So I’m one of those dumb people that will eat croutons for a meal. It’s not healthy I know. But I was recently looking at the ingredients. Let this be known about me. Sometimes I read labels for no reason. When I was working in Medora for the summer, when I knew I had to go but it was going to take a while, I’d grab a bottle and read while I waited. I found out one of our cleaning tablets cured AIDS but you couldn’t ingest it. I want to know what animal they tested that on to find that out. Because I assure you that it had to be tested on something to prove that it was cure for AIDS and be put on the package and why are you testing a cleaning product if it cures AIDS anyway? Were they bored one day and wondered that? OH! Were they in the bathroom? That’s where I do some good thinking along with reading labels. But back to my crouton bag. I was reading the ingredients. It says Canola and/or sunflower oil…..natural butter flavor (a milk ingredient). Let’s talk about that. Why is it and/or sunflower oil? This is a very specific brand of crouton and it’s a specific flavor of crouton. Is it because some of the sunflower oil got on some of the croutons and not the others or both? That actually makes sense to me. Maybe I just had to write it out to understand. So the butter. I just assumed that was a milk ingredient. Is that an erroneous thought? Maybe it’s just a farm girl thought. Anyway. Random thoughts of the day.
I’m in the process of reading a large book called The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. It’s well over 700 pages so it’s taking me a while to get through. Though I’m loving it, it’s taking me a while. Because of that, I decided that I’d go back and review a few books from my past. I looked at my shelves and looked and looked. Then I saw a small book and I got super excited. We’re going back to my elementary, pre-teenage years for this one. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. We read this book in school when I was in the sixth grade, I was 12. Just in case you didn’t know what age you are in the sixth grade. Just a random addition here: I remember being sick when we read this book and something was with my teacher and she wasn’t there for like an hour and the elementary principal took over the class for the while and my nose was super stuffed because I was sick and started to run and I didn’t want to get up for a tissue because I was scared of the principal. It was a good class, but I just had a stuffed nose and I was miserable. I loved this book so much I used my own my money to buy it. Big thing when you’re 12. In case you don’t know about this book, let me recap for you. And it’s in my own words.
Kit Tyler is an orphan and she’s going to Connecticut Colony from the Caribbean islands to live with family. Who are Puritans. And they live in a strict Puritan community. She only feels accepted at with an old Quaker woman who lives far from town and is also known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond. And she also feels accepted by a sailor named Nat. Wink Wink. When people find out Kit’s friendship with the Quaker is found out, things go downhill.
So reading this in school, there’s the historical aspect that you’re taught. The witch trials, coming to the colonies, pre-Revolutionary life, etc. I always liked history so this was really interesting. I found out a lot a lot about the Witch Trails with this book. Like are you a witch if you float or you sink in water? Either way you’re screwed right? Either way you’re dead. (Note: With recent events, I could make inappropriate comments with that. But too soon and I don’t want to offend anyone and they are horrible things that I could say.) It’s also a reminder that since this book is set in Connecticut and there’s witch trials. I tend to forget that the witch trials were outside of Salem, Massachusetts. Being accused of being a witch was a much larger thing than a lot of people realize or remember. It was in all the colonies and abroad. There was also a huge witch “problem” in Europe as well. And today people are called witches all the time. Witch is not the word that the speaker is always insinuating. And people are also saying they are and relating to being witch. So the meaning of the word witch is different now than it was in centuries past. I also appreciate that Kit was from the Caribbean. (How do you say that word? What syllable do you stress? The Cari or the be? Just curious.) I forgot that people didn’t always come straight from Europe. Sometimes they stopped in the Caribbean. Everyone has a different story and it’s ridiculous to think that everyone came from their home in Europe straight to where they are living now in the States. My family didn’t. A lot of my family went from Germany to Russia before they came to North Dakota. One part of my family has more than German blood in them and were in Ohio before North Dakota. Some of them even returned to Ohio after WWII. Sometimes you forget that there’s a history before you.
Actual book. Let’s talk about it. If you didn’t get from my description from the book, Nat and Kit get together. Or you assume they get together. At 12, I didn’t see that coming right away and when I realized he was asking her to run away with him on his boat that he just bought, I was ‘ahhhh that’s so cute’. Yup, actual thought and I then I wanted someone to buy a boat for me and ask me to marry them and run away with them. And then there were other things he did that were cute. Looking back, I don’t know how that would work. I don’t do boats very often. It’s not that I’m anti-boat or that I get boat sick. I just have no access to boats. There’s a lake like 20 miles away and I’m like an hour away from the Missouri River but still, where am I going to go with a boat? So maybe at 12 it would have been more applicable for me to daydream about being whisked away by a bike. I could ride on the guy’s handlebars or something.
Then there’s the fact that Kit almost married someone other than Nat. Horrible. I didn’t like that. But there needed to be conflict and being set up was part of the society. Whatever. I also appreciated that this book shows how she struggled to fit in and how she kind of worked at trying to fit in. It’s a good message. Kit couldn’t change who she was. The back of the book describes her as a tropical bird. And coming from the Caribbean to Connecticut, it makes sense. Caribbean is super warm all the time and then Connecticut isn’t. I’m supposing on both. I’ve never been to either. It’s a good message to kids.
But I keep coming back to being accused of being witches. It’s almost like my Mermaid kick I had a few years ago. It’s mass hysteria. I think that people are intimidated by knowledge and things that they don’t understand. Hence people knowing how to help people with a disease when the majority don’t or actually knowing how to swim so you can be a witch. I then wondered what the modern equivalent is to a witch hunt. In the States, it may be cops. I had a discussion about this with some of my kids in Hungary. Part of it is racial but you rarely hear the good of a group of people. You hear a lot of the bad things happening with cops in the past few years. Yes, the things that are coming out are bad. But these are the select few situations. You don’t hear all the good that the rest of the police force is doing. So cops are getting the brunt of it.
Personal life update. I’m reading a lot, I’m trying to finish up some projects. I started working again at the nursing home, which isn’t my favorite job but it’s a job. I did have a few residents that were really excited to see me again. I’m at the other farm full time. I have a fridge now and still no oven/stove. I was at war with both toilets. One is fixed now. The other one is in the bathroom that’s in the entry way and I don’t use that bathroom anyway. I’m also used to the noises now. One night there was strong winds and I was hearing creaks of the house (this house is 50 some years old so it has it’s creaks) and I texted my mom about it and she told me to come home if I needed but I just turned up my stereo and fell asleep to a movie so I was good and then she texted me in the middle of the night asking if I had electricity, which I didn’t, and I was up for another hour listening to the noises of the house. Yup, I now remember I have an overactive imagination. I even heard noises last night I was hesitant over. I swear that it sounded like a foot step! But that’s life.
I can’t sleep. This is the first night since I’ve been back that I haven’t been able to sleep. There’s a lot of things going on that are keeping up.
Yesterday I helped my sister move to Fargo. I don’t necessarily like my brother-in-law. So on top of going through culture re-entry, I have to hold my temper. I didn’t hold my temper very well at the end and both my parents kind of reprimanded me. I’m sure my dad wouldn’t have but felt that I was being rude regardless so he told me not to be crabby. Today I have had the remnants of being frustrated and it’s affecting how I’m reacting to people. Which is unfortunate.
Some of this frustration is from re-entry. I don’t feel understood a lot. I’m not expecting total understanding but I want people to know that I get frustrated more easy now. And it’s for reasons that may seem silly. Things like going to church is a big deal. I need my distance. I want to be alone a lot of the time. I have a hard time being upbeat. Hugs (though I’ve never liked them) are a huge deal now, even from family members. All these things come so much harder now. People aren’t asking what’s going on. They just assume I’m okay. And they’re not seeing how I’m actually acting and picking up on cues. Which is frustrating. I recently got told during a confrontation that I need to heal and I wouldn’t have minded the comment but it was said like I didn’t know I needed to do it. I’m fully aware of a lot, healing being one of them. I think that another problem I’ve been having is that I am having a hard time telling people what’s going on and how to say it without it coming out bitch like. Even when not talking about re-entry things come out bitchy. It’s a hard thing. If I go away again, I don’t know how much time I’ll be spending in the States again. We’ll see how things go.
I come back to the states in 6 days. There’s so much emotion that goes into that one sentence. But this year has made me more emotional than I ever have before. I think when you’re living overseas (especially when you’re a single woman), emotions are amplified by a million. I’m extremely excited to leave, completely sad that I’m leaving. I’m scared for numerous reasons and dreading traveling. I’m in the process of getting things done and getting the last few things. But sitting here, writing. I’m getting the anxious pit in my stomach. I know with how rough these last 10 months have been, a lot of people won’t understand my hesitation for leaving. But no one has really seen the whole story. No one has seen the little moments. Or heard the questions and one liners that were so perfectly spoken by my students. Or had the bonding moments (superficial or not) with the random people that have been a huge part of my life for 300 days. No one knows how many times I’ve asked myself why am I here or the times I’ve thought, this is why I’m here. Yes, I have consciously been aware of how long it will be until I go home in the sense that I will be going back to a place I’ve known my whole life. But now I am also consciously aware of how Budapest has a piece of my heart and that I will leave a little bit of me here and have that hole replaced with Hungary.
There’s still a lot of pain in me. There’s been big events that I’ve missed back home, I’ve practically ruined one of the best friendships I’ve ever had. I’m going to carry those things with me for the rest of my life. There’s a lot of guilt. I can’t change what’s been done or said. I get that. I wish I could change some things though but I knew that coming to Hungary meant that life was going to be tough and life was going to be real and I was going to miss things and relationships would change. Sometimes terminate. (None of my relationships have terminated. Don’t worry. Some have changed dramatically and you know who you are and I’m sorry. I’m trying.) But the thing is, I’ve never been a completely open person. I keep my emotions to myself so that other people can hurt. Until this year, that’s worked for me. I was able to deal under these circumstances. But this year, with emotions amplified, I can’t function like that. I won’t be able to function like I used to for a long time, if ever. I would have eventually come to that point without Hungary but moving here sped it up. I’m sure a lot of people have noticed a change in my blog. I’m writing a lot differently. I need to. I’m sure eventually I’ll get back to writing like I used to, but now this blog is more self-centered. Because I need to throw whatever is in me out into the universe. I can’t leave what’s going on in me inside. It’s why I’ve started journaling like crazy. It helps me get the emotion out.
I don’t know what people expect of me. I know some people will expect me to be the same Megan I’ve always been. I’m not. As much as I fake it, I’m not. There’s a lot more anxiety and much more insecurity and less confidence in some areas. There has been a lot of tears this year from me and there’s going to be a lot more. I’ve cried and will cry for other people and for me. But there will be people that understand. Mainly those who have experienced this themselves. Some others too but it will be harder for them to understand why more than one native English speaker is overwhelming or why going to a restaurant or going to a grocery store with more than one or two options is overwhelming. It’s a special circumstance I’m in, but I’ll get through it.
Yesterday was the last technical day of teaching. I didn’t do anything. One class gave me a picture of them and chocolate. They told me they loved me. I love them too. I didn’t expect to love these kids and this country as much as I do. I expected love but not this deep. It’s a reason I don’t want to leave. I have laughed and cried with and for these kids. How do I move on from that? How does anyone move on from that? I get told by people who have gone back after living overseas for a time and they tell me to give myself some time to heal and don’t put a time limit on it. Leaving in under a week, I realize that I will never completely heal from Hungary and I don’t want to. This country has helped shape me in a way that no one has expected.
No. Seriously. I’m a bad blogger. I haven’t blogged since I first got to Hungary. Can you guys forgive me. How about forgiving me after I remind you that I’m in a new country, a new joy that is NOT EASY and I deal with a crap load of teenagers on an almost daily basis? I’ve wanted to, if that counts.
So here’s what’s going on in my life. I’m teaching high school. I’m teaching English as a second language in a Technical high school in the 21st district of Budapest Hungary. It’s October. I have about 8 months left until I go home. Now here’s the thing about going home. I haven’t hit homesickness yet. I’ve hit numbness. I had 4 people of varying importantness die in the first 2 weeks I was here, 1 since then, so a total of 5. I haven’t cried over it. I haven’t cried over not being home and seeing the kids all the time. I haven’t cried at all over anything. I’ve been a version of happy and a version of sad since I’ve been here but nothing extreme. It’ll hit me by the time I leave. Probably around the holidays. But I’m going to make it because I’m strong and I’m determined to get through this triumphantly. I’m too stubborn to give up. I’m determined to make it through this year and have a good time about it.
I have had some good times. Some of the kids are great. I have some not so great ones, but most of them are great. I’ve had kids speculate that I hate the sun because I am pale, I had a kid tell me he wants to be Batman one day because the kid next to him is named Robin. I pushed a kid off his chair today and he dramatically fell. The class applauded when I did it. So. Not all bad on the teaching front. It’s just that I’m not a trained teacher and I’ve always known it was a tough job but it’s tough. I’ve gone to Margaret Island, Fisherman’s Warf and I toured the third biggest synagogue. I live by the Danube and since my school is a technical school and I live in a property owned by the school, there are planes and helicopters in my yard. It’s interesting to be sure. I also have plans to go to Germany and Austria. I was going to Bratislava next weekend if I didn’t have to teach on SATURDAY. They have meetings on Monday so the kids have to make up the day of school on Saturday. Lame Hungary. Lame. OH and I went to a beer festival and I went to some kind of festival last weekend and had hot wine. I’ve done a lot more drinking here than I planned to. It’s not because I’m in depression. It’s because alcohol is everywhere. You can get it at the supermarket for like a dollar.
I’ve done some reading here, gotten involved with a book club, I’ve been writing with MJ. I’m actually expecting a package from her and I’ve also gotten several letters from back home. But. I will post more regularly. I promise. I’m in a beautiful city and I have an amazing opportunity. I’ll have a great amount to post from now on, if I sit down and actually right.
I tell decent stories right? Let me tell you more.
The other day, we came back from dinner/noon meal and I was like I need to go. So I walk over to the bathrooms. You know how usually, in a hall, the woman’s bathroom is first because woman tend to have to pee bad all the time? Not in this hall. So I walk in the men’s bathroom and I look around and I was confused because there used to be more stalls. I looked over and there’s urinals, thankfully no one was in the bathroom. I did jet out of the bathroom though without being caught.
A group of us went to ‘Godzilla’ last Tuesday. Yeah, not my kind of movie. We also went to go see ‘The Fault in our Stars’ on Sunday. That was good.
My roommate and I went to Chicago and The Art Institute. That was fun and then we went to get pizza and then to the river. The air was funny smelling and tasting but the pizza was good. So it evened out.
Thing that’s been bugging me is that people hear I’m from North Dakota and they’re like Mt. Rushmore, Laura Ingalls Wilder. NO! That’s lame-o South Dakota. (I do love SD. Just not home.) Then they go well they’re the same thing anyway. NO! THEY’RE NOT! NORTH Dakota. NORTH! Get it right. There’s a difference.
I talked about grammar all week. BOOOOOOO! I was excited at the beginning of the week. By the end, I hated it. Two weeks left of my training. Halfway through. I can do this right. BTW, if anyone has anything fun to do in the Chicago area on weekends. Let me know.
MJ and I decided we’re not dating this year. That’s kind of unfortunate because the town I’m in now is a very nice biking/running community and there’s a bunch of shirtless guys. And every time I see one I’m walking and look unattractive and don’t say anything back because they’re friendly here. Like one waved to me when he was getting in his car and I was like ‘is he shirtless?’ he was and one guy was biking when we were going to class and he was like ‘have a good day in class’ and I was totally like ‘what?’ Makes me an awkward interacter right? But we have been talking about guys a lot lately. Tonight I was walking and they’re doing some work in this parking lot so there’s a pile of cement and I look over and there’s a guy sitting there. I’m glad I’m not that awkward.
So I don’t know if I’ve announced this but I’m not going to the Czech anymore. I’m going to Hungary. I’m sort of excited, sort of not. It’s a work in progress. I just want to get through this month in one piece.
Random thought. Juliet bothers me. She was like 14. What does she know?
Everyone has that couple friends that are gross cute. They’re that couple that are so cute they’re gross. They don’t mean it or get handsy or anything, they just are so in love that it’s gross. They do cute little things for each other and stuff. It makes you want to puke. Gross cute. MJ and I have been talking about this a lot lately. We’re writing and telling this story and one day I was worried about the one couple being gross cute. I also told her that I never want to be gross cute. Not that I have anything against being gross cute but it’s not who I am. I’m the somewhat sarcastic girl who’s a little direct. Gross cute is not what I do. But we’ll see what happens, if that happens.
So I got hit on the other night at work by a man in his upper 80’s. Awkward. So you have to know this guy is one of the most appreciative men ever. Never a bad word to be said, even when he’s sick he’s really positive and will give you a compliment. He’s the one that called me pretty one. So tonight, I’m getting him from his recliner to his wheel chair. He was pivoting, meaning that he stands and turns instead of getting hooked up to a machine to help him turn. So I’m standing in front of him and he’s turning and when he turns he’s a little hunched and you can’t be me and a CNA and not get in people’s faces when you pivot. You can’t do that and not feel comfortable that they’re not going to fall. So he’s turning and he goes well at least I have soft breasts to lay my head on. I was so concentrated on what I was doing that it didn’t hit me what was going on. And being who he is, I know he was being nice and being positive but it was so creepy. Then later I was helping him get ready for bed and I heard the lady next door ring her bell and I was a little unnerved by what had happened so I go out and the other CNA was about to go into the neighbor’s room. So I was like “S, let’s switch” and he’s like okay the original guy was his to get ready anyway. So later S the CNA goes, “Hey, thanks for getting him started.” and I go. “No problem, he said something that made me a little uncomfortable before so I was glad to get out of there.” The man that commented to me is so sweet that S the CNA corners me going into a store room to ask me what he said. So I tell him and I was like “I know he didn’t mean it as like weird, but it unnerved me.” Thank God for S the CNA. I was at the home unofficially yesterday and walked by his room and kind of shuttered. I’ll get over it.
So yesterday, Saturday, was family day at the home. I didn’t have to work but I was there because my grandma is in the home. First, I had CNA’s telling me I need to get my scrubs on, get my name tag and start working. NO! Then we ran to the store after the festivities were done. We went in with my sister-in-law and the kids (I was sitting in between the kids in the back seat of the pickup) and my mom was going to run in. I yell, “When you’re in there, pick up a mother’s day card for yourself from me.” Mom and sister-in-law just look at each other and shake their heads. It’s not an unusual reply is it? No….Yes, I should have thought about mother’s day before the day before. I fail as a child. So, my brother and sister-in-law built a house on the home place and my nephew and I planned for me to come over and play. We get home and he says. I’ll call you when to come over. So I take my contacts out, throw my hair up and put on a sweatshirt and I’m messing around then he calls. So I go over. You expect the kid to play with me right? Yeah, for like a half an hour. The rest of the time, I help him with his subtraction homework and hang out with my sister-in-law. Lamest play date ever. We need to work on that.
MJ and I are still utterly addicted to our story. We may need an intervention. Someone want to stage that for us? So tonight I go, I’m going to go to bed. So I take a quick shower, do my toe nails, start shaving my legs with my electric shaver and it dies so I go back on the internet. This all happens in like an hour an MJ has been working on her section for like 2 hours. This is us, more so her than me because I know I can edit she edits as she goes, we spend hours on our story. Makes us epic.