Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tonights research did not end with an apartment for my stay in Budapest for the class, but I found an activity to partake in! I will be there for the Palinka Festival!

8-11 May 2008

The Hungarian pálinka is once again in the spotlight in one of the most prominent spring events of the Hungarian capital city, the Hungarian Palinka Festival. This year in the City Hall Park 25 distilleries will showcase our precious hungaricum, the palinka.

The four-day palinka show will be held from 8-10 May 2008. Visitors of the event can choose from over 300 palinka types prepared by more than twenty distilleries. The fans of this wonderful rink never before had the chance to find this amount of choice in one place. Similarly to previous years the music on offer is just as rich in content. Programs include the performances of the best artists from the Veszprem Street Music Festival, and the Palinka group from France.

As devoted enthusiasts of civilized and moderate alcohol consumption, we welcome all guests interested in palinka to the Palinka Festival of Budapest.

Hmm, should be interesting!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just testing how to use this blog. There is sooo much to do! Trying to get all my paperwork in order. The house is still on the market, so I had to make sure I named a Power of Attorney. Had to do an Advance Health Care Directive. Get the taxes done. Hound Derek to get me everything he needs for backup for his taxes. Try to get a hold of Molly, etc., etc.!

Still need to get a passport photo taken to use for the metro pass in Budapest! All the travel books, and the school suggest bringing the picture to use to get the pass.

Found a Hungarian talk radio station the other night and listened to that for awhile. Really want to become familiar with listening to the language. I only recognized one word! "thank you" or "kuzinum" (probably not correct spelling. Hopefully by the time I go, I will have learned a few more words! Or maybe they just weren't being real polite on the talk show!

The dollar seems to be falling daily, even against the forint. Thinking I'd better pay for the rest of the school tuition as soon as possible.

Let's see how this works!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Getting started on my adventure

I wanted to share the upcoming details of my adventure to Hungary: I'll be gone from Juneau for 8 weeks. The first 2 weeks will be as a volunteer with Global Volunteers, one week to travel a bit, and then 4 weeks in Budapest to attend training for teaching English as a second language. (The other week is eaten up by travel time coming and going and adjusting!)

Why am I going to Hungary? Well, starting last November/December I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I could pursue my dream of living overseas. One of the things I had looked into before and considered pursuing was teaching English as a foreign/second language somewhere abroad. I've also had an interest in Eastern European countries, mostly Poland and the Czech Republic. So, I started pondering how I could make this into a reality and decided the best way was to go try it out first and not just totally jump into it without a safety net! I had the leave built up at my work, so I figured I could take the time off and go give it a try. I realized I would want to be in the country where I was taking the teaching course, prior to the course so I started looking around for opportunities. The two opportunities in Hungary: the volunteer work and the class came together because they are in the right order (volunteer first, school second), are at the right time of year for my job, and are in Eastern Europe. I started reading about Hungary and Budapest and decided this was the right place for me to go. Although this 8 week trip is not "living overseas", it will give me a taste of what it is like and will prepare me and provide a skill, should I decide to pursue this on a longer term later.

Here's what I am doing:I leave Juneau on April 15 and overnight in Seattle. Then off to Budapest: with changes in tome zones and the length of the flights, etc,, I get into Budapest on Friday, April 18 at 5:30ish pm. Friday and Saturday, April 17 & 18, I stay at Hotel Leo: in downtown Budapest - on the flat side of the Danube River, in Pest. I hope to over come my jet lag a bit and get my bearings in Budapest for later during these two days. Budapest was two separate cities at one point, with Buda being hilly and on one side of the river, and Pest being flat land and on the other side of the river.

On Sunday, April 19, I meet up with the group ( of around 5-6 people at the Budapest Airport where we will board either a train or bus to head south to Hodmesovasarhely, a town about the size of Juneau, very close to Szeged close to the southern border of Hungary. This area of the country is flat and is know as the Hungarian Great Plain. With this group, I will participate in assisting teachers in the school system teach English to their students. I will be there thru May 3. The hotel we stay at is:

The ancient settlement of Hódmezõvásárhely is renowned for its agricultural history, unique decorative wool embroidery, and colourful pottery. The Kopáncs Farm Museum gives a thorough look at farming traditions. The Regional Folk Art House, the Csúcs Pottery House and the Alföld Gallery represent the folk art of this provincial country town. Archaeological materials can be found in the Tornyai Museum.

My third week is still unplanned, and I will probably leave it this way until I am in Hungary. I will probably head to Budapest at the end of the week. I might explore the Lake Balaton region or the hills area of north west Hungary around the city of Egar (known for it's "Bull's Blood" wine).

My class starts on May 13 (Monday, May 12 is a holiday- Pentacost, I think) and runs M-F, 9am to 6 pm with the expectation of homework every night and reading on the weekends! They try to allow for one day off on the weekends without homework, however since we will miss a day at the beginning, there will be a required Saturday class. The class is through International House - Budapest: I will attend the CELTA course and there can be as many as 20 people in the course. It's a very hands-on course - we will have our first teaching experience of 20 minutes on the 2nd day!

After the course I will have the weekend, before heading home on June 9, arriving back in Juneau in the middle of the night June 9/10.

The currency in Hungary is the Forint, abbreviated HUF. The current exchange rate is: $1 us dollar = 173.14 HUF. Prices seem reasonable: my hotel in Budapest, which includes breakfast, is considered mid-range at $122 per night. The hotel in Hodmesovasarhely is around $50.00 per night. Obvious difference between the city and the countryside.

Hungary is known for it's healing thermal baths. They are throughout the country and there are public pools/baths/spas in both places I will be. Hungary is also known for paprika. Apparently in some parts of Hungary, paprika is on the table in a shaker next to the salt & pepper! For general info on Hungary, try: or do a google search - there is a lot of info on line.

That's about it for now. I have a lot to do before I go, not only preparing for the travel itself (right size suitcase, clothing, etc.), but also doing pre-course work for the class and brushing up on my English grammar. I also have the regular paperwork of this time of year (taxes, etc.) to get done before I go!

Until later, Margie