Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gardening in Hungary

Well, the Hungarians are doing what I just read is something Americans will need to do to aide in the war against global warming. The Hungarians are growing gardens. Whether they have always grown gardens or whether this is a result of two world wars and being under the Soviets when food was hard to come by, I do not know. I do know, however, that it costs money and greenhouse gas emissions to bring produce long distances to markets. One suggestion I have read about is individual or community gardens that provide local produce. Makes sense.
Hungarians call a garden anything around your house. It can be a tree garden, a grass garden, a flower garden, a rock garden, a vegetable garden, etc. Most homes have no lawn, but do have an assortment of “garden” types. Roses are very popular!!! They grow well here and are just beautiful. Flower gardens are not like we would have them, more of an English garden full of assorted flowers. No, they are planted just like a vegetable garden in rows. I have found this very interesting. All flowers I have seen here are available in America. Not all would grow in Idaho, though. The English daisies are wonderful here and spread like weeds, covering entire sections of gardens. I can’t get them to stay alive in my garden in Pocatello!
Grapes are grown quite frequently in gardens, with long rows of vines stretching the length of a lot. Obviously wine and palinka are produced by the owners! Paprika peppers are also everywhere as are tomato plants. Cucumbers vine their way up and around everything also. Fruit trees are in most yards. Cherries and apples are most frequent. Plums and pears follow. Apricots are not forgotten, either. Many families can their produce. We have been lucky enough to be the recipient of many jars of produce given to us by a secretary at the school. What a treat!
All in all, now I can’t wait to get home and go to the Farmers’ Market in Pocatello and feast on all those home-grown goodies! Berries should be in when we get back. Doesn’t get any better than that!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

As the Year Draws to a Close

Future home of the John and Donna Language Room!

It is hard to believe we have been here for almost an entire school year. Yet, three more weeks and we head back home to Idaho.
As we assessed our teaching time here, we knew that it took us two months before we became effective conversation teachers. We feel badly about that, but there is nothing that can be done. If we teach again somewhere else in the world, we will be all the better for the time we have spent here. An outline on the best way to teach conversational English has been sent to CETP and also offered to a language company for possible inclusion in course materials. It is like it disappeared into cyberspace, though. No word from anyone! We are glad it is copyrighted!
We have decided that the best way to continue helping future students with their English skills (or German skills) is to put a language laboratory into the school. There was one here many, many years ago, but it stopped functioning and was dismantled. So, we have offered to put one in and both the Director and language teachers are delighted. After three tries the correct room was settled on. Storage cabinets are already being made to order by a local carpenter. Equipment is being priced. The Director wants everything in place before we leave! We are grateful and thankful. That way we know it has actually happened and will be used next year. So, before we leave the John and Donna Language Room will have “Howdy” mounted on the door and will be open for usage!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Weather or Whether?

Weather in Hungary – I had certain expectations: a cold winter with snow, deep snow. A wet, chilly spring was expected. Well, only fall lived up to my expectations and turned out to be beautifully warm and relatively dry.
Winter ended up being a cool, snowless season. I brought heavy boots, gloves, hats, etc. with for that reportedly nasty season. Think of the overweight penalty I could have avoided on my luggage! Now I get to drag all that stuff home for my next winter in Pocatello and hopefully I will use it – Idaho needs moisture desperately.
I was told spring would be a wonderous season in Hungary. I have always thought that spring was a wonderous season everywhere! How could it be any better here? Well, it was better!!! Buds and bulbs peeped out and birds returned and started singing. They do that in Idaho, too, but somehow it was better here! I haven’t been able to figure out what caused this “betterness” of spring here in Hungary. Whether it just reminded me that my return to Idaho was not far away, whether it was because winter was soooooooooo grey and full of deadness without the joy of snow that new life was more eventful, or whether it was because my world in Ujszasz is much smaller and spring just jumped out and seemed bigger, I do not know. But spring is GLORIOUS in Hungary!