October 30, 2007

Born to do it?

You Should Be a Teacher

You are patient, optimistic, and good at explaining things.
You work well with all types of people, and you are a good role model.
Success and positive outcomes are extremely important to you.
You are both a good leader and instructor. People look up to and depend on you.

You do best when you:

- Can see the results of your work
- Are able to teach someone a new skill

You would also be a good nurse or non fiction writer.

Girl interrupted

Getting back to work after a few days off seems to be more knackering than it was when your body and mind are in the swing of things. I am off to the Cirque de Soleil this evening, which should be nice and exciting, but won't feel as comforting as a full nine hours sleep. I am a loser and I do not care.

I didn't want to come back to Budapest after my trip home. I was only in Yorkshire a few days and it made me feelo happy to look at the buildings and talk to the locals. I managed to get in a trip to see L and a Saturday evening with N. Maybe I am not as settled in Budapest as I thought. It is hard these first few months, now that the nights are drawing in and it was dark when I left school for home last night.

I feel a bit spaced out today, but it is nothing that some sleep and good food won't cure. This week is a short one, as there are Hungarian holidays on Thursday and Friday. After that there are only a couple of weeks before I am off to Madrid. I shouldn't be counting down the days until my two weeks in Yorkshire for Christmas, but I am.

October 29, 2007

Seeking inspiration

I have not written for a while, although I started a book a few months ago and gave up on. I never got the response I wanted from any publishers and find that I now have two and a half manuscripts languishing in a drawer somewhere. Over and above all the teaching and travelling, I dream of a life where I could make a living as a writer. It takes such talent and poise in your writing and I simply have no idea if I have either of these things.

Now that I have a laptop and a room of my own, there is no reason not to write just for enjoyment. I have another idea for a book and want to go back to the one that I started a while ago and keep writing, as I have more ideas after my novel hiatus. This weekend we have four days off school as there are Hungarian national holidays. I spent a fortune in the UK, so the weekend in Vienna that I had planned is totally out of the question. I think that coffee and writing may be the way forward. I feel serious about wanting a career as a writing, but lord knows I don't act it.

October 27, 2007

Just a (Yorkshire) girl

This week has felt very long, having N to stay and then getting on a plane and coming back to North Yorkshire means that I feel that I have had a real break. I miss Northallerton and the area surrounding but I still like living in Budapest. That is a bit of a contradiction for me. Usually I am desperate to get away from a place, determined not to go go backwards. These last few years abroad have been lived at one end of an extreme scale, focused on leaving England forever or living in Poland and not being able to imagine living anywhere else.

I met L for a Saturday coffee today and am about to get into the car and go for dinner with N. It feels like those weekends when I was working and living here, the sameness, the comfort. I am driving my little battered pink car again, she keeps revving up, and it not happy at having been left all these months. It is surprising how fast things fall into place when I come home. For a moment this morning, walking through the market, cappuccino in hand, winter coat wrapped around me, it was almost like Budapest had never happened. Those months slipped past me and I was in the same place I was over three months ago when I was living here.

October 24, 2007

A few days in Budapest

Blog points for anyone who can name the Budapest locations.

October 20, 2007


I have lived in Budapest for 83 days. I made it through my half term alive and happy and now know in my heart that I live here, it will be my home for at least a couple of years, maybe more, who knows? I woke up this morning with sunlight streaming through my wooden shutters, knowing that I have a whole week of freedom ahead of me. Naturally, my brain is still mush from work, but another day of silence will fix that and give me room to breathe.

This morning I walked down to Nyugati to get my monthly pass and a couple of weekly tickets for my guests who arrive tomorrow. My pass ran out yesterday so I walked down the korut and watched the Saturday morning life pass me by, it is getting colder so next time I step outside my apartment, gloves are a must. After that I went to the big supermarket next to the station to get a few supplies and found that this place sold pierogi ruskie, my favourite polish dumplings, which made me giggle with joy in the freezer aisle. strange looks abound, but what did I care? I am free of work, free of time constraints, free to enjoy the city that has been my home for the last 83 days.

I have big plans for the next few days, I can't wait to be a tourist with my friends. One of the things that I love most about having people to stay is the mornings. Waking up when there are people around me, having some-one to cook for and some-one who makes you coffee because they are awake and you are still asleep. Living alone is amazing, but so is the novelty of some-one to talk to you when you are normally wandering around in a morning brain fog. The sun is shining and life is good today, bring on the freedom.

October 19, 2007


My local supermarket is named Kaisers, and there are a few across Budapest. When I walk through the courtyard I am greeted by a few fruit and veg stalls and a shoe seller. Inside, there is a whole world of Hungarian culinary wonder. I love watching what other people by, you get a great image of what people at home are eating and cooking.

Even when it is cold outside and I want nothing more than to go home and curl up in my flat, somehow the supermarket seems warm and safe. I never mind waiting in line because the people watching opportunities are just so amazing.

October 18, 2007

Wide open yawn

I have spent the whole day working with 3 year old children and it is totally exhausting. They are gorgeous little bundles of love, of course, but they do suck the life force from you. There is only one more day before my bed and a whole week of lie-ins beckon me, so I am feeling grateful and happy that I get a chance to recharge my batteries and spend time with my friends. I have lots of work to do, but it is making me feel happy and useful at work.

October 15, 2007

Colder and colder

The cold and stuffy nose is nearkt gone so I am feeling less like hiding and more like frollicking in the sunshine. The air is crisp today and you can see your breath in it, you need a thick cardigan to stand outside now. I love the weather, cold and clear, it is my favourite type of day. I will be going to work with the little ones today pleased to have the chance to stand and puff in the cold.

Now that the last week is officially under way I am getting excited too about seeing N and her daughter Z, they arrive on Sunday. Little do they know that I will be taking them biking around Margit Island, to get the most out of the autumn leaf falling weather. I hope they realise that they will be feeling the cold on bare skin when we go to the baths and sit outside in the steaming thermal pool. I also can't wait to go to the Synagogue and a couple of museums that have so far failed to appear on mu Sunday agenda.

After all this, I get to go back to York. I will be eating a full English breakfast and chatting to J about her new boyfriend before you know it.

October 14, 2007

Truly autumnal Sunday

I didn't take my camera out with me today. I am always snapping away when I go out, but today I wanted a different feeling in this city. I wanted to walk and not be noticed, to wander and maybe fit in, look like I live there and am not an English girl with her guide book tucked away but still an air of being lost.

Budapest is truly autumnal. Some-how all the trees are still green, but the air is cold for the first time and crisp, golden leaves line the paths and roads. Andrassy still has shadows twinkling from the bright sun through the leaves. Everywhere I look I see guidebooks and city maps and I have noticed in the two and a half months that I have lived here that this seems to be a year round thing.

There is only a week left of school before the holidays and my yearning for York has not gone away. Still, I like the cold and the changing seasons is what I am here for, to watch Budapest through the year. To get to the end of the school year and look forward to knowing what will be coming again next year. I am lucky that I get to experience this new city and watch her change, but I will be just as glad when Budapest is not new any-more, when it is familiar and feels like home.

October 13, 2007

The unbearable lightness of being

If I had to choose a favourite book of all time I think I would be in a bit of trouble. There are quite a few books that I go back to again and again. At the moment I am re-reading a book that had a real impact on me when I first read it and on closer inspection I find it just as spellbinding as ever. I have read quite a few of Milan Kunderas work and 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' remains my firm favourite.

It is essentially a book about love, about the choices that people make and they way that they wrap their minds about what is going on around them. Maybe this is a poor explanantion as the book is so much more than this, but I just can't find the words to explain. I remember making K go up to Petrin Hill when we were in Prague so I could be in the place that Kundera talks about in one passage of the book. As a Czech writer who has lived in France for years I was amazed that there were tributes to Kafka everywhere I went in Prague but not much to celebrate Kundera.

The other book that I adore is called 'Ignorance' and is about the return to the homeland for two people exiled from their home country. I read it when I first moved to Poland and found much to relate to when I had just imposed on myself a move from my home. If you have never read any Kundera I would heartily recommend it, I find his writing distant and infused with feeling at the same time. He has made these few days being ill a little better as it has given me the time to read again.

October 12, 2007

Back in the blogging seat

I had another day off work yesterday as I felt truly awful. I am a bit better today and was so tired of being inside that I will be happy to finish my work week and have a relaxing weekend. Due to the sicky nature of this week, I have no more tales for you than those involving snotty noses and DVD watching whilst under a big duvet. Hopefully those days are behind me now and I can have a good weekend and a lovely few days at school before half term at the end of next week.

I will be recieving my honoured visitor on the first Sunday of the holidays and I will then be returning to Gods own country with them on the following Wednesday. I have big plans for those few days in North Yorkshire and I must say that I have been missing my little Yorkshire town like crazy. I have a fabulous Friday planned with some shopping and lunch at Meltons Too in York with J and maybe S. I just want to be there for some reason, York keeps climbing into my dreams. Nothing like being by yourself in an apartment ill to make you think fondly of home.

October 10, 2007

Sleeper Cell

I spent the whole day yesterday with my mouth open, heavy breathing and staring into space. Having a lovely dose of Sinusitis meant that I had the day off work and spent it in my pyjamas feeling awful and surrounded by tissues, menthol oil and tylenol. Three discs of 'Supernatural' saw me through most of the day but I had to supplement that with some episodes of the US version of 'The Office' which I have been meaning to watch for a while now to see how it compares.

I couldn't even muster the strength to sit and blog. Such was my life yesterday, it's hardly rock and roll is it?

October 05, 2007

This weeks theme...

seems to be language learning. I have my third Hungarian lesson after school today and I have to say that I am really enjoying them. Being naturally lazy, I imagined that Friday night after school would be the worst time to have a language lesson. In actual fact, I find myself really looking forward to them. The Teacher is lively and keeps a good pace through the lessons, so I feel like my attention never gets the chance to wander. And I already feel like I slip the odd word into the interactions in my Budapest world more.

I do love learning languages, but I get totally carried away. I am teaching beginners German to a student this year, and decided this morning that I was going to do a GCSE exam in German as something to aim for. You will recall that earlier this week I began learning Spanish. Do not believe that I am linguistically gifted, I just like the sounds and the words and not being one of those English people who just expect every-one in the world to speak English all the time. I will probably be having a go at Arabic or Hebrew by the end of next week...now there are a couple of languages that I would love to learn.

October 03, 2007

No apagues la luz

Sometimes I start stuff and never get it finished. I am interested in so many things, that I get excited, think I will commit to something and get bored soon after. Obviously, this is not going to happen with my latest venture, which is learning some Spanish for my trip to Madrid. Let us forget for a moment that I will little more than see the inside of a conference hall, but that is very much not the point.

I love learning languages through music and on this occasion it is Enrique Igelsias who is to be my guide. So far I have the ability to explain to a Spanish suitor that I would prefer that the lights stay on, handy I am sure you agree. It has to be said that my love of Spanish lyrics has been an ongoing affair and it is only recently that I decided to charge my Ipod with a 'Learn Spanish' CD. It is by a company called Earworms and I have to say that I am sure it will give me enough Spanish to get me through my trip without hanging onto a phrase book. I don't know why I am so excited about my trip, it is only a conference after all, but no cuido, excited I will be.

"Si decides dejarme
No te voy a suplicar
Allá tú si más tarde
Aunque corras, te escondas no puedes escapar"
Escapar - Enrique Iglesias

October 02, 2007

View of the world

I love going home on the tram and seeing the view of the Parliament building as I whip past. I like that the leaves are slowly starting to turn brown. I love that you need a cardigan to walk to the bus stop, but do not need one to walk home with. I hate that it is dark when I wake up. I don't like that between now and January there will be a hundred blog posts about the darkness.

I like that this weekend will be full of exploring and sleep. I like that I will be able to go to Market Hall, which I have been looking at in my guidebook for weeks. I like that I have a free lesson this morning, which means I can go downstairs and make a cup of tea. I like autumn coming, and looking at my big bowl of fat conkers on my coffee table. I like work, but I would hide away in my apartment and like that more if I could, so work is probably a good thing.

October 01, 2007


L left this morning in a taxi on her way to Keleti to get a train to Vienna. She has probably already arrived and seeing the sights. Work for me, and as Mondays often are after a great weekend, you feel the bump back down to reality a little to keenly for my liking. This has been made all the better by the news that I am going to Madrid for 5 days in November for a conference. I have been to Spain before, but never Madrid, so as you can imagine, I am extremely excited.

I miss L already, the flat seems quiet without her, her energy just totally filled by little apartment and even though she only stayed for two days, it was clear that it has been far too long since we last saw each other. I have a mound of Banana muffins that will remind me of her long after she is gone though.