Monday, October 19, 2009

Baseball in Budapest

Or in Szentendre at least. That's right, this weekend Lyla and I headed up to Szentendre with our friend/colleague Anna to watch a baseball game. There's a competitive men's league and two of the better teams were playing. It was the fastest game of baseball I've ever seen and we only got rained on for the last few minutes of the game. It was a lot of fun to be in this bizarre situation, as Hungarians shouted things like "Ket out-os vagyunk!" (literal translation: We're two out-ey!)

Sunday was dedicated to such important fall activities as baking macaroni and cheese and laying on the couch for excessive amounts of time while watching cooking shows on youtube. It was, in a word, awesome.

Tonight were parent teacher conferences, to which many parents actually came. In between I kibitzed with Balint about lessons plans and general nonsense. It was, as always, rather cozy and pleasant. Then I got to bike home in the dark (reflective vest and lights on) and enjoy the view along the river and the solidarity of the city streets in the evening.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh my goodness, winter!

Last week all of Budapest got to enjoy some beautiful fall weather. It was cool, but sunny, with a slight breeze... perfect "sweater weather." Then Saturday was gray and rainy, but Sunday was back to being lovely.

Yesterday, winter came. Yesterday, the weather dropped fifteen degrees, the sun disappeared from the sky, and rain fell in waves (onto me, on my bicycle). Today the rain was happily gone, but it was replaced with enough wind to crash the branches of the trees outside the school into the windows loud enough that the little kids shrieked. And it was cold! Really really cold.

Obstinately, I will continue to wear my fall coat. I'm getting more than 3 wears out of it, common sense be damned.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

family day gauntlet, Tata, and bagels

I worked a week. It was a long week, and I was tired and cranky by the end of it, exhausted by my lessons, my difficulties with my one class's ability to learn (or lack thereof), outside stress, going off my allergy meds for the winter, and expat difficulties.

Yesterday was a family day at the school, which means we all got to head in and spend several hours of our Saturday playing with small children. Which can be frustrating in concept, but once again the family day did not disappoint in its absolute ridiculousness. Kids jumped bare-footed into wooden barrels of grapes which they smashed into a thick juice, which older kids filtered and everyone then drank, grimacing slightly at the concept of kid feet. Songs were sung in which children were encouraged to act as if they were drunk and lazy and fall asleep at the job. Children formed a row and passed each other down the line, while other children crashed into the supportive children with metal loops. Meanwhile, kids wielded sledgehammers, trying to crush walnuts being dropped down a tube and onto a rickety log while other children crouched nearby without eye protection. The food, beside the foot-juice, was bread spread with fat and topped with onions.

At one point Balint wandered over and I commented that literally nothing that was happening in the school yard could ever ever happen in an American school. Asked if that was a good or a bad thing, I could only laugh. Last year's family day, when I saw children doing similarly insane activities, was my first big "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!" moment. I'm glad that this country continues to baffle me.

Afterwards, Lyla and I darted to the train station to catch a train to Tata, where Carla was hosting a sort of informal teachers' meeting so we could all exchange lesson plans. That was helpful, and the evening was as fun and cathartic as always, to meet with all the other American teachers I enjoy and blow off some steam.

Upon arriving home today, Lyla and I made bagels. This was my first time making a bread from scratch. They turned out a little bit flat, but delicious and honest-to-goodness bagelly, for only about an hour's work. We will certainly be making them again.

Monday, October 5, 2009

hiking through Buda

Are you sitting down? I hope so, since you're at a computer, but you never know. If not, sit down. Because I, so-not-outdoorsy Lauren, spent 8 hours out and about on Saturday, hiking through the Buda hills. And I had a great time! Mostly because of the beautiful company, but the views were also quite amazing.

The only photo I have to offer is one from Laci. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happiness, in pictures

the gift of a new bike, to replace one stolen from you, and getting to still feel wind on your face and the giddy freedom of not having to use public transit

having a pet who loves you and makes you smile, and throwing her a birthday party, and having people actually come and only smile a little bit at the fact that it is, in fact, a birthday party for a rat

having a family no matter where you are, and no matter how small it may be

chocolate rum cake with raisins and fresh plums, covered in home-made whipped cream icing and rainbow colored sprinkles

(and, not pictured...)
cooking for others who are good food audiences, whose mouths drop open at the sight of your creations, and who eat hungrily, silently, and smiling