The day before I left to battle people in Istanbul and dogs in Sarajevo, I went to a cooking school with my coworkers. As circumstances always have it, I was the only native teacher to attend the staff trip (my fellow American teachers had legitimate reasons for not showing up, so no tea, no shade). We met at school, packed into a bus, and headed towards Rosinante, located on Szentendre Island (Szentendrei sziget) in the town of Szigetmonostor. I opted out of taking my DSLR and compact camera, so enjoy the quality of my older sister’s old iPhone 4s. It is like you’re going back in time to 2011.
Although a good portion of my coworkers speak English, Hungarian was clearly the language spoken throughout the day. Fortunately I 1) understand a good bit 2) do not get disgruntled when I do not understand 3) got paired up with people who do speak English. Truth be told, I should be much better in Hungarian – I am at the same level as I was back in 2013. My comprehension solely depends on topic: my areas of expertise are school, food, and travel.
Everyone was made to grab a colored chip, which put them in one of the cooking groups. My group and I were in charge of the main course: bacon-wrapped chicken and potatoes spiced up with peppers and onions. Another group made bread and eggplant spread. The last group did the desert: cherry, cottage cheese, and pear strudels. I refused to handle the meat (I tried to cut a turkey filet last year and ended up gagging), so I mashed the potatoes.
After devouring the fruits of our labor, my coworkers and I were split up into more groups for a scavenger hunt in Szentendre. My group, which consisted of me (wow, shocker), Ági, Melinda, Anna, and Zsóka, was given a map and clues. We had to either answer a question correctly at a designated shop or take a funny picture at a specific location. After crossing the Danube by ferry, teams jetted off into the town in a race for glory. I am proud to say that I answered a good portion of the questions asked to us. Even though my team did not win first place in the “funny picture contest,” I think we were the best (no bias).
Anna, Melinda, Ági, and Zsóka.
Right before the graupel (soft hail).
We ended up taking the ferry back to the island to try some fancy chocolate. Those with more refined palates enjoyed the chocolate tasting, but to be honest I did not care for most of it. I was not paying attention when the woman said (again, in Hungarian) that the second one was a cacao bean. Distracted, I thought it was a coated almond. IT WAS NOT A COATED ALMOND. If I do not like the taste of something, it is hard for me to hide it. I begin to twitch, my face morphs to that of a gargoyle, and I start repeating “I don’t like it” for several minutes. Good thing I handle situations like a mature adult. I have never been a chocolate lover, and fancy chocolate (aka not the super artificial joys sold in chain stores) is, as I have found, completely out of my element. However, if chocolate was the worst part of my day, I suppose I had a pretty good one.
In other news, I finally met a blogger friend, Nuss, in person! Check out her blog, The Mauritian Geographer – she is cool, friendly, and wildly gifted in languages (she knows six for Pete’s sake). My college friend, Tyler, also came to visit. Tyler, if you’re reading this, I finally took out the trash (the dishes are another story altogether). He had to suffer through my obsession of taking pictures of/with people when they are sleeping. We even got to show some friends around.
Emily and Amy loved the city!
In regards to future trips, I have a few planned, but doubt many will happen. I currently have a solid $25 to my name, which is hilarious at best. Going to three different countries in such a short span (27 days) was perhaps too ambitious to say the least. I hope to visit my friends Kate and Maxim in Munich next month, but that one is pretty far-reaching. I am definitely going back to Vienna in June to see One Direction. I just want to confess now that a few tears rolled down my cheeks when Zayn left. “Who’s gonna be the first to say goodbye?” Well, now we know.
A Lesson From Miss Jennifer: Cacao beans are not to be eaten.