Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Middle School Girls

Last weekend I spent time in Vienna with our middle school girls volleyball team.  This is what stood out:

Girls are all the same no matter the age.  Whether 13, 30, or 80, the talk is the same... "Did you hear what she did?  Can you believe it?"  Gossip, chit chat, whatever you want to call it.  13 year old girl conversation is not much different than 33 year old girl conversation.  Sad but true.

Why do 13 year olds think prank calling is so funny?  Because it is!  Those girls had us all in stitches on the train ride home.  Now I remember why we did prank calls in seventh grade.

I was just like that.  Yes, I remember being a middle school girl.  I remember freaking out over nothing.  Crying over nothing.  Shrieking in high pitches over nothing or something.  Middle school girls are the same no matter if you're listening to New Kids on the Block on your walkman or your own music mix on garage band.

There is a reason Americans have a reputation overseas.  And there is a reason Americans who live overseas sometimes get embarrassed by it.  After a shopping excursion, one American girl was telling us how embarrassed she was in the dressing room because some tourist American girls were making such a fuss, being so loud, and taking so much time going to and fro.  This girl, whose first time living overseas is Budapest these last two years, shook her head at what seemed absurd to her.  How did she know the other kids were American?  You can tell!  My response, "It's not the last time it will happen honey."  Even 13 year olds notice the loud Americans.  Again, sad but true.

I love being around people who speak all different languages and travel the world.  Need a German translator while in Austria?  Just ask one of your students.  When the train is delayed and an announcement made, an eighth grade German speaker comes in handy.  Or the Hungarian kid, or Dutch, or Swedish...  These kids are cool.

Winning a championship is awesome.  And when you're 13, it involves a lot of high shrieks.  As it should.  Go AISB!  You rock girls!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Signs of Summer

Summer is here.  It arrived around the first of May, when Budapest broke its record high temperature at 32 degrees C (90F).  But its not just sunny days that show signs of summer...

Tourists walking around the city with their maps,
Asking for directions in English.
Cruise ships coming up the Danube,
Waving up at you on the bridge.
Cotton from poplar trees flying everywhere,
into our living room,
our bedroom,
even downstairs where no windows are open.
Windows open in the day
And the night.
The fan blowing on the bed.
Lighter blankets on us as we sleep.
That ring around my tub getting a little darker.
Men on bikes, 
Women on bikes,
Kids on bikes.
Runners with no shirts on Margaret Island.
Sunbathers in the grass.
Kids playing in city fountains.
Green leaves.
Teachers reminding each other, "Five more weeks!"