Monday, December 24, 2012

You know you have traveled a bit when...

1. You have lost track of how many countries you've been to.
2. You know where your next trip is going to take you.
3. You do NOT want the stamp in your passport because you do NOT want to have to get more pages added.
4. You know which countries Doha, Diani, and Dresden are in.
5. You have friends from all continents (Antarctica can be excluded from this one).
6. But you know someone who has been to Antarctica.
7. You've experienced bed bugs.
8. You know how to use public transportation, even in another language.
9. You've gone to the doctor in another country.
10. You can fit everything for a vacation in a carry-on bag.
11. You've spent Christmas overseas.
12. You've been upgraded to a higher class on an international flight.
13. You saw the movies on the in-flight entertainment on your last flight.
14. You've used toilets that don't have a seat (ladies included).
15. You've eaten things you were not sure what they were.
16. You can pack for a week's holiday in 30 minutes or less.
17. You've run through the airport to catch a flight.
18. You've missed a flight.
19. You fly over 24 hours and still go to work the next morning.
20. Your "Places to See List" is still LLLOOOONNNGGG and you know you'll spend your whole life tackling it.

Travelers, what would you add to this list?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A pint please.

What do international teachers do during Thanksgiving?  We travel!  I haven't had Thanksgiving off from work in years, but this year we lucked out.  So off to Dublin, Ireland we went.

When we walked the campus of Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university (1592), my thought was... Do they have a teacher's college here?  One day, down the road, when I hold a PhD in International Education, I could teach HERE!  It was beautiful.  And cool.  I would feel so cool working there.

It was winter and rainy as we walked the streets of Dublin.  In all honesty, the rain was what I pictured before arriving in Ireland.  Even in the cold and wet, it had an ambiance that made me think, "Even with the rain and cold, I could live here."  It was such a quaint, friendly city.  The bartender in the pub.  The taxi driver.  The pharmacist (that's another story).  So chatty and welcoming.  The Irish are a bit louder and jovial than the Hungarian crowd I've been hanging with.  The weirdest part for us - everyone spoke English.  Very convenient!

First stop the first morning in Dublin - The Guinness Brewery.  Will's mission!  We learned to pour our own pint, which is actually a skill.  Now I know.  The first two glasses below were poured by Will and me.  It was really interesting, especially after having read The Search for God and Guinness.  Good book whether or not you like God or Guinness.

Between pubs and pints of Guinness, we walked and saw the sites.  I know that European pictures start to all look the same country after country, city after city, post after post.  But this city really did feel different than others.  It was like a bunch of little home towns in a big city.  Every corner had a local pub.  Every neighborhood had a different feel.

After four days in Dublin, we've decided that the next time we come to Ireland, we'll rent a car and drive throughout the island.  I know there is so much more to see.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

America and Guns

This is what some people posted on Facebook after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut:

Today Israel had zero school shootings.  Thank a teacher.
So the people who are posting this are saying:
Americans want their schools guarded with semi-automatic weapons.
They want teachers to carry guns in the classroom.

Countries with guns in the classroom include places like Somalia, Israel and Afghanistan.  Notice, they are WAR TORN COUNTRIES.  Is that really what Americans want?  To turn their country into a war torn nation?  Read the news and see what life is really like in those countries:


Would you want to live in these countries?  Even visit these countries?  To those who support these ideas, please think about the reality of what you're saying.

Prayers go out to the families of Newton, Connecticut.  There are really no words.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Alaskan Roots

When it's cold outside and I don't feel good and it's the weekend and I need to run a quick errand, I don't care what I look like.  The sleeping-bag coat covers up my sweats and pajama top.  A hat takes care of the hair I haven't washed.  The boots and no make-up... well, let's just hope I don't run into anyone I know.  I walked out the door on Sunday afternoon looking pretty OK for an Alaskan going to town.  I didn't think it was a big deal until Will said, "I'm glad I'm not going with you."  I guess I didn't look very European in my get-up.  What can I say?  When it's cold outside, the Alaskan in me comes out.  That is one thing I miss about Alaska - it really does NOT matter what you wear or look like when you walk out the door.  On a Sunday afternoon, it's exactly what I needed - a bit of home.

Alaskan Summer Clothing - good for fishing, shopping, and walking around town.

Color coordinated!

My hair is actually done here - there's a hair clip.  Ya, I was that kid, along with every other kid in my class.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jack Frost Nipping at my Nose!

Today the snow came.  The wind is biting.  And my little black dress (with long sleeves, tights, leggings, and boots) under a winter coat is NOT enough.  The price of looking cute for a party.  Walking home from the tram tonight, Will and I decided that the night of my birthday will not involve a late night out like it should, simply because it is too blasted cold!  Looks like cozy nights are going to be more frequent.  Winter is here!  The kids enjoyed sledding at recess.  I have pulled out my women's arctic parka, which is more like a sleeping bag than a coat.  (As Will pointed out - not flattering.  But who cares, it's warm!)  Wool ski socks are back in my sock drawer.  December, January, February... Fingers crossed March is warmer.

It's not all bad though... Christmas markets are open.  Lights are up on streets and buildings.  Mulled wine warms your hands while walking about.  I really do love Christmas in Budapest.  (...when I'm wearing my sleeping bag coat.)  And icebergs aren't floating down the Danube... yet.