March 30, 2008


I haven't been posting a lot of photos recently, but I am sorting out my camera and making sure that I have lots of memory for the million pictures I plan to take of Marrakech. Here are a few of Budapest, the interior is of the Gresham Palace, I went there yesterday. It really is breathtaking, if you like art nouveau then it is worth a look in. The coffees are about a fiver though...ouch.

March 29, 2008

The skies are grey

Again, but never mind, because it is Saturday and I am off to the Four Seasons with D for a cappucino that signals the end of my coffee free days. D gave up chocolate for lent and promised me that we would have fancy coffee and cake some-where lovely to celebrate. Gresham palace is supposed to be amazing and so I intend on touristing up good style and taking loads of pictures.

Even though this has been a short week it seems to have gone on forever. Only one more left though and this time next week I will be last minute packing for Marrakech. There is a ton to think about and do before that, but the comfort of time with N and being back in my beloved North Yorkshire are all that I can think about.Obviously, that and the shopping.

March 27, 2008

Anne is thinking

What is it about life that sneaks up on you? For a few weeks I have been so involved in feeling lost and seperate from every-one that I never imagine for a moment that other people may actually notice how distant I feel. In a phenomena that Kelli and I used to call 'Big Brother Syndrome' I should have learnt by now that even when you think you are acting all cool and collected that in reality, your feelings are written all over your face. How do you learn to have a better poker face? I thought I was good at internalising, but it seems that this is very much not the case.

March 26, 2008

Should I be worried?

The BBC has published this article, which tells me that people make pre-conceptions about me because of my name. Any-one else on the 'Least Attractive' list?

Pictures of walls

K gave me a little bit of linking love yesterday by sending me the details of this website 'Pictures of Walls'.Knowing that I love Postsecret, the site is on a sort of similar vein. It is a collection of writings and graffiti that appear on the walls of the world. People find these little secrets, or slices of life and send the pictures in to the website. I find it all a bit mesmerising, the pictures are of such ordinary places that it is strange to see such emotions mixed in there. Have a look, any thoughts?

March 25, 2008

Spring sunshine

The very long and very quiet weekend is over and the sun is very brightly shining through the classroom windows today. I got quite a few things organised this weekend, some of which were things in my brain that have needed an airing for a while now. I feel better, and am happy to be looking forward to my few days away with N, we chatted about it yesterday and it made me excited again to shop until we are fit to burst in Marrakech.

I spent the day yesterday doing lots of work, which was actually really nice. It made me feel productive and helped me to realise exactly what it is that I want to get out of the next few years. It is nice to have something to aim for again, I think that Tatiana helped me to realise that as the last thing that i really desperately wanted was to come and live abroad, which I have been doing for the last five years. Time to aim for a new target.

March 23, 2008

The taste of coffee

Even though I would not call myself very religious, I always give up something for Lent. I think it is a throwback to my days as a teacher of Religious Studies, which I adored and abandoned for Special Needs teaching as a way to work overseas, as RE would have severely limited my options in getting jobs abroad. This year I gave up coffee and chocolate and have stayed away from the two for the whole of Lent. I have only had one coffee and that was only because I ordered and drank it in a cafe before remembering I had given it up for Lent.

So, today after all those weeks of coffee free living, I fired up the coffee maker that the girls gave me for my birthday and have proceeded to drink nearly a whole pot of the stuff. It hasn't made me hyper, but it has given me a headache, especially seeing as even without giving the stuff up I usually drink mostly tea and only have one cup of coffee a day. I need to walk it off so am off to meet some friends for lunch later.

As with the national holidays tradition in Hungary, the streets around me are very quiet and all will be slient tomorrow too. A few weeks ago when I was getting excited about Marrakech I was all focused on this weekend as I knew that when it got here it would mean just two weeks until my little holiday with N. I even got my case out of the cupboard and have started throwing clothes at it in an attempt to be a bit organised. It doesn't really feel like Easter because I am not eating Roast Lamb with my family while the BBC plays the Wizard of Oz, or other musicals that get trawled out at certain times of year. Not for the first time this year I miss home.

March 18, 2008

Frozen in time

Just when the whole of Europe thought that Spring really had turned up early, we find that it is in fact still pretty wintery and cold and that the sun is being forced behind the clouds again. Sometimes I can't believe that in three weeks I will be soaking up 30 degree heat in Marrakech, that will surely be a shock to my system.

Work is intensely busy this week, but is made a little sweeter by the fact that we have a three day Easter weekend at the end of it. Being ill (again!) last weekend meant that my long harboured dream of a Saturday lounging in the hot pool at the Szechenyi Baths failed to materialise. I will not make the same mistake this weekend though, and ill or not I intend to drag myself there and get ready to soak away any tension that remains.

March 15, 2008

Zarva means closed

Everything in the city is closed today. From my local supermarkets to the shops on Vaci Ut, there is not a soul on the streets where I live out and about doing the things that folks normally do on a Saturday morning. It is the 15th of March which is day when Hungarians commemorate the revolt against the Habsburgs, don't ask me for any more info, or my historical knowledge of the country I live in will be shown for the void that it is.

I walked this morning, just so glad to get out of the apartment, as I was ill again yesterday. I truly believe that if I get this sick again after another winter I will be packing up my bags and leaving immediately. I feel like a Jane Austen character who has to move to some-where more suitable for her constitution. So, I walked and saw no-one. The I walked and found people singing and wearing little Hungarian flag pins on their jackets and suddenly I felt like I was watching something I shouldn't be watching.

I walked some more and having utterly failed to even buy a pint of milk, or some bread, I have retreated, watching the cloudless sky above me and still feeling sicky and tired. At least I can catch up on washing and have been watching 'Grand Designs' while I potter and sort out my place.

March 12, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls and raindrops

Watching the rain and eating cinnamon rolls is what I am doing at this very moment. I am wondering why the weekend seems so close and yet so far. I'm on my computer endlessly organising stuff for work next week. I'm thinking about the 'Charlie Bone' books by Jenny Nimmo and wondering if the school library has book three 'Charlie and the Blue Boa'. I'm wearing a turquoise blue top with black cords and my hair is in a plait.

I'm drinking tea, with one sugar, even though I never take sugar, because I'm tired. I'm learning how to say it's raining in Hungarian, esik az eső. I'm cold, but don't want to close the window because the air is nice. I spent half an hour with a three year old who screamed because he couldn't go outside, but he is calm now. I'm still eating the cinnamon rolls. What are you doing?

March 10, 2008

Personal Growth

Sometimes I feel that I have revealed too much of myself when I am writing my blog, it never started out that way. Even though each blog post can only really account for the 10 minutes in which it is written, the fact remains that the ponderings and general sorting out that goes on in my head quite often ends up on the blog in one way or another, usually to a much lesser extent though.

After writing the other day about choosing solitude over sociability I actually bored myself with my stupid desire to hide away and so on Saturday I went out. First I went to the Theatre with C and some other colleagues and after that I went to the pub, yes, the pub. I stayed for a few hours and generally had a lovely, secure, comfortable time. So much so that I am left wondering; Why did I give myself such a hard time? Why did I think that I wouldn't enjoy being out in the world?

March 09, 2008

I'm famous! (nearly)

The Budapest daily photo team have started a new blog called Hungary starts here about life, culture, music and just about everything you would ever want to know about this country. Guess who their first exclusive expat interview was! You can read the interview here.

March 07, 2008

Busying myself into solitude

Most weekends, I would be very happy indeed if I managed to maintain my solitude from the moment I left school on Fridays, until the moment I return on Mondays. This weekend I am already contemplating the array of things that I have been asked to do, and after a week that has felt incredibly long, I have to say that I think I will mix up the sociability and solitude a little.

Obviously, there is Hungarian after school, a coffee and a Hungarian chat in a Kavehaz down the road from work. This is always a good way to start the weekend as I enjoy the lessons much more than I really should in my Friday knackered state. After the lesson, either dinner with the girls or a little housewarming in Buda, depends on how tired I am. Tomorrow, there could be a visit to the Budapest Model United Nations, or perhaps a drama production at the Merlin Theatre? Sunday is a trip to Ikea courtesy of the people who stayed in my flat a few weeks ago.

Although it makes me very happy to have the choice of staying in or going out, it has become clear to me over the last few weeks that I choose the time alone because it is simple. Controlling what goes on around you is easier when you are by yourself and have to answer to no-one else, but I am not sure how healthy it is to want to hide away so much. Being out in the world with other humans can be brilliant, but recently, not matter how much I enjoy being with the new people I meet in Budapest, it always sends me scurrying back into the world I inhabit in my own head. At least I am more sociable than I was a few months ago, maybe things are changing.

March 05, 2008


I am still Marrakech obsessed at the moment and last night started reading 'Cinnamon City' by Miranda Innes, about a woman who renovated a Riad in the city. At the minute of reading, the book is all sights, smells and sounds of Africa, and I am enjoying it so far. Budapest life is ticking along nicely and every year I find myself astounded at how quickly you start to think of the year that will follow this one. It is only March and yet many conversations at school seem to be about next year. I will be here anyway, so am happy to join in the chats.

It has been many years since I spent a summer knowing that I would be returning to the same place. I have been so unsettled these past few years with all the movement and excitement of living all over Europe. I still feel very unsettled, but some-how Budapest has sneaked in as the thing that will remain stable until the real move home happens. I don't feel the urgency any-more like I did when I lived in Paris and Warsaw. I will be happy to stay here until the time and siutation is right.

March 03, 2008


N is at the moment not yet aware of this, but I am planning out my attack on the shopping facilities in Marrakech with a military prescision. I reckon that we will need to split the souk shopping into 6 parts, spread over two days, three sub-categories of goods per day. So this could mean; pottery, leather and jewellry on day one and carpets, fabrics and home-wares on day two. Can you tell how my mind has been engaged over the last 48 hours? I have not been this excited about a holiday in a long, long time.

Yesterday marked 7 months of living and working in Budapest, a period of time which has felt very short and endless at the same time. Any-one who has read the blog more than once knows that I am obsessed with the darkness in the winter time and so the Autumn and Winter can feel like they last forever. As I sit in my office thinking of the last seven months, I am washed over with a feeling of alienation and familiarity in equal measures. In some ways I just want to make it to the end of the first year so that I can start doing things in the second cycle, it makes you feel like you belong in a place.

I know that I am far too often far too reflective, but there are times of year that seem to twist you round. It is the 3rd of March today, nearly Spring I think, and that in itself is cause for some refreshment of thought and action.

March 02, 2008


Outside the weather is doing a bizarre impression of trying to snow. You can see that what is falling from the sky is white, but it feels like cold rain on your face and has none of the beauty of the sheets of blank white that lay on the ground after a proper snow storm. It is a Sunday for staying at home, one for comfort and so I plan to make potatoes dauphinoise and lounge around doing laundry and chatting on my phone.

The only thing on my mind at the moment is my trip to Marrakech. I bought a new guidebook yesterday and have spent ages going through it and making notes on where I want to go. N and I chatted yesterday and giggled with excitement about our impenidng trip. I also had S and B around last night and I cooked Chinese while they drank wine and got drunk, reminding me why I don't drink, but being incredibly amusing at the same time.

Budapest feels like all cities feel when they are wet, unloving and distant. The free time that the weekend affords does make up for that though, and it is still a treat to gaze out of my window in the day time. It is Sunday and so the lady with the short hair and glasses opens her windows and shakes out her bedding, just like she does every Sunday. On the street below young men march home to their wifes and mothers with a stout loaf that will keep the family going until Monday rolls around again. Life in a city is never dull, even when the mood and the weather is.