Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My mom always complains that I don’t email or call enough. I’ve been particularly bad the last few weeks - probably the same lethargy that makes blogging such a chore. But it seemed like there was just nothing interesting, worth writing about.

I realized last night that that’s not true; I was just in a rut. A deep, safe comfortable little rut where I thought everything would be the same in the future as it is now. Until last night when I learned, via Hajni, that my school won’t be rehiring me next year. They say they don’t have enough money for it.

The twelve remaining weeks of school used to seem so long - at least now they’ll fly by. Every second that ticks off shoves me one second closer to the time when I’ll be jobless, homeless, prospectless.

How am I supposed to go in and teach like this isn’t weighing on my mind like a ton of bricks? What can I do? Do I want to fight for my job at Kassai? What would I sacrifice to keep this job? The free flat, the shorter hours? Would I go over CETP’s head and contract directly with the school? Could I get the Varga position? Ken might leave anyway; if he doesn’t would I be desperate enough to push him out? Could I get the position in Újszász? Do they only hire couples? But maybe that would be a worse place to be in, so close to Szolnok but not actually in it - would be better to move to a whole new city? Is it possible to stay in Szolnok and support myself by private teaching? Can I do it, and do I want to? How would that affect my future with CETP? What the hell am I going to do over the summer, homeless and incomeless? Why am I so attached to Szolnok? What do I really have here? Nothing I can be sure of, nothing secure, so why is the thought of leaving so terrifying?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Another story from the Porn Kids class

At a loss of what to do with the 8th Grade Monsters (aka the Porn Kids) last week, I decided to make them write circulating stories (i.e. each student writes a few lines of the story before passing it on). This was one of the stories they handed in, written by four boys and one girl (guess which part the girl wrote):

Yesterday when I met my girlfriend (illegible, three words). We went to my bedroom and started to take off clothes. We started (?)ly but later we were (?)er and (?)er. / When the girl and a boy stat the fuch (sic), before they play the frontgame. They go to bed, and they / made a children. They were lived in a flat in London and they have f***ed every day. When they get bored they called some more people do in groupper. / And they had more than 50 friend. When they did it together the neighbors called to the police. And they had to go to the police and they f***ed (illegible, two words). / She very likes animals. Her favourite food is the pizza.

I’m going to refer to this story the next time someone asks me why I started calling this group the Porn Kids. At least they’re creative.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Just when I thought it couldn’t get more unfair...

- What’s worse than being simply awake at 6 am on a Saturday morning?
- Being fully awake and upright, fully dressed and caffeinated at 6 am on a Saturday morning.

- What’s worse than being fully awake and upright and dressed and caffeinated at 6 am on a Saturday morning?
- Being awake, upright, dressed and caffeinated at 6 am on a Saturday morning the the purpose of going to work (see Sara’s blog for her rant about why we have to work on a Saturday).

- What’s even worse than being grudgingly awake and alert for the purpose of working on a Saturday morning (at 6 am, have I stressed that enough?)?
- Being with someone who is willingly and cheerfully awake, upright, dressed, and caffeinated at 6 am on a Saturday morning for the purpose of leaving on a week-long vacation. Grrrr.

After wallowing in the general unfairness of life for a good minute and a half, I went to work, played games, and generally enjoyed seeing the kids in a different light. And kept my mind on things to come: a Saturday in Szarvas, a weekend in Wien, a spring break in Cyprus.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Women's Day part 2

I must admit, I was ever so slightly put out yesterday at my lack of Women’s Day loot. I mean, only two flowers?? Today, I got two more presents, and what they lacked in quality, quantity or timeliness, they totally made up for in presentation.

Situation one - I go to my first class of the day, 5th grade. I notice out of the corner of my eye that one of the little boys is carrying a flower. When I turn around after putting down my things, the flower is sitting on the desk and the boy is studiously ignoring me (he is NOT a shy child, which makes it funny). The girls in the back of the class start teasing him, “Martin, what are you doing? Don’t you have something to say? Don’t you want your puszi (the double cheek kiss)?” Martin avoids eye contact with me and the girls wish me “Happy Women Day” on his behalf.

Situation two - in the teacher’s room before school. I’m getting some papers together when a bottle of wine appears on my desk in front of me. “Here you go,” says my contact teacher cheerfully (she is NOT a happy person, which makes this one funny). “I thought of chocolate, but - eh.” She smiling widely, which is so strange that it creeps me out a little. “This is more useful, you can drink it with your friends.” And damn if she wasn’t right; I’d prefer wine over chocolate any day. Sharing with my friends, however...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Women's Day

Today marks the third year I’ve been in Hungary on Women’s Day, and the third year that it caught me completely by surprise. The first year, my semester abroad, I was at my roommate Anna’s house for the weekend. Her father gave us flowers and little candies, but between my nonexistent Hungarian, his nonexistent English, and Anna’s limited English, I didn’t really comprehend the reason why.

My second year, my students showered me with flowers and candy, and once again I got through half the day without having a clue why. Eventually some kind English-speaker clued me in.

This year I did slightly better. When I walked into the flower-filled teachers’ room this morning, I knew immediately that it had to be either Women’s Day or Teachers’ Day, and that was soon straightened out.

I got fewer flowers this year. The best present I was a little conversation with one my 6th grade girls. Imagine her speaking Hungarian, me answering in English:

Kinga: And next year, what will you do?
Me: I don’t know.
Kinga: Okay, fine, but will you be here?
Me, more forcefully: I don’t know.
Kinga: Oh, please stay! Otherwise who knows what kind of stupid new person we’d get.

Even thought it’s not really a stunning endorsement, it was still heartwarming.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Az üzenet az üzenet (the message is the message)

“Don’t worry, there are many hours in the day.”
“Yeah, and I’m sure you’ll find a way to waste them all.”

My waste de jour: Two-Tailed Dog Party

(click on the British flag for a language similar to ours)