Sunday, September 17, 2006


We've been teaching for two weeks now and we are still alive and well!

Our beginning was not too auspicious, though! As I plugged my hairdryer in on the first morning of classes flames emerged! Ok, there went the power. Not only did we lose power, but since our flat is attached to the school, it lost power also! Well, a few minutes later I was headed over to school, wet head and all, with the evil hairdryer and a translator in hand. I managed to find the Director (principal) and 15 minutes later a handyman had electricity flowing.

Okay, now to class, right? Not quite! The school is being remodeled and room numbers for classes had been changed, but no one had told us. So we arrived at empty rooms. Then the search began to locate our classes. Finally we both found classrooms with kids, but no teachers and just started teaching!!!

Since then things have gone well. Kids are the same all over --- they want to learn. We just need to make it interesting. So far we have been able to do that. As proof we are greeted in the halls with at least 100 "hello's" and "howdy's" every day. (No exageration!)

We have found that the students do not have as much English as we had surmised. They have been working in workbooks and doing set dialog practice. They do not have the skills to answer random questions, though. They also have little confidence. We are working on talk, talk, talk and that "not perfect" is just fine. Just try!!!!

So, teaching goes well. I hear that things are going well in Montessori in Pocatello, too. I couldn't be happier!!!! Hello to Erin and Nicholas who have left me messages on this blog! My email address should be under my profile so you can write me if you would like to. I think of all of you very often!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Arrival and Orientation - We Made it!

View from our hostel window in Budapest.

Were we ready? You bet! Our belongings had been laid out for weeks. We had been packed for days before we left. Our son, Matt, had hosted a smashing good-bye party! Saying "good-bye" to family was rough! But we were off! And we arrived without incident and with all luggage present and accounted for. Our CETP (Central European Teaching Program) contact teacher met us at the airport and we were hustled to a waiting school van. Before you could say "Hungarian Gulyas (goulash)" we were in Ujszasz (oo-ee-sahs) in our school Director's dining room eating raw paprika peppers in olive oil, and a Hungarian dish I still do not know the name of! But after 24 hours of traveling I could have eaten his dishtowel and been very happy! A quick (2 minute) tour of our village and we were deposited at our new home adjacent to our school.
A day and a half later, after unpacking and rearranging furniture, we were standing on the train watching Ujszasz recede as we headed back to Budapest for Orientation. For 5 days we attended class during the day, learning a smattering of Hungarian language, lots of Hungarian history, and teaching tips that were not new to me. We stayed in a youth hostel with a gorgeous view of Budapest, sharing a toliet and shower (They are always in separate closet-sized rooms in this country.) with other Americans who came to teach and experience a different culture, too. At night we explored Budapest. It is only a city of 2 million and has excellent public transportation, so getting around was not hard. We ate by the Danube while listening to a roving musical combo, found a beer garden on an island in the Danube, located a western-style mall to stock up on items we knew would not be available in our village and were awed by the night lights of Budapest. Then it was time to say "good-bye" to our newly-made friends (after exchanging email addresses) and head back to Keleti Payaudvar (depot) to return to our new village.
Now to make our flat a home and prepare to face those Hungarian teenagers! (Installment two to follow, providing we live through it!)