I returned back to Sokolov from my spring break tonight. My legs are sore from oppressively long bus rides but I wanted to write about it while it was still fresh in my mind.
First some background. My organization, TeachOverseas (ESI), has teachers in a few different regions around the world. My region is Central Europe. The countries teachers are currently in include the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. I live and teach in the far western region of the Czech Republic named West Bohemia (or as we like to call it, “West Bo”). This spring break saw me return where I visited in October, to Budapest, but also farther afield to the small town of Sarospatak. This town lies in the extreme northeast of Hungary and is a four-hour train journey from Budapest. It represents the other side of the ESI-universe over here. We have two teachers there this year and I thought it it would be good to visit them for a few days (they didn’t have the past week off like us in the Czech Republic.) And it was.
An extremely brief recap of my trip. I got even more experience on Prague public transport en route to Hungary. I then proceeded to educate myself a bit better on the geography and transportation options of Budapest. I saw teacher friends and enjoyed some of the best hospitality I have ever experienced on two consecutive nights. I went to an awesome church service singing Hungarian songs in English and Czech. I survived a train ride across a country where I knew nothing of the language. Little old Hungarian ladies helped me. Note to Hungary railways: invest in signs at your stations. Thanks.
I delved deeper into the history of Hungary during the week. A short summary: First imagine America, big, strong, won most wars, proud to a fault and deeply patriotic. Now imagine a country that used to be big but has never won a war and directly related to this fact now has around 33% of its ethnic population outside its borders. Welcome to Hungary.
I saw a really cool castle and spent some great time hanging out and reconnecting with people I hadn’t seen since Thanksgiving time. No doubt this was a holiday. I slept a lot and relaxed even more. But it was also a time of fellowship and I think I benefited greatly from it. To be honest, I’m not terribly excited about school on Monday. But I will be ready and rested after this deeply fulfilling, all too-brief week.