(Here I am in Szoboszlo!)
It's been 11 days since I arrived in Szoboszlo and I've successfully made it through the first week of school. One of the first things I learned about my new town (first hand, I read plenty on the internet before arriving) was that, in the area, people refer to the towns by their shortened names ie. Szoboslo vs Hajduszoboszlo or Boszormeny vs. Hajduboszormeny. My contact teacher's husband told me this as we drove across the country from Budapest to Szoboszlo. It was helpful to know because a few days later an older lady at the market used the short form and I knew what she was saying.
Life here is very different from Budapest. While things in BP are slower in general than in the US, life is even more relaxed here. I suppose part of that is due to the size of the town (~20,000) and the lack of exciting things going on, but it is a pleasant atmosphere. I haven't done much yet besides walk around some, discover a fantastic ice cream place, go to Tesco and Aldi, attend the local Catholic Church, and, of course, teach. Hungarospa, the largest spa in Europe, is only a short walk from my apartment but I haven't been yet. Once my insurance card is processed I'll get a discount on massages so I will definitely be making a visit.
School is going alright. So far I have met 16 of my 21 classes and will meet the other 5 on Monday. It's overwhelming trying to get to know 400+ kids (plus the teachers) but I'm doing my best. The level of English that the kids are using has surprised me because I thought they would be more advanced. Even through all the many problems I faced with the foundation, I cannot overstate how amazing the philosophy is and how much English the kids actually know and are able to use. Many of the teaching supplies and books which I brought from the US will be hard to use with these students compared to those in the foundation.
The other CETP teacher in town, Alli, and I have gotten together a few times and it is so nice having another native speaker so close. We are discovering how much we have in common (two girls of Hungarian heritage, both from Ohio, now working at bilingual primary schools in Szoboszlo) perhaps most notably that we have both spent some time in Hungary before so this is not completely new for either of us.
My flat is amazing. Not being able to chose it for myself was one of my biggest worries about coming but it has not disappointed at all. I am on the main street, near the market, shops, churches, and only a 5 minute walk from my school. The flat itself is great as well - I have a separated living room, bedroom, kitchen, and entryway. The kitchen has a stove/oven, fridge, and microwave. I even have a bathtub/shower which has a curtain after I asked my landlady for a curtain rod. There is plenty of storage space (so I really have no excuse for not being fully unpacked), internet (with a cord that reaches to the sofa so I am not confined to the desk!), a sofa-bed (visit meee!!!), and a balcony -- with a SCREEN door (almost unheard of in Hungary). Suffice it to say, I would have been thrilled to choose this apartment for myself.
In my spare time (which is so much more than when I lived in Budapest - advantages of a 5 minute walk over an hour commute!), I've been watching tv. One of my 40-something channels is TLC. Toddlers and tiaras and Jon and Kate Plus 8 are even more ridiculous when dubbed into Hungarian. I also try to watch a show in the evenings on one of the Hungarian channels. It's a docudrama called "In the Shadow of Suspicion" and has really interesting real-life scenarios like a white woman trying to convince her white husband that she did not cheat on him (which she didn't) after giving birth to a black baby or a teen arrested for a murder he did not commit. Then the show goes about finding the real story. I find that I don't understand everything but enough to get most of the story.
Except for a quick trip to the immigration office, I haven't been to Debrecen yet. I will probably go next Sunday when the English Mass starts up again for the semester. I am definitely hoping to meet people through that as I haven't made many friends here yet.
One of my current projects is deciding which VPN (or similar) service to purchase so I can watch Downton Abbey when it starts on the 16th (in Britain). After seeing the latest, full-length trailers (Sybil and Branson FTW!!), I really cannot wait for the new season to start!!
I am not abandoning this blog and I do promise to write more often. I spent a while this morning reading through old journal entries and stories I've started and realized how much I need to get back into writing. As some of you know, I started a book this winter (a memoir of crazy college stories) and I want to continue working on it. I am beginning to explore the possibility of some online writing courses to further develop my writing skills. It's funny to remember how much I thought I hated writing when I have always been so creative and loved telling stories. My biggest task is learning how to effectively translate my knack for story telling onto a written page. College seems to be a good place to start since so many crazy things happened in my four years. All names and places will be changed, of course, to protect the "innocent, awkward, irritating, and/or guilty" but I cannot let more time pass without setting down my memories. Whether or not it gets published will be up to fate but I want to do my part in at least writing it.
As always, I would love to hear from you! Thoughts, comments, rotten tomatoes, etc are all welcome in the comments and if you want my address to write me a letter just drop me a note asking for it. I LOVE mail and will do my utmost to return the favor.