Friday, May 30, 2008


ok, let's get right to the good stuff -- a lot of pictures. And I do mean a lot.
so I won't waste too much time writing about the trip...
highlights included:
beautiful scenery and incredible weather
the island where Paul was shipwrecked, and the cave where he was kept during his time on the island
ancient catacombs
lots of bumper cars
a ton of ice cream
the thrill of Oreos and Doritos, neither of which are available in Hungary (we cleaned out several stores. I'm not kidding)
a festival complete with fireworks -- but few safety/ health regulations
a tour guide who was unintentionally hilarious
cliff-jumping, which I will never do again. I was terrified. and my butt is now bruised from hitting the water so hard.
getting semi-lost after missing the stop for Hard Rock Cafe and walking FOREVER.
a blowout after our cruise was cancelled due to choppy water -- we spent 500 euro at Pizza Hut!
amazing kids. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to hang out with them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


It's been a while since I posted -- I guess that just shows how crazy busy I am....

quick recap:
Last week, we had some guests staying at the house, and on Saturday, the school had a rummage sale (I was in charge of concessions, and we sold over $300 in sandwiches, drinks, and baked goods). Then on Whit Monday, Heather and I went to Skanzen, which is kind of like Hungarian Williamsburg. We decided sheep shearing is kind of hard to watch, and the famous Hungarian hairy pigs are disgusting. However, homemade gingerbread = delicious. And finally, we settled some things for next year: Lisa and I found a cute little place that's cheaper and much closer to school. It'll be really hard to leave our house and especially our landlords, but this is a good decision, and I'm excited about it.

This weekend, my birthday was awesome, aside from the weirdness of realizing I am actually 30. How did that happen? and why don't I feel like an adult? :)

My fantastic students and roommates made sure I enjoyed the day. Heather cooked me an amazing breakfast -- including biscuits! and Lisa treated me to a much-needed massage. The senior girls in our Bible study threw me a surprise party at lunch, and I was serenaded by quite a few kids. [Interesting sidenote about gender: my senior girls gave me a sparkly pink tiara, a sweet card, and a picture of them in a personalized frame. My senior boys, on the other hand, gave me "Shirtless Steve," an old action figure with the feet put on the wrong way. I love these kids.] Later, Heather, Lisa, and I went to Pomo d'Oro, which is probably my favorite restaurant here. Then to complete the celebration, we went to the baths on Sunday. The thermal baths here are amazing -- I seriously think I'm going to buy a season pass next year.

Also this weekend -- the high school play. Hilarious! And I threw a photo scavenger hunt in honor of Heather. We didn't find all of the items on the list -- but we randomly found a military show, and some really nice guys who actually let us into the tanks. Very cool.

I've been frantically trying to tie up loose ends, since today is the last day for seniors! Between exams and make up work and extra credit and grading ... I've been really busy. but I truly love these kids.
I got a little choked up today after some of these AP kids left! But it isn't time for goodbye yet, since I'm leaving on Friday to chaperone the Seniors for a week in Malta!

I'm so excited. :)

Friday, May 09, 2008

an adventure in Eger

While my AP students took the exam yesterday, I took the day off! Heather and Aaron and I decided to take the train to Eger. It was truly one of the most memorable days I've had here!

Eger is a city about two hours away by train, and centuries ago it was incredibly important as the last fortress to successfully hold off Turkish forces. The city is beautiful, and the castle is pretty cool, but we were all impressed by the people. Everyone was so incredibly kind, which isn't always the case in Budapest.

The pictures tell the story of the day, but a few words of explanation!
The tall tower thing is a minaret. While climbing it, I felt slightly claustrophobic... although it was pretty cool. But it paled in comparison to the folkmusic festival at the castle. My favorite part was when the musicians played while lying on the ground -- and then all the old ladies danced over them and flashed them repeatedly. Hilarious. Those ladies cracked me up. They danced, they twirled, they shouted... I can only imagine what they were like 50 years ago!
Then we moved to the Valley of Beautiful Women, which is famous for its wine. While there, we ran into a group of women who worked in the vineyards. They were quite possibly the most festive group I've ever seen, and they totally adopted us. Aaron knew a Hungarian folk song, which impressed them greatly, so he wrote it down for us so we could join in....repeatedly. People underestimate how much fun older people can be! :)
After dinner (I had deer and boar stew!), we made our way back to the train station. except for the minor detail that the last train had already left, and the next one wasn't for hours. Fortunately, a kind homeless man spoke English and helped us figure out another way to get back to Budapest. We took the train to a different city where we waited for a separate train. Unfortunately, it didn't leave until 2:38! We sat in the waiting room for a while, but they closed at 10:30. Again, supernice Hungarians came to our rescue. We thought we'd have to wait outside in the cold and rain, but they actually bent the rules for us. They took us to a small waiting room for kids, and they locked us in! They were afraid we might be robbed by some of the homeless people while we slept, so we were safely, if not exactly comfortably, locked in until just before the train arrived. We didn't really get good sleep (notice how I actually put my feet in my camera bag to keep them warm!), but it could've been a lot worse.
We finally got home a little before 6 -- just in time to catch a quick nap before work this morning! Totally worth it, though. and DEFINITELY an adventure! :)

most of the awesome photography is courtesy of Heather...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

a magyar feast

One of the biggest blessings of this year has been getting to know our landlords and their family. They are such a strong, godly family, and it has been a joy to spend time with them. I wanted you to be able to see them all! On the left is Kriszti, who works with us at the school (and is expecting little Gabor before too long!) and her husband Gabor. Beside him is the amazing cook, Elzso, and behind her is the other Gabor! He's the one who did the vast majority of the restoration work on the house. The adorable baby is Lidia, and her very proud parents are Dora and Balazs.
This Sunday, we went to their church -- and again, it was like a good ol' Baptist church back home, except for the language! We sang Just As I Am, Amazing Grace, and Blessed Be the Tie That Binds... seriously, just like a Sunday back home. But the best part was afterwards, because that involved the delicious food! I wish we had pictures of that as well, but I'll just list all the things we ate -- keep in mind this is one meal, and all homemade:
*pigcheese -- not really cheese, but all the leftover parts cased in the stomach or intestinal lining. not bad if you could forget you were eating tail and snout :)
*chicken soup
*beef stew over Hungarian dumplings
*mashed potatoes
*pork loin with kolbasz sausage cooked inside
*some kind of awesome chocolate cream cake

Notice that this meal involved 4 different types of meat. 4! I didn't eat again until lunch the next day :)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What a fun day....

When Meg told us about a preserve for bears rescued from Romanian gypsy circuses, we knew we had to go! It was really amazing to literally be able to feed bears... very cool. Also, we conveniently got lost on the way there and somehow ended up in this picturesque little village -- with a real Maypole! Enjoy the pics (I narrowed them down from over 500 -- and I'm not kidding!).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day!

I love holidays.

It was a gorgeous day, so I tagged along for Aaron's church picnic at Margit Sziget. With the exception of the awful sunburn I now have, and the couple next to us who proceeded to make out for hours, it was a pretty perfect day. Here are some random pics of the park-- and Tim, Robin, and me as we played with Meg's watercolors. The painting with the deformed trees is mine :)