Monday, February 27, 2006

Andrew of Many Talents

I called it "Getting Flushed Down a Giant Toilet" while everyone else called it "The Funnel." Lame. Bygones.

Regardless of the nomenclature, the waterslides at Golebiewski were sublime, if such things can be sublime. The one to which I was referring to as "The Toilet" was my favorite, if only because you look like a complete idiot and everyone gets to watch. You start out at the green light, give yourself a push to take off. As you careen around the slick curves of the tube, suddenly it all becomes too much and you think you can't take it anymore, and just at that perfect moment you're shot out into a large funnel and spun around and around and around. Just as you're upside-down and are going head first into the hole, you spread eagle your arms and legs in an attempt to stave off the inevitable, but to no avail. Down the hole you go and you only have a few seconds to resign yourself to the fact that it's head first before you are unceremoniously dropped into a large pool of chlorinated water. Success. Sweet, unadulterated Success.

After picking out the wedgie your swimsuit made (all the while hoping the lifeguard didn't notice), you head back upstairs for more. This time, after your drop you run (okay, sedately walk...wouldn't want to take a spill on the tile floor) upstairs to watch your friends spin around and get flushed (that is, unless you're Rachel and you don't spin, you just shoot out the hole...sigh).

That's all for now, Balint needs to use the Internet too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm not a Loser!!!

CAUTION: Incoming Satire

Yay! Bird flu (or madarinfluenza if you're Hungarian) has made it to Hungary!!!

I was starting to feel left out. We were surrounded, but now that finicky virus has seen fit to make a home in Magyarorszag's feathered population. I was starting to feel like the proverbial fat kid who always gets picked last for kickball.

On a related topic: I was watching clips of The Daily Show on Comedy Central's website because I need to take a hit of Stephen Colbert, Rob Courddry, and Jon Stewart every so often (doctor's orders). Rob made a startling report on President Bush's speech about the threat of a Bird Flu outbreak...

It seems that President Bush says the biggest threat is if the virus spreads from bird to human and then from human to human. That pesky human to human connection is really what has everyone's undies in a twist. So Mr. Corddry reports, that Mr. Bush recommends, that IF you do get infected, instead of risking the infection of other humans...give the virus back to the birds. Beat them at their own game so to speak. And in this way, the vicious virus circle will be complete.

Also, did you know the virus H-5N1 was named after the man who discovered the strain, Dr. Aitch-Fyvenwonn? Interesting little tidbit of information for you there...

I Dedicate this Post to Lillian Cummings

As you may have noticed upon entering my Blogger domain, I've done a little interior decorating. I thought it was time. I hope you enjoy.

So I'm getting mixed reviews about the film project. Some classes love the idea, some don't. Why? Are they just scared about speaking English on camera or do they really think it's lame? How do I get an honest answer to that question?

I'm excited for the Unofficial retreat this weekend. The Bennings mentioned bowling. I love me some bowling.

That reminds me...What's in the carrier, Walter?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Impromptu Dance Party?

What the...??? So there's a dance party in the kollegium's dining hall tonight? Did I miss something? (the obvious answer to that would be a resounding "yes." Yes, I did miss something...that large sign on the bulletin board written in Hungarian. That's what I missed)

In other news: I just went through my Yahoo! address book and deleted all "acquaintances" aka: people I haven't spoken to in over 12 months. It felt like I was cutting off a limb. Before the house-cleaning I could make believe that I might, one day, make some sort of contact with these people. You know, renew friendships, etc. Really, I was just sick of scrolling through all the names when trying to write emails to people. I mean really, when will I ever email these people? If I ever have contact with them it'll be a chance meeting face to face at a High School, Camp, or College reunion (you now know where I met most of these people). But I suppose some people are meant to come into your life for only a short period of time, they help mold and change you, and then they move on.

Now I'm rambling. Actually, now that I think about it, the whole post is one big ramble. Sorry 'bout that folks. It's that time of night...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

So Close and Yet So Far

So I went to Tisovec to visit the other Americans for the weekend. It was a blast and especially nice to speak some higher level English (as always). I stayed at Lizzie B's and we had a grand ol' time watching movies, dancing, and causing general mayhem. On Sunday I had a nice 10-hour train trip to look forward to and, you know, the trip would only take 5 hours if I had a car. Bygones.

Anywho, my trip went surprisingly well and I wasn't even all that sick of sitting on a train by the time I got to Keleti (main station in Budapest). Can you picture it? It's the last leg of my too-long journey. It's 7:30 p.m. I had originally planned on dropping by Mickey D's for some dinner once I got to BP, but my train was late so all I had time for was a bite of my chocolate-covered trail mix-esque candy bar that David Fiala gave me (by the way, thanks's delicious). I'm now sitting on the train to Sopron ready for take off. My seat back and tray table are in their upright and locked positions when suddenly, something strange happens. An Hungarian policeman walks through the train and makes a cryptic announcement (actually, it was probably pretty straight-forward but to a non-Hungarian speaker such as myself it seemed a little cryptic). Everyone starts filing off the train at a rapid pace. I step down onto the platform and see people deboarding off of all the other trains. What in tarnation????

I finally get up the guts to approach the policeman, who looks a little haggard after arguing heatedly with an older Hungarian gentleman. I ask him, "What's up wid da train yo?"

Not understanding ebonics, he looks at me quizzically.

I repeat my question in Olde English, "Doth thou knowest what hath happened on thy train-eth?"

His face now resembles that of a lost puppy.

Finally I stoop down to his Level O' Language and ask, "Train?"

"Bomb Alert," he replies.


So that's why everyone is huddled at one end of the station! But wait, what if said bomb is located at that same end of the station????


Everyone immediately files out of the station into the cold, dark night. By this time it's about 8pm so I head over to McDonald's with all of the other American passengers, who can sniff out a fast food restaurant within a 5 mile radius...much like those bomb sniffing dogs the policeman is now leading into Keleti. The restaurant is chaos and there are mad reports and gossip flying across the dining area like paper airplanes in a badly managed classroom (but I wouldn't know anything about that).

I call my fearless leader, Rob, and he advises me to basically get the heck away from there and find a hotel room for the night. As of 9:30 pm hundreds of people were still anxiously awaiting the reopening of the station, standing just outside the front doors. Now, in such a situation, would you stand directly next to a wall of glass...especially if there was a chance of explosion?

The next morning it was as if nothing had ever happened. I have no idea how long it took for the incendiary device-smelling dogs to sniff out any possible incendiary devices, but by 9am all was clear and normal. By those calculations, I think it's safe to say it took less than 12 hours. All is well and I am still in one piece.

Oh the joys and adventures of public transportation in the 21st century.

Here's a picture of the soon-to-be frozen Mob O' Passengers...

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Berzsenyi Ball

Ah, the biggest event of the year! Well, minus graduation, that is. But really the Ball is one of the biggest events of the year (at least that's how I see it seeing as how the American is actually invited to it, except for this year the American was not invited, a point about which I will try not to be bitter). Anyway I got past it and had one of the funnest nights I've had since coming to Sopron. Thank God Jenny was here otherwise I probably would not have gone, seeing as how I wasn't invited...bygones. But all of the students were delighted to see me there and I was asked numerous times to shake my bon bon with them on the dance floor, a request to which I happily obliged. I was trigger happy with my camera and now wish to share with you a whirlwind tour of the evening. (captions follow pictures)

There were 4 bands slated to play during the Ball and in between each set the senior class came in and performed traditional Hungarian dancing. Almost all of them are my students and it was fun to watch them. It's a very big deal to volunteer to perform these dances...a great honor for the students.

More of the traditional dancing. I was on the floor for this one with front row seats, to which I am eternally grateful as the view provided a most opportune Kodak moment

Ah, a flourishing end!

Jenny, Fruzsi (or was is Zsuzsi? I'm afraid I still can't tell the twins apart), and Fanni gettin' their groove on American style (and by American style I mean there were about 15 girls in one big circle wavin' our hands in the air like we just didn't care).

My first dance of the evening. Barbi said I was the best dancer, but she also admitted that she hadn't really danced with many other people at this point and so could not be an experienced judge. Nevertheless I will still take the title.

For the last set break, the seniors performed a modern dance. Each year they get to choose what they want to dance (past years have been the Dirty Dancing Mambo, Grease, etc). This year was awesome and, if anything, it looked like it was great fun to perform.

The dance incorporated many styles. i saw swing, a little shag-like dance, and this...a spin on the line dance.

These are some of my students performing in the last band, a jazz band. They were unbelievably good. The Ball was so much better than any American prom I've ever been too and a good part of it was the music. No two-bit DJs for them.

Just look at all the students dancing! Definitely a tribute to the good music. I don't remember this many people having a good time at my High School dances...then again, most of the were "too cool" to do anything as silly as having a good time dancing.

After the dance my students invited me to the Disco. The Ball lasted until 1 a.m. and the Disco closed at 4 a.m. I figured it would be a good excuse to go and experience a Hungarian disco seeing as how another English teacher was partaking of the festivity. Almost the entire school ended up there, which was pretty awesome. I remember the heirarchy of afterparties my school enjoyed after prom and they just don't compare to everyone boogie-ing down at a disco. I envy the students their closeness of relationships with one another. Makes me wish my school had been the same.