It’s the end of day 2 in Kaposvar and McDonald’s (AKA: free wifi spot) closes in 44 minutes. Let the race begin:
Why am I using free wifi? Well, our apartment actually had internet which the school paid for last year. The teachers we replaced left the cable modem and the router, and in fact the lights were on when we walked in. My computer picked up the full-strength signal from the router, but there is not an actual connection apparently. I’ll have to have someone check on that very soon; I was planning on paying for internet, and was also prepared for the school telling me it wasn’t possibly. But obviously it is.
Speaking on having someone check on our problems, the school has assigned me a contact teacher, Arpy, who is officially my go-to person. Kellie and I went into my school today and met the principal and vice-principal right before the first school meeting…We got introduced and then got to leave the 3 hour meeting because we obviously can”t understand any of it. It turns out the headmistress is an English teacher, too. There are 15 or so in all, so I will have a lot of support!
Yesterday, Arpy and two women from Kellie’s school all picked us and our luggage up from Budapest in a smallish car. They took us to Lake Balaton, stopped for coffee, drove us through the town, took us grocery shopping, and promised to be there for us if we need them. I don’t think any of them get paid extra for this, but our director made it a point to be up front with them when we need anything. I think Arpy deserves a bottle of wine or something… he is awesome, and very funny. We had agreed to meet at 10 am to begin filling out our immigration paperwork at the government office today. Everyone has mentioned to us that the government process is very slow, sometimes one has to go back 3 or 4 times because paperwork isn’t just how they want it. Well,Arpy came to the door at 8:45, said he already called the office and made us an earlier appointment because the office hours are apparently Monday and Friday until 11:30am or something like that. We got ready quickly, took a beautiful walk through town, and ended up sitting at a table talking to the man who was obviously in charge of everything, and spoke no English. He asked for all our documents, had us sign some things, photocopied the passport page with our entrance stamp for Hungary, took our photos and fingerprints. All along, Arpy was talking to him, answering questions, and feeding us lines like “he is smiling, this is a good sign” and “I think we should get him a bottle of wine.” Eventually the man finished with our stacks of paperwork, and Arpy said to us quietly that he was surprised everything was successful. There were a few minor issues,such as one form which needed to be signed by my director, but Arpy got that taken care of on his own time and took them back. He also said that the government now has 30 days to process our papers,allowing us to stay beyond 90 days which a passport allows. Later today, I got my CETP-required cellphone set up, and Hajni, the directory called shortly after just to say hi and see if we had any problems. She was shocked that our paperwork was filed so quickly.
During our brief stopover at the school, we mentioned to Arpy that we couldn’t start the pilot light for the water heater and gas appliances. We have been constantly warned that when you need something done in Hungary it might take…a week or even a month. Arpy had 2 maintenance people, Attila and Tomas, follow us out of the school to our apartment where it was fixed immediately, with Arpy translating. They were very friendly, even teaching us some words for window, table, vacuum, etc. Kellie noticed the small kitchen had no ventilation/range hood for the gas appliances and Arpy said that typical newer homes have a range hood. He asked Kellie if she would like them to remove the 3 large glass window panes which give the kitchen light from the outside (there is a sitting room between the kitchen and the exterior wall). Kellie said yes, Arpy translated, and Tomas immediately left to get a ladder whereby he spent the next 20 minutes removing the 3 windows. Kellie could actually smell the gas in the kitchen strongly as they were bleeding the air from the system, so now the ventilation is much better. We get a great breeze inside when we open the windows, but we closed them at night because a moth and a HUGE grasshopper/praying mantis (?) came in. I rescued them both and safely got them back outside 🙂 . The current problem we need to deal with is that the water smells like copper! I would bet that the building is many decades old, at least 60 or 70. Kellie says the first time the toilet flushed copper colored water came from the tank (which hasn’t been flushed in 2+ months.) Since then it has been fine. All the water looks clear, but it has a not-so-faint and obvious copper smell. Hajni said to give it a few days because the country has good water everywhere. I don’t know how we could ask anyone to remedy this, so we might have to hope it doesn’t stain our clothes, deal with it in the shower, and buy a brita pitcher for the fridge ($35). Also we don’t know how to work our washing machine!
We have been doing a lot of walking around. This is a really pretty town, and we will have tons of pictures tomorrow!