On Friday the students swarmed and buzzed through the school, bearing arms full of flowers. The student porter popped his head into the staff room every two minutes to call various female teachers. I wasn't expecting any flowers, because in truth I had forgotten about it, and as it isn't mandatory, I did not expect much. Tibor, one of my 12d students cornered me in the hallway, and handed me a beautiful white carnation. Throughout the day, I was called out a couple of times (my favorite was Tomi in 10th grade, who saw me walking, and said 'Hey you, this is for you' gave the kisses and sauntered off). Finally done for the day, I walked out with six flowers decorated with ribbons and greenery. There is no feeling like receiving flowers.
However, it does come with its awkward moments. As an American, I have slowly adapted to giving the puszi kisses. I kiss my friends hello and goodbye, with barely a batted eyelash. However, students. That is just strange, but it is rude not to do so. It doesn't help that I never remember the right number of kisses, or which side goes first. This lead to a Friday full of bobbing, weaving and being called back by students to try again.
Saturday was our charity/women's day ball. A basic run down of a Hungarian ball: drinks, performances by students (usually), dinner, dancing, raffle and at midnight a second dinner. As per a couple weeks ago, I was slated to preform. So at 6:30 we showed up to the school. We were greeted by a couple of the teachers, giving last minute instructions to a large number of my students. They gave all of us girls (everyone but Jeb), Calla Lillys, and all of us a glass of champagne. One of the teachers showed us to our assigned table, and we then meandered about admiring the preparations. At about 6:45, I left my friends to join the others giving performances. My 12b boys (who were also reading poetry) asked about my stage fright (a phrase I taught them the week before), and 11d girls (who all looked pretty in their folk dancing costumes) admired Tara and Lyla's hair/makeup job. I was one of the last to preform, and my heart was beating so loudly I could not hear myself recite. It must have gone OK, because I got a standing ovation, and thumbs up from people I don't even know. Afterwards I tried to sneak up stairs with the help of one of my students (I was hiding behind him), but we got caught and told to not go upstairs yet.
Finally allowed to go upstairs, I was greeted with smiles and waves and a shot of Hazi palinka. Dinner was amazing, although we all got scolded for not having soup first. We danced (I got spun so much I almost threw up). Someone I had never met before asked Sani if he could dance with me, and someone else asked to take a picture with me. (I kid you not, although afterwards he told us he was one of my students' dad). At the end of the night, we were hanging out at the table, waiting for the raffle, when Csilla and all of the student waiter/waitresses walked up to us.
"Briggi, the students have a special task for you"
Oh no, I thought, what are they volunteering me to do? Turns out I was the raffle-puller girl. We had a ridiculous number of prizes (see Lauren's post for photos), and it took over 45 minutes and much confusion to pull them all.
Monday, we got more flowers. In seventh period the male teachers had arranged a party for all of the women who work at the school. At 2pm we walked into the lunch room, transformed into women's day party room. On Sunday Jeb had been looking for his favorite type of beer at the store, but could not find it. I think the male teachers bought it out, there was also wine, shots of Baily's, shots of cherry stuff, cakes, and of course more flowers and poetry. I never thought I would be drinking a) at school, b) on a school day, and c) served to us by our principal.
Wow. I love this Country.