Friday, August 29, 2008

I (heart) Szolnok; I (grrrrr) packing

Thank god for Pest; my ever-growing dislike of it reminds me how much I adore Szolnok.

So I'm back, again. Been back 20 hours and spent most of them packing. I've got another 24 hours to finish up all the packing before the truck comes tomorrow morning, yikes.

Imagine this conversation:

Friend: hey, nice anklet, is it new?
Me: No, I just found it.
F: Found it, in a store?
M: No, I mean I found it while I was packing.
F: Hm.... (thoughtfully eyeing my disheveled appearance, incongruent with silver-and-fake-gem anklet) Emily. Are you wearing that just so that you don't have to pack it?
M: Maaaaaaaayyyyyybe.

This is what I've been reduced to.

ps. Blogger's spell-check does not recognize the word "incongruent". Wierd

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm back in Szolnok. Tomorrow I'm off to Pest for new teachers' orientation; back in 10 days. Ireland was interesting, fun, expensive, cold, rainy. Pictures to follow whenever I have any free time... so, think mid-September.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Up and Out

Update on the tartózkodósi engedély: We went out to the Immigration Office, waited a minimum few minutes, and got everything done. Of course it will required several more trips, more paperwork, more signatures and more stamps, but.... it's all on track. PLUS, the very very nice man who works in the office explained to me the whole process of getting my Permanent Residence card - that'll be an adventure for the fall.

Update on the new flat: Nuthin' new. Varga still doesn't have the contract finished, so we can't move. They don't know when it'll be done. I don't know when I'll be here in Szolnok. So, we're stagnating... but whatever, because I'm off to Dublin for the week! Back next week with pictures, adventures...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

the most wonderful time of the year...

... is the 11-months-plus-a-few-weeks when I don't have to deal with Hungarian bureaucracy.

Today I started the annual process of renewing my tartózkodási engedély (residence permit).

It involved forms (first the wrong one, later the correct one).
It involved phone calls.
It involved web searches.
It involved waiting.
It involved at least 8 people, precious few of who speak English at a level fluent enough for this kind of business (not that my Hungarian is anywhere close, ahem).
It involved paperwork, copies of paperwork, and copies of copies.
It involved whining.
It involved apologizing.
It involved begging.

And we didn't even make it to the Bevándolási Hivatal (Immigration Office) yet. That'll be tomorrow's task, if by some miracle all the paperwork comes together before then...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

3 New Things

1. new home

I did not sleep last night. It may have been stress-related. After getting in bed at about 8:30 and watching several hours of South Park, I got up again, walked around, read online. I got back in bed around 2. Fell asleep around 3. Dreamt about drug dealers and underage gang rape (that should get me some interesting hits from google). Woke up at 4:30, dozed off and on (mostly off, if that means the awake part) until 7:00 when Tomi's alarm went off. Yay.

We went to check out the new flat at 8. Well. It's.... not horrible. Actually, for one person it would be great; it's the problem of fitting in two people and all their junk and baggage that has me a bit stressed. Details about the new place to follow.

2. new passport parts

In the afternoon I ran (trained) up to Pest to get to the Embassy for more passport pages because that whole thing about no longer stamping passports within the EU? Not true. So my passport is completely full; in October when I last escaped and reentered this country the border guard almost gave herself (and me) a heart attack because she had to stamp on the next-to-last-page. So I finally got my act together (we're going to Dublin on Sunday and I don't want to be thrown in jail, ahem gaol...) and had an amazingly pleasant, punctual, efficient time at my embassy. God bless people who understand time-management.

2.5 bonus new thing: a re-newed disdain for the BKV - this ticket checking thing on the metros has gotten completely out of hand. As I was running to catch my train, I got stopped at the top of the escalator twice! within 10 meters. By men. on. the. same. team! BKVman#1 pulled me over at the very top (I can usually just slip by, but I guess today I had the American Embassy scent on me still) and started harassing me with questions: Where did you get on? How long ago was it? Where did you buy this ticket? I managed to answer to his satisfaction, which he indicated by ripping my ticket in half. I continued on my way until, at the end of the BKV gauntlet, BKVman#2 pulled me aside, saw my ripped-in-half ticket, and proceeded to throw a hissy fit about it. At a complete loss for words, understanding or time, I managed to blurt out "No, no! It was YOUR colleague who did it!" I may have actually stamped my foot in anger. Also, I totally used the informal "te" instead of the polite "maga" or "ön". In any case, he looked shocked and motioned me on.

3. new amcsik!

Some of the soon-to-be-CETP-ers found me on facebook, as well as this blog. The ones I've talked to seem like they'll be a normal-in-the-good-way, fun group. Welcome, newbies! Never fear, despite what I write here, it really is a lovely country.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Requiem for my house

I may have mentioned, in passing, to anyone I've ever met, as well as some people I've never net but read this blog, that we live in a house. An awesome house. Yes, okay, it has some problems, like the electricity has a tendency to short out unexpectedly (I learned how to work the fuse box) and the roof leaks a bit (only when it rains...) and the stove won't work if the oven is on (was only a problem at Thanksgiving). Oh, and it faces the prison. These minor things aside, the house has significantly more positive things going for it:

* It's big. Tomi estimated it at 120 square meters, which would be almost 1300 square feet. It has several rooms, which means they can have their guitar studio, I can have my space for private lessons, the upstairs is the private area... and the kitchen, oh the kitchen. Big enough for several people to cook, and several others to stand around talking.

* It has character. It's old, and obviously was built up in several stages. Architect Tomi and I have spent many an hour musing about the history of the house.

* It has no real neighbors (well, the prison...) so it's perfect for parties. Or guitar practice. Or whatever.

* It has all the furniture from both of the old flats. Which means bedspace for about 6 people comfortably, up to 10 if you're willing to get cozy.

* The stairwell has a railing which was perfect for displaying framed pictures.

* It's well-located. Other than being across from the prison, it's immediately behind my school, two minutes from a grocery store and five minutes from the center. Within spitting distance are a great little ABC, two good restaurants, and my 3 favorite bars.

* The hot water in the kitchen tap is close to boiling. Despite my warnings, many people have been scalded. But if you want a cup of coffee or tea... presto.

* The ceilings are tall... more than 3 meters downstairs, and 2.5 upstairs.

* The upstairs is basically one big room, but there's a strange/cute little alcove (Pista bácsi called it the "confessional") where I set up my desk and work space.

* And of course, the icing on the cake, the fact that I pay nothing for it. As per my contract, Varga (my school) pays everything.

Well. As of 10:30 this morning, Varga informed me that they're tired of paying the (understandably) high bills, and that they're moving me. Well, us. This month. Since we'll be gone most of the month, that means: this week.

We go to see the new place tomorrow at 8. I'm not optimistic.