Saturday, May 22, 2010


The last week and the two approaching have been/will be ridiculous. I've been driving back and forth between my house, my parents' house, various track meets, etc. All in all, I feel like I'm a yo-yo. Even though I've been moving things out of my house all week, I'm realizing how much more stuff I have to lug back. Add in the necessary sorting of all my stuff into trash, goodwill, store at my parents' house, take to NY, or take to Europe. I'm very glad that it all will be done by June 5. Not looking forward to getting it done, but at least it won't be dragging on all summer.

As if things weren't complicated enough... when I went to check the size requirements for my luggage a few days ago and got a nasty shock. Basically, it boils down to: I am moving to Europe with ONE (1) major suitcase. Yeah... that's going to be a blast. Thankfully, a friend might be able to bring me another suitcase a few weeks after I get there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Of Graduation, Flights, and such

It's a good thing the subtitle on this blog is "Random Ramblings of Rose" because I ramble better than anyone I know. Since this is my blog, I suppose I'm allowed to though :) if people don't like the way I write... don't read it. HAHA

Graduation was five days ago and it still hasn't become a reality in my mind. The weekend was alright. Academic Reception was good except that my friend Dani's mom needs new glasses or cataract surgery or something to correct her eyesight and she kept making bizarre observations. Honor's Convocation was the same as usual - four or five of us got the Music Dept Award.

Baccalaureate was fascinating, as is any Mass over which Fr. Stephen H. presides. There wasn't an announcement (I guess that's the excuse) so most of the guys (graduates, all but one of the faculty seemed to know) didn't remove their caps. The homily, while not always relevant was, in the least, non-offensive. I was glad to see the directive to sit or kneel printed in the worship aid. Unfortunately, even that wasn't enough to convince FSH that we should follow GIRM norms. He made his typical ridiculous order that people remain standing. Heaven forbid (LOL) we should want to kneel to welcome the King of Kings. Once again the chalices looked like Wal-Mart wine glasses. Not likely what the Bishops had in mind when they said to use precious metal or other precious substances (GIRM 327-330). All in all, the Mass was very "horizontally focused" with much more focus on those in the congregation rather than the One who we assemble to worship. It saddens me when people mistake the communal aspect of the Mass for a social one. On a positive note - the music was good. Thank God they let Papa H. plan that ... if they hadn't who knows what sort of hokey junk they would have chosen! It's pretty funny when the only Presbyterian involved makes his segment more Catholic than the rest. But then, I've always said that Papa is more Catholic than most of the teachers at Seton Hill.

Commencement itself was pretty anticlimactic. The speakers were good - best quote of the day "If you want security graduates, go to jail." Rose Thepig, sat with me through the ceremony - she was hidden in my sleeve (she's a small stuffed pig) as we processed in. During the receiving line afterward, she shook hands with the President and a number of other faculty. The one major disappointment of the day was the absence of a number of the music faculty. I knew some of them, Mr. and Mrs. H. in particular, weren't going to be there, but it was still hard to graduate without some of the people directly responsible for my staying in music and staying at Seton Hill. I can honestly say that without Mr. H., I would not have graduated from Seton Hill with a degree in music.

Life after graduation hasn't seemed much different. I've been packing and driving back and forth between my house and my parents' house in Ohio. This move is so complicated because it has so many segments. Move to Ohio, move to Cooperstown, move to Europe... and I need different things for each move it seems.

One major thing got checked off my to-do list today. I bought my flight! Now, I will be officially leaving the country on August 1st. Of course, I knew that before I bought the ticket but now it's definite. International flights are such a pain to schedule. I've been watching the times and prices for a couple of weeks and the flight I had planned on booking disappeared yesterday. I found another one today which was actually cheaper than any I had seen. Sure, a 10 hour lay-over in Brussels won't be particularly pleasant, but I'll deal with it.

Well, I think I've rambled enough for tonight.. drop me a comment if you'd like -- I would love to know who is reading this and what they/you think!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Voice juries were today. Although my recital was within the cut-off date, I juried anyway. As part of my Sacred Music Professional Experience class, I had to learn 6 sacred solos. I didn't want to learn them and not perform or be evaluated on them so I opted to jury. It's always good to see what the teachers write. Compliments after a recital are nice but tend not to be particularly constructive. This was my last formal chance to sing for all the voice teachers and get some suggestions. It also wasn't nearly as stressful because I had my music. Thank God for performance practice! Basically, these pieces are rarely performed memorized and so it is common practice to hold the music. In general, juries have to be memorized even if it's sacred, but since this wasn't a "voice jury" but a "sacred music jury" there was an exception.

The basic format for juries is to wait in the rehearsal room until it's your turn, then walk into the hall, tell the teachers what piece you would like to begin with, sing that piece, and then they will choose a second. Performance majors have to prepare 5 songs, everyone else prepares 4 songs. It's usually fairly easy to guess what they will select based on the first selection, as well as what you've sung for master class and student recital. People use all kinds of tricks to avoid having to sing a piece they don't like (or memorized the night before). The second piece is generally a contrast to the first so if the student selects a piece similar to the one they don't want to sing (same language or style or tempo) the second is likely to be something different. Of course, many times the student is prepared to sing any of their songs and begins with their favorite.

I chose to open my jury with This Touch of Love by Alfred Fedak. Not only do I like the piece but Papa H. (my Sacred Music Professional Experience teacher and one of my advisors) specifically picked it for me to learn this semester. After singing my first piece, as I expected, they wanted to hear either the Mozart (Laudate Dominum) or Vivaldi (Domine Deus). Laudate Dominum was the selection and as I got to the end of the song I realized that it, unlike all my other songs, ends with "Amen." So, yes, the last word of my last voice jury at Seton Hill was "Amen." How appropriate!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Homogenized Milk

Since I ran out of orange juice and haven't gotten around to shopping yet, I've been drinking milk with my breakfast the past few days. I love milk. When I lived on campus and ate in the dining hall, my friends could ascertain what sort of day I was having by the type and quantity of milk I would be drinking. No milk or one glass of skim or 2% - good day. Two glasses of 2% or one glass of whole milk - bad day. Two or more glasses of whole milk - bring out the troupes for battle, it's going to be bloody. I just find something very comforting in a glass of cold milk. Oh, and don't get me started on abominations such as "chocolate milk" ... if you want chocolate - eat some, if you want milk - drink milk.

Anyway, drinking my milk at breakfast, I've been reminded of something I'm not looking forward to about next year. Non-homogenized milk. Those in the States have probably never experienced such a thing - minus farm-fresh which isn't pasteurized either. Milk is hugely different in Europe. Now, you're probably thinking "it's milk, how different can it be?" Well, let's start with it's form, or the form of its container at least. Milk comes in bags. In the grocery store, when you go to get some milk, it's in the cooler section piled in thick plastic liter bags. This is handy when carrying it home on the bus (most people don't have cars - I definitely won't) because it conforms more to the shape of your shopping bag - think of a bag of cereal vs. a box. The plastic is pretty think so, unless you try to, it's not likely to break. On arriving home, the milk goes in the fridge - piled in the bags. When you want to open a new milk (which is more often than here since it mostly comes in 1 liter bags), the bag is placed in a pitcher and the corner is snipped off. Then the milk is poured, out of the bag sitting in the pitcher, into your coffee, cereal, glass, etc. If it sounds complicated, it's really not. Just takes some getting used to. Of course, there are some places you can get cartons of milk. They tend to be more expensive and a pain to drag across town on the bus (or even just up the hill from a little neighborhood grocery). And then, there is the joy (translation - nastiness) that is UHT milk. I won't take the time to go into detail but think semi-foamy, strange aftertaste, never actually cold milk. Yuck!

The biggest difference, however, is the homogenization - or lack thereof. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe all milk sold commercially in the US has to be homogenized. Very different from pasteurization (which is required in Hungary just like here), homogenization isn't so much a health issue as a preference. Through homogenization, the milk fat is broken up into minuscule fragments which stay mixed throughout the milk. This is why one shakes orange juice before pouring, but not milk. In homogenized milk, there is nothing to redistribute. Non-homogenized milk acts differently. Because the milk fat is not homogeneously mixed into the liquid, some of it separates and clings to the side of the bag. Rather nasty. The result is milk which is not as creamy as that which has been homogenized. Sure, I'll drink it and I'll get used to it quickly enough, but in case you were wondering if there is anything I like better here and will miss next year.... look no further than the dairy aisle.

And now you know, probably more than you really cared, about the differences between American and Hungarian milk. Don't you feel enlightened?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No great gain without some small (or not so small) loss

I finally found out about my English course. As of right now, it looks like I will be in Budapest from the beginning of August so I can take a CELTA course there before school starts. While the prospects of getting there sooner, having an easier time finding an apartment because students won't be back yet, and having more time to settle in are all wonderful there is a huge downside. Barring some massive re-arrangement or special allowances, I won't be able to return to Glimmerglass this summer. Although, I can't feel disappointed because I'm going back to Hungary, I feel awful about letting Glimmerglass down. My two bosses are both wonderful friends and I hate to put them in this pinch just a month before I was supposed to start. On the other hand, I don't want them to feel as if, because I've been there so long, they are obligated to go out of their way to make it work. Obviously, if something can be worked out, I would be happy to return for the first part of the season, but how logical is it to hire someone who will leave half-way through? All in all, this makes my heart sick.

In other news, graduation is next week... eek! It really seems just yesterday that we were freshmen. Really stupid freshmen sometimes. So many memories. How did we get to be so old? The choral society banquet is tonight, just another set of good-byes. I should be working on my practicum binder for Sacred Music Professional Experience because I have my last meeting with John S. in an hour. My binder is nowhere near finished. I'll be working on that all week (because I should have been working on it all semester - I hate how talented I am at procrastination). Or, if I don't show up later, it's probably because I'm lying dead at the Cathedral (HAHA).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Chapter - New Blog

Since things are changing so dramatically in my life right now, I figured a new blog might be a good idea. I'll be moving to Budapest semi-permanently at the end of the summer so this is one way I can share my adventures with everyone back home.

The reality of having this job is still hard to accept (in a good way). More and more details of what it actually means to move half-way across the world are hitting me. Sure, I've looked online for plane tickets and flats dozens of times, BUT it was always a wishful-thinking-because-I'm-really-frustrated-and-want-to-run-away action. Now, I'm doing those things for real. I've dreamed about going back to Hungary so much that now that it's becoming a reality I'm still not sure I believe it.

Having lived in Budapest twice before, I figured it wouldn't be that big of a deal to go back. What I hadn't realized was how much planning and preparation my parents had to put into the project. In addition, when we went before it was always very defined - we are going for 10 months and then will be going back to Steubenville. This situation is completely different. I have less than four months to pack my entire life into 2-3 suitcases and assorted boxes to stay at my parents house. Daunting to say the least. And that's before I start worrying about paperwork - visa, health insurance (I think this exempts me from Obamacare? Of course, I'll have to have some sort of insurance either way), residency permit, work permit -- all in Hungarian most likely.

Speaking (HAHA) of Hungarian... that's got to be my biggest project this summer. Well, that and teaching myself to teach elementary school (unless I'm just in kindergarten). I've already started making (the main tv station), BartokRadio, and various Hungarian videos on youtube part of my daily life. The more I can at least get it in my ear, the better.

Right now, my biggest worry is this summer. Tentatively, I'm still going back to Glimmerglass, but that depends on the TEFL course I have to take. Hopefully, I'll be able to figure all that out in the next few days. Please pray that everything works out!