I really feel like my blog will get a lot better soon. I am very unmotivated to sit in this sauna-like computer lab, and it’s pretty tough to be making so many corrections as I am typing. Obviously, once we have internet access in Kaposvar, we can use our own laptops.
The classes yesterday and today have pretty much been extensions of the first day…. a morning session, then teaching tips, then language, then a final session, with lunch mixed in. We are getting a great opportunity to meet the other teachers, through interacting in class, sitting around chatting, eating lunch together, and going out in dinner groups.
Yesterday after class, 6 of us decided to get on the tram and go to a new area to check out. We decided to go to Szent Kálmán tér, which is in Buda on the other side of the castle. We ended up getting off, then basically walking down a road toward the Danube (a Duna). Eventually we got to the water and were blown away by the view of Parliament. It seemed bigger, at least wider, than anything I have ever seen. There is a pic on Kellie’s website; I didn’t bring my camera. We ended up eating at a small restaurant/bar on a side street. It was so comfortable being a limited-Hungarian speaker. The waiter was an older gentleman who was friendly with us, smiled, appreciated our attempts to pronounce correctly, helped us correct pronunciation, and generally seemed like he was trying to make it comfortable for us. He took a picture of us, which I will hopefully be able to put on here soon. And the food was good too! I have gyulasleves (goulash) and an appetizer of fried, breaded camembert cheese with a fruit sauce…which seems very popular here. The bill (szamlát) was just prices handwritten on scratch paper so we graded a menu to figure out each person’s amount owed. In Hungary, you can see on the bill if a 10% service charge was added. If not, you are supposed to add the 10%, rounded up. And paying is a formal, personal process; you’re supposed to hand the payment to the waiter, never just leaving it on the table as you leave. Interestingly, we have noticed that occasionally, the waiter just deposits the money into his pouch obviously without counting it.
Today, some classes were moved so that all rooms were air-conditioned. The Hungarian language is so overwhelming that many people are still completely lost…I certainly know surprisingly little of it for the amount of effort I have put in. I am still really slow on all the expressions for hello, goodbye, excuse me, sorry, and other basic statements. Mainly slow on quickly recalling which one is which.
Our ˝teaching tips˝ class is really enjoyable, and the teacher recommended a bookstore, about 15 minutes away by tram, which has English-language teaching supplies. I found out that it closed today at 7pm, and that our last class was out at 6pm. The tram we needed would leave at 6:20, and a few of us decided to go. Kellie, I, and two recent UConn (I think) graduates Dan and Sarah tried to accomplish the goal on getting there in time. We got to the local square, where the trams stop, with about 5 minutes to spare. This square isn’t huge and un-navigable, but imagine 4 tram lines criss-crossing, with the stops at various places within the square and some construction going on. The four of us scurried around, checking possible stops to see if #6 stopped there, and asking a few people for directions. We eventually found it, and though we all rushed to it (because it was already there), it didn’t leave for a minute or two after we got on. No Kontroll today. We crossed the Petőfi bridge, named after the famous poet, and arrived just across the street from the bookstore. We were able to make some purchases without feeling rushed, then we looked for a place to eat.
We found a quirky place that looked kind of industrial…. It had a bar feel, but it had funky dishes like quesadillas, chili con carne, and a full menu of Thai food in addition to the Hungarian items. There was also a chalkboard covering the 20+ ft. long wall with alcoholic drink prices… you could even buy bottles of hard liquor. I had a pint of my favorite beer so far, Soproni, and Chicken Paprikash (Csirke Paprikás). I liked it, but Kellie didn’t like her fish and chips so much. Food seems very salty here. The four of us had lots of good conversation sitting at the dinner table. As I have mentioned to Kellie several times, I don’t ever think about the age difference when I am talking to people just out of college… I don’t feel any older…personality-wise or communication-wise. Maye it is because I have always worked with a younger (children) crowd. It’s not until some topic like our IRA accounts comes up than I realize, “whoa! I’m 12 years older than you.” I am definitely glad it is this way.
Oh, did I mentioned that lunch today, in 95 degree weather, was potato soup, served with meatball soup. But this wasn’t any meatball, it was a liverball.
You may have noticed Kellie’s blog has a counter for time spent on public trans, and the # of times Kontroll (ticket enforcement) has checked her ticket. I am going to add one for “# of times I have been asked for directions/ # of times I have successfully been helpful.” Today I am 1 for 1. I gave a couple precise directions to the synagogue, never having been there myself, and after looking at their map, written in Hebrew (which I don’t know) for about 1 minute.
Tomorrow I will really try hard to at least take one picture for you!