For those of you who know me, you know that I am infamous for going to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah every year. In addition to being covered in layers of gaudy green beads, my family, friends, and I arrive at around 6AM to claim “our spot.” One could say that we are extremely dedicated people. Upon hearing that Budapest was having a St. Patrick’s Day parade as well, I decided to stick with tradition and go. The parade here, however, was a little different.
Unlike in Savannah, you do not have to claim your spot to see the parade. In Budapest, YOU ARE THE PARADE. My friends and I arrived to where we were told the parade started. After seeing a small handful of people, I realized that most of them were native English speakers. I quickly asked for a pennant and balloon, but unfortunately I couldn’t find where everyone got their hats. Confused about the parade, my friends and I decided to eat at a neighboring café. After an hour of shenanigans, we walked outside to start our journey. We walked from Szabadság tér to Deák Ferenc tér in all of our glory – along with at least 500 people. I managed to find a lone bagpiper and drummer and walk by them to get the “right feel.” Once at the final destination, my friends drank Guinness while I took pictures. Although I am glad I experienced this holiday in another country, I do not think I will partake in the festivities again next year.
Today I went on a field trip with forty-five students. We took a little trip to the Parliament building. Hungary’s parliament building is one of the most popular landmarks in Budapest. This building is the second largest parliament building in Europe (the one in London is the largest), but it is definitely the most beautiful – not a personal opinion, it is fact. Although I knew the outside was extremely ornate, I was not expecting the inside to be lavish as well. I was proven wrong.
Most of you do not know the history of this great country. I will refrain from giving a history lecture, but I will encourage you to read up on Hungary’s past. Last Friday was a holiday for Hungary – it honored the Hungarian Revolution of 1848: A magyarok istenére / Esküszünk / Esküszünk, hogy rabok tovább / Nem leszünk! (And yes, I know the translation and can pronounce it [almost] perfectly.)
Apparently the weather has not read my last post titled “Goodbye Winter” because WINTER IS STILL HERE. We had a snow storm just last week and more is to come. We experienced temperatures in the fifties for a few days, but we’re back in the twenties/thirties/forties. According to the Weather Channel, the forecast for this Saturday will be: high 37, low 21. I have worn my winter coat for five of the seven months I have lived here.
Hungarian classes are still going well. I am in love with this difficult language. Even though I do not feel like I am as good as I should be (I have high expectations of myself [as we all should]), I have received nothing but positive feedback from my attempts. Although I comfortably speak to my students in Hungarian, one teacher in particular has taken it upon herself to push me into doing better. I spoke to her in the teachers’ room for forty-five minutes in only Hungarian (okay, 90% Hungarian). Some of my coworkers told me that I am well on my way in finding a Hungarian husband. Thanks, guys. I guess that’s a compliment.
Next, I want to talk about the medical system here. The other day I felt as if my heart was beating strangely, so I emailed the doctor I saw in December. He immediately emailed back and told me to come the next day. I came, his assistant hooked me up to the machine, and they checked my heart. Turns out, I was just paranoid, but I am so thankful that I can just go to the doctor with no problem whatsoever. The process took less than thirty minutes, I did not have to fill out any paperwork, and it was free! I am so thankful that I have been allowed to enjoy the benefits of Hungary’s universal health care. I might see my doctor again sooner than expected because on Monday a 1st grader LOOKED ME IN THE EYES AND COUGHED IN MY FACE. I have been sick ever since…
Lastly, here is another glimpse into my life as a teacher:
A lesson from Miss Jennifer: Read up on events before you attend them.