This past week, I had the older kids make Christmas cards. I know, a little early, but for a good reason. I saw a Facebook post about a 9 year old in Maine who has nerve cancer and probably won’t live until Christmas. I told the 6th and 7th grades about him and they made cards for him. I was surprised how many took it very seriously. Some, of course, just colored a quick picture and called themselves done. But quite a few really took their time on the task and wrote Jacob a nice note as well. One girl wrote him such an impressive note about how he can trust in God and how she would like to help him. I was very proud of this student and really loved seeing her kindness especially as she’s very quiet in class and I don’t know her well. I also was really impressed with the kids’ grammar and just what they wrote to him in general. It was certainly better than anything I could write in another language. So now I have 50 cards for Jacob I’m putting in the mail for him today. I’m hoping they don’t get lost in the mail. (https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjojoradiofm%2Fposts%2F1961611380766231&width=500“>Here is a link with more info about Jacob if you’d like to send him a Christmas card yourself.)
After much struggles, Jena and I made it to Vienna this weekend. In order to catch the bus to the train, the school allowed me to leave on period early. However, at the train station in Nyiregyhaza the woman at the international booth wouldn’t let Jena and I get our ticket to Vienna, she would only sell us one to Budapest (the connection). She didn’t speak English of course so I didn’t know why she wouldn’t sell it to us. I only understood that she deemed our train to Vienna “no good” for a reason that only made sense to her. So we arrived in Budapest with 10 minutes to buy another ticket and make the connection…. not exactly doable. We missed the connection after buying a ticket the man said was “good for any train from now until Monday”. Which was nice as it was only 33 euro for the roundtrip. On the way home, this proved to not quite be true as the ticket wasn’t good once we got to Budapest and returned to Nyiregyhaza. so we had to buy a ticket from the conductor that was ridiculously overpriced compared to normal. Lesson learned on that. At least the conductor spoke English and we understood what he was telling us. Our train was delayed about 40 minutes away from Nyiregyhaza so the taxis we had ordered had to be cancelled and reordered for later. Jena’s friend did this for us and said the taxi lady wasn’t very nice about it. When we got off the train, there was only one taxi there and he wasn’t from the company that we had called. Huge Sigh. but at least there was a taxi and we made it home late Sunday night, or I supposed Monday morning.
Vienna itself was great. Of course I think the best part was getting to see Maria again. She introduced us to some of her friends from Vienna and they were very friendly. I found everyone’s level of English to be very high and wouldn’t think there’d be any problems traveling in Vienna for an English speaker. We walked 14 miles Saturday seeing sights and eating. Sunday we were lucky to have almost a full day since we could take a later train and went out to see a castle and it was huge and incredible. We also made it to a small market where we found a few hidden gems to purchase as well. Below is a collection of pictures from the weekend. Vienna had the Christmas decorations up but never turned the lights on and we just missed the Christmas market by one weekend. the castle is called Schönbrunn (the yellow building) and the brightly colored apartment building is a typical tourist thing to see in Vienna called Hundertwasserhaus. it was difficult to take a good picture of but very cool in person. Of course theirs Weiner schnitzel, a must have in Vienna. the others are either buildings one is supposed to see in Vienna or just ones I liked. and of course some pictures of us at the castle grounds as well. We didn’t go into any of the typical tourist attraction buildings just due to not having very much time sadly. carriage rides are a big tourist attraction as well (we didn’t do one because their pricey) but all the horses had the hats/ear warmer things on in a variety of colors.
We also checked out a cake decorating competition which isn’t pictured and got turned around on public transport a few times. We crashed a birthday party – so sorry to the birthday girl I forgot to tell her Happy Bday, but I don’t think she was in a state to realize I didn’t anyway. We stayed in a good hostel right across from the train station, super cheap and convenient. The last thing we did was walk through a square with carnival type attractions. We decided to try out a haunted house ride which was pretty similar to how one would be at home. But at the end of the ride, one of the workers hid just before the exit and jumped out to scare us which made us all jump a little.
Jena and I are planning to go to Bratislava this coming weekend as the Christmas market starts Saturday. This week I hope to talk a little about Thanksgiving to the kids and I’m also starting pen pals with two of my classes which I expect to be a hit as well.
Learn Hungarian: nem jo (pronounce nehm yo) – no good