Friday, February 27, 2009

tournament time

I love basketball.

So far our boys have lost a couple heartbreakers. Sad. but we have lots of American candy (and even some barbecue, with options of Eastern or Western NC sauce!) to console them in their loss. I have resumed my traditional post as DoorNazi, ensuring that no food or drink shall cross the threshold of the gym door. Honestly, you'd be surprised how many parents try to sneak some stuff in. No wonder our kids disobey the rules!

We leave in a couple hours for Vajta for an Alpha weekend retreat. I'm really excited about it. Please pray that language will not a barrier during this time, that we will have the right words to say, and that the guests will be open to seeing what God has to say to them. updates coming soon!

Monday, February 23, 2009

mold. :(

I really, really hate it.

We've had problems with our basement apartment being too damp for months now, and we've been trying to combat the mold on the walls for a while. We wipe down the windows, we clean with 20% vinegar, we have three dehumifidiers, and we run an electric heater throughout the night. But when I found some mold on my floor,on my clothes, and and ruining three different purses, I knew I had been defeated. It was time to call in the landlady, whose previous not-so-helpful advice has been "open the windows!" in freakin' February.

Last week I left my keys with her so she could see the damage in the corner and behind the giant wardrobe. Imagine my shock when she not only cleaned the mold, but rearranged my room and its contents. For instance, she apparently didn't like my organizational system for shoes (which involves having the shoes in the spaces specifically designed for that purpose in my wardrobe)and removed the shoes to put them into a suitcase, thus freeing up wardrobe space for random odds and ends, like my external hard drive. Weird.

She also apparently missed the mold growing on the purses I left out for her to see, and she took all my gloves (which had been in a box with all my other cold-weather gear) and placed them inside one of the purses -- and then proceeded to hang the moldy purse on the rack with my clothes. Ew.

So guess how I spent my weekend? :) Laundry and rearranging!

Apparently, this isn't such a weird occurrence in Hungary -- one of the girls told me about how their cleaning lady rearranges their things and even their furniture at will.

Fortunately, I'm not missing anything except for some empty boxes and a yoga mat, and she cleaned all the mold!

It's still snowing...I went into the city on Saturday, and people were sledding on the trails of Gellert Hill. Very cool. but I chose to spend my afternoon inside coffee heaven!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

winter poetry on a gorgeous day

This morning, we had a delay, so I had to scramble to adapt my lesson plans, since I missed meeting with half of my 10th grade students this morning. I decided to pull out a trust-worthy assignment -- creating Found Poetry. I printed off several poems about snow, and told the kids to "steal" lines and combine/rearrange them into an entirely new poem about snow. It's harder than it sounds, but the kids enjoyed it.

During our staff meeting this afternoon, I got bored and decided to write my own! all stolen from other poems, of course :)

Last night the winter danced back.

Regard the frost and the boughs of pine trees
crusted with snow layer on layer.
They carry the load with aplomb
magical in the peacecfulness.

I will shake a laden branch,
sending a cold shower down on us both.
Marvel for a moment at the ballet before me.

You can see a few pictures of my students playing in the snow at this link

*Yes, I realize that I have now made myself sound like a horrible teacher by admitting that I didn't pay attention during a staff meeting AND skipped class to play in the snow! I am not ashamed. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


It would definitely be a snow day back in NC... The first few pictures are at our place or on the way to school, and the last three are from my classroom. I especially like the father bringing his kid to school on a sled! Just for the sake of ambience, while I was taking these pictures, the church bells started ringing. Beautiful!

Valentine's Banquet was fun -- although I was freezing walking to and from the hotel. Cute little dresses aren't exactly warm. Also, heels on cobblestones are tricky at all times, but add a little snow to the mix, and it's downright dangerous! I enjoyed seeing the kids all dressed up (but still being goofy), so I posted a few of the pictures. Notice how in one shot you can see the Parliament building all lit up in the background!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day

Basically, I'm having one of the most romantic Valentine's Days ever tomorrow. I'm going to the Budapest Hilton (next to Fisherman's Bastion and overlooking Parliament -- check out this view!) for dinner. It kind of takes the romance out of it, though, to know I'm going there to chaperone high school kids for their Valentine's Banquet! I'm taking lots of pictures, so hopefully I'll post some after the weekend.
Today is the annual Singing Valentine's Day, when ours honors choir delivers singing telegrams to people all day. I earlier was the recipient of You Are My Sunshine, courtesy of some seniors. Fortunately, they knew me well enough to change it to the You Are My Sunshine rap... I'm so sick of hearing that song today!
Have a wonderful Valentine's... much love to you all!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

hahahaha. Duke.

oh, you tried. You chanted insulting cheers, you threw things at people, you even threw an elbow, but all of that could not prevail.

After the game, I saw this comment on someone's celebratory facebook status. I wanted to respond to it so badly, but I knew that probably wasn't especially wise, given I don't know her from Adam* -- so here it is!
the stupid dean dome could NEVER match cameron's intensity. EVER. unc fans are LAME.
I am incredibly proud to be "lame." Not only am I on the side of victory, but I understand that the game is about more than just the venue or the fans.
As we celebrated our win, our incredible talent, our poise under pressure, and our proud tradition, I'm fairly certain none of the Carolina fans thought, "But what we really need is for our fans to dance around in blue paint and Speedos and write obscene songs about other players!"
You call this intensity; I call it obnoxious overcompensation (much like your use of capitalization). Whatever you choose to call it, it has been soundly defeated by talent four times in a row.

There -- I feel much better now having vented!
and now I'm off to a very sleep-deprived day!

*Did anyone else laugh when ESPN did the montage of great players from Duke and Carolina? They had Jordan, Laettner, Worthy -- and then Wojo. Wojo! ha! Do you think the average basketball fan would even know who he was?!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

more inspiration...

Monday, February 09, 2009

it's almost here...

In case you're unfamiliar with the importance of Carolina playing Duke, this trailer should help clear that up a bit. And coming soon, I'll be up at 2:30 on a school night to watch Carolina play Duke. and boy, do I hope they destroy them.

on a more spiritual note, Spiritual Emphasis week went really well, and I had some kids write reflections that were really moving. I think I see some real growth coming out of this week, and I hope it continues.

This weekend was the annual sugar-fest known as the ICSB staff dessert competition. I think I sampled 13 desserts -- that's as much as I could do! and 9 of us went to see Bride Wars. My favorite part, honestly, was trying to figure out how the hungarian subtitles differed from the movie. The best one was changing "She's such a b----" to Micsoda sarkany! which literally translates as "What-wonder dragon!" Translation makes me laugh.

So far I'm avoiding the flu! Others have gone down, but I am sticking to a lot of sleep, oranges, and hand sanitizer. So far it's working :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

student work

We've been reading The Rape of the Lock in Brit Lit, which is a satire mocking ordinary events by describing them melodramatically. I gave my students the assignment to write about something that happened at ICSB in overly dramatic poetry, and I really enjoyed the results. One student wrote about the travesty of how her makeup ran in the rain, and one wrote about how horrible it was that she forgot her lunch. My favorite, though, related specifically to my class.
When I first got here, some of you kindly sent over hand sanitizer. Although you can find it now, it's still pretty rare, so the kids always clamor around my desk using my sanitizer. Right before Christmas, though, it ran out. This is the poem written to commemorate that fateful day.

The sun was shining, the air was cool
on that fine Monday morning I walked into school
I entered our room with a skip and a hop
Then I witnessed a horror that caused me to stop
There on the desk was a pale lifeless form
and inside my chest grew a tormenting storm
I screamed for the others to see this sad sight
This terror that drug the whole world into night
The salt from my tears could have flavored a roast
but then a thought hit me like some ejected toast
forever and ever my extremities dry
Then I looked at my hands and renewed my cry.
A new wave of sorrow like the death of a god
electrified me like a lightning rod
we tired to keep using, like a cow and its cud
But to my dismay it had lost too much blood
I'll remember the day that the Germ-X died
No longer shall my hands be 99.9% purified.

I thought it was clever. :)
(no worries -- we have a new bottle now!)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

really hoping this isn't the flu...

but I have that horribly achy tired feeling, and I slept for 11 1/2 hours last night! Maybe I'm just tired. really, really tired.

Anyway, this is Spiritual Emphasis Week, and I'm really excited about it, despite a rocky start. Our speaker got stranded at the London airport because of all the snow, and he just got here last night! Needless to say, we had to do a bit of scrambling to fill in the gaps.

Fortunately, things went really well. Austin stepped in to speak and did a great job challenging kids to think about their desire for God, and we extended our worship times -- even including a couple of songs we had definitely not practiced!-- but it was surprisingly good.

I have to admit, I get so frustrated with singing the same songs over and over again; I don't always have high expectations for leading worship. But as often happens when I lead, I found myself experiencing some of the lyrics in new ways, partly as a result of watching people worship. I love being on stage, because I can see other people experience the power of worship. And they did. Some of the kids were visibly moved; some journaled; some spread out in the chapel to pray.

Please be praying for the rest of the week, and for our speaker, Andy Slaughter. Be praying especially for the guys. I feel so sorry for them; they get shafted a lot just because there are so few men at the school. We have weekly bible studies for every grade level of girls from 5th to 12th, but there's only one group for the guys. We have been praying as a staff for some of the guys to step up and become leaders at the school, so pray that God will work in them!

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I finally fulfilled a wish yesterday -- to be at the outdoor baths at Szechenyi while it snowed! Ok, so it was only a few flakes. but it counts! Today, however, it's snowing quite a bit, and hopefully will actually stick around for a while.

It's been rather busy lately. Kacie and I volunteered to make lasagne for our Alpha course Thursday night, so Wednesday we busily made enough lasagna for 30 people. I left it out to cool -- and forgot to put in the fridge. I found it in the morning when I got up. oops. so Thursday I made ANOTHER large batch and got it done just in time for the course! Alpha's going really well, by the way, and they have lots of great questions. and I'm off the hook for cooking again for a while! :)

This weekend has been busy. To celebrate the rise of the dollar against the forint (today it's at 232, which is a huge jump from last year's 170 or so!), Lisa and I went to eat at Wasabi, an all-you-can-eat sushi place, Friday night. Saturday after the baths and our favorite coffee shop Gloria Jeans was the senior auction, which is always fun. Lisa, Heidi, Audrey, and I went in together to win Indian cooking classes from a mom at the school, which I'm really excited about. During the auction, I was in charge of the sophomore class, who provided babysitting for the families. It's a little scary to be in charge of 15 year olds playing with 20 or so small children, but they did really well! It was a long 3 1/2 hours, though. Today after church we went back to Gloria Jeans to meet up with some friends, and tonight I'm rehearsing for worship this week. It's Spiritual Emphasis Week at school, and it's a big deal here.

Whew! I'm tired just typing all that!
Just for fun -- here's the song I can't stop listening to lately. Enjoy.