Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Tribute to My Grandpa

My grandpa passed away yesterday. It's hard to be away when something like this happens, especially when it's someone so important to me. But I talked to my grandpa just a few days ago, telling him how much I love him and I'm thinking of him and asked my aunt to give him a kiss for me. Hopefully, that gave him some comfort and let him know how much I love him even from the other side of the world. Since I can't be in Idaho to say good-bye, I have to find a different way to honor my grandpa. So here is a tribute to Leonard Grimes and everything I love about him.

My grandpa was the hardest working man I know. Even at 90 years old he was still mowing his own lawn, raking leaves in the fall, and wiring the tree in his yard to shock the squirrels that ventured toward the bird feeder. My grandpa wasn't a big talker, but when we did have a chat, the common topics included how much he loved my grandma and what a good woman she was, the good life he'd lived with no regrets, and his words of wisdom, such as, "Now don't go getting in any damn trouble, you hear?" My grandpa was a World War II veteran, who earned many medals including the purple heart. He was a hero to many, and I'm very proud that Leonard Grimes was my grandpa.
Grandpa, I love you very much and I pray you are holding your beautiful bride again. Thank you for being such a good grandpa and showing so much love to your family. You are always in my heart.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I've learnt in British school...

I've been teaching at an international British school for the last year. After 10 years of American schools, this was a different teaching experience. This is what I've learnt:

In British school we say "learnt" more often than "learned".
In British school we play netball and rounders. (Girly versions of basketball and softball, if you ask this American.)
In American school we say "negative one" in math, but in British school we say "minus one" in mathS.
It's rubbish, not trash.
The bin, not the garbage can.
And at the end of the day, I'm knackered! (Not just tired.)

Thank you to my dear Brits who have checked my spelling, corrected my pronunciations, and explained unknown phrases all year. If you ever switch to American school, I'm there for you!

Monday, June 20, 2011


3 weeks.
1 day.
1 hour.
49 minutes.
27 seconds.

Our final trip in Kenya

We took our last Kenya outing over the weekend. Eight friends. A rented house. Great view. Pool. Food. Drinks. Laughs. Games. Just chillin'. It was a great time in Naivasha (about 2 hours outside Nairobi) in the coolest house I've ever stayed in.
Of course, I got very reflective on the way home. But I'll spare you all the crazy thoughts that ran through my head and just give you the cliff's notes instead...

I love Kenya.
Sometimes I hate Kenya.
But Kenya has been VERY good to me, and I will miss it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Where is Budapest?

I'm sure many family and friends had to look up Budapest on the map when we said we were moving there. So here is some info about our home-to-be.
It is landlocked between six other countries: Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Romania.

Very smart people come from Hungary, including Houdini (the magician/escape artist), the guy who invented the Rubik Cube, the guy who discovered vitamin C, the guy who invented the atomic and hydrogen bombs, and a lot of Nobel Prize winners.

It was communist until 1989.

It is said to have the most beautiful Parliament building in the world, which sits on the Danube River.
It snows in winter. (Not sure how I feel about this yet...)
Hungary sits on 80-something thermal springs and has turned these hot-springs into Roman/Turkish bath houses. Spa here I come!
There are many hiking and cycling trails, parks, and camping sites to enjoy throughout Hungary. Margaret Island sits in the middle of the Danube in Budapest, containing these fun activities.
We will live near that bridge on the Buda side of the city (the left side of the picture.) It's the same side as Buda Castle, which will loom over our new apartment.
We're definitely looking forward to exploring our new city and enjoying some of the things Kenya doesn't offer. 4 weeks!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hungarian Lesson 1

I'm learning Hungarian via Youtube. So far this is what I can say...

Hungarian Lesson One

Which means I'm ahead of Will in my Hungarian vocabulary for at least 5 more weeks. Because as soon as we arrive in Budapest, he'll pick up words by just hearing them, and remember them, pronounce them well, and then start language school, while I go to English-speaking school all day. I'll never catch up! But right now, I'm ahead and positive!

Hungarian Language Goal:
Learn to be conversational in Hungarian.

Things against me...
It's one of the most complicated languages in the world.
Hungarian is related to no other language, so it's NOTHING like English.
A very small sliver of the world speak it.
I'll be in English school all day around English speakers and becoming friends with (again) English speakers.
It will be tempting to rely on my fast learning husband.

Things for me...
Youtube provides FREE LESSONS!
Hungarian doesn't have tones like Chinese, so I don't have to sing the language, which I sucked at.
My husband can give me mini-lessons after school.
I'll be living in the middle of Budapest.
I can roll my r's.
I'm white and will look Hungarian, so there's more pressure to fit in and not sound totally stupid when I open my mouth.
A lot of people in Hungary don't speak English... SURVIVAL is a powerful force.

I know it doesn't seem likely I'll be too successful since I've lived in China and Kenya and never become conversational in Chinese or Swahili. But! I can do this! I'm determined! Hungarian will be my best foreign language yet! In a few months, will you please redirect me to this blog post so I remember my enthusiasm about it all? Thanks!