Realization #1: I have been in Hungary for half a year. Realization #2: It has been two months since my last blog post.
Snow has plagued my existence since winter started. My roommate, Catherine, began to use my mood in the morning as a weather guide. If I was in a bad mood, then snow was obviously on the ground. We came to the conclusion that if I had proper shoes for this precipitation, I probably would have reacted differently. However, I cannot afford proper shoes, so grumpy it was! Maybe next winter I will be able to save enough money to buy boots… which leads me to my next point.
I am staying for another year! I have already informed the directors of the program I am teaching through, the Central European Teaching Program, and my wonderful school. I now have to “pinch pennies” to afford to stay – I have to pay $500 in April and I make about that much a month. I obviously don’t mind paying the returning fee – contact me in you want information about it – it’s just that the struggle is real. The struggle is always real.
Since the end of January, I have been taking Hungarian lessons from the Hungarian Language School in Budapest. I am obsessed with this language! I am doing really well in the class. The world around me is making more sense. The cost of the school is pricey for my teacher’s salary, but it’s worth it.
To continue on about things I have done, I recently went to a tiny town called Mohács for Busójárás.
You can research the real meanings after you read this excerpt I did for a newsletter:
I knew from the moment the tour bus guide handed out complimentary palinka (within minutes of taking off) that Mohács was going to be a good experience. The ride was long, but with good company and a pastor-style horn flask full of wine, happiness flourished. Now that I have properly set up the three hour bus ride, let me paint you a proper picture of what Busójárás was like (for me).
If you like the thought of masked men having their way with you, then this is the festival for you. I am exaggerating, of course, but always remember there is always truth in jest. Masked men, shrouded in white fur, wore cow bells around their waists. The sound allowed one to predict the future doom that was rapidly approaching from behind. The faster the jingle, the faster the… fun. Tents full of beautiful arts and crafts lined the streets along with the tantalizing smell of the Hungarian food that I have come to love. I purchased a mini Busó that I lovingly call “Ricardo.”
My friends and I walked around until traditional dances begin. Although I love the present day Hungary, my head and heart craved the Hungary of the past. One does not need Hungarian blood running through his or her veins to feel the connection.
After the dances, the group and I placed ourselves (perfectly) for the parade. What felt like thousands of Busó passed by us, but I never tired of the sight. Cowbells rang ferociously – interpret that statement as you wish.
For the fortunate few who traveled to Mohács for Busójárás: we will never forget the fun we had. For those of you who missed out on the opportunity: do not make that mistake again. May the cowbells always ring in your favor.
A masterpiece, really.
Also: I attended an “America Day” celebration at another school. I, of course, enjoyed myself, but it felt so surreal to be one of the only Americans in a room full of several hundred non-Americans celebrating your home country. There were state posters, traditional American deserts, a huge American flag, and a bunch of kids in Western wear singing John Denver. Yes, JOHN DENVER.
Yesterday, a couple of my friends and I celebrated the change in weather at the Citadella on Gellert Hill. We finally have sunlight! For the longest time, I would go to work in the dark and go home in the dark. The sun would set so early – I had almost forgotten what sunlight was like.
So, in sum, all is well. I have a couple of friends lined up to visit me. I cannot wait to show them the life I love.
A lesson from Miss Jennifer: Do not believe a man, dressed in sheepskin, when he tells you to look in the opposite direction. You will only let your guard down.