Friday, September 16, 2005

Are you ready for this? Well, get ready cuz here's your crash course in knowing your various drinking establishments in Sopron...

Number 1: BEER

Barrel = Beer, my friends. Remember that.

Number 2: WINE

Pay attention now people! Branches = Wine. There'll be a pop quiz...

Number 3: TEA

Teakettle = Tea. Got that?

Okay, so number 3 isn't exactly true. It may have been a teahouse at some point in time, but now it's a dentist's office. So now you can go there to get the stains from the tea bleached off your teeth. It all comes full circle, right?

It's really the little things...

Today we didn't have school because all of the students have a class trip. Good for me, eh? My plan was to sleep, sleep, relax, maybe eat something, and sleep some more (I got a little sick in Bratislava last weekend). But when I woke up the weather was so beautiful that I couldn't help myself and I took myself for a walk.

My plan was to get lost and see what I see. I walked past the University and then headed back downtown, when guess what? I recognized where I was. Yes, that's good, but I was almost disappointed. I did get some great pics though (to be posted later). I also saw one of the directors from the school as I was walking and we waved hello. For some reason that made me incredibly happy...recognizing someone on the street.

I went back to the dorm and my favorite porter was working. I don't know his name but we always wave hello and goodbye to eachother and he always laughs when I ask for the key to the computer room (which is all the time...and which is probably why he laughs). He gave me some chocolate and is now my best friend (the way to a lady's heart guys, the way to a lady's heart).

I also finally found the library again and returned my books and got some more. The clerk remembered me and said Hello and Bye in English which also made me incredibly happy.

I don't know if I've come to a turning point or what, but I just couldn't wipe the smile off of my face today! God has blessed me with such incredible joy and I can only pray that it lasts. There were times in the US that I was blessed with such a joyfulness and people would ask me why I was so happy. It was such a perfect way for me to introduce them to Jesus and I'm really glad that I'm feeling the same joy and I hope it leads to more introductions to Jesus here in Sopron.

This is me loving the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Packages from Home! How I love thee, let me count the ways...
1 magazine, 1 roll of fluffy toilet paper, 1 book, 4 cards, Several great pics of my Godson, and oh, so many wonderful things...

Thank you everyone. You've been a great crowd!

Go Me!

Aw yeah!
Guess who navigated the Central European train system all by herself and made it to Bratislava and back in one piece?

If you answered, "Mandi!" You are quite correct! Yay! Go Me!

I'm quite proud of myself if you can't tell. It was quite the accomplishment. Speaking of accomplishments...I figured out the laundry situation and think I correctly did two loads last night! I say I think I did them correctly because my clothes smell clean and they look clean. I had trouble getting the washing machine to actually stop washing. It just kept going and going. After about an hour I just turned it to the wringer setting and prayed that my clothes were fully rinsed. I'm not quite sure what was going on's an adventure to say the least.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

It's a Good Thing.

So I've started to read the Bible because I've always heard the Bible stories and I've been taught them my whole life, but I've never read all of them for myself. I'm into Leviticus and it sounds boring, but I just can't get enough! I read all of the commands God gave the Israelites in the OT and instead of being tedious and boring, I picture what it was like living in that time, why God worded the commands as He did, what they people were like, etc. I'm enthralled by history and the Bible is quite the goldmine.

I've tried reading the Bible many many times in my life. I've done the New Testament for class, but whenever I got to the OT I found it so boring. All of the "begats" and "commanded thems" and such. But now I find it fascinating. How cool is that?

It probably helps that I'm reading a New Living Translation instead of a New King James. I would recommend the NLT to anyone who wants to read the Bible for that is what this version intended. The translators intended to make the Bible accessible to people today...they translated it into words and language that we would understand today. As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Here's a little taste of my photos to keep you salivating and thirsty for more...

The white building in the middle is the entrance to the Berzsenyi Daniel Evangelikus Gimnazium where I teach. It extends quite far in the back and all of the rooms are numbered crazily and are hard to find. But I like it, it's like a little scavenger hunt every time I go to school. the red building on the right is an English Pub where, not so surprisingly, they do not speak English. On the left is Posta, the Post Office that I have yet to frequent. Sorry if you've been waiting for snail mail from me, I'm not yet brave enough to go in and try to send international mail.

This is a picture of the Roman ruins in Sopron. Throughout the town you can still see the remnants of the original Roman wall that inclosed the inner city. It's very cool and it makes me wonder if the residents here take it for granted. There is such an incredible history in the architecture here! It is said that one cannot dig under a building or in a yard in Sopron without coming across an ancient statue, building, grave, or remnant of the ancient municipal water system from Roman times.

Can you imagine what that would be like in the US? Anytime someone wanted to build something they'd have to stop and let archeaologists come in and excavate for years before they could start building their shopping mall or apartment complex or parking lot. Crazy yet very cool.

A Weekend in Blava


Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen I successfully negotiated the Central European train system all by myself! Go me! Well, there was an incident coming out of Vienna in which I took the wrong train, but the mix-up was soon corrected and I safely arrived in Bratislava. It made me feel better to know that I was not the only person who got on the wrong train, but in fact at least 20 people were with me in the confusion. You see, they have this knack of connecting 2 trains for departure and then halfway through the journey the trains are split and each go their seperate way. You'd think they would let you know such information in the train station, right? Wrong. One must pay special attention to the crudely made signs taped in the window of the first car to determine the destination of the carraige.

Yeah. Not something a first time rider would know, but what are you gonna do?

Now I am back in Sopron with my nose to the grindstone. Luckily, Mondays are my slow days and I only have 3 classes. My project for this week is to crack down and create a grading plan for all of my classes...or maybe I'll do it by teacher or by year. I'm not sure yet. But that's the plan.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

It's Getting Better My Friends

So this is my second week teaching English and I'm actually getting into the teaching English part. I have 23 classes, all with different students, and so I have over 200 names to remember. Lord I'm terrible at names. I really enjoy teaching, most of my students are quite advanced so we get to sit around and talk and I have them write stories. They love themselves some chain stories I have to tell you.

I was so lonely my first week. No one else was in the Kollegium, I couldn't get into the computer room, I didn't have a phone. Oh, the inhumanity. But now it's getting better. There are actually other bodies in the building.

Last night I went to "English Club" which consisted of me with 2 other Americans speaking English and drinking Soproni beer at a local pub (those of you who remember the Green Mill in St. Paul would've been delighted with the brew). Today there is an anti-abortion march to the hospital that I think I will go to if I can find the St. Istvan church where the march begins. Let's hope so.

And this weekend I am braving the Euro Rail system and will be taking a train to Bratislava all by myself. We'll see how well I switch trains in Vienna. I'm a little concerned. But I really need to visit the Lindsey's and see some friendly faces...and speak some English. I really miss my family and sometimes it's really really hard to be here all by myself. And I mean really hard. But it's definitely getting better and I imagine it will continue to do so.

Gotta run, my next class starts soon. Cheers!