I think we’re definitely getting into a routine here… a good routine, I mean. It is nice to be able to get to the grocery store so quickly, we are making more meals at home, and we’re slowly but surely feeling like we live here rather than just visiting.
During my week of teaching, I had a few quick moments where I wasn’t enjoying it. In particular, I really have little interest in being an elementary school teacher. I already put a lot of energy into teaching older kids, and elementary school takes way too much energy for me! But once the class gets going, it becomes fun to see the kids interacting and having fun learning English. By far, my biggest difficulty (aside from having no experience) is that I have/had no idea what each age of kids is able to do and how I should conduct their classes. Now I know that 2nd grade knows vocabulary but has never seen it written, etc.
The elementary classes also gave me the material and teacher’s guides and tell me which section to cover, and will hopefully continue to give me the topic more than 1 day in advance. I’m not sure doing my planning on weekends will work entirely.
High school is awesome! All the kids are great, several have added me as facebook-friends, and the first two days of class have been entertaining (I see them 1-3 hours per week). This week I am planning to incorporate some kind of 9-11 memorial, especially since we are recommended to include American culture as part of our lessons. I am planning to find a suitable video clip which I can show in class, and have some activity afterwards. It has been difficult to find one that doesn’t show the planes or people jumping. It needs to be age-appropriate for sure! That’s on my to-do list for later today. Also, I get to talk to my family on Skype tonight, if my computer cooperates. I think it will.
This weekend we basically relaxed. Friday night, we went to the main square of town where there was a honey festival…and a stage with kids doing judo demonstrations. hmm.
On Saturday, we went to Pecs. It is the closest “big city” to us. It has 160,000 people and is generally considered the second best place in Hungary for tourists, besides Budapest. It has the best preserved Roman ruins outside of Rome, and the most prestigious wine region in the country is just south of it. It has a distinctly Mediterranean climate, something I instantly remembered reading when we neared the city and noticed dry, burnt grass and desert plants (in contrast to the lush grass and green trees of Kaposvar). The second thing I noticed about the city was “Holy Moly, there is graffiti everywhere, and it kind of looks like a dump.” Ultimately that was a false first impression. In reality, the train station/bus depot area looks like slums but a short walk toward the cultural/tourist/historical center revealed that area has been well taken care of. There was beautiful architecture, beautiful Zsolnay porcelain decorating fountains, and a rather large pedestrian area. I noticed that most restaurants (and the many coffee shops) stay open late, some to 2am. That would be a welcome change from here as our favorite coffee place closes as 11pm (or earlier if they want to…it happened once). Pecs is clearly a city made for tourists…even the menus and business signs were written in English.
Side note: I have not figured out the fascination with ice cream…Though it is affordable at about 80 cents (US) a scoop, I can’t believe how popular it is. I have only found one gelato store in Kaposvar, but in Pecs, I saw at least 20 in the small downtown area, and I think every other person I walked past was eating an ice cream cone.
Some sights from Pecs
There is an area of Christian ruins near the old city wall and the basilica. There is a modern facility which charges admission (50% off for teachers) which allows you free access into the site 1-2 stories underground. You can see where the ground level was in the 4th century, and can see several excavated parts of the Roman inner wall as well as several tombs, each the size of a small room.
There was quite a lot of information on wall plaques (in English) and I really liked the museum’s design.. Some can see inside some tombs from above or below, as in the 2 photos. On others you could only see the outer construction and not actually inside it. The walls and one stone coffin could be touched, but the tomb interiors and some displays of jewelry/vases could only be viewed through glass.