Category Archives: Work

Learnage

Standard

I leave Budapest in 42 days. Done with school in 39. I have a lot planned fun and more business days. Here’s things I realized or learned.

1. I’m scared. I’m not sure how I’m going to react to “re-entry”. I’ve been reading some about this and have been talking a little about this with people. For those of you who don’t know what re-entry is, it’s when a person goes back to their own culture. Adjusting to Hungary was an interesting transition and though I think it wasn’t a big deal, it was. Re-entry will be a big deal too. I was talking to my boss last week via Skype. During this conversation I got a little nervous. I started to read articles about re-entry. This one is my favorite because it describes how I feel. I realize that I am going to have a hard time with family gatherings. It’s going to be a place in time that I feel like I’m going to be asked and feel obligated to tell everything and I don’t want to.  I also feel like my family is going to be expecting me to be normal and I’m not. I’m changed. But it’s a process and I can’t rush it.

2. I have a love/hate relationship with Hungary. I have 4 different days. 1. I love Hungary. 2. I hate Hungary 3. I could take it or leave it. 4. I question everything. It goes from day to day how I feel and sometimes how I feel differs with the parts of the day. Sunday I loved Hungary and Monday I hated it.

3. I have a passion for one on one relationships. I knew this before but it’s more in me than before.

4. I go inside more. I do that more now. Something happens and I go inside. And I feel myself pulling away from friendships more. It’s my defense mechanism. I did this before Hungary but I do it way more now.

5. I feel emotions more. Living over seas makes things more intense. That’s my life right now and I hate it. Back home, I’m usually private. To the point I get uncomfortable talking about my emotions and usually push emotions aside. Here I feel emotions 100% more than I’m used to and it’s not in my comfort zone.

There’s more and there’s more details. Obviously. I have spent almost 9 months here, there’s going to be a list. I just wanted to give people a short list or an insight on what I’m learning.

And let it be known that there are things going on in life back home that I am not comfortable talking about. It also deals with a person that I talk about regularly here on the blog. And it’s hard being here in Hungary when they’re back there hurting.

Advertisements

Crappy (literally) Teaching Moment

Standard

Yesterday, my first class was my lowest level class. It was the first day after a 4 day weekend and our schedule is a little confused because the seniors are testing. Anyway. These kids have been talking about going to the doctor and I brought in a worksheet. Most of the vocab, they knew but there was some new stuff to stretch them. One of the new words was diarrhea. Then they ask me. “Miller? What is Diarrhea?” “Okay, this will be very non-teacher like of me guys, but you know when you poop and it comes out watery with chunks in it? That is diarrhea?” Confused looks. So I start thinking of other ways to describe it. “Miller? What is poop?” Ah crap I think. (Exact thought. I promise) “Okay, crap, shit. The chunks that come out when you sit on the toilet. That is poop and if it looks like water and has chunks in it and you do it a lot in a short time, that is diarrhea.” Of course that would set in. They knew the words crap and shit. It was then the light bulb came on and they were like “OH!!!!!” and they tell everyone who did not understand what it is in Hungarian. Every once in a while you just have to curse in class.

Happy New Year.

Standard

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.

Hungarian Language With a Small Rant.

Standard

I felt like my last post was a little scattered to me so lets see if I can get back into this blogging thing.

So last Sunday, after church, I spent time with a girl I went to orientation with. She’s in a town outside of the city at this more “American” school. We’re both here for a year. She’s here for a year because of the contract she has with the school in New York and I’m just staying for a year because, as of right now, that’s all I’m called to do. So we were talking. Her school makes her take language lessons so she learns Hungarian. Mine doesn’t. She was saying how she doesn’t really want to take these lessons because she’s going to be here for just a year. What’s the point? She mentioned that she can get along with just pointing. It’s been working just fine for her. I then started thinking.

She sounded so condescending. Like the Hungarian language wasn’t worth her time. She came to Hungary for a year. Obviously something was worth it in the country. Trying to communicate in the native language is not only polite but it’s so arrogant sounding. I feel, and whether I have succeeded or not is still to be determined, that I should try to fit in as much as possible. Now I’m teaching Hungarian students and not all her students are Hungarian. It’s different for me. She’s kind of in an American bubble. I’m not. I kind of need to learn some Hungarian. It helps me earn respect from my students. High schoolers are a hard group to impress, no matter where you are in the world. Some things don’t change. I get that Hungarian is a hard language so by the time we would get the hang of it we would leave. (there are 4 categories of language. 4 being the hardest to learn and that’s like Chinese. Hungarian is a 3 so it’s a hard language.) I just have a hard time seeing this like she does. We’re here with a Christian organization. They kind of like us to try to interact. The schools that we’re at don’t have to have us. I mean in my case, they need a native speaker so yeah they need me, but ultimately, they didn’t need to say yes when our company asked them to take us. To learn Hungarian, to me and at least a little, is a sign of respect and honor. I guess she’s not with Hungarians like I am so it’s completely different. Isn’t it? Or am I totally overreacting to this? I mean that’s happened before. I think that it’s happened at least a couple of times on this blog where I overreacted. So again, it’s possible that I’m overreacting.

So I didn’t even touch bilingual church did I? Oy. So. First time I went we were late and they were singing in Hungarian so I was like okay. Cool. I was like they have Hungarians lead worship. Then the worship leader starts praying in English without a Hungarian accent. Like it’s pretty American. What? Way to throw me off. Like I’m not thrown off with life to begin with. Then you turn out to be not Hungarian when I thought you were. Distrust……. Yeah, that’s a lie. I trust this place even though they throw me off.

I have also been taking an insane amount of naps here. First it was because of the jet lag. Now just because I got into the habit of taking naps. Especially on Sunday afternoons. The girl across the hall, also American we are the only 2 Americans at our school, looked at me last weekend and goes, “You really like your Sunday naps, don’t you?” Yes. I am turning into my one or both of my parents.

Good thing: I have a three-day weekend. Bad thing: Hungarians make it up on Saturday. Ugh. Well, at least I’ll get at least one day off next weekend right? Updates to come.

I’m a Bad Blogger.

Standard

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.

Guess Where I Am.

Standard

So I’m in Budapest. Let’s recount that journey because that’s what we all want right?

Thursday night I saw a cousin. That was fun except I was going into leaving mode so I was shutting down. Poor guy had to carry on the conversation all by himself practically.

So Friday morning, I go over to my brother and sister-in-law’s to say goodbye to the kids and the sister-in-law. Yeah, that’s easy. That’s when the tears started. It’s not like I wanted to cry, but it was kind of hard not to. Especially when you know you won’t see people in 10 months. So the kids went to school and I went back over to the house. Got all my stuff together, said goodbye to the brother, got a side hug, and we (my parents and I) pack up the car and go. I cried all the way to my hometown which is about 17 miles. Then I pull myself together and stop crying for the next 50 to Bismarck. The tears were mainly for leaving the farm at that time. I was totally scared that I was going to get to the airport, get through security and start bawling my eyes out the last time I saw my parents. So we get to Bismarck and dad gets some blood drawn and we go to Perkins for my last meal. Dad thought it was kind of funny that I called it my last meal. I only had some French Fries and ranch. Not really hungry. Then we went to the airport and we had to run to Walmart to get a bag to unload my to heavy bags. Good thing Bismarck airport is small and easy to get through. So I get all checked in and mom and dad walk me to security. That’s the goodbye spot. Hugged dad and mom. We’re not typically a huggy family but in occasions like this, we are. We can hug when necessary. No tears. I was kind of impressed. I was totally expecting a flood of tears.

So, get on the plane, fly to Denver. Denver is uneventful. Get on the plane to go to Frankfurt Germany. I’ve never been on such a long flight. The last 2 hours were killer. Then I was nervous they wouldn’t go through in Germany and the plane was delayed. The cleaning people in the airport in Frankfurt ride their cleaning things. It was awesome. I was so distracted by watching them that I almost got ran into by a golf cart.

So I got picked up and got to my flat. Emailed and Facebooked everyone. Sunday I got picked up by a family within my company and they took me downtown. Now, I have keys but I couldn’t get my keys to work in the gate so I had to scale the fence. That was an event. Just got to be smarter than the gate. I had to go to a meeting this morning, where I was introduced. The principal picked me up from the airport and made sure that I knew that I had to be at the school at 9. It was made very clear. The meeting was in Hungarian. He said my name and I was like “Hey, words I know! Oh, I need to stand up. Right.” Then I got keys to the office I’m in. And one of the ladies showed me around.

I’m still trying to get on a schedule. I’m failing. Horribly.