Sunday, May 29, 2011

On writing...

... which I don't do nearly as much as I would like.

I have so many things running through my brain these days. They're on all sorts of different topics. And usually aren't related. So often, I'll start pondering something and think "gee, that would make a great blog post." But, almost without fail, I get home from where ever I was or finish what I was doing and end up on Facebook or checking my email repeatedly or wasting time on any of a half-dozen or so "time wasting sites" like cakewrecks or foodporndaily. Or, of course, I could be on Skype :) In any case, so many of these blogs just don't get written. And it frustrates me, because once I finally get around to writing, the things that inspired the post are weeks past.

Like the post I meant to write about life. That one was inspired by a comment made by a coworker that she didn't know why a special needs child hadn't been aborted. Add in the fact that Osama bin Laden was killed that next weekend and it could have been a great post. About the fact that ALL human life is sacred: whether it's Marko (the mostly blind and deaf - I think that's what is wrong - little boy that we see at the swimming pool) or a mass murderer or the innocents who are closer to being protected by the Hungarian constitution or the baby about to be born with a condition that will allow her to live only a few hours or the boy who develops severe autism after too many immunizations in a short period of time (those last two are from books I've read in the past few months the others are from "real life"). All of them deserve to live.

Seen in the subway station:
"I understand if you aren't ready for me, but give me up for adoption - LET ME LIVE!"

Or the post that I wanted to write about the play I saw last weekend: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, and how funny I found it. But then I had to deal with the harsh reality that I would have reacted differently had I been there with different friends. With some people I would have been (and was) laughing at the, shall we say "less than family friendly" jokes, language, costumes, etc. With other friends, I feel like I would have been squirming uncomfortably. And I realized how much I don't know about who I am. Just me - not compared to or with anyone else. What does Rose actually think about that? Who am I, really? And how can I relate to others if I don't know who I am?

Then, there's the post about Hungary and changing the names of things. In April when I was on my way to the airport, I realized that the airport had changed names in the month between going to Sweden and going to the US. I was actually on the bus going to the airport before I realized that it wasn't Ferihegy Airport anymore but Liszt Ferenc International Airport. Then I heard about a number of squares in Budapest which have just changed names. Our main transportation hub the second time we were in Hungary is now Sze'll Ka'lma'n te'r (too lazy to actually put the diacritics in at the moment) rather than Moszkva ter which it had been for the past 60 years. A square somewhere in the 8th district (known as the seedy part of town) is being renamed for Bl. JPII - oh irony. And then, I came across this tomb while visiting the cathedral in Esztergom.
Literally it translates to
Kovacs Mrs. John
Born: Oswald Margaret
(Worth noting that Mr. John was nowhere to be seen)

I know this is common in Hungary... but it bothers me. I'm no angry feminist and I fully intend to take my husband's LAST name when I get married someday, BUT, until the day I die, I will still be Rose. If we're being addressed together (especially for things like mail and such), Mr. and Mrs. Hisname Whatever is fine, but when I'm alone, I'll still have the same first name that I've had my whole life.

Finally, I went to the market yesterday and bought oranges and strawberries from one stall. After asking for what I wanted in what I'm sure was understandable, if probably not perfect, Hungarian, the guy responded to me in English. I HATE when people do that. So, I paid with the biggest bill I had in my wallet knowing how much Hungarians hate having to make change. When I got home, I looked at the strawberries he had sold me and wished that the bill had been much bigger (more annoying for him). Out of a half kilo (just over a pound), the ones on the far right were all that were good after I chopped them up to salvage as much as I could.

So, there you have it.... four mini posts for the price of one. And, while I'm making no definite promises, I hope to post something more about my trip to Esztergom soon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I'm not really sure why I used to hate asparagus so much... it's becoming one of the staples in my diet. Like tonight:

Pork and asparagus ginger/garlic stir-fry with rice... yummy!
(yes, I'm aware my picture isn't quite quality... lol)

Don't worry... I am NOT following it with a banana split.. hahah.. the world hasn't changed THAT much!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beauty and the Beast and Our Lady of Hungary

Of all the Broadway shows I have seen/listened to/been exposed to, there are three that I really don't like: Chicago, Avenue Q, and Beauty and the Beast. That's not to say that I love all of the rest, but those three are ones I wouldn't be at all likely to listen to or watch. Except for one thing in each of them. In Chicago, it's the innocent Hungarian girl who gets hung because they don't understand her honest defense. In Avenue Q, it's the song "Fine, Fine Line" which I've turned to many times in the past when frustrated with a relationship (or lack thereof). With Beauty and the Beast, it's "A Change in Me."

There's been a change in me
A kind of moving on
Though what I used to be
I still depend on
For now I realize
That good can come from bad
That may not make me wise
But oh it makes me glad

And I-- I never thought I'd leave behind
My childhood dreams But I don't mind
For now I love the world I see
No change of heart a change in me

For in my dark despair
I slowly understood
My perfect world out there
Had disappeared for good
But in its place I feel
A truer life begin
And it's so good and real
It must come from within

And I-- I never thought I'd leave behind
My childhood dreams but I don't mind
I'm where and who I want to be
No change of heart
A change in me

No change of heart
A change in me
I can't describe this past year in Hungary any better than this song does. Or, more generally, my feelings throughout the years about living in Hungary.

Ten years ago, I thought my parents were trying to ruin my life. I honestly believed they had concocted their plan to move to Europe simply to make me miserable. I went kicking and screaming. I had no intentions of enjoying it. And, until my attitude changed, I didn't enjoy it at all. Part way through that year, however, I realized that I was stuck here and might as well make the most of it. After that, I fell in love with Budapest. The food, the culture, the public transportation, actually being able to communicate somewhat in the language, etc. When we moved back to the US - ironically on July 4th - I dragged my heels even more than I originally had about going in the first place.

For the next three years, I hated living in the US. All I wanted was to go back to Hungary. I was known to wear all black on July 4th (as the commemoration of our return from Budapest), make up pitiful excuses to avoid saying the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the Star Spangled Banner, and relish singing "God Bless the USA" due to the double negative which makes it technically say "there is doubt that I love this land."

Then, after graduating from SHS, I had the option to go back to Budapest with my family for the year. I jumped at the opportunity, especially when I got a part-time job working at a bilingual kindergarten. Unfortunately, the first few months were a rather rude awakening. Budapest was not the utopia I had remembered through my rose-colored glasses (lol... no pun intended... I didn't even wear glasses yet). Despite my disappointment, the year went well. At the end of the year, I had come to terms with moving back to the US and was actually happy - especially to be starting university.

Four years passed... time alternately flew and dragged. And I found myself moving back to Hungary this past August. Thrilled to be going "home" again. It's been good. But, just like the BatB song says "there's been a change in me." Moving here, I planned to stay for a long time. Years, even decades maybe. While I can't say for sure, that doesn't seem so likely anymore.

I was going to Szent Matyas Templom (St. Mathias Church at the Castle) quite regularly earlier in the year for their Sunday morning "smells and bells" NO Mass. At the end of Mass, they always sing the hymn to Our Lady of Hungary and the Himnusz (national anthem... a hymn asking for God's protection). Singing along with everyone (I've known the national anthem since high school), I would feel such a sense of "home" ... this was where I was supposed to be. I didn't feel like I would ever leave. For various reasons, I haven't been to that particular Mass for months. However, last week, one of the daily Masses I attended ended with the hymn to Our Lady of Hungary. It was strange, singing along because I didn't have that same sense of "home."

A number of things, from good to not so good, have changed my perspective in the past few months. I'm making no definite statements about the future, but the prospect of teaching next year is getting more and more daunting. On top of that, I miss singing. To a painful degree. And I miss my friends, family, people in the US. More and more, it looks like I'll be moving back to the US the year after next -- hopefully for grad school. Would that mean I'm giving up my childhood dream of living in Hungary? Maybe. BUT, if that's what happens, it will be "where and who I want to be."

Monday, May 9, 2011

The rest of Sweden... finally :)

Continuing with Sweden (yes, it's taken forever... but finally here!)

On Tuesday, we went to the Nordic Museum. I highly recommend this for anyone going to Stockholm who has any interest in folk art or traditional life.

Selected pictures from different exhibitions:

Furniture through the years

From the very modern to 19th century model living rooms.

Swedish homes

Recycling: it's not a new concept

Various household textiles

"Woman" and "Man" tradition clocks using traditional silhouettes

Modern art inspired by traditional folk patterns

An exhibit on the Lapp or Samis people of Northern Sweden

Various things taken on reindeer hunting trips and don't those boots look warm!

"The Power of Fashion" -- I was in heaven -- so many pretty/well made garments

I felt like I could have gone shopping "Yes, I'll take that and that, ooo, and that and this one here and that one over there."

Although, I'm certainly glad not to have to wear all of this every day... especially the hoops and corsets and crinolines (and one can't wear the dresses without those) -- that's why it's awesome to be a performer: I can wear fun stuff like this at work and then go home and change back into jeans :) ... plus, through doing costume and wardrobe work, I get to work with such clothes without having to always wear them myself.

This dress, for example, no interest in wearing that for more than a few hours in a show!

Some beautiful detail work

Not all of the clothes were for the rich... and even these were well-crafted.

The Fashion exhibit was followed by one on the "Dandy" and featured more menswear... I love dresses as much as the next costume/wardrobe girl but a beautifully tailored suit is in a class all its own. Unfortunately, my camera batteries were dying so I didn't get many good pictures in this exhibit or the next one (Men in Bathing Suits... it was amusing)

I played games with my camera - taking batteries out, turning them around, etc, and managed to get some pictures from the doll house display -- some of these were incredible in their detail.

The same was true in an exhibition of table settings from various times and for various occasions.

I only got a few picture from the section on traditional life which really disappointed me... this section showcased holidays and life events from Christmas and Easter to birth, marriage, death, graduation... there was even a display on a ceremony for hanging witches.

After the Nordic Museum, we went to the K.A. Almgrens Silk Factory and museum - Northern Europe's last silk mill. I had stopped to buy some batteries so was able to take plenty of pictures.

There was an enormous "wall" of silk.. pretty nifty

We walked by the ski race that they had been setting up for the day before.

Yet another reason I wouldn't want to marry a prince: postcards of our wedding photos

We flew home on Tuesday night and I missed the last metro then had to wait an hour for the night bus AND then had to finish planning lessons for the next day... not such a great end, but it was a fantastic trip!