Tag Archives: life

The Last Juror Review and mini life update

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I’m pretty convinced that there are authors that everyone has that they refuse to try. Like I never see myself reading a Danielle Steele novel. Not my style. From what I know anyway. Until recently, John Grisham was on that list. I don’t know why. Maybe because he was too overrated? I don’t know. Just never went to him. I’m not sure how it happened but I have a copy of The Last Juror by John Grisham. The theory that I have this book because I bought it at a book sale or store and I thought that I should expand my tastes. That’s the only way I can see that I had bought it.

I decided to read this book the other night. Like I was running out of books…..yeah. I did read the back a while ago and set it aside to read it soon. So it wasn’t like it was never on the list. I don’t regret reading this book. It was decent.

At first I didn’t get why Callie was in the story or such a big part of the story. I was very mistrusting of the author. I can’t help it, it’s what I do. Sometimes I’m mistrusting of where an author is going. It’s like I think I know better than the author and know how it’s going to end. I do that. I get cocky and be like ‘I know better than you author….haha’. The author proved me wrong. I didn’t fully expect the ending. But at the same time I kind of did. The crazy lawyer had to be in the book for a reason.

I was very aware that this was the 1970’s. It was mentioned a lot weather it was actually telling us and the narrator talking about his long hair and his still hippie clothes or it was talking about cultural things like having a race thing with Callie on the jury. I was kind of interested in the laws of the time. Grisham does say at the end of the book that he distorts the law but they do talk about a law in the book that life in prison was really 10 years in Mississippi. This also made me think about media’s involvement in trials. It made me think about how the media affects trials today. Media is very involved in the legal system. It’s on different levels depending on what goes on and who’s involved like if it’s on a national level or a local level.

Sometimes I forgot who people were. Like I forgot the previous editor’s real name and only figured it out like 2 pages later if it didn’t mention his nickname. Looking back, I realize that there was a lot of backstory. Like you got the backstory of the paper and of Callie and the Padgitts. At the time, I didn’t notice how much there was. But it gives you an idea of the people. Which is important because without the people there is no story. But it was the little details that I think made the book better.

This is a random thing but I was just talking about how since I’ve been come back that I will notice Hungarian things in life, actually more in literature than anything. This book has one Hungarian and he dresses the editor nicely.

So the last couple nights, I have been very anxious about being alone in the house. And it’s only been very recently. Days are fine but it gets dark and I’m not okay. It’s like I feel like someone else is in the house. At first I was like, it’s because it’s October and Halloween is coming up. But then I really figured it out. My television isn’t working right. I don’t have it hooked up to cable or anything so all I have to listen to is DVD’s or VHS’s an let’s face it, as lovely as VHS’s are, I don’t watch them often. And on my other television in my room, is now skipping DVDs. I’m not a fan. So there’s a lot of silence in my house. A LOT OF SILENCE! So I’m fully aware of how empty the house is. Of course I’m going to start imagining things, start thinking I feel things around. So that’s that.

I also went to a library’s book sale. It was rather large and I was in heaven. The way they did it was they weighed it and charged you a dollar a pound for books and then they use it to buy new books for the library. I got 21 books for $18. I did go and get 2 regular priced books but that’s not the point. I got a lot of books for cheap. I also decided that I will teach myself how to hand quilt. So I got supplies for that. I also got together with someone I’ve known since college who also lived overseas. It was nice to see her and talk because she gets how it is coming back.

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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.

I’m a Bad Blogger.

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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.

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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.

More Awkward Encounters.

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So, why do I attract awkward situations with men? Seriously? I’m starting to blame this on the men. It’s not my fault. Let me explain. There’s this guy at work that just makes life awkward. Now, to be fair, he doesn’t have sisters, I don’t know his mom, I know he hangs out with guys a lot so he doesn’t have a reason to understand women. We have spent three shifts in a row together. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And usually at work, there’s a point of the night very early on that I get in this zone of, don’t bother me, I’m putting people to bed or I’m getting blood pressures. I get intense. So after I feed one night, I come back on the wing and he goes “If there was an intelligent race of fighter gorillas and they ruled over an intelligent race of dogs, what would their cultures be like?” I’m supposed to follow that? Really? He knows that I’m not into sci-fi. We’ve had this discussion before. Ugh. Then that night, I’m charting or putting stuff in the computer, he comes up to me and goes, “Can I ask a personal question?” My mind goes okay, what’s going on. I’m going to turn you down if you ask me out because I’m leaving, we’re really different but then I’d feel bad for turning you down because you’re awkward and someone needs to teach you how not to be awkward. So I go. “Ask and if it’s to personal, I won’t answer. I’ll dodge the question.” (B.T.W. We’ve already had that exchange already that I’ve had to wonder if he’s asking me out. He needs a different lead in.) So he asks his question and we get into this long discussion about religion.

Move to later that night. I pop into a store room to get a drink of water. He corners me. He asks me if I can put someone to bed that he usually does. Yeah. “You okay?” “Yup. I’m fine.” “You sure? Because sometimes women say they’re fine and they’re not fine. I don’t know how to read women. They’re hard. And I don’t deal with them very often.” (The nursing home is crawling with women and very few men. He works at a place crawling with women.) “I’m fine.” (By this time we’re okay no. I’m walking to another room to fill my water and he’s following me explaining to me that women don’t always say what they mean. And he obviously doesn’t know me well because if he did, he’d know that I’m pretty straight forward. I say what I mean.” “You sure?” he asks again. I look at him, annoyed. “See this face? It’s my I’m fine face.” “Okay.” he backs off.

Next night, he follows me into the store room and then to the water room. He comes in and I joke about him stalking me. “yup. I am…..So how you doin’? So that weather…..It keeps changing. Like how does it do that?” He jokes. Okay. That did make me laugh. We’ll give him that. He made me laugh once. ONCE! Don’t go marrying me off. And last night we got off without any awkward situations. YAY! No Awkwardness. I feel like at this point, it’s a weird, off day that I’m not having an awkward situation. Yeah, I’m that girl. Always awkward.

Book Front: I’ve been slacking but I have started and finished 2 books. Reviews to come.

I also watched the season premiere of Outlander on Starz. From my tired, after work brain, it was good. I want to watch more, not tired, to get a real opinion. Did anyone else watch that? I want to know opinions.

MJ and I are still writing our random story. I like it. I feel like it’s going to be a life saver when I leave the country…..in 2 weeks.

Yay for Posting.

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So last weekend, over the 4th holiday, (BTW, happy late Canada Day and Independence Day) we had a family reunion. My mom has 4 brothers and one of them has a lake house in Minnesota and that’s about half way for point for a lot of people so we met in Minnesota. 3 of the 4 uncles were there and almost all the cousins. I say almost all the cousins and, in my head, it sounds like that’s a lot of people but let’s break this down.

All together there was:

4 out of 5 siblings and 3 spouses.

9 out of 12 cousins

6 spouses of cousins

11 children of cousins. Actually 13 because sister is pregnant with twins. That’s right my niece/nephew count will be doubling around my birthday next year

4 dogs.

So at the most at one time, because some cousins left early, (cough sister, brother and their families, cough) 31 people in all. (that are out of the womb) It was a good time. Here’s some highlights of the weekend.

I got to drive the new pickup. That makes my life. But my dad and I changed spots after a while. There was a sign that said that there was work being done on the shoulder. Now here’s further proof I’m like my father. We both go at the same time. “I have 2 shoulders.” and we motion to our shoulders exactly the same. See proof. Also, on the way back, after stopping at implement dealers, we stopped to eat and we came up with a master plan to drive mom insane. That was fun.

My cousin and his wife, (FYI, there’s only 3 girls out of the 11 cousins and 2 of us were there, so when I say cousin, most likely it’s a guy) they adopted a little black boy. He’s only a couple months old and super cute and super black. At one point, some of us were in the kitchen getting supper ready and somehow, I procured this little bundle of joy. Not sure how this happened. But we were standing there and he was facing out and looking around and I was bouncing him around and my uncle comes around the corner and goes “Holy shit if that’s not a contrast.” Because I’m super white and this baby is super black. So he really wasn’t lying when he said we contrasted.

Another cousin has a little girl that has Downs Syndrome and she provides some entertainment. My cousin’s wife was holding her and we were talking and this little girl loves Frozen, like any little kid. And this girl started calling me Ana and she was Elsa. My brother-in-law brought up the Frozen songs on his phone and she started singing along and doing all the actions to the songs. It was so much fun to see. Then that night she was going to bed and I go “Goodnight Elsa.” And she looks at me and goes “ANA!” with this big grin on her face. Talk about melt your heart. The rest of the weekend I go “Who am I?” Ana. “Who are you?” Elsa. Pretty sure the family will be calling me Ana for the rest of my life just so they don’t have to mess up on the M names me and my siblings have.

The day after the fourth, we’re all standing down by the lake for breakfast. My sister and her husband were late getting up. An uncle comes up to us and says, “Megan’s up at the house, awake.” We all look at him and ask him to repeat himself. So he repeats it exactly how he said it the first time. I look at him and go “Hi, I made it down to the lake.” He looked at me and goes, “That was fast. But I meant the other one.”

So that was my weekend. I also went back to the nursing home this week. I just finished 4 shifts in a row and have 3 in a row starting tomorrow. For not being put on the schedule this month, I’m sure working a lot. 10 shifts in like a 2 weeks. Who knew that there would be so much work at a nursing home……I did.

So I’ve been back at home for about 2 weeks now from the Chicago area and I’m kind of missing it. Like the social part, being around people my age and similar personalities. It was like college except not.

So remember me talking about friendish/acquaintance at church? I still don’t know what to call him. Sure, let’s go for it. We’re friends. So today, he walks into church with this girl and he comes over to me and gives me a hug. ugh hugs. I am not a hugger but I deal with it. So he introduces the girl, who I think is his girlfriend, but I don’t know because he didn’t say she was his girlfriend just told me her name. Ok, here’s my deal. If it was his girlfriend, he should not have hugged me, even if it is in his personality go be a hugger. Right? Anyone agree with me?

I went to the doctor this past week, waste of my TIME! and I swung by Barnes and Noble and picked me up Book 8 of the Outlander series. Only a month and a half after it came out. Megan for the win. I am just starting it and love it. YAY!

OH! MJ and I are having a girls trip in like a week and a half. We’re going to Fargo! No jokes please. It’s the first time we’ll have actually seen each other in like 3 years. This is going to be EPIC! And maybe a yearly tradition.