Sunday, January 31, 2010


Cost of a Masters in the US: ~30,000 USD
Cost of a Masters in Spain: ~1500 Euro (~2079 USD)

Application deadlines in the US: usually mid March
Application deadlines in Spain: usually early July since they don't even post the application until the second week of APRIL!!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010


This week I have been giving oral exams to my third graders. In the "answer using your imagination" section, I asked a series of questions. The first one was "Where is mom?" and the second was "What is she doing?" The first two days of giving the tests, the kids almost invariably answered that mom was either in the kitchen or at home, and that she was cooking. I was peeved by this at first, but then I became curious. Was this a reflection of society, or just a reflection of them knowing those words particularly well?

With the second half of kids I kept the test the same, just substituted the word dad for mom. Suddenly, dad was all over the place. He was playing football, eating, watching TV, and just generally having an awesome time. On the plus side, I now have a few new favorite students... the ones who put dad in the kitchen!

Of course, according to my students, only one parent was working in the middle of the day, and one was battling dinosaurs, so I will take this data with a grain of salt.

My students are really rocking my socks the past few weeks. They're being just clever, and they're starting to be actually funny (even if the only jokes they can tell are translated puns, which just doesn't work). I played Mad Libs with the third graders and it was so much fun to watch them giggle at things like "toilet hat" and "stupid green cat." The other week I was playing something like hangman with the kids in the last few minutes of a lesson, and they started being really silly, so I drew myself. They suddenly got very serious and played with great intensity, not wanting me to be eaten by sharks. And then they had a small debate amongst themselves as to whether I was the best teacher in the school, or simply the best English teacher. I'll take either! Nothing like kids to bring you up and make you feel like the most awesome person in the world.

I was trying to sneak past 2c on the way to the bathroom without being mobbed. Loren, a gypsy girl, came running up to me. "Ms. Lauren! Is it true that in America it's normal to have brown skin like me?" She didn't ask this in a defensive way, but in a curious one, and in Hungarian of course. She and her two friends stared up at me, and I didn't know what to say. My mouth opened and closed, and then I answered in my best Hungarian, "Well, America is a big country. There are more than 300 million Americans. And most of us are white, I think. But there are lots of brown people, and black people, and Asian people, and people that are mixed too. But I don't know if it's normal. I think life is a bit different for them than it was for me. But I think your skin is beautiful."

She seemed satisfied with that and ran off to her little second grade world, and I sighed and continued to the bathroom. Nothing like children to make you realize what a big, scary place the world is and how powerless you are in it.

I have been ridiculously busy this month. Between doing grades, parents complaining, midterm tests, redesigning the staff room, catching up on things I've let slide, getting my broken computer fixed, and writing applications... I'm a bit tired!

Tune back soon for the update (with pictures!) of my trip to Visegrad, where I climbed a snow-covered mountain.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


So Monday night Mate calls me at an ungodly hour to inform me that there will be a transit strike this week. Well, balls. Tuesday morning I dust off Tiffany and pull her outside. It's below freezing, and my hands shake as I clip on my helmet, but off I go to work. And sure enough, after a few blocks of cold air whipping onto my face, my body goes numb and my heart gets warm. I zip past the people waiting for the very rare buses and trams, fly up the river, dart across the bridge. Sure, I got to work, hopped off my bike, and barely caught myself on the fence before my legs gave out.

But God, I love my bike. Even if I now have a cold, which I am European enough to believe came from sweating so heavily in the cold!

Friday, January 15, 2010


So I haven't been blogging because for whatever reason I felt obligated to blog about my time at home. And here's the thing. My time at home was lovely, beautiful, and relaxing. It was also strange, eye-opening, and sad. I had so many conflicting and powerful emotional responses. I lived my time at home. And then I came back home to Budapest, because I don't feel that it is contradictory in any way to list both as home, and I had no desire to blog about home.

I wanted to blog about other things. I just didn't want to blog about home. But I felt like I owed it to my home to write a beautiful, deep, and moving entry about it. So I didn't blog about anything else. And every time someone asked me about home I found that I was incapable of doing anything beyond sighing and evading the question.

And then today I realized that my time at home was exactly that. It's mine. I'm going to be greedy with it because, frankly, I don't want to share it. It's my time, and that's all. Sorry guys.