June 29, 2007

Yorkshire water

I feel like I did four years ago when I finished work at my school and prepared to move to Poland. Now that there are three weeks of work left, the students also know that I plan to move to Budapest and live there by myself. They are amazed that I would move to a place where I don't know anyone, but I feel that to not give in to my sense of adventure would be selling myself short. I know that things will be fine when I get there because I have done this before.

It is sports day today and the grey clouds are stubbornly peering at the kids from up in the sky, I don't think the kids are going to last the day without getting soaked. Some of Yorkshire is under several feet of water, so our school in one of the lucky ones that gets an actual sports day. As for me, there has been lots of blogging about language learning and sending parcels, and there will be more, because packing and Hungarian are filling the moments that I am not working.

The countdown is now at 4 weeks and some days before I board my flight and as today is payday I will add getting currency and booking flights between Warsaw and Budapest to my list of things to do. In amongst the clouds, the stress and the sports days, getting stuff done reminds me that I get to go somewhere amazing in a little while.

June 28, 2007

Four seasons in one day

Tavasztól vagy ősz vagy tél vagy nyár
In the spring, or autumn, or winter, or summer

I am quite enjoying the whole language week thing, and I am back on Hungarian for today as that is the current language learning going on in prep for the move. Yesterday I spent some time translating some more songs. This is a good tool for my learning as I like singing along and find that my vocab improves quite quickly.

It takes quite a long time as I am cross referencing my dictionary and grammar book, to try and get the right verb ending. The upshot is that I can now seduce some-one with beautiful words, but am not able to order a coffee. Translating the songs is good for working out grammar rules and getting used to high frequency words. It is also meaning that the language and the sounds themselves are feeling a bit familiar. I will definitly try and see the band once I get to Budapest, but for now I have another twenty something songs to translate. I think that I will be able to say at least a few words before I get there that will actually help me communicate.

June 27, 2007

Po Polski

Ja nie się bardzo dobry język polski kiedy żyję w Polsce. Rozumiem partie ale mówią nie dużo. Ja tylko mogę mówić:
Czy moge po prosze jeszse kawa z mlekiem?

I didn't learn good Polish while I lived in Poland. I can understand well, but can't speak that good. I can only say:
Can I have another coffee with milk?

June 26, 2007

Hol van (Where is)

It is still language week and my shiny new Hungarian/English dictionary arrived and so instead of trying to write two sentences in Hungarian I am going to try and translate a verse of a Heaven Street Seven song. Hungarian first, Annes translation next.

Mond,hol van az a krézi srác?
És az a régi lány?
jó helyen vannak már
tavasztól vagy ősz vagy tél vagy nyár
nem emlékszem már
tudja a halál.

Tell me, where is that krézi guy?
and that old girl?
If I were you I'd be fine already
In the spring or autumn or winter or summer
I can't remember already
I know the demise

This was actually harder than I thought, it wasn't just finding the words, but also trying to get the right tense and colloquialisms. I love the new dictionary, it is brilliant, no idea what the word krézi means though, nothing in the dictionary and nothing on any translation sites. It took me a while to translate this song, Zsolt and Zannie, is it right?

June 25, 2007

Semain de Langue

J'avais pensé à Paris et maintenant c'est semaine de langue. J'ai eu plaisir l'étude du français quand j'étais en France, mais je pense que j'ai oublié tout. J'essayerai et visiterai Paris avant que Noël et m'assure que je peux immobile parler un peu du Français.

Cette semaine j'emploierai mon dictionnaire pour essayer et signaler quelques phrases dans le Hongrois et peut-être un peu d'italien trop si je bois du vin rouge. Avoir une bonne semaine chacun !

June 24, 2007

Sunday secrets

Every Sunday morning when I wake up the first thing that I do is make a cup of tea. Once the bleariness is removed from my eyes I turn on the computer and while away some time checking on my favourite blogs. The one that I enjoy the most is Post Secret. This initially started as a community art project when Frank Warren sent a few thousand postcards into the world asking people to create a postcard sized piece of art showing a secret and then sending it anonymously.

Frank now collects the postcards that are sent from all over the world with different types of secrets and a new set are posted every Sunday. One of the things that I love best is the fact that when the new Sunday secrets are posted, the old ones are sent into cyber space never to be seen again. The idea that you can send your secret and free yourself , show the world and then the secret is gone forever is one that I thing encompases the way that the project is run.

I have bought the books for various friends and am always keen to tell people what an amazing website it is, but more than that, I love to discuss the secrets with the people that I show it to. I often see secrets that make me cry, or I see other peoples secrets, sometimes I see my own.

June 22, 2007

Move along

The rain is falling in big fat drops, and the drains in northallerton looked like little fountains shooting water into the air. On my way home I went to the pub and having walked 40 metres to the door I already had streaks of water down my face and hair that was dripping down my back. Now that the weekend is here, I can observe the weather, as I like to do, as oppose to observing how the weather affects the staff and students at the school.

I am safe inside, but still soaking wet. A busy weekend beckons, time with S and later, with N too. Most of the weekend will be spent inside, which is madness, as it is nearly the end of June. Again, at times like these I let my mind wander and start to daydream about where I will be. As Dolly Parton once said ' If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain'.

Gym and swim

I signed up to the gym a while ago and have been enjoying going ever since. I am not very healthy, but I feel positive when I go and it is an amazing stress reliever. At the moment, I go with two boys as part of a support programme for them so two afternoons a week I can be found giggling while they totally outrun me on the treadmill. They never laugh at me, although there are times when I am sweating, panting and gaping open mouthed at some video on the massive MTV screens that play day and night.

After that we swim, and they get to cool down and have a play in the water after their workout. Now that there is only four weeks left of school, there are only a few of these sessions left. I have been thinking about going and I feel the same way I did when I left the UK before my first overseas adventure 4 years ago; excited, nervous and only a little bit sad to leave.

June 20, 2007

Dream, dream, dream

I have dreams that are so intense that they feel real. Sometimes the meaning is obvious, and sometimes not. Last night I dreamed that I was sitting in a garden with D and we were chatting about anything and everything. I didn't need the dream to remind me that I miss her and that we have both been bad since I left Paris at keeping in touch. I woke up this morning determined to email or call and I will look forward to chatting. I have been putting off seeing some people as I knew that I really could not make any plans until I had the security of a full time job, but now I can start looking at flights and getting excited about being a visitor again.

As for the dreams, they are always there to tell me something. Sometimes I think my mind is a twisted place, but the dreams are so vivid that when I go to sleep the following night I slip back into the dream from the night before. I know that my brain is working overtime trying to get orgainsed and stay calm so I will try and understand that my sub-conscious is working through whatever issues I do not realise need working through.

June 19, 2007

An ode to the DVD Boxset

Ally and I spoke on the phone this morning about all sorts of things as we haven't chatted in a while. One of the things that came up was a walk down memory lane of being holed up in my little Paris apartment in the winter, walking in the Park and shopping in Galleries Lafayette. Ally lived in Frankfurt and came to Paris for 4 different weekends before she left to go back to Australia. She loved D and L and we had lots of girly weekends before I left and so did she. One of the things that I like most about chatting to her is that we are not just limited to what we share in the past, we talk about what life is like now.

Another thing we talked about was getting our fix of TV through the DVD boxset. Most of the time you never miss English TV, but there are times when I would hide in my apartment for two days straight twitching after I had watched all 24 episodes of Alias. I have squirreled away all 8 seasons of Charmed to get me through the cold and dark months until Christmas. I love getting that fix, wearing pyjamas for two days and watching episode after episode, it is just another way in which I retreat from the world and I love the time alone.

June 18, 2007

Easy Living

More parcels have gone and I am near to Monday lunchtime. Yesterday I drove to York to meet S and J and have a wonderful breakfast cooked by Ss husband. As is usual these days I talk about Budapest, talk about flights and the school and what I will be up to over the next few weeks. These are friends that have visited me where-ever I have lived and J has been to Poland countless times and Paris twice.

I suppose that it seems like less of a big deal to them now, me leaving to live abroad. They are used to it, as is everyone else, it is not the wonderous thing any more. They know that I will cope with the move, because I already have. Still, it is nice to know that they are excited because they will get to see a new apartment in a new city. J and M will come for a week when I move out there initailly and I am sure we will have some summer explorations over the next couple of years. A weekend in Vienna, shopping in the Christmas markets in Bratislava.

The Hungarian has taken a back seat, I need a break from language learning, too hard!

June 17, 2007

Dim Sum

Saturday nights have come to mean long conversations and amazing food with N in Richmond. Most weeks I am not even sure that I am invited, but I turn up anyway, sniffing the air to find that a fennel rubbed joint of pork is being slow roasted. This weekend we decided that we were going to make our own dim sum, so inspired were we about the ingredients that B has in the cupboard at home and being familiar with Chinese flavours these days.

We had crab dumplings, pork and ginger dumplings and prawn and coriander dumplings. They stuck to the bottom of the steamer and looked a bit of a mess after those hours of folding, but they were so delicious. After dinner we chatted to our friend who is on the path to priesthood, and I realised that while I am whining that there are 5 weeks still left of school, there is only six or so weeks until I go to Budapest.

I am in the time again when there are so many things to do and so many people that I want to see before I go. N pointed out that we need to start booking things in to make sure that they all get done and I hadn't even thought about that. 5 weeks that you want to finish quickly and slow down at the same time, I really am never happy, although the dim sum took away the pain for a while...

June 16, 2007

House of Pain

I think that I must have used at least ten padded envelopes over the last few days. In addition to my usual ebay antics, I am starting to get stuff packed up for Budapest and sending stuff to K and N for collection in the summer when I will visit them and go to J's wedding. It seems that every night after school I am traipsing to the Post Office with armfuls of parcels that are Budapest or Warsaw bound and it is all I can do to remember what I have decided to send where.

Back at home it seems like no room has been made at all and I am left wondering how I am going to get everything to my new place without compromising my amazing fashion sense. I am going to S and Ks tomorrow for Sunday breakfast and will take a bag with 15 scarves in it for J to pack and bring with her when she visits in the summer. There is no doubt that I am a woman on a mission and the sad fact is that anyone who is around me at the moment is likely to be on the recieving end of a load of inane banter about the weight of cardigans and the things that I can't live without. Some parts of the moving process are exciting and some are tedious to the point of hilarity.

June 15, 2007

Books and books

I can't keep up with changing my amazon link every time I change books, but I am enjoying reading. I went to Waterstones yesterday and bought more books, and now that I have new books, I just want to read them and ignore the boring books on my 'to read' pile. The new shiny books that I will read next are:

1)Inside Little Britain - David Walliams,Matt Lucas and Boyd Hilton
2)The Magicians Guild - Trudi Canavan
3)If nobody speaks of remarkable things - John McGregor
4)The Black Book of Secrets - F E Higgins
5)Hungarian/English-English/Hungarian dictionary

I swear that the rain has not stopped for days so the time is right for hiding away and reading. With my new fancy Hungarian dictionary I will be able to decipher the meaning of the HSS songs and find out what has been ringing around my ears for the last few days. If anyone has any must read recommendations, please do let me know.

June 13, 2007


One of the strangest experiences in life is giving blood. I believe very strongly that it is our duty to give our blood when we are healthy, it is something that can help people in ways most of us can't imagine. I try and give blood when I am in the country and the time has rolled around again, so despite being tired and grumpy, I went to my local hospital and sat in the large hall with everyone else trying to be community minded.

Outside the hosiptal were two large vans who were picking up the blood that had been donated and whipping it off to local hospitals. Past this serious sight I wander into the hall which is bizarrely playing Love Shack by the B52s and sit down and wait. After answering the questions about my personal and sexual health , I am laid on a bed ready for the real process of giving a whole pint of my blood. The nurse chats as she tries to find a vein, I am sure that I have a couple in there somewhere.

It feels wierd, I watch the blood drain and make small talk with the nurse. I stare at the other people and become fascinated by the ones that clearly do this all the time. They come armed with a book and are nonchalant, where I am too interested in what is going on around me to relax. I feel good about giving blood, but I also feel a sense of duty. There are crazy things that happen in the world and I think that if you can make the worst day of someones life a bit better, then we should. I lose myself in the morality of what I am doing but the strangeness overwhelms everything else in the room, needles, my blood and people everywhere.

June 12, 2007

Heaven street seven

So, I have been listening to the album for a few days now and I think I have learnt something. I have learnt that my rubbish dictionary is not clever enough to hold all the words that HSS use to express their emotions. I have learnt that the internet is not big enough to have a direct translation of the hungarian songs and so I am singing lyrics that could mean anything. I have also learnt that listening to foreign music, and reading the lyrics at the same time makes your hungarian reading tons better. All I need now is to understand more than three words per song.

I have booked my flights and am now defianately sorted with an apartment. It is bigger than the place I thought I would take initially and so I am happy with the extra room. I should be able to fit J and M in when they come in the summer, N and I when they arrive in October, and I am still dreaming that Ally will decide that she really wants to come for Christmas and now she will have her own room. I am sure there will be lots of others too, L and E are also planning a visit this year and of course N and K and baby A will be just a little way away. Yes, happy with the new apartment, I just hope that this one is not haunted.

Slow boat to China

There is a Chinese theme that runs through my family at the moment, as every Monday we sit down and watch the documentary series 'Paul Merton in China'. My sister in law is Chinese and she sits and puffs when he is sarcastic, whilst feeling happy at the sound of Chinese voices and familiar sights. B is from Northern China, but the documentary didn't go to the industrial north and stayed in the southernm cities mostly.

My eldest brother lived in China for many years and travelled around Mongolia too. I was too busy teaching and lolling around Eastern Europe to have the will or the money to go and see them when they lived there. In summer 2008 they will move back there permanently and I find myself thinking about saving my pennies so that I can see China through their eyes. Our house is very Chinese influenced, food and decorations everywhere link us to Bs homeland. I wonder if there will be a little bit of Yorkshire in China when they return?

June 11, 2007

I like Mondays

I decided before the holidays that I was not going to work Mondays until the end of term, so I am currently only in school four days a week. That means that Mondays are free for me to do as I choose. The theory was that this would be time spent studying Hungarina, or sorting through boxes, visits to the post office, sorting out bank accounts and foreign currency and a million other things that I do not want to leave until the week before I go.

As it is, Mondays have turned into leisure time. Today I am going to play hooky from my organising responsibilties and hide in the cinema. I like it when nobody knows where you are, and I like to see the road behind me as I drive away somewhere. I really am obsessed with movement and even a half hour drive can satisfy me sometimes. Maybe I will at least listen to my new Hungarian music on the way in the car, two birds with one stone.

June 09, 2007

Quest for knowledge

Today I combined my adoration of the wonder we call 'itunes' with my thirst for knowledge of the Hungarian language. After a search on the internet I found an article about a popular Hungarian band called Heaven Street Seven. A quick flip to itunes and I had downloaded one of their albums a few years old called Cukor. I think that means sugar as the Polish word for sugar is Cukier.

I have been listening to the album in the car this evening and I think it is going to really help my pronunciation. I am starting to get to grips with the sounds and am reading with less of a stumble over the words. I am absolutely determined to be able to say a few words, some basic phrases before I get there. I just want to feel a little bit of familiarity in the language when I arrive.

Finding the time to put into study is quite something, but the reality is that I would rather read my grammar book and listen to the music than anything else. I am not in the frame of mind to concentrate on anything other than the move. Less than two months to go now, seems like I am always waiting for something.

June 08, 2007

Some Friday frivolity

You Are Sauvignon Blanc

Engaging and energetic, you have a lot to offer the world - most of it they've never seen anywhere else!
You are the type of person who carves your own path in life... and you invite everyone else to come along.
The only thing predictable about you is that you could have anything up your sleeve.
You're all about sampling all of life's experiences. Both the savory and unsavory ones.

Deep down you are: Laid back and young at heart

Your partying style: Anything goes... seriously!

Your company is enjoyed best with: Smoked meats or spicy food

June 07, 2007

If music be the food of love...

I have a somewhat unhealthy relationship to my IGB Ipod nano and I often dream of a proper 80 GB model that would allow me room to house my whole music collection under a small pocket sized roof. I have set up my itunes account and have been downloading like crazy these past couple of days. There are five songs that I am listening to over and over and they stir such emotions in me, for all sorts of reasons. I love music, it has the power to change my mood in an instant, make me giggle, or make me cry. These are my current faves

1) Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
I love the video for this song and I love her voice. This is sad, but she sings it with such melancholy power. Brilliant.

2) The Manic Street Preachers - La Tristessa durera
This is an old song that makes me remember driving the first car I bought with the drum beat and guitar turned up so loud that the whole car seemed to shake. The lyrics are political in places and great for when I feel angry or hyped up.

3) Claude Debussy - Clair de Lune
Ever since I saw the film 'Frankie and Johnny' I have liked this piece of music. I don't know much about classical music, but I do love this.

4) Stereophonics - Long way round
This theme from the series of the same name makes me dream of the open road. I want to feel dust on my face and see the parts of the world that I am too poor to be able to find.

5) Queens of the Stone Age - First it giveth
I saw QOTSA with TFT when I lived in Warsaw and this was one of the tracks that I bounced around to in Stodola, the little venue we went to. The gig was outstanding, I like to think that I am a rock chick at heart and listening to QOTSA makes me feel like I am not old, I am still cool.

I think I will turn this into a meme and tag Kinuk, Franje, Sognatrice and Tatiana. Five of your most listened to songs and the reasons why.

Where is all the summer sun?

Sometime I think that I should rename my blog 'Thoughts on the weather', but come on, it is the start of June. The sky is blank, there is drizzle in the air and I am sat at my computer in my big cardgian with a scarf wrapped around me. It is cold and it is damp and summer is no-where to be found.

Sitting with my colleagues today, we were all complaining about the lack of a summer and we are all dreaming of the sun. These last few weeks were full of memories of being outside when we were all younger. We would sneak to get ice pops on the way home from school and waft our shirts with cool air in between classes. Ties were thrown away and you would swelter in the classrooms. The nicest teachers would give you a book and take you to sit under a tree outside.

There is no such memory forming going on at the moment for these kids. I feel like it could be September, the start of autumn, when the mood changes and the trees start to shed their leaves. There are lots of things that I become fascinated with, and one of these is the weather and the change of seasons. What memories of the summer do you have?

June 06, 2007

I laughed on the inside

13 year old girl: Miss, is the moon really made of cheese?
Me: Er, no. I think that the other kids are joking.
13 year old girl: What!

June 05, 2007

Summer of 07

Looks like I might have found an apartment and that is making me very happy. With so many things going on this summer, I am glad that one less thing I have to worry about is having somewhere to live in Budapest. This summer there are two weddings to go to, one in Hereford, and one in Warsaw. Both are weddings of people that I think are brilliant, so I am looking forward to seeing some old faces. The wedding in Warsaw is in Lazienki Park, and will mean that I can see all my old colleagues.

On another note, not only am I frantically learning Hungarian, I am also mentally packing and shopping for the things that I want to take when I go. I know that once the summer arrives I will feel it fly past and it will be time for school before I know it, but that doesn't mean that there isn't lots to do before we get to that point. I am still searching for a flight, and a million other things, but I am happy. That weight of uncertainty has lifted now that I can see adventure in my future.

June 04, 2007

Budapest on my mind

Ok, it is Monday and the first day back at school after a week away. This really is the home stretch now and in just seven weeks I will be back to my life of airports, cities with rivers flowing through them and awkward silences while I try to remember a foreign language and buy some cheese at the same time. I can see the summer, can almost touch it with my outstrectched, grabbing hands, but there are things to be done first.

My 'to do' list is getting shorter and the more that I listen to my Hungarian tapes the more I remember, sometimes I think that I may even be able to remember short phrases. The often slip through my fingers, but I am feeling positive about it nonetheless. I have decided to just work 4 days a week so that I finish in July with a few things done and dusted already, I don't want to spend that last week in th UK running around with loads to do. I am going into town to book my flight after work today. Exciting! Thanks to Zsolt for making me feel very motivated in learning Hungarian,I promise I am trying hard!

Angol vagyok. Tud en vesz némely sajt?

June 02, 2007

Loose Knot

I am picking up L from the train station in a bit and so things can slowly return to normal. I am sleeping my own bed now and ready to go back to school on Monday and finish the summer term. I have been emailing backwards and forwards and think that I have found an apartment in Budapest now, been working out the finances and if I am careful, I think I will be OK.

Yesterday I went to see A, an old friend and work colleague who I do not see as much as I should. It was good to vent, to be able to moan about stuff that I didn't even realise had affected me. On the way home I listened again to my Hungarian CD in the car and although I still can't discern any actual words, I am liking the rhythm and the sounds that the language makes. I am happy to be learning it and will make sure that I get my books out for an hour before this evening.

The Godmother

I had a phone call a few months ago from K and N that sounded a bit serious. N told me very sternly that he and K had something that they would like to ask me and very formally said that they had discussed who they wanted to be the Godmother to their baby and that they would be pleased if I would consider it. I have known then for about three years now and I have to say that they are some of my favourite people in the whole world. Apart from the fact that they are the cutest married couple ever, they are both funny, kind and loyal and I know that they will make brillint parents.

I have been keeping up to date with where the pregnancy is taking them both on Ks blog Kinuk. I feel that this is one of the ways in which the internet keeps us connected, I am able to read her everyday experiences in a way that I would never keep up with if we had to write or email. I am excited that one of my friends considered me special enough to want me in their childs life, and of course I said I was over the moon to be baby As Godmother. As is my way I have looking at baby clothes and buying all sorts of random things for the little one and I can't wait to meet him.

I do feel that I am missing out on Ks pregnancy and hope that I get to spend time with the whole family when the little Godson comes along. Its wierd that your friends all grow up, get married and have babies. Most of the time I feel like such a child myself, maybe this is what makes me qualified to be a Godmother, and I will make sure that I am a really good one.

June 01, 2007

Pictures of water

Obsessed is what I am, and it looks like the only pictures I took while I was away were water themed. These are my favourite three.