September 28, 2008

Before I fall to pieces

For some reason that I cannot quite recall, I promised my class of students that if they had a good week and got lots of merits that I would bake them chocolate chip and cherry muffins. I have spent the day with my little pepper timer constantly set at 25 minutes and in between episodes of Blood Ties, have been shovelling the little fellas in and out of the oven for what seems like hours.

60 odd muffins later and I am finally done, lord knows that the deserve them being wonderful human beings and all that, but it has meant that some of my Sunday has been spent gazing wistfully out of the window looking at the blue skies, while the conmforting warm smell of sugar and butter wafts through the rooms. It is not all glamour, this living abroad thing. Sometimes it is filled with the most usual of tasks. I think that those are the days I like best of all.

September 20, 2008

Crunching underfoot

I walked to Nyugati from my apartment this morning, all the while watching the few brown leaves on the pavement being swirled around in the warm wind. The trees are still green for the most part, but it feels like the summer really has gone, with a week of grey skies and soft cardigans proving the point. It has been a busy week, full of meetings, nights on the sofa and the booking of tickets to here, there and everywhere. Warsaw at half term, home for Christmas and a few other plan rides in between.

Life carries on much as before, I am still baking cake after cake as my restless mind seeks ways to settle and nest into Autumn. Today, with a glorious violinists interpretation of Ferenc Liszt floating through my window, and Judafest(yes, they called it that) going on outside my front door, I have baked and holed away after a wonderful two hour wander around the city and lunch at Ket Szerecen with the girls.

I feel that Autumn shouldn't really have sneaked in by the back door like this. Only in the middle of September, it feels too soon to watch the evenings darken and the the sun rise long after I have woken up and got ready for work. I love the cold, the leaves, pumpkins and Saturdays in pyjamas, but I was hoping for another couple of weeks of summer clothes before I gave in to the changing seasons.

Budapest suddenly is very different, and it has all changed in what feels like hours, days at the most. The wind blows and the rain, when it falls, makes my shutters rattle, like a set from a scary movie. When all is said and done, I like the city without the searing heat, I just liked it with a little more sunshine too. I wonder if I would have anything to write about these days if I wasn't blogging about the weather?

September 16, 2008

The stork bringeth

At 2.00 South Korean time, my little brother and his wife produced a 5lb 11 oz baby girl. Hello Ruby!

September 15, 2008

Sexing the cherry

Along with reading, my favourite past time of late has been baking. With flash backs to my childhood, I started to think of my Mums poppy seed loaf, cherry and coconut cake and scones from the Garden parties that we used to go to at the Village Green. Could I be more English? (Insert your own Chandler accent)

So, after a couple of weeks hunting down a loaf tin, glace cherries and working out what the Hungarian word for baking powder was, I was ready to go. I have made cake afet cake, loaf after loaf, and as a single woman, they all end up in the staffroom. There is way to much for me to munch through by myself, but boy, do I enjoy the baking. In particular, I love the lemon poppy seed, made with loads of fresh, zesty lemon rind, and gorgeous popy seeds that are already very popular in Hungary and Poland as I recall.

They turn out well for the most part, and are moist and soft. I am desperate to make a coffee and walnut cake, but it appears that you cannot get walnuts in Budapest unless they are in season, when massive bags of them fresh appear on the market stalls across the city. Who would have imagined that so basic an ingredient wouldn't appear on the shelves of my Kaisers Szupermarket?

I put on my music, wash my hands and sing along as I cream the butter and sugar and patiently chop the cherries. A little splash of almond essence and I am happy mixing and sniffing the air as my apartment fills with the sweet, soft smell of baking cakes. With the rapid drop in temperature and the pattering of rain on my window sill, it feels like a suitable past time to me. Trotting along to work with my tupperware under my arm makes me feel like I am spreading a little home-made love to all my colleagues.

September 10, 2008

Library of dreams

Even this long after the end of my lovely summer, I am still very much in the reading frennzy that began in Spain. So much so, that I am very nearly out of books. I've read all four of the 'Twilight' books, and thought that were I a teenager, I would be in love with Edward Cullen too. I've re-read Milan Kundera, my favourite author, discovered that I actually quite like Paulo Cohello, and immersed myself in countless other stories. I put it off and put it off, maybe I should be writing instead of reading.

In lieu of dealing with the thought, let me ask the dozen or so readers I have left. What should I be reading?

September 03, 2008

Autumn Breeze and falling leaves

Things always feel different in September. I know that it is not just children and teachers, but having attended school as children means that we all feel like it is September, not New Years eve, which really signals new beginnings and the start of a new year. I have been back at work for two weeks now, and only in the last couple of days when I can say that it is officially September, do I feel that the new year has started.

The only problem is that there are no falling leaves, and no autumn sunshine. There is only more sun, hot steamy nights, (and not in a good way), and sizzling lunchtime duties fearing that the kids will burn in the sun. It is September, it feels like the summer has lasted for a good long while, but yet it is still not going down without a fight. I feel like I am in a seasonal no mans land. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, God knows that I get sad when the nights draw in and the eternal dark winter wraps us up in her arms, it's just that the wonder and strangeness of living abroad sometimes hits me in the wierdest ways.