Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yes, it's officially over. Thats seriously hard for me to wrap my head around. Wow.

But its not really the end, there are still AFS meetings, camps, future studies abroad, and facebook to keep me connected to it all.

The return trip went by like a haze, one moment I was sitting on the never-ending flight from Budapest to Zurich, and then I had a seat on Swiss Air to JFK NY. Possibly the worst part was the wait in JFK airport. 6+ hours because my flight was delayed a bit, and the knowlege that most of the other AFSers around the world were already home and I would probably never see them again.

Someday though. Going on an exchange is an experience that cant ever be duplicated. Nothing can compare to how you feel the first month or the last. It might feel like a dream for the most part, but it will forever remain one of the most impotant years of my life.

Vera BP 08/09

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sziasztok,

Today has been a pretty quiet kind of day. I'm attempting to finish a book before I leave. I went out to walk around a bit, last real day in Budapest and all that. We are heading off to Szirák tomorrow afternoon, so tonight might well be the last night I spend here. That's depressing, but I will come back. I don't really doubt that somehow.

Tonight I am going to a Bangladeshi restaurant with some people. Tomorrow more of the same maybe. The Rotary exchangers are all gone now. Time has really flown.

No more news. I'm really excited!

Ve

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sziasztok!

So the thermal baths were awesome! There were lots of different kinds of pools, hot cold, warm, mineral, and more things I don't even know! In one was this circular wall that contained a whirl pool, slightly dangerous and full of human missiles, but FUN! Then there was one entirely for swimming, one with fountains, and one set at 10 degrees Celsius, or cold! We went into the sauna for a while (burned our feet sufficiently) then plunged into the freezing pool. There was a French girl looking at the pool and the people in it like they were out of their minds. You numb right up afterwards though. Next to the saunas were salt caves, you are supposed to sit in them for a long time, but we just had a look.

Szécsényi, the bath we went to, is supposed to be one of the best in Budapest, it was really great. Maybe some day I will go to a Turkish bath too or maybe not. They're a bit more nude in those I'm told.

Today, I walked around Budapest for a while, but it was really hot so I came back.32 degrees! HOT! I'm glad that I will miss the real temperatures in Budapest this summer, I don't know if I would survive.

The last preparations for my trip back home are still underway, I have a feeling it's going to be a mad rush right up until the very last second. Hope everything works out, see everyone back in the USA soon!

Ve

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sziasztok!

So, I have been back from Romania for a while now. It was a really good trip. I should go back someday. We didn't get to see Bucharest.

The final countdown is going now, only five days left. Everything is in a kerfuffle though, I can't figure out what airline I'm going on or how much stuff I am allowed to bring with me. Maybe I will try to ship some of my books. I have been living with Charlotte since I got back. My other host family had to go off for the summer. We spent some time up in Szirák and we went to Szentendre, lots of museums.

Today I will be going to a thermal bath, finally. I can't believe it's taken me all year to get around to it. Yesterday, we toured around the old Jewish district. OK, five days and I will be on a plane! Szia,

Ve

Monday, June 22, 2009

Romania Photos

Photos taken by my friend Erin when we were traveling in Romania.





















Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sziasztok!

Guess where I am? ROMANIA! That's right, I have been staying in Transylvania for a couple of days now and it is awesome! I came with a couple of friends and a senior tour group. I took a train down to Bekescsaba and then on the 15th we loaded onto a short bus and were off. Getting through customs wasn't difficult, only long. They didn't even look at all of the Hungarians passports, but they took ours off to their secret little building and made us sit there for ever. Don't know what all of the fuss was about. Photos to follow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sováll!


The last orientation passed, wow. That's kind of frightening really. I won't ever see most of those people again. Wow.

I missed half of it too because I stayed in Budapest to take my SAT on Saturday morning. It sikerült anyways. At least its over. I hadn't been in a room with that many Americans all year. I didn't get to talk to any of them though, because afterwards I had to book it to Keleti to get my train to Jászberény on time. I was early, but all the people that I asked for help gave me bad info. Hum. Oh well, when I finally got to the orientation they were in the middle of playing some kind of game. Here's the run down of it.

There is a net set up like a tennis net, but with string, everyone stands on one side of it and you have to figure out how to get everyone to the other side (through the net) without them touching the string. Basically, this means everyone has to be picked up and shoved through. It was fun though, pretty hysterical. We have come a long way from the first orientation. Somehow I doubt that it would have worked then. There were a lot more games too, for some reason they all seemed to involve picking each other up... IDK why?

Saturday evening AFS had a surprise in store for us. At about eight, the volunteers led us to some random field and had us stand in a circle. We weren't allowed to talk or stand next to someone from our same country. After a really long time, one volunteer at a time would choose someone randomly and lead them off somewhere. When I was finally picked, I got lead all over the neighborhood. Trust me, the reason is still kind of beyond me. He took me to a playground, a statue, to look at trees, around the block, into someones driveway, etc. I was so confused. Finally, we arrived a this random building with more volunteers in it. They asked me (all stern and serious like) "Was it you that did it?" By that time I was cunfundled so I said, yeah, of course it was. Then they looked at my bracelets... Huh? OK, after giving some random volunteer a hug, they lead me into this dark room with all of the other AFSers who had gone before me in it. They gave me a tea light. After a couple of hours, once everyone had finally arrived, they did an "oh so CBHS" what I am grateful for ceremony. I guess that was the point.

So, we came back to Budapest yesterday afternoon. The train was so sticky, HOT. Rain. Hot. Rain, pretty repulsive. Today I have to pack, or at least start, because after Romania I am going to my friends house for the last two weeks. Wow, this is going by too fast. I have to go and have lunch before my Fabien óra starts, OK,

Bye,
Ve

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hellosztok!

So, things are all over the place here right now. No one really seems to know whats going on, including me, so many things to prepare for.

Yesterday, after school, I went to see Angels and Demons with my friend from Quebec. It wasn't half bad really. I will have to read the book in a couple of years when I've forgotten who won! Afterwards we met a guy from New Zealand.

Tuesday I went walking around Budapest with the girl from Belgium before the monthly meeting with AFS. She needed a new back pack, but the most we could come up with wasn't right. You wouldn't believe how many purses are for sale in Budapest though, they re everywhere! So after was the meeting. In the same tiny, hot cafe as always.

This weekend will be the orientation, unfortunately I have to take the SAT on Saturday, but I still have to make it to the orientation somehow, any suggestions? OK, I should get going, so much to do. Sziasztok,

Veronica

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Cave

All great trips are accompanied by some kind of mortifying adventure, right? Well, that would have been today. In.... THE CAVE.....

I slept over at my friends house yesterday and we went with her host family to"walk around some caves," which we did, to a point. The first time we saw one of the low parts of the cave we began to worry, claustrophobia and lack of oxygen fore-front in our brains. Those were some smaaaaall holes. My hard hat could hardly get through, thus resulting in lack of light as my head lamp decided to fly off and fall apart. We got it back together eventually, with me sitting in a crevice. I can't decide whether it was at the bottom of where we were climbing or not, so many ups and downs. All I know is that it was small and very deep. The stalactites were cool though. Definitely not the most desirable for gripping, but cool nonetheless. We saw some urchin fossils and shells and crystals too. At one point I found this awesome shard of something shiny just laying there on the ground, that was hard to resist. Oh well. Pretty crazy place, you definitely feel like you aren't really on earth and in a way you aren't, you re in it.

The rest of the journey continued in much the same way, until we got lost. Our main guide (there were two) had forgotten the keys to get us out the door to the other end, so he went back for them. And, well, I guess the other one didn't really know the way. We took a wrong turn at one of the crevices and went a route that I don't think humans were ever meant to travel, let alone without ropes and gear. Yeah. It went straight up, like a well. It was about the same size and shape too, and wet. But mostly you just got showered by rocks as the person in front of you climbed. Well, I thought I was going to die. No joke. Eventually we did make it to the top, only to find more tiny holes. Then our guide realised it was really a dead end. Great. So back down the hole of doom we went to skooch on our stomachs and backs and other random body parts until we could get to a hole big enough to crouch in. Weewww. But we did it. After we corrected our wrong turn we found the stairs. Hallelujah!

So yeah, that's today's news. Sorry if it sounds over dramatic. I have to go now, its about 11pm here. Bye, Ve

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sziasztok!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, to cut things short again. No time to really tell about the rest of the Euro trip, but I had my Vizsga! AHH! That's the Hungarian language exam. On Wednesday about 20 of the exchange students from AFS went to Szeged to have the test. We got a really early train and then studied like mad in our compartment on the train. There was some Hungarian guy in there, I bet he had a laugh at all of us foreigners trying to speak Hungarian. We got there about half an hour before the testing started, but the speaking section was all done individually so I had to wait for the longest time. When it was finally my turn, these two Hungarian women sat me down on this incredibly tall chair and had me take about housing. Somehow it spiraled off into trailers, and then FEMA, and then to cooking with pepper. Don't ask. They were pretty nice. The writing section, though it was more of a reading and listening comprehension test, was in the afternoon, and it was hard. They put us all in a classroom next to the train tracks and had us listen to questions and then fill in the bubble answer on our score sheets. Interesting, but my grades were OK.

I didn't really get to see much of Szeged, hopefully I will get to go back for a weekend of something later. Times running out though! There's a chance I might get to go to Romania in June, depends on if I decide to go or not. What do you think?

So, yesterday I was supposed to go swimming, but I kind of went to a French competition instead. My team, Les Allumettes, (we have an awesome name) got third place out of eight teams. It was fun. Then afterwards we went on a class trip to the theater that I didn't know about, but had already paid for somehow. Cool. We saw something called Stingy in Hungarian. We had the best seats too, second floor, right at the center. Oops, bell just rang, got to go to gym. I hope they don't make us run. Sziasztok, Ve

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sziasztok!
So the Euro trip is over. Wow, that's scary to say. I don't know how to tell it all to you, there was just so much happening. Maybe just some of the places that we went? Eiffel Tower, Brussels, London Eye, British Museum, to the Crown Jewels, Leeds Castle, Westminster Abby, uncountable cathedrals, Napoleons tomb, Piccadilly Circus, The Tower Bridge, Champs-Élysées, boat tours, Canterbury, markets, shopping streets, crépe houses, bakeries, french McDonalds, hostels, trailer parks, the Louvre, and so much more that just isn't coming to mind right now.

I think the best was Leeds Castle. It was stupendous! And maybe because it was the only day I didn't freeze or get blown away by the wind. But we got to see all around the grounds, the bird cages, the moat, falcon show, and inside. It's really beautiful. Wish I could buy it. Right. In one of the lawns was a hedge maze, quite difficult actually, especially with a Hungarian/Chinese/American team. There was a dungeon like place there too, not very big but creepy! All carved with mermaids and shells, loads of colored lights. Reminded me of the mermaids we make on the beach in summer back home. Apart from the creepy of course.

The London Eye was cool too. That was the first thing we did once we had gotten to London for our four day stay. Right up we went and you could see everything. We got to hear Big Ben from it. The day before we had seen Brussels. I don't know how to describe Brussels. Like some kind of freaky beautiful festival with loads of vacant streets and then millions of people on stilts wearing goth clothes. Cool. The street performers were everywhere and their costumes really were spectacular. We go to go have waffles too, on the main street. And we visited the statue of the peeing boy who's really famous, but somehow I can never remember his name.

Going to England from France on the boat was interesting. Let's just say that it's the first time I've been seasick. The view was gorgeous though. We could see the White Cliffs the whole way. Those four nights we spent at a trailer park right next to the water. Also a first. Eight girls, 6 beds, one bathroom. One night we all went down to the beach though. We couldn't see the water because it had gone so far out, but I got some cool shells that I'll turn into earrings when I get home.

Most of the days we just walked around. Our "tour guide" gave us "free time" a few hours a day in the shopping districts. I don't really know why. She told us we could go buy clothes and things, and most people did I guess. But one time we found a Beatles shop, very cool, but I didn't get much, one sticker, 4 dollars. The Pound is a fortune! I have to go, again. I'm in the library. Today I have to swim again, 4 times this week. I couldn't the week before last because my ankle decided to swell like Aunt Marge. OK, see you, Ve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'M IN ENGLAND! HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This keyboard sucks, sorry... today we went to London! YAY! *has happiness*

We went to Brussels too! and saw everything! WOW! My favorite was Leeds castle though, I'm going to live there someday. :) OK, one minute left, it was a whole pound for 15 minutes. We are staying in a trailer park tonight. OK, have to go, more later.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sziasztok,
It's finally Friday and I can't believe that the London, Paris, Brussels trip is only one day away! Seems like only yesterday that it seemed like the distant future, something cool to do at the very end of the exchange. Wow, fewer than 2 months left. This is scary. Don't blink, you'll miss it.

So, yesterday was interesting. I presented my book project in Irodalom and immediately got gales of laughter from my class about how hysterical my accent is. I guess its pretty bad. I've always wanted an accent, though American wasn't really what I was going for... But the presentation its self went well. It's over at least. I think I might have freaked out my teacher a bit with the piece from the book that I read. For some reason I chose the most bloody scene. Interesting.

Afterwards, I went with my friend to have salad at a coffee shop. Lots of new interesting things, then we had really awesome cheap Bangladeshi vegetable paneer.

I booked it to Angol class afterwards. It's really funny to sit in on English classes with a bunch of Hungarian women. They're great. We studied shopping and how to telephone order a pizza, for some reason. I act as spell check, mostly, when the teacher is writing on the board. Sad, my spelling's not all that good either. Sorry about that.

So, then I went back to the house and discovered that my ankle was all purple and orange. New acquisition and I haven't a clue how it happened. Hope the swelling goes down before I leave tomorrow. OK, I'm in Informatika class right now. Sziasztok,

Vera

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sziasztok!

Sorry I ran out on that last post. The little window on the screen came up that said I had only another 59 seconds left. I had to book-it offline anyway.

So, Monday was pretty great too, I went up to Gellért Hegye (a big mountain overlooking all of Budapest) with a girl from Belgium. I hadn't actually been up there yet, which is kind of sad. It's one of the biggest tourist destinations here. They have their own Szabadság Szobor, which is their Statue of Liberty. Pretty cool. It's funny to see tourist junk labeled in English with the words 'Statue of Liberty' on it. We met at Nyugati, where I was shocked to see Hungarian Deal or No Deal girls parading around in gold dresses, advertising. It's really going global I guess. They asked me if I had seen their principal. Or at least I think they did. Strange.

Well, after we made it up the mountain, we walked in a big circle around the center of the city. We must have gone in 50 places. We even managed to find this great text book shop with 'learn Hungarian' books in it. Unfortunately, they didn't have the second of the Hungarian book that I just completed. Oh well. In two weeks will be the Vizsga, the big language test. I'm not exactly nervous, but I guess kind of scared that everyone else will get much better grades than me. Ugg.
This Saturday starts the London-Paris-Brussels trip and I couldn't be more excited! It's going to be really great! Only thing is that I haven't really received any information about it, only word of mouth. Hum. Should be good though. Yesterday was the chapter meeting. They told us to go to Érzsébet tér for the meeting, so that's what everyone did. But an hour later we decided we were cold and went for refuge in the coffee shop that we usually have things in. Guess what, that's where the woman from AFS was. But it was fun, I got to see everyone.

Tomorrow is school again. Today I finished nyelvtan-ing and fordittan-ing my irodalom homework. Tomorrow I present to my class. OK, I should go now, szervusztok!

Vera

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sziasztok!

It's now Tuesday and this last weekend was completely awesome! Just about as perfect as can be here. Last Thursday, after my school's graduation ceremony, I went with my friend to her country house way up near the Szlovakian border. It's not as uncommon here, as it is in the US, to have plot of land that you farm, but it was great. We got to do so many things, but my favorite was when she found all of these real traditional costumes, that her mom had, up in the attic. We got to try them on and parade around the garden. Pretty awesome. She has new kittens too, not to mention bats, lizards in the garden, a cat called 'Ördög' (devil), and a whole lot of other things. On Friday and Saturday, we got to work in the garden too, and I got to make two enormous bonfires! Pretty sweaty work, but FUN! Are you jealous Izzy? On Sunday we cooked a combination of British cuisine and Hungarian. I have to take some recipes back with me. We made sorrel (don't know how to spell that) soup, black root with walnuts, cheese (Worcester like from Wallace and Gromit) and a lot more! I got to crack open all of the walnuts. They grow most of the things themselves. Sunday, my friend's dad took me for a tour of the nearby town, Hollókő (raven rock). There was a sweet little village, very touristy, but real, with some ancient castles, and a great view! Don't worry, I have pictures.

OK, I have to go, I will tell you about yesterday's excursions later!

Vera

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sziasztok!

So, the May trip is coming up fast! I can't believe that it is going to be just 2 more weeks! I only realised that this weekend! For those of you who don't know yet, the May trip is going to be an 8 day long bus voyage with AFS to Paris, London, and Brussels! I'm so excited! Its going to be awesome! And the Wednesday after, I will be going with the other exchangers to Szeged to take the giant Hungarian Vizsga! Wish me luck!

It's Tuesday here now and today is going to be jam packed with things. I think I will try to go to art club for a minute, at least, because I really need to finish this block print that Ive been working on for ever. Well, its not so much of a 'block' as a piece of paper-like rubber, but you get the idea. Then I'm going to go searching for this Turkish store that I found this weekend when I was with my friend who's living in Békéscsaba right now. Shes from Washington. Then back to the apartment, off to some arts building who knows where to watch two of the other American AFSers sing in a chorus, then to dance class. Hüha... (Hungarian for oh no...)

Saturday was really good, as I said, an American girl who lives really far away (or at least as far as you can get and still be in Hungary) came to Budapest and I got to be her tour guide. We didn't really do much touring, but we saw the basilica, some stores, West End, the Apple store (wanting) Radáy utca, Oktogon, the opera house, and Margit Sziget. That was the best part, Margit Sziget (or Margaret Island.)

We decided to rent a Bringó, which is a two person cart bike contraption thing that you have to peddle. I made the mistake of letting her steer first... It was fun. We freaked out a bus and continued on through a bush and into a tree. Yeah, It was awesome! YAY! There are pictures of the bush somewhere.

This weekend is going to be a 5 day one. Hungarians and their vacations, lots. I might be going somewhere into the countryside for a few days, Ill let you know how that ans out, and maybe to Gellert Hegye sometime?

Ok, see you,

Ve

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rest from Poland and Week 32!


Sziasztok!
OK, so I'm finally back, and in the school library again, what a shock.

The rest of the Poland trip was awesome! We went back to the city center of Kraków for the rest of the evening. At first our Rotary guy shepherded us around for a while, but we got to go up to this castle that had a really good view! There was also this amazing courtyard garden with loads of flowering trees and old gates. Afterwards we were set free! FUN! We were allowed out until 10, which eventually turned into about 4:30. I went with a group of three other Americans, all AFS surprisingly, to have real Polish food. We found this enormous restaurant that had outdoor seating, indoor, and dungeon. We sat outside, and there was absolutely no one else there! We though that that was strange for a Saturday night, but the food was good. I got mushroom Pirogi! YAY! And coffee. Leaving the guy a tip was an interesting process because Zlotys come in coin form until much larger amounts. And then all we had were Forints. Somehow we did it, we left little columns of metal, very strange.

The next morning we got back on the bus and went back to Budapest, I cant remember exactly how long the ride was, but it was long! We saw a lot of cool things though! My favorite was this castle up on a little mountain plateau thing, I think the picture is above. There was another one that I didn't see too. Apparently I slept through it twice, there and back. Oh well.

Back in Budapest we went to a humus bar! Before I left the US I knew about them, but only now have I gone. It was SO GOOD! And cheap! YAY! I got falafel.

This week has been about average. I went swimming three times and I think that I am getting a tiny bit better at the Butterfly. I still cant do the Breast Stroke to save my life though, the little girls in my lane pass me on that. Hum. We got to play water polo for the last 10 minutes too. Needless to say we lost, but it was good.

Today I am going to the Japanese library, we are going to watch an anime and I need to return a book. But I have to do a report on it for Irodalom class, I don't know how that is going to work really... OK, Sziasztok!

Vera

Monday, April 20, 2009

Auschwitz

So! We are all back from Poland! I though the bus trip was going to last forever!

Saturday did turn out to be fairly awesome, too! Right after I last posted, everyone went into the bar and we had Polish breakfast. It was interesting. Sweet warm milk, a couple kinds of plain cereals, instant coffee, and black tea. Then we all went outside to wait for the bus to come to take us to Auschwitz.

We got there and it was so calm and unobtrusive, just a parking lot and a couple buildings. I was shocked by that. The bus pulled in, maneuvering around all the American tourists, let us off, and my little group of people headed off to find the bathroom and money exchange. We needed Zlotys. That done, we got back on the bus to go to a different area of the site. Auschwitz II according to out tour guide. She was a pretty strict woman. Bleach blond hair, huge accent, and quick to snap. On the bus, she didn't say much and we drove away from the center.
When we actually got there, we could see it for real. The view stretched for perhaps a kilometer in every direction with spindly skeletons of brick stoves and replica buildings structures sticking out of the field in a patchwork pattern. Stove, field, building. Stove, field, building. Train tracks ran through the center, creating a great elevated road between two ditches covered in little purple flowers and dandelions.

We were escorted up into the main watchtower in groups of thirty to take pictures, then lead down to see more of the buildings. There will be pictures. Make of it what you will.

The monument is at the very end of the train tracks in 12 different languages. Bulbous rock formations and black stone tablets. There is another tower there too. We didn't stay there long, many people were glad.

Arriving back at the first site, we got a tour through the museum. It was similar to the one in New York, only 100 times more real. It's harder to imagine that these things actually took place when you are on another continent, or even walking around the fields there. But the rooms full, literally full of items and pictures really get to you. The swimming pool like holes in the floors filled with human hair, children's shoes, even one just for brushes. You get a feel for just how enormous it all was, how many lives this one little place saw the end of.
Sorry, I have to go now. Rest of the trip later. Bye

Vera

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hi Guys!

I'm in Poland! We drove up through Slovakia yesterday and arrived here at about 10:30pm. We were supposed to be here at 7pm though. Poland is beautiful, but I think the most drastic difference from Hungary are the buildings, not a single cement house, all wooden. You can start to see that in the Slovakia countryside as well.

Its definitely colder here. I forgot to take my coat out of my bag before we left, so I froze every time we stopped at a gas station (every gas station by the feel of it.) We got to take pictures of some incredible mountains too, all covered with snow.

In Slovakia, we could use Euros to buy thing, which I have a few of, but here we can't. It's kind of a pain because there aren't any ATM machines around the hostel. This place is pretty good. It's called Giraffe and is absolutely crawling with foreigners. There's a little kitchen that we can use as well, equipped with tea and everything. There's also a bar in the hostel, shocker. Guess why I couldn't sleep last night. They did let us have free ear plugs.

Today I'm not so sure what we are doing. Hardly anyone else is awake right now even though breakfast starts in 20 minutes. I just decided to get up the 8th time I was awoken. OK, people seem to be rousing. I can hear English. I never realised how easy it is to overhear other people when you completely understand what they are saying.

Yep, Americans are roaming the halls now. Got to go, szia! And I hope Junior Journey was good for everyone back home!


Vera

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter and Trip to Poland

I hope you all had a great Easter! Here in Hungary, it's two days long, both Sunday and Monday. We also had about a week off, lots of vacation time here! On Monday morning, I got the full blown experience of Magyar Easter; perfume. A group of my host families' friends came over to 'keep the women young.' Basically, the tradition goes that if a boy recites a poem and sprays a girl with perfume then she will remain young. Pretty cool, I guess, until you've been perfumed six times with two different kinds of perfume. It was very cute to see the little kids all dressed up and nervous though. Easter was pretty good.

Tomorrow morning I set off to Poland with the Rotary Club people and some fellow American AFSers. It should be an amazing trip. I really can't wait! We will take a bus through Slovakia too! OK, I'm in the school library right now and I really shouldn't be using the computer at all... Sziasztok!

Ve

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just want to say a quick Bolond Napot! Its April fools day here. So far no one has been tricked in the slightest really.

I went swimming today and to art club yesterday. I entered a painting competition and they are going to be exhibiting the paintings in a gallery not far away from my school, starting tomorrow. I can't go though, maybe Friday. Tomorrow is going to be fast and long all at once. School, Hungarian language class, then I'm seeing my angel (volunteer) and going to Angol ora. There will be a new American teacher and I bet he's from Utah.

Last Friday was the first really WARM, take your coat off, day that we have had. I went with three of my classmates and our French lecturer, whose from Bordeaux, to the language college to compete in a French Dictée. Needless to say, I did miserably, but it was fun. My French is steadily decreasing. I got some good information about the school it was at too, who knows? It's supposed to be really good. Afterwards, I walked around Budapest for a while with my friend. We went to a load of foreign stores. It was fun.

Monday, I went for coffee and went again to the Piac near my school. My friend bought this awesome hand embroidered pillow case.

Tuesday, I had dance class. Our teacher is having a show this Sunday. About a third of our class going now, so it will be good, I hope. She also showed us this piece of paper that someone had just found a couple of days ago when cleaning a synagogue. It was money that the Jews used on Sundays. Pretty deep. Her apartment, where she teaches classes, is built in the old ghetto district.

Friday, I hope I can make it to the Japanese library. I still haven't gotten around to getting a card there yet. So, another busy week. See you all at home in less than 100 days!

Vera

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hellósztok!

So, I am going to get to go to Poland in April. It's nearly all sorted out now!

This week has been pretty intense, just so much to do, but I get to go to swimming every day but Thursday, so that's good. I'm not quite sure if the trainer knows that I'm not Hungarian and can't always understand him. I should probably make sure. They want me to do the Butterfly and Breast Stroke too, so, new things there all around.

This morning was singing class and, for once, we actually got to sing. It was just a round of some kid song, but it was good. I even got marks for it. I wonder if CBHS will recognise ének óra as credit for school?

Yesterday, I had to perform a part of The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe, to my class. Let me tell you, that's no piece of cake in Magyar. I've been practicing all week. Could have been better, I suppose. I know my classmates all think that I have the most outrageous accent.

Föld Rajz test next Wednesday too. And the Hungarian Language test is coming ever closer. Hope all is good in the USA!

Vera

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lengyelország

Quick update!

I might be going to Poland for a weekend, if I am lucky and can figure out how in the next 24 hours! I'm so excited! It should be good.

Ve

Monday, March 16, 2009

Horvátország!

Sziasztok!

Just want to give a quick update on whats going on. I WENT TO CROATIA and it was awesome, of course! I got to see so many things. There was a short tour given by a guy called Lav (pronounced Love). He had the tour in English which was helpful, since I don't speak much Croatian.

We drove down on Saturday morning and walked around Zagreb for a few hours. We got to see a good portion of the city too. We saw the parliament, a famous street, Croatian crafts, the market, and so much more. It was really warm too. We didn't even need coats!

In the afternoon, my friend participated in a fencing tournament between Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovakian teams. That was pretty amazing! I have some photos that I will try to post later on.

So, it was a very short and fast day, but totally rocked!

Vera

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Marciús!

WOW, time sure does fly when you re having fun and when you don't have internet access everyday. Sorry about not blogging in nearly a month, but these last couple of weeks have been AWESOME! I don't really know where I should start...

Two weekends ago seems like a good place. So, I went with my friend from Ohio and her hosts to see caves in Aggtelek! They are some of the best in Hungary and overlap with some in Slovakia. We were that far north. I slept over at her house and left bright and early in the morning. Saturday we only had a short tour, but afterwards we decided it would be fun to summit the mountain. Hum. Lets just say it was very slippery, snowy, muddy, and steep, but the top had an awesome view. There were all of these ancient old metal frames of buildings up there too, from when they used to mine iron there.

We spent the night in a hotel nearby and I learned how to play a seriously complicated card game in Hungarian. That was a site, I'm sure, but it was great! Next day we set off for a 5 hour hike through the caves that turned into 8 hours and 21 kilometers. Check out my Facebook for some pictures. The stalactites and everything in there were amazing. They were shaped like the Statue of Liberty, dragons, dogs, freaky vampiric looking ones, little pink ones, orange, green, clay, mud, and who knows what else! In two of the bigger caverns, there were light shows and music shows, awesome acoustics in there! I went back to Budapest that night.

Then there was the chapter meeting, other things that I can't remember at the moment, and school, lots of that. I went to dance class, drawing, and started swimming. Unfortunately, I'm not going today because my host sister and anya are sick. But its spring!

In school, we have been opening the windows even! Well, we opened them during the winter too, I guess, but now I don't freeze as quickly!

So, what else... Oh! GUESS WHAT! Yesterday my friend asked me to go with her to Croatia on Saturday! I know, right! So, I've been frantically sending off permission forms, but if it all comes together I will bet to go on a day trip to Croatia to watch European fencing! How cool is that?

Sunday, I'm also going to be going to Győr, which is way North West of Hungary! I also just found out that the Hungarian language exam is to take place in Szeged, so, I will have traveled quite a lot by the time July comes.

School was good today, we learned how to do the Rumba. For the last few weeks we have been waltzing. Yeah... tomorrow are 2 Hungarian classes, back-to-back after school, and I must write an essay for irodalom on Friday. OK, wow, March is going to fly by.

Hope everything is marvelous in the USA! Still seems to be winter there, from what I've heard. OK, again, I have uploaded pictures on my Facebook, not many, but some. OK, Sziasztok!

Vera

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Farsang!

So today is Farsang! Which is Hungary's Halloween, only it takes place in February and kids don't trick or treat. There's going to be a party tonight, and guess what, I'm going as a cow girl. Only fitting, as I have to lead the Cotton Eyed Joe dance tonight... Oh no... Should be a sight.

This week was really good. Fast. My oh my was it fast. I got to go to a belly dance class with a friend from school. Who'd have guessed? Thursday I started to actually do something in Biology class and took an Irodalom test. I'm not sure I passed... Oh well. There were also two Hungarian classes after school. For one, no body showed up but me and another girl, so we just went to Cicergo and had coffee. Then the other was really an Angol class taught by an American missionary. So, this has been an interesting week all around.

The orientation last week was pretty good. We took a Hungarian language test on Sunday which wasn't so great... It put me in the beginning intermediate, so...

OK, I have to go now, hope all is well in the USA!

Vera

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Best Week!

Boldog Valentine Napot Mindenkinek!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This week has been by far the most awesome ever! I don't have much time to write. I'm at the internet bar in the dorm where we are having orientation, so I'll be quick. School this week was great. I got to go to so many places. I'm now in Káposvár. It's the weekend AFS orientation and I'm in love with the automatic coffee machine. That about sums it up.

This orientation is divided into thirds, which I think helps a lot. There are only about 30 of us here and only two other Americans, also good. I'm not quite sure what AFS has planned for us today, probably something interesting, I hope!

My camera doesn't have any batteries at the moment, sorry for how few pictures I've posted... OK, I should go, but I wish you all a wonderful Valentines day back in the USA!!!

Vera

Sunday, February 8, 2009

WOW! Yesterday was so awesome!

So, I'm in a little village near Székesfehérvar at the moment. I got here on Friday night. I just took the bus. It's called Mór and it looks just like something out of "A Year in Provence," right down to the crazy neighbor whose name I can't remember. Mom and Izzy, you know what I'm talking about, but it's beautiful! My week family has already taken me to so many places. We even went to Veszprém yesterday to an Állat Kert (zoo)! I also got to go to Balaton yesterday, an ancient church (crypt and all), Balaton Füred, and to a funny Hungarian movie called Made in Hungaria! I don't know if its out in the US or not.

So, I now have evidence that paprika can be used for everything from food to dyeing flamingos pink. That's right, at the zoo there was a little pond of flamingos with a sign stating " though flamingos normally receive their characteristic pink color from the crustaceans in their diets, that kind of food is out of the zoos budget. So instead we mix paprika into their food to turn them red!" Oh the miracles of paprika!

Today we went to a Mór-ian wine cellar! Its really mostly a restaurant now, but our table was in this old, massive barrel. Slightly claustrophobic but awesome!

Tomorrow I go to school with my week host sister! I hope its good! Sziasztok,

Ve

Friday, February 6, 2009

Szervusztok!


Sorry, I don't have much time to write at the moment, it's the end of informatica óra right now. I've officially moved to my new family, so I'm settling in. Today I'm heading off for Székesfehérvár, where I will have a week long orientation next week. I don't know if I already told you that I was switched from the Békéscsaba group, which is kind of sad. I've never been there before, but next weekend I might get to go to Káposvár, another place I've never been. I think it's in the west, but I could be wrong.

Not much else going on at the moment, I had two Hungarian classes yesterday, which was good. Thursday is studying day now it seems... The chapter meeting was on Monday. I might be going to an opera the week after the orientation and maybe to a belly dance class with a girl from my class. OK, have to run, the bell's going off again. Such a weird Hungarian tradition, the bells all sing little tunes.

-Ve

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sziasztok! Hossu ido volt!

Sorry that I've been something of an unreliable blogger over the last few weeks. January has been particularly interesting, but I'm officially moving tomorrow! My friend's family could take me for at least a month! So I will be staying in Budapest which is awesome! This is by far one of the best cities on the planet, well that's what I think. It's so international and there is just so much to do, so many places to see, and so much history to learn!

So much has happened since last time I posted! I don't even remember it all now! I will just give a small overview because it really is pretty late at night right now...

I started dance classes at the half term and they are hysterical. Great to see my class trying to avoid the inevitable dance moves our teacher has tried to get us to do! I went to my first Japanese library! It was so cool! They had most of the Miyazakis!

OK, what else... January has been pretty tough I guess. I haven't really seen many of the other AFSers. I have done a good deal of reading though. The Poisonwood Bible was great and so was HPGF!

Our Tesi teacher in school, my osztaly fonok (something like home room I guess) told us we will be having a class trip in May! That's really exciting! There will also be a week long orientation with week host families next week! I'm going to be in Be'ke'scsaba! I haven't ever been there before. Should be good!

OK, I really should go! Sorry again for not posting so often! Sziasztok! Jo Hetvegen!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

transition

I'm making a move in Hungary, so please don't send things via snail mail. I'll post when I'm settled.

Friday, January 2, 2009

First of 2009!











Szia Ketto-ezer-kilenc!




(Before I start I apologize for any mistakes and the lack of accents in the Hungarian.)

I thought that a good way to start the new year would be to share the traditional recipe for a Hungarian 'good luck' food, so here it is!

Magyar Lencse

-Egy nap a lencset beasztat vizbe
-Utana forro az olajat es voros hagymat
-Teszel a lencse hagymaba
-Megmarodt vizel egyut raunt az olajra
-Teszel sot, sok folvagne fok hagymat, mustart szasz,
-Egy ora fozni
-Csinalsz egy liszt, tej, es/vagy krem
-Mikor a kesz a lencse, teszel a feher szasz a lencsebe
-Eszel Forro!


Here is the version in English.

Hungarian Lentils
-Let the lentils soak in water for one day
-Heat oil and fry onions in it
-Put the lentils in the onions
-Cover the lentils with water
-Put in salt, LOTS of minced garlic, and mustard sauce in to taste
-Cook for an hour or until the lentils are done
-Make a flour, milk, and/or cream sauce (roux)
-When the lentils are done put in the sauce
-Eat Hot!

This is a video that the German girl and I took in front of the Danube and the parliament, unfortunately I can not post one of the videos that is somewhat better. But the Cotton Eyed Joe has hit Budapest and Germany. Szia mindenki,
-Ve