Over the past week, I had orientation. CETP has classes on general Hungarian culture, the language, teaching, and past CETP experiences and advice from the directors and other teachers. One thing I’m really impressed with so far is CETP’s retention rate. this year about 40 stayed on from the previous. when the current director took over 15 years ago, there were about 12 teachers. at one point they thought they would cap the program at 60 people. This year, there are 110 of us throughout Hungary and there are still a few openings. My fellow teachers come from all over. One is Scottish, one is Finnish, one is half-Japanese. Some are retirement age, some are married, one woman brought her adopted children, and quite a few are young couples. There are some of us that left finances behind. Overall, we seem to be about 22-30 and single, or at least those of us I have met. I shared a hostel room with three of these ladies throughout the week and the experience was much better than any roommate situation I have had before. They were all very respectful and thoughtful. And I think those descriptions are fitting to the group as a whole. I am very happy to be around these people and to be able to ask them questions about teaching and just the general questions that come up when you are trying to integrate to a new culture. I’m sorry to say see you later to my fellow CETPers, especially my roommates. although I’m sure our group chat and the CETP Facebook page will keep us all easily in touch.
I really didn’t care for the Hungarian language classes too much. They were so fast and I picked up absolutely nothing. So the fluency is coming along absolutely splendid. I hope to know enough to talk to my class by fall break. we shall see how it goes. We had all types of advice, like it has been common practice to bring a tip like wine with you for your doctor because they don’t get paid enough (something left over from communist rule.) They drive like crazy people over here and I have almost gotten run over quite a few times (it’s okay Sarah I am still alive.) They don’t care about pedestrians and if you’re walking and the pedestrian green light changes to red while you’re walking, you better spring because these people are not waiting. Someone told me that they have seen people drive their cars on the sidewalks to pass other people. I haven’t seen anything like that yet but it doesn’t surprise me.
This past week was filled with adventures and funny little stories. Today Ally and I ate lunch and I had to pay 4,000 Forints. I couldn’t believe it. 4,000!! that’s so much. But when I finally did the conversion, I realized it was about $13. This was the most I had spent at one time and often more than I had spent for a whole day. 4,000 seemed much more okay and I’m excited about how cheap everything is here. I ordered a steak with salad and avocado dressing, it was quite good but it came with a thick slice of butter on the steak and I’m still very confused about that because it looked like it was cheese. I think there’s many things that will confuse me for a long time.
Overall, I’m loving the food. it’s been great. see attached pictures, not sorry that there’s a lot of them. I think if I am hungry in Hungary it’s my own fault. I’m quite excited about going to my school tomorrow. I meet my contact person (the one the school decides will help me do things like figure out my heat and go to the doctors and everything in between) and he or she will drive me to my apartment. Pictures will come. My town is about 3,000 people and I guess towns about this size are very excited about having people come. I was told I will be something like a local celebrity. So I will be spoken to in Hungarian often and I feel that it will be sink or swim fairly fast even though my contact person should know English. I hope the town likes me as I feel the best way to truly get to know Hungary is by making good friends with everyone in town. Hungarians only have two levels. you are stranger or friend. I hope many decide I am friend very quickly. Supposedly the kids will be really bad for all of us English teachers so here’s hoping that my kids won’t really bad that bad although I’m sure they will be. The only thing I’m nervous about right now is teaching so I’m very anxious to see how it goes.
I’m quite excited to travel as much as possible while I am here. I am very excited at the thought of going to see Maria in Viena, Kristine in Norway, and visit Transylvania at Halloween. I really hope to see Greece and Croatia. I also hope to and visit my CETP friends and experience all of Hungary and the festivals with them as well. I can’t wait for all the memories this next year unfolds.
I will post pictures of my town as I see it as well as my apartment. I hope everyone enjoys my pictures of food as much as I enjoyed eating it. There’s many other cultural things I could write but it’s late here so I’ll try and double up and do another blog this coming week.
Hungarian word of the week: pillanot. it means butterfly and one of our teachers this week said she absolutely loved it. it’s such a sweet little word and rolls of the tongue. I rather agree with her.
pictured: Turkish doner plate. paprika chicken and dumplings. ice cream sundae. a bridge in Budapest. a gyro in a box. cold cherry soup with ice cream. the steak salad I wrote about. ice cream on the streets. and tonights dinner of beef, potatoes, and crispy onions.