Poison Every Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Every day I drink poison, or so I am told.  It can be avoided, but sometimes I forget.  I start to get thirsty and I can’t take it anymore, so I do the unthinkable.  I walk over to the tap, fill up a glass with water, and then I drink it.  Poison and all.

Don’t you enjoy suspenseful, ambiguous beginnings to articles?  I sure do.

Before I get back to the poison, let’s talk about how great this weekend was.  My two busy, busy weeks of assigning, collecting, and grading are now finished.  I managed to get sick this past week, and it really made my job difficult.  I had a sore throat and it hurt to talk – not so hot for a person who has his job because of the way he speaks.

I slept, a lot, the past two days.  Plus, I avoided the poison, and my cold seems to be much better.

My future after this term is still undecided.  Will I stay in Békéscsaba?  Will I stay in Hungary?  I’m not sure.  But now that I feel much more confident in my teaching ability, I want to make this semester count.  I have some great ideas of what I’ll teach, and I’m constantly trying to improve the way I’ll present them to the students.  If I do it right, they’ll enjoy it and they’ll learn.

As long as I don’t drink too much poison.

I can’t take it anymore, I have to talk about the poison.  I’ve heard that the water in Hungary contains large amounts of Arsenic.  This was first mentioned in a book that I read before coming here, but then I didn’t hear about it for a while.  I assumed it was one of those “facts” that isn’t actually true.  I hope I can someday write a travel book and throw in “facts” like this. 

“Colorado is a very nice state in the modern day.  It wasn’t always this peaceful, though.  About a hundred years ago they were able to get rid of all the werewolves that haunted the mountains.  Now the skiing is much more enjoyable.”

People would buy my guide books, I think.

After living in Békéscsaba for a while, I was given a tour of the town (you remember, the one with the Drunken Angel).  My friend and tour guide pointed out multiple fountains throughout the town.  She said people used to drink from them, but they are no longer safe to do so.  This is when she mentioned the arsenic.

She asked if I drink the water and how I feel.  My response was something along the lines of, “I don’t know, well, I’m not dead, so I guess it’s okay.”  She told me that Hungarian people have built up a sort of immunity to it, but she wasn’t sure about a foreigner like me.  It was a very comforting conversation.

Finally, I was told the other day about a foreigner who had to leave Hungary because she was “allergic to the water”.  This led me to pop the issue into my favorite internet search engine and see some results.  Most were EU studies that were a few years old, but they confirmed that Hungarian water has higher levels of arsenic than the European requirements allow for.  I hope the EU requires extremely low levels of this stuff because I take long showers.

I can’t help it, though, I love water.  I drink a lot of bottled water – I love the bubbles in the carbonated kind.  But when I run out, I rush over to the tap and fill my glass.  What doesn’t kill me makes  me stronger, right?  Right? Wait, right?

I’m thirsty.


Hungarian word of the day:


Pronounced Ash-van-e-veeze.  It means water.  Don’t ask me how to say arsenic, I’d rather not know.