I made it. I'm here. I'm in my new home.
Plus, the day was very interesting. All of my fellow teachers and I were supposed to meet in the lobby of our hostel at noon today, where we would be introduced to our "contact person". Our contact person is an English speaking teacher from our school who has agreed to be our helper during our time here. Therefore, everyone was either excited, nervous, or both because we were about to meet someone who will be quite important to us for at least a year. I was talking to the guys sharing my hostel room, and we became almost giddy after realizing it felt like Christmas because we had no idea what was about to happen (except one of them told me he didn't feel that way because he never worries that Christmas could be horrible).
A teacher from previous years had an interesting comparison by saying it was like a bunch of kids at an orphanage about to meet their new parents. This thought was remembed as I led the moving wall of 45 curious teachers-to-be up the stairs towards the classroom where the contact people waited. Inside the room, we found a whole bunch of people sitting at desks and a table at the side with bottles of water and sandwiches. We all stood at the side not quite sure how to proceed, and some of the Hungarians held up hastily made signs with names on them, or frantically looked between our faces and a small passport photo they held.
As I started to slowly migrate towards the back of the room, a very nice looking lady came up and confirmed that I was who she was looking for. Then she introduced herself as my contact person, and also introduced the director of the school. Then they said it's quite a long drive from Budapest to Békéscsaba and asked if I was ready to leave immediately. We grabbed my bags and off we went.
It was a rainy day here in Hungary, and they told me they were late arriving to Budapest because of some heavy downpours they had to drive through. I was impressed at how beautiful the city was even with the dreariness of the weather, but it made some of the rundown, communist type buildings look much worse (there were a lot more of them on the outskirts of the city).
The countryside, however, was prettier than I had imagined. It was very flat, there were lots of trees, and I saw all kinds of cool buildings. I saw many red roofed structures, a fairly large building with some sort of thatched roof, chickens and other various animals wandering (seemingly) freely, and even the picturesque, stereotypical Hungarian countryside image of a small white house with a red roof and bushels of paprika peppers hanging on the side. The funniest and least attractive highlight was a bus full of high school aged kids pulled over next to a field where they were all standing and...um...relieving themselves. I won't judge them, I also hate the smell of rest stops.
The Director and my contact person treated me to a lunch at a really cool restaurant near the town of Kecskemét. I had a Hungarian stew of some sort of pork pieces, lasagna made with cottage cheese and sour cream, and a giant plate of cucumber salad. It was awesome and so filling that I couldn't finish it all. I was also finally able to try some fine Hungarian wine that they picked out for me. I loved everything about the meal (and couldn't help but notice that the restaurant had many cloves of garlic hanging all over the place - I must be getting closer to Transylvania).
We finally arrived in Békéscsaba where they very graciously stopped at a supermarket so I could get some food, and then they showed me around my apartment. It's much bigger and nicer than I expected. It has a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, a toilet room, a shower/sink/washing machine room, and a large broom closet. Plus, it's literally right across the street from the school, so my commute will be very easy.
One down side, I'm realizing as I right this at nearly 2 AM, is that many loud people appear to frequent a few bars and nightclubs right down the street from here. They seem to be under the impression that stereos were put into cars to entertain people inside the houses they're parked in front of. It's pretty funny as long as it only happens on weekend nights.
I had time to do a little exploring and I really like the look of this town (at least the area right around me). I'm right off the big pedestrian little street and there are a lot of fun looking little restaurants, bars, and stores. Now I just need to make some friends so I have people to go enjoy these places with!
Now it's time for bed. I'm going to have good dreams, and their soundtrack will be car strereo techno music and slurred Hungarian.
I love it here.