October 11 is the most important day in Hungary. Actually it isn’t but it is an important day for me, because it is my (Briggi) name day. It is like a second birthday, when you bring cookies and cakes, and people give you flowers, gifts and good wishes. My name day was very happy, although a little bizarre.
Earlier in the week I met Etelka. She is another English teacher, who I had emailed with, but had been out sick. So shortly after I met her, she told me that on Saturday there would be a marshmallow roast, and would I like to go? Being tantalized by the prospect of marshmallows and in a yes-mood (which gets me into trouble, see the Hike of death in Gyula.) I quickly agreed to go. “Good,” she said “because Lozsi (our principal) wants a teacher from our school to go, because it is on school grounds and our students are invited.” I paled slightly “Ummm…there aren’t going to be any other teachers there?” I queried. “No, I can’t go, and it is a reunion of an English camp” she replied. So I got the language camp co-coordinator’s phone number and was told the time and place to show up, and that of course it was OK if other American teachers came. I quickly SMS-ed a bunch of teachers, using the same bait with which I had been caught, asking them to come.
Most people had plans or emergencies, but luckily two awesomely cool girls, Lauren and Lyla from Budapest did show. I baked them cookies as a thank-you. The three of us, armed with a basket of chocolate, cookies and Bolero vitamin juice tromped off to school. There we waited. And waited, and waited. I saw two of my students walking by our mini campfire and us; they glanced at me and ran away. Then Elteka and the Eger co-coordinators showed up. Turns out they were a religious group who ran the camp out of their church in Eger. It was interesting to chat with other native speakers, and Vivi, another student showed up with her mother. There was awkward conversation and smores for a little longer, then the two boys showed up again, and Vivi and the two boys conversed, and the conversation remained at a semi-awkward level. About half an hour later the students had gone, and the people from Eger had decided to follow suit. Etelka had only stayed about half an hour or so. So Lauren, Lyla and I were left alone on the abandoned campus with the remnants of the fire and the directive to wait for the groundskeeper so that he could lock up.
We did the most natural thing to do when one is stuck on campus. We checked out the dozens of random abandoned tractors that decorate my school’s campus, took strange pictures of each other and ordered pizza. I am a pizza ordering addict. I will admit it. So when time came to order the pizza, without a menu, I could recite about half of the types of pizzas from memory. Another sign that I order pizza too much, is that when I called they asked for my name, and when I replied “Briggi” (which is a Hungarian name), they knew the street, number and floor without my prompting them. After our pizza in the park of the school grounds, we left and walked to my flat. Having nothing else to do that night we did a pub crawl of Heves. All three pubs that I know of, two of them thanks to a facebook message from Jeremy. Unicum, which up until now I had been calling the red-shutterd kocsma, is hopping on a Saturday night. In fact it is crawling with my students (which we realized after we ordered), who all harassed me on Monday because they saw me drink a beer.
The girls and I sang and danced under the chestnut trees, because the gazebo reminded Lauren of the Sound of Music. We also called one of Andy’s buddies that we had met the last time I had been in Budapest, who promptly scolded us for not calling him before 9pm, and told us that next time we were getting together to give him warning. Chastened, the girls invited him to hang out next weekend with them in Budapest.
The next day we chilled out, made French toast, drank fake kir royals and watched oodles of French music television. I also conned Lauren into cutting first my bangs (which I can not do, because I do not have a mirror) and then into cutting my hair. I love it. It was all in all a strange and relaxing weekend.
What about theresale receipt?
15 hours ago