Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sweet, Sweet Goodbye

Goodbye Alan Greenspan. I know you'll be sorely missed by at least one Elvis-impersonating die-hard fan in Shawano. Thanks for the memories...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Teaching Style

I'm way too soft as a teacher, I admit it. But how can I get angry at my students for talking in class if they're talking to each other in English? I actually think it's pretty cool to tell you the truth. Dare I hope we're making progress?

I also managed to shock my students into submission the other day (a different class). They were talking in Hungarian and not even pretending to pay attention. I just decided to stand up front quietly until they were finished to see how long it would take (I'm a patient punisher...waiting for the kill). Ten minutes later one of the girls noticed and shushed everyone. We continued our lesson. Later on she asked if I knew how to speak Hungarian. I said I wasn't very good at speaking it, but I could understand quite a bit. The rest of the class heard this and immediately got sheepish looks on their faces. Why? Because they were talking about some of their other teachers and classes (not always good things either). What they don't know is that I rarely talk to their other teachers, but they don't have to know that. Better to let them sweat it out. I had fun.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Here's what I'm missing in Hungary. Boy, I hope that glass was clean...

Isn't he cute? Babies are fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Little English Lesson

I've learned that there's a difference between happiness and joyfulness. Happiness is something you create, something that you feel based on external (and sometimes internal) stimuli. Joyfulness is something that's given to you. You may not be happy or you may be down about something, but God gives you joyfulness anyway. I think it's best described by feeling happy and not knowing why.

Did anything special happen to you today? Did any outside factors contribute to making you happy (material possessions, people, nature, etc)? If none of these things were present, and you're still happy, then I think that's joyfulness my friend.

And I'm feeling joyful this week.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Short & Sweet

Let's see, what's new...

I'm feeling much better and am back at school although my ears occasionally pop once in a while. Is that normal?

The spring retreat is off much to the disappointment of every LCMS missionary in Central Europe. Apparently there are no funds. I think we should be allowed to take the week off anyway and travel to our heart's content. Or pick a city and come together on our own. The retreat would've been our last time to see each other again and it's really sad that we won't have it. Part of me feels really cheated.

With the retreat off, I'll have to wait until the middle of March until my first vacation. That's gonna be tough. Teaching takes a lot of my energy. I really love my students though. Every day they surprise me. Sometimes I wish I could be a better teacher...I feel like my inexperience and lack of training lets them down sometimes...like they could do better with someone else.

I'd love to see if Sopron has some kind of volunteer opportunities outside of school. I don't know how it'd work with the language barriers, but maybe if I asked one of my English speaking friends to join me. I've been invited to yoga classes, Tai Chi, downhill skiing (don't worry Mom, I'm NOT considering that one), and such but I don't feel that I'm being put to full use here. I want to do more...something where I can physically see the results of my labor. I don't know. It may happen and it may not.

I'm kind of counting down the weeks until summer...is that bad?

Saturday, January 7, 2006


So the word's gotten out that, psst!... the American is sick! Actually the word's been out since Tuesday morning (via The Loose Lips Express. Doesn't take long around here...train stops everywhere). I had to make the trek to the library to return some books that were due and I totally expected to see a newsie on the street corner hawking a broadsheet about my incapacitation (is "incapacitation" a word?). "Buy me last pape guv'na?" a la Little Les Jacobs in 1992's smash hit "Newsies."

Laura tells me she was diagnosed with Mono to which I reply, "Exsqueeze me? Bakin' Powder? (gotta make a shout out to Wayne's World whenever you can get 'em) Do you KNOW how many germs we likely swapped on our questionable 'vacation' to Ireland, my friend?"

But me having mono would make sense. No wonder why my doctor-prescribed drug cocktail is not really having any effect. And no wonder why I woke up at 9am today and was completely exhausted, slept until noon, read a bit, then became exhausted once more around 2pm. Yeah. I can't imagine what it'll be like going back to work with my depleted energy stores on Tuesday. Should be fun! Can I just go home and retreat in miserable solitude whilst setting up camp on my couch, channel surfing to my heart's delight? No? Okay...

Oh, I almost forgot...another shout out, this one to a few of my lesser-known (but not less talented) acquaintances:

Did I already make a shout to them once before? I can't remember. And I'm sorry I can't come to the door right now, but in my weakened condition I could take a nasty spill down the stairs contributing to further school absences...(name that movie)

Friday, January 6, 2006

I Title this Work: Ireland

Taken only moments before we found ourselves behind police lines. Why do such things always happen when Laura and I get together???

Gasp! Has Mandi been decapitated?!?! Oh, no why she's just kissing the Blarney stone.

I'm not a witch I'm your wife, but after what you just said I'm not even sure I want to be that anymore!

Ah, the Saints & Sinners pub in Dublin, Ireland. So which one are you?

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Long Time Coming

In the words of Jonny Lang, "Yeah, it's been a long time coming..."
How was my holiday break? One word: Interesting. You know, as in when someone asks you what you thought of the horrible new music they just made you listen to and you answer, "Um...it was interesting..." Yeah, interesting.

At this time I don't really feel like talking about Christmas, the better parts came in Ireland. Laura and I arrived in Dublin and the very next day we set off for Cork City, Cork, Cork, City (sung to the tune of "Bear City" from SNL). In Cork we both got nauseatingly sick and it wasn't just from watching the "No, I love YOU more Schmoopy!" couples walking around. We managed to spend a few hours in Blarney, walking around the Jim Henson-esque woods waiting for muppets to pop out from behind the trees, and of course kissing the Blarney stone. Then we spent the rest of the day feverish and delirious. Well, I did anyway, I don't know about Laura.

The next few days in Galway were pretty much the same although we tried to muddle through it and just pretend we weren't sick. The highlights of Galway were getting my hair cut by an Irishman named Patrick (I mean, really...do you HAVE to so adequately fill the stereotype?), finding ourselves somehow behind the police lines at a crime scene, and drinking some Guinness at the King's Head (because Guiness in Ireland tastes so much better than anywhere else). The lowlights were trying to fall asleep at night pondering the pros and cons of going to a hospital for treatment. Pathetic, eh?

Lastly, we went back to Dublin for New Year's Eve and a rockin' New Year's Eve it was! We went from a compromise of just going down to Temple Bar for an hour to ring in the New Year, to admitting to ourselves that we probably could only count on making it as far as the hotel's bar....and finally we ended up in our beds watching the fireworks in London on TV whilst giving each other a pathetic New Year's High Five. But hey, at least we were in Ireland?

After 2 agonizing flights getting me back to Hungary, spent in massive amounts of pain due to the lack of ear poppage, I called in sick and went to a doctor. The doctor promptly told me I shouldn't have waited so long to see a doctor (no kidding) and put me on a cocktail of drugs to take care of my "Middle Ear Infection" with a side of "Conjunctivitis." Welcome 2006.

I emailed the folks telling them this is the sickest I've ever been in a long time and that I was telling them not out of a need for sympathy (although that helps), but more because it seems a milestone I need to share with someone.

Thus endeth my winter break extravaganza. Boy was it fun.