Category Archives: Europe

I’m not Hungarian.


One thing before I get into what I really want to talk about. Putin is in Budapest. I don’t agree with either Putin or Orban (Prime Minister of Hungary). Side note: Sometimes a student will say Orban and for a second I hear Urban. Anyway. I was just telling some of my seniors on Friday that you will never fully agree with your government. One of the girls went “oh” like it was a revolutionary comment. And coming from a post-communist country, maybe it is.

So back to the real topic. I’m not Hungarian. Far from it. I don’t look or act the part. Here’s some things that Hungarians want me to sympathize with them or act accordingly to and I don’t. I just don’t get it. I’m not Hungarian.

1. ‘It’s so cold today.’ It’s 37 degrees out. Know what it is back home? -6, before windshield. You don’t know cold. There’s been 2 decent snowfalls since I got here and neither of them stuck.

2. ‘You have a cold, or the sniffles. Why aren’t you home in bed or at the doctor?’ Hungarians stay home for the sniffles so they don’t get more sick. If they develop a cough that lasts more than a day, it’s the doctor. I have had a cold this week and I mentioned I was tired because of being sick today in my office. My colleague started telling me that I should be in bed or go to the doctor. I got sick of it and I looked at her and said kind of loudly, “I’m not Hungarian” “And Americans don’t get sick?” “NO but we don’t stay home for just a cold or the sniffles.” Then she proceeded to tell me that Hungarians don’t do work just at work and that it would take me longer to get well and that there are different viruses in Europe like they have different viruses in Africa and that I could have the flu. Right. Because at almost 27, I have no idea what having the flu feels like and have no idea how my body reacts when I’m sick with a stuffed nose a cough. You’re right. I’m just the young kid that doesn’t know anything.

3. ‘Hey do you want raw bacon?’ yeah. Gonna pass on that. I have a weird thing about bacon being cooked. And I won’t buy beef here. I rarely buy it in the states because my family has beef and I can get it from home. But beef at the store, or even a butcher sometimes, always creeps me out. I don’t know where it’s from or what it’s been fed or who butchered it. I’ll get stuff from mom and dad as long as I can. That way I know where it’s coming from. Call me crazy. Just how I am.

4. I’m typically not as negative as a Hungarian. I do have my negative moments but nothing compared to a Hungarian.

Now don’t take these things and think that I hate Hungary. I love Hungary. It has wiggled into my heart, grabbed hold and is never letting go. I’m okay with that. I just had some of those moments today where I wanted to shake a Hungarian and tell them they have no idea and they’re being dramatic. I’m at the moment where I have cultural frustrations…can you tell?


….Yeah…..No Title


This post might jump from place to place. Just…try….to follow my nonsensical ramblings.

Saturday was Valentine’s Day. In the past, I have had rants about the day and how there’s pressure to be with someone. To me it’s not a big day. Someone on Saturday told me happy Valentine’s Day and I feel like I looked at her like she was an idiot for a good 5 seconds before I realized that it was true. It was Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to forget holidays. Just like I had one of my kids remind me last week that it was Lincoln’s Birthday. I don’t think of it when I’m in Hungary. American holidays aren’t on their calendars and I’m usually thinking about what I need to teach so holidays aren’t a big thing. MJ, the friend who I am in contact with the most since being over here, posted something love on my Facebook wall: ‘Happy “who needs a man? I am a self-sufficient kind of lady” day.’ Followed by ‘I can buy myself chocolates. Take that world.’ I love this because there was a lot of posting by non-single people saying don’t worry singles, you’ll find the right person someday. You’re a great catch, just wait. This has always irked me a little. I talk a lot about being single here but, in real life, I really don’t bring it up. I think it’s because on here, I know I won’t necessarily get a response back and in real life I will and I don’t always want others’ opinions about this. And if I do bring it up, I will say something like “Happy Single’s awareness day” for Valentine’s Day and I’ll be joking about it. Don’t tell me then that I’ll find someone. I was joking. Don’t take me serious. People should know that by now. I also have a problem with this because not everyone knows where I’m at in my life. Right now, in Hungary, by myself, struggling to be a teacher, and sometimes emotionally inept, I can’t handle a relationship. I knew that would happen so that’s why I declared this a no-date year. When I get home and have dealt with the re-entry back into my own society, I might be okay with dating. Now, it wouldn’t be fair to anyone.

Another thing that is always brought up around Valentine’s Day, concerning relationships, is how you address the person you are in a relationship with. No, there is no ‘my man’. Did ‘my man’ lose the ability to function as an adult or become my slave? Slavery is what comes to mind when someone says ‘my man’ or ‘my girl’ or ‘my boo’. It sounds like that person is your possession to me. I know that’s not how it’s meant but still. Get over it. I never do this with words like ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ because you are making sure that the person you are speaking to knows that the person in question is in a relationship with you….not owned. You will never hear me say ‘my man’. Because I will not refer to my significant other like that and I will never have a slave. Simple as that.

Saturday I was at a basketball tournament in another town. We tend to call this town Little America because it has the international Christian school and there’s a crap load of Americans that teach there. It’s also where everyone else in my organization is at. This tournament was very American and it was a little overwhelming at times. American food and candy at the concessions, a pep band, basketball. Granted, teams weren’t that good because it’s different when you aren’t in the states. I met some friends from Budapest there, they were there because they knew one of the coaches. I also saw and talked to some people from my organization. That was nice because I don’t get out there often because it takes me an hour and a half to do get there. So I have no community with them.

Community is one thing that I realize how important it is since I’ve been there. I’ve always thought that I was very good at being independent and being an island. You can’t do that here. There’s too much emotion that comes when you’re over in a foreign country alone. One day I’ll blog about ALL the emotions that I’ve had this year. But recently I have been angry about missing big events back home. I missed the birth of my twin nieces and have missed out on a lot of wedding and engagements. Things I can’t celebrate with these people because I’m here in Hungary. I understand that I’m doing something that needs to be done for me and there is a reason for this year but it’s hard to understand and grasp sometimes. I have found some kind of community here, though not with my own organization. The other American took me to a bible study when I first got here and have found community there, but sometimes it feels like I’m a third wheel there. I also have a group that goes out to eat after church on Sunday and that has been good for me. This year is important for knowing about community and finding my strength.

It is birthday week. I think something is being planned by the other American teacher. If it were me, I’d just hang out and go to museums this weekend. But I don’t think that will happen. The other day, it was one of the other teachers in my office’s name day and I said I don’t celebrate name days. They ask if I celebrate birthdays. Yes. And then they ask when mine is. Sunday. OH! Does anyone in Budapest know that? Like one other person. I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it. I think it’s going to be more of a deal than I wanted it to be. I’m only 27. It’s not a monumental deal. Crap, I haven’t had my birthday off from work since my junior year of college. I just work all the time. Not my problem I need money to pay for stuff like rent and food and student loans. Only bad thing about this birthday is that I’m sick. I hate teaching and being sick. You should see how much toilet paper tissues I have around me. That’s right. I’m using toilet paper because I ran out of tissues and now conditioner so I actually have to go to the store now. And I’m sick…and drinking tea….I never drink tea. Now I am because of being sick. No chances that I’ll ever like it when I’m not sick. Take that tea-loving Hungary.

Happy New Year.


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.