Saturday, January 29, 2011


Really struggling with this one.  There's this kid at school who is giving Nate a hard time. B is a 7th grader, and seems to have a history of being mean or bullying other people. He's been at AISB for a couple of years and his dad is in the marines.  (say no more, right???) They're going home to the US at the end of the year, happily. He's been bugging Nate for most of the year, but it seemed to get better for a while, then when we got back from Christmas it seemed to get worse again. Nate has decided to ignore the kid. I mean really ignore him. Doesn't look at him, doesn't respond when he talks to other people near Nate, basically acts deaf around him. Then, last week Nate told me that a friend had said that this kid B was mad at Nate because Nate doesn't talk to him. Now, why in the hell would Nate talk to him?? He's nothing but an a$$hole to Nate.

Well, yesterday Nate was leaving early in the morning for a basketball tournament in Serbia. They were meeting at a hotel for the bus, and we were a bit late-- really, a couple minutes, and definitely not the last ones there.  And this kid B was telling a "joke" to one of his minions. and yelled the punchline, just as Nate and I were approaching the group "TIME TO GET ANOTHER WATCH!" Nate's face went to stone and we walked past the little cretin. I went over to talk to the coaches and apologize. They said "No worries; you're not the last ones."

As I drove away, I saw the ignoramus lurking right
behind Nate. Nate looked rather stressed, and was plugging in his earphones to block the noise from the fool.  I was wishing I could have given Nate my phone, but I had forgotten my phone at home. I really felt lousy, watching him struggle with how to deal with this kid. As I said, he did this to someone else last year; a girl who he worked to isolate and separate from her friends. The girl went to talk to the school counselor and then that became part of the taunt-- "Why don't you go cry to Ms. Wein." Nate asked me not to escalate the complaint against the kid; just to let him deal with it. But what does that look like?  sigh.....

Who could hurt this face??

Monday, January 24, 2011

Got the Dumpling Monkey off my Back!

I've been trying to make dumplings for weeks--WEEKS. I tried to make them when we were in Arlington in December. I bought all the stuff to make them, and then couldn't find the wonton wrappers that I had bought. In fact I was so happy about making dumplings that I bought TWO packages of wonton wrappers. Both missing. I think probably my brother or sister-in-law will find them moldering under the seat of the car sometime if it ever warms up in Boston.  So, I went looking for replacement wonton wrappers. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero. They were sold out of Everywhere. Seriously.

By the time I found some, we were leaving. My mother helped make and cook them, and then-- the insides had gone bad.... SO mad. And still craving dumplings. Gretchen had said "Just make the wrappers. They're just flour and water." But how could that be? They're so delicious, they must be hard. Too hard to make. Should have listened to Gretchen, who really is very smart.

So, when we got back to Nagykovacsi, I still wanted dumplings. I went out in search of ingredients. My life here is a cross between a Daily Scavenger Hunt and "Word of the Day". I'm very busy every day, but really when I look back on the day I can't figure out what I've done. Looked for things. Tried to buy lightbulbs that will fit into the hallway light. Tried to find the store where someone told me I could buy corn starch. I usually look on Google Translate to see how to say the thing I'm trying to find. It would be comical really, if it wasn't still so true.

But-- success- mostly. Couldn't find water chestnuts -vĂ­zigesztenye  according to Google translate. And who can say it anyway....

Then, when I told my family I was going to make these awesome dumplings, I was met with disbelief. No one thought they'd be good. Well- then they saw them cooking, and everyone became sufficiently respectful.

These are the finished product- not a beautifully staged picture- but they were SO GOOD.

Everyone was very quiet at dinner;  busily eating. Ahh...... success!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January- Blech!

I've been very very remiss in writing. I get kind of "stuck" at this time of year and 2011 is no exception I guess. So, I'll ease my way back into it by posting some pictures.

When we got back January 8th (? something like that), it had snowed a lot. Then it got warm, creating this crazy fog bank for about a week, and making it "mud season" in January.  Most of January has looked just like this:

No view- nothing but fog.

This is the same view down to the village that is my home page; looks kind different, huh?

Then we got a clear day, and here's the beautiful sunrise. I was so insanely grateful to see the sky, to get a break from the interminable grey.

This is the view from our living room. It's probably the one thing I'll miss when we go home. I might be too cynical saying that, but it feels true right now.

And here is the beautiful sunset from the same day:

So-- back at it; one day at a time.