. sorry. I suppose that means I should monitor my kids more closely during their exam :) Exam week is great, because the kids have half days, and staff can leave at 1 -- so today we're heading back to the Christmas Market!

Friday, December 14, 2007

happy day

I have this incredible view of Diosd from the window in my classroom, and currently Diosd is being blanketed by a beautiful snowfall. I'm just sitting here soaking it in, enjoying being done with classes! We're not quite done with exams, so I still have grading to do, but no more lesson plans or teaching until January 7. Teaching is such a great profession. oh, and I got a couple gifts today! and a package from Lisa A! :)

So last night we finished the winter session of our ELL class. I think they greatly enjoyed our Christmas lesson, especially when we sang Rudolph for them! They even were able to get through the rather difficult "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem. I'm kind of sad to see it come to an end, but we'll start up again in the spring, and until then it's nice to have a break. Maybe it's the cold weather, but lately I just want to sleep and watch movies and drink hot tea....

Monday, December 10, 2007

mellow Monday

You know, on Mondays, I really don't want to get up at all. I want to get up even less when it's grey outside. So I'm trying to make myself work, and I've been creating a soundtrack for a foggy December morning. If you can, listen while you're cuddled up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate -- that's what I wish I was doing!

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas market!

Finally, some pictures from the Christmas market! These were taken with our awesome new yearbook camera, which has a professional lens that makes me look really cool. And if I knew what I was doing, I could take some amazing pictures! But these might help give you an idea of what the market is like.
I don't have time to explain all the pictures, but the little girl below had just finished ringing the bell over the nativity scene in the square. Most of the rest are of the booths and the handicrafts -- all certified handmade. And then there's the food... no chestnuts today, but I do have pictures of kolbasz sausage and kurtoskalacs pastries -- wish you could have a taste!

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

pics from the Christmas market!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 07, 2007

office party!

Last night was the ICSB staff Christmas dinner, which I greatly enjoyed. It was a lot of fun to hang out together, and the all you can eat buffet (rare in Hungary) was greatly appreciated as well. I ate enough to last another three meals or so...

I was less than excited, however, by the musical selection. I am certain that I heard "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart..." at least four times. Hungarians, apparently, have decided to recycle the same basic Christmas songs over and over again, which makes me long for the good old days of round the clock Christmas tunes on the easy listening station.

Fortunately, I was able to round up some Christmas songs that are cheesy in an entirely different way, and that I have never once heard in Hungary. Enjoy this handpicked collection of children's Christmas songs [sadly, I cannot find my beloved 20+ year old Disney Christmas tape online! ]
Have a great weekend!

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Market, year two

So this weekend, we returned to the Christmas market!

It's interesting to do things for a second time, because I'm finding that they are good indicators of how much I've grown or changed. Last year I had no idea what to expect, but this year I knew exactly where to go for kolbasz, mulled wine, and roasted chestnuts (in that order!). We knew how to order things in Hungarian. We recognized vendors from last year. We explained how things worked to befuddled tourists. And this year when Heather and I didn't know what something was, we were able to figure it out through translating the signs! And, in perhaps the greatest single sign of accomplishment, this year when we grew tired of the ridiculous crowd, we were able to escape the tourists at not one, not two, but three fun, off-the-beaten-path kind of places.

I believe, for those of you familiar with the beloved PFO terminology (!), this indicates I've fully assimilated into the culture. :)

This makes decision-making even harder. I've mentioned this before, but I now have less than a month to decide what I should do next year. I honestly feel as if I want to split myself in two; there are things I love about both places, and I really believe that part of me will be unhappy no matter what I choose. I can't imagine not being here for the market next year, for instance, or missing out on teaching next year's senior class. But at the same time, it's really hard to be away from home.

So I'm trying really hard to take my emotions out of it completely, and just seek what the Lord has planned for me. At this point, I feel kind of directionless, and really stressed out, so I'm praying that my path will be made very clear in the next month. Please join me in praying for that; I need all the help I can get!