American Football and Hungarian Hospitals. That Was My Day.

Before you get upset about the title, it wasn't in that order.  I went to the hospital before I played football.  Also, before you get worried about my health, it was just for a physical of sorts.  But that doesn't mean it wasn't interesting.

I've been told a few times that I'd have to go to the hospital for a check-up as part the bureaucratic residency process.   Today, I was told suddenly (as is usually the case) I would go to the hospital right after my last lesson, and someone would go with me to help.  My friend and translator turned out to be one of the IT guys at the school.  He's one of the few men, and closer to my age than most.  I hadn't talked to him much before, but he's a nice guy and speaks English well.

Then we got to the hospital.  Have you ever wondered what a Hungarian hosptial looks like?  I can show you.  Go to your local movie rental store and ask for a horror movie that takes place in a mental institution.  Imagine the signs are in Hungarian and there's a little less blood on the walls.  That's what it looked like.  There were creepy stretchers that looked like people should be tied to, and inconsistent lighting.  I won't get too descriptive because I don't want to erase the image in your mind - that's what it looks like.

There was confusion about the room where we were supposed to go.  They had a directory which led us to a room that had a sign on the door explaining it was the place we needed.  It was locked.  We were early so we waited, and no one came.  My co-worker called the school to see if they knew anything.  They didn't know, so we waited more.  Finally, his phone rang again and it was someone guiding us to the correct room.  They looked at us like we were idiots for waiting at the wrong place, but I have a different opinion about a hospital with mislabled doors (maybe it's a Hungarian thing).

After that it went fairly well.  My co-worker did an awesome job of translating, and it was just a few general health questions, some chest listening, a urine test, and a basic eye exam.  The eye exam, by the way, was unique in two ways:  1. There was no little plastic spoon thing, I covered my eye with my hand  2. The charts are read top to bottom, not left to right (remember this, they get pissed off if you read it left to right).  I'll admit I know very little of Hungarian nursing etiquette, but they seemed mean.

Second major event of the day, football.  A few minutes into a lesson today, a student raised his hand with an unusual question.  He asked, "Do you like sports?  For example, do you like American football?"  Yes, I do.  "The Békéscsaba American football team has an American coach, would you like to talk to him?"  I said yes and he promised to tell me more after class.  He followed through further than I expected.  He came up to me and said, "We have training [European for practice] today, do you want to meet in front of the school at 5 and we can go to it?"  I guess I'm playing, this will get interesting.

It was a hike to the field.  Down one of the main streets and over a tall, sketchy looking bridge that was most likely built by communists.  It went over the railroad tracks, and you can see through the gaps in the uneven boards to where you're about to fall to your death.

The field, and the team, were exactly what you'd expect (just like the hospital).  Imagine an American football team (made up of Hungarians and one - now two - Americans) in a rural corner of Hungary on the Romanian border.  It was a worn out soccer field surrounded by dozens of soccer goals, walls, and rusty fence type structures.  Over the walls were worn down, red-roofed European houses, large ugly buildings, and smoke stacks in the distance.  The team was a good mix of very Hungarian looking guys of all shapes and sizes.  The coach is another CETP English teacher who was mistakenly recruited when his wife told someone he was a football coach.  He was really a soccer coach, but she made the translation that the Hungarian didn't expect.

I never thought I'd play on a football team in Hungary.  I also never thought I'd play on a football team where I would only be the kicker if everyone elses legs were cut off.  I suppose that's what playing soccer the day you start walking will teach.  At one point of the practice, I had to tackle my student.  I'm not sure where that fits in with student-teacher relations.  But if it gets around the school, I bet kids will pay more attention in my class.

My international CNN just showed images of the fires in Boulder.  That sucks.  One interesting note, a high percentage of Hungarians have heard of Colorado and know at least something about it (such as one of the pro sports teams).  This was never the case in Belgium.  They always thought Colorado was either by California or New York.  Good guess Belgium, good guess.

Now me and the 475 million bugs in my apartment are going to go to sleep (I'm not exaggerating, I counted).