Life Sentence

The prison will open its gates one week from today.  No longer will the inmates be tortured for about 8 hours a day.  They’ll finally get a taste of freedom.

Then, after about two weeks, they’ll be placed back in their cells.

At least that’s how I viewed it when I was in high school.  I never saw it as a place where I could gain knowledge and improve myself.  I would count the days until my Christmas vacation and cherish my few days of relaxation.  When it was finished, life was over.

The teachers were the evil guards who found pleasure in torturing children.  They didn’t want breaks from school because they interrupted their demented joys in life.  That’s why classes were rarely let out early and homework was always assigned.

Now, I’m on the other side, and it’s different.

The students still grumble just as much.  They’re tired in the morning and want to go home in the afternoon – there’s no middle ground, it goes straight from one to the other.  The biggest reaction I got out of them today was when I’d mention their upcoming freedom.

To my surprise, though, is the attitude of the teachers.  They seem to like weekends, school breaks, and going home at the end of the day more than the students.  It’s a very common topic of conversation.  I suppose they don’t like to grumble much in front of the students, but they’re tired of school too!  Most of them love teaching, but I’m beginning to believe that there isn’t one person in the world who actually likes school.

Instead of joining an army of evil, monstrous prison guards, I seem to have joined a group of people who are still stuck in school.  Next time you hear a kid complain about being in the classroom, tell him to feel pity on the teacher.  The student will leave school in a few years, but the teacher is stuck forever.

But the teachers give the grades.  Now I can make my evil laugh.

Hungarian word of the day:


The A sounds are difficult to pronounce, but it’s something like Ton-are.  It means “teacher”.  I wonder what the Hungarian word for torturer is?  I bet it’s similar.

Lunch With The Vampire

My parents are visiting me here in Békéscsaba.  They want to see how I spend all of my time, and where I go.  Plus, everyone at my school wants to meet them, so today worked out perfectly.  Except there was a vampire at lunch.

One of the administrators/teachers at my school is the person who helps me out the most.  Whenever I have a problem or need something done, I talk to her.  She thought it would be fun to give my parents a tour of the school then go out to lunch with the headmaster.

The rain, of course, was coming down in buckets, so we were happy to duck in the school.  We were there in the middle of a lesson, so the hallways were empty.  At one point, we stepped into a computer lab and had a conversation with the teacher.  The students did the only thing they knew to do to a few strange Americans and all of the important people of the school – stare.

It made my dad uncomfortable.  He waved to them, and they continued to stare.  It made him even more uncomfortable so he waved again.  They continued to stare.  I found it very funny – ironically because that was their initial reaction to me.

Then we popped over to the restaurant at the Fiume hotel, which is probably the nicest hotel in the town.  All five of us sat down, and the two Hungarians began speaking with the waitress.  I looked at my dad and saw he was covered in blood.

Okay, maybe covered is too strong a word.  Wait, no, it isn’t.  His hand was covered with blood, and there were spots all over his light blue shirt.  That’s when I started to think he was a vampire.

However, I remembered he had cut his finger yesterday, and the wound seemed to be open again.  He asked me to go get his scarf to cover it up, and I did because I didn’t want him to bite me.

My Hungarian colleagues didn’t say anything, and I have three theories about this:

  1. They didn't notice.  Unlikely, but possible.
  2. Pretending they didn't see it was the polite thing to do in Hungarian culture.  After all, who wants to offend a guest by asking if they're a vampire?
  3. Dining with a vampire in Hungary is commonplace.  If you ask a person about their vampire habits, they may bite you - no one wants that.  Instead you just order some very rare meat and red wine for them and make small talk until you can leave.

I choose to believe it was the third option.  They could all be true, but it’s the most fun.

Besides, the waitress didn’t break her composure.  She ran off, and I was sure she’d come back with a wooden stake.  No, she brought napkins.  I like Hungarians more and more every day.

Hungarian word of the day:


Pronounced Vam (rhymes with ham) and then peer.  Not that it really needs a translation, but it means ”vampire”.