Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year.

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So I’m working on a bottle of wine. Let’s see if I can keep this coherent and not loopy. Right? Right. And it’s New Years Eve. I can drink wine if I want to…I’m an adult. So tonight, before drinking, I had a dance party by myself, in my kitchen to music in my head. I’m a great adult. I’m not crazy. But I am fun to hang out with. I’ll probably edit this later.

The past couple weeks have been good. The last week of classes were a little pointless. I was being observed but I got through them and got told I was improving. To which I wanted to answer, “Yeah, of course. I’m obviously going to approve from week 6 of teaching.” Whatever. Some classes give teachers presents. Some of them were quite interesting. But sweet that they got me something. I went into December not expecting anything. That was great.

The last day of class, I totally watched Jim Carrey’s version of The Grinch. That was interesting because a lot of the kids hadn’t seen it before. I was out of school way before noon and that was even more epic. The other American and I went out into the city and kind of celebrated the end of what we call “hell week”. Because it’s a rough week. So we went out to eat and to the Christmas market. Side note. I have accumulated 4 Christmas market mugs. I don’t need 4 of them. But I have them. End side note and the wine. Then we went with a group and caroled at a disabled home. Then we met some people to watch The Hobbit after we went to a Mexican restaurant called Arribas. There was us 2 American teachers, 2 Hungarians and a new guy from the states. Let’s call him P. He’s the only one to my right. I’m be sarcastically humorous because, let’s face it, that’s how I am with no responsibility. We’re all talking and then I feel a tap on my right shoulder. It’s P. He taps me on the shoulder to talk. Yup. Taps me. It’s nothing important, he just wants to get to know me. But I get tapped on the shoulder. Now I don’t know if had said my name before this and I didn’t hear him but I got tapped on the shoulder. Yup. Nice guy and he’s a shoulder tapper. We went to the Hobbit and I fell asleep and made references to The Mighty Ducks, Remember the Titans and The Matrix. I think I win.

I then started traveling starting on the Sunday. I first went to Vienna. It’s only a few hour train ride so that’s good. I get off the train and I pick up a map and I go to my hostel. That’s right, I went to a hostel. It was interesting. The first night, I had the room to myself. I did take a shower. That shower, I’m convinced, was made by men. First they say take 5 minutes. That made sense because there’s many people using that shower. But I have long hair and I need time to wash it. So I hurried but the light kept going out because it was motion censored and I guess I don’t make that much motion. Then the shower kept going off, I kept having to push in the button so I could get water. Made by men, Boo. Men don’t get it.

The next day I go out and I’m walking down the street looking like a tourist. With the shoulder bag, my farm coat with my name on it and a map in my hand. I really look like a tourist. This woman comes up to me and speaks to me in German. Several things. I could tell before she spoke, she wasn’t Austrian. She spoke in German to me. Then she spoke and I go, (mentally) you’re not Austrian. You’re American. I can usually catch German or I can get the drift. Not with this woman. I look at her and say I’m American. She goes so am I and I live here and I still can’t find my way around. So, I got mistaken for German in Germany and Austrian in Austria. Vienna was really cool. I liked it. My last night there, I had 2 French Canadian roommates. They would talk to each other in French and me in English.

I then went to Prague where my boss is. I stayed with her. She showed me around and on Christmas Eve, we were invited to a church service. It was between my boss’ church and the Catholic church across the street. First it was just a service, then it was with the Catholic church then it was a Catholic mass. I’m not Catholic. I grew up in a Catholic town, but not Catholic. They also offered us communion. This makes me nervous. Catholics don’t let just anyone take communion with them. So this was a big deal. I didn’t take communion. I just was uncomfortable with it. But I was at Catholic Mass on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day, after a minor breakdown on Christmas Eve, we went to someone’s house. My boss made tacos for a group of people and we went to someone else’s flat because they had more room. This person is Mennonite. We don’t have Mennonites near where I live. The closest thing we have is Hooderites, but they’re not the same. So it was interesting being there getting to know them. It was kind of funny because my boss was telling me about her and she was like “She’s a farm kid, you’ll have a lot to talk about.” Yeah. Okay. We didn’t talk farming.

Next night, we go to this place called the Tavern. Best burger I’ve had since being in Europe. Europeans generally don’t get burgers. Before we get there, boss is telling me about some of these people that will be there. She’s talking about this guy and goes, “He’s a farm kid. You can bond.” Because if you grow up on a farm, you bond. This guy did look like the bigger guy in the singing group Home Free. Nice guy, but didn’t bond. Kind of wish we did.

So I was out of Budapest for a week and decided to come back home. I get on the train and I ride for 7 hours with 3 German men. They played games the whole time so I didn’t have to talk to them much. But I understood a decent amount of what they said. I should have counted how many times they said shit in German. It was quite a bit. But I got to my temporary home. I like being home.

Past couple days I have been eating way too much. And there’s been great coffee. I love coffee. On the way home I did get Martin Short’s memoirs read. He writes exactly like he speaks. I love him. I also feel bad that he lost his wife. He loved her so deeply and I want him to have her back and I want a love like that eventually.

So I don’t have much else to say. So have a good new year and be safe.

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Yup. I’m still in Hungary.

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I think a lot of times, when a person does ministry in a foreign place and that person is single and they come back, you hear a lot of the good. You will hear the bad but no one can ever prepare you for the emotional journey that you will take. It isn’t perfect. It has a lot of emotions and not all good. I have never felt more alone than I have since I’ve come here. I also have never felt like people wanted me out so bad too. It’s been an interesting few months to be sure. I’ll start with the bad and move to the good. Because the bad is always stuck in a person’s mind at the time.

I’m a shy person in person in real life. Like really shy. Until I am comfortable with you, it’s really tough to talk to me. So in Mid-October, the school was like “hey, you’re not doing great. We’re asking for another native speaker teacher.” That was the day before fall break. Great. That was the actually the first time that I broke down since I’ve been there. I mean, I didn’t do it at school, I came back to my place and did it. So my boss came out from Prague and got everything taken care of. It was not and is not easy to think about and deal with for me. Good thing is that I’m here for at least a while longer. That’s a very good thing. That means I can invest in the faculty and students a little bit more. I have a faculty member watching a few of my classes this week and then I’m sure after Christmas things will happen or something.

Good things: I went to Germany in October. There is a German woman who was an exchange student when I was a freshman in high school and I went to stay with her and her husband. It was a fun time. Went to Heidelberg and saw a ruined castle and just hung out and practiced my German. We had Thanksgiving for the kids the Saturday before Thanksgiving and that drained me and the other American. 20 some pound turkey and we, more like I assisted in, made all the food. It was fun. We laid out paper as a table-cloth and had kids write what they were thankful for. Some of the older kids did math on it. I took a picture because it was intense math. Stuff I don’t like doing. And I got sick after it. Not fun. We also went to someone’s flat for actual Thanksgiving and it was good. I haven’t laughed like that since I left home. And I saw a guy get kicked in the chest on the bus that night. It happened right in front of us. It was really scary. But it’s a good story. One day I’ll talk about it more in a post.

I’ve done a few museums since here like the House of Terror and the Holocaust museum. I’ve gone to a couple Christmas markets. Budapest has the best Christmas markets by far. I also went to Bratislava (in Slovakia) a week and a half ago. It was cold and rainy but still really cool. I’d go back when I had more time and it was nicer out. I also will be traveling over the holiday. Vienna, Prague and probably Kraków. I’ll be staying with people I know over Christmas so I won’t be totally alone, which is good. The holiday is going to be hard enough but to be alone would be even worse. So hopefully everything works out so I can relax and not worry about school stuff because I could totally see me worrying about school and the outcome of that whole situation. But I’m traveling. YAY!

I’ve gotten involved with a bible study, a church and a book club since I’ve been here. All are good and providing me with some community. I don’t have many people close with my company so it’s hard to get community with them. But I have friends! That’s a good thing. The school also asked me to judge an English competition for 8th graders last week and that went well. I didn’t expect that to happen. I also helped the freshman last week sing a song for the whole school. That was fun.

All is good back home. Sister is pregnant with twins girls, due in February. So my niece/nephew count will double. MJ and I are doing a lot of calming down of each other. Things happen in our lives and we know how to deal with each other. She told me that my stubbornness was getting in the way of something. I’m not stubborn. I still insist I’m not stubborn. I’m not. I’m very agreeable. Anyway, we go back and forth worrying about each other. It’s what we do. We’re pretty much family. The Atlantic Ocean makes constant communication rough for us, but we get through it. We email all the time and we complain how customs has kept her package from me for 2 months already. I was supposed to have it before I went to Germany in October and I still do not have it. Boooooooo. I miss home now over the holidays and there are things I wish I could take care of back home but I keep myself busy. Because there’s nothing I can do over here right now. I just have to wait until my time here is done. I can do this. I have this taken care of. Don’t worry.