Part ii: Autumn break and other Kaposvári happenings

Kaposvári happenings: The weather is colder, and there has been some rain.  Look it’s 10 degrees!

That is 10 degrees Celsius… which is 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  But the wind has picked up on occasion, too.

I recently purchased a battery charger from Spar for about 3500 ft. and then noticed the one I really wanted at Tesco, so I planned to return my purchase.  I find the classroom is a great time to talk about practical issues because many students seem really eager to help explain things to me, to help me out.  But they are speaking in English – both sides win!

I learned that as a general rule, you don’t get your money back when you want to return here.  I was told I would need to spend the same amount when I did the return  (like getting a gift card in the US, only that it has to be spent immediately).  And I was told I will be completely out of luck if I ever want to return something without a receipt.  The students were amazed when I explained typical return policies in the US.  Aside from Costco, you can return items with a receipt and get your money back.  Unless it is electronics/technology, which usually have a shorter time period like 14 days.  And if you want to return a product without a receipt, you will receive a giftcard as long as that store actually sells the product.

The class was very intrigued…dismayed, even (?) with the idea that you could return an item with no proof you actually purchased it there and a store will give you money.  I tried to clarify that a store won’t give you money for a product they don’t sell…and they will allow you to return it because they can put it right back on the shelf to sell someone else. That was instantly met with something like, “Then couldn’t you find something that is on sale at one store, buy them, and return them without a receipt at the store where it is more expensive?”       Excellent insight, student!

I asked the class if anyone would be interested in going to Spar with me to help with this complicated issue.  Two students volunteered, and we went after school today.  They asked a store employee who brought out a supervisor woman from the back.  It was a pleasant exchange, with the only word I understood being “Amerikai.” The woman headed to the back and my students told me that: 1)  I would be allowed to return the product, 2) they would need my address to send me the refund, and 3) we should wait right where we were.    After about 10 minutes, she came back with cash, asked one student to sign for the return, and we were on my way.   I definitely owe Dórii and Lilla an extra piece of cornbread when I bake for their class next week.  As a bonus, we were chatting on the way back toward school, and they told me about the food vendors that will show up in the main square as the weather gets colder.  Goodbye: ice cream, Hello: kürtőskalács (chimney cake), forralt bor (hot wine), and Túrógombóc (cheese curd dumplings).

Dórii and Lilla also told me that the food court at the mall has what are considered to be good Chinese, Greek, etc. restaurants.  Can I force myself to eat at a food court???

Lately, Kellie and I have been eating more of our planned meals, and not only do I love cooking, but I know I feel better when I am being thoughtful about my nutrition.  But for those days when we don’t have dinner plans and have to think it up at the last moment, here is our #1 go-to: fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and mozzarella with fresh tomatoes.

Autumn Break: I learned from my students that it isn’t Fall break and Christmas break, it’s Autumn break and Winter break.  We are going to Rome and Florence for Winter break, but where to go from October 28-November 5?

  We first did a search for affordable flights from Budapest or Zagreb.  Then we seriously considered Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Stockholm (and their surrounding areas), and considered Berlin, too.  It was down to the first two.  I preferred Amsterdam but Kellie was really interested in Copenhagen… It came down to actually looking at hotel rates and decided that they were all really expensive.  In fact, I don’t know how anyone could plan a budget trip to Copenhagen.  We decided that we will go to these cities, no doubt about it.  However, for how expensive they are in November, we should just save the trips for when it isn’t cold and rainy.  We probably considered just about every major city in Europe and ended up with another trip to Italy!  Italy is big enough to explore for a month or more, so Christmastime is Rome/Florence and Haloween-time is Venice/Bologna.  These areas also have lots of other great cities for day trips, like Verona, Padua, Trento, Parma, Modena… It will be awesome!

Our original plan was to fly on Wizzair (the budget airline) to Milan, which is a bit isolated in the northwest.  It turns out that there is an overnight train which goes through Budapest, then through Gyékényes (a short train ride west of here).  During the night, it goes through Croatia and Slovenia and arrives in Venice at 7am.  We got a private 2-person room, which cost $139 a person each way, but it was going to cost at least $75 each way to fly to Milan anyway. This way, we don’t have to travel 3 hours to Budapest, saving time and money.  We don’t have to go through the airport check-in process. We get an extra full day because we can travel on the Friday night instead of the next day. And also, I was able to purchase the return leg on the TrenItalia website for 40% off.

This Saturday, we will be taking a two hour train to Keszthely, a city on the west end of Lake Balaton. That will be my next post!

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One thought on “Part ii: Autumn break and other Kaposvári happenings

  1. Yay for another (relatively inexpensive) trip to Italy! I can’t wait to keep track of your & Kellie’s autumn break in Venice/Bologna area. I’m sure it will be a wonderful trip.
    What a neat experience to be able to take some students with you for the returns-adventure. I can see how they would see the flaw in the return system that allows cash back. It seems so easy to abuse doesn’t it? Glad you could get what you needed in the end though.

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