1. I have figured out the laundry machines--thanks to Barbi (libero) and Timi (one of our middles)--and do laundry quite regularly here. The machines are super tiny compared to our jumbo sized ones in the States, so I can't go my typical month or so before doing a jammed pack load. Plus, there are no driers here, and I must instead use a drying rack that was lent to me by Sani (pronounced Shawnie//one of the coaches/teachers who lives in the hostel). Adam (the director) helped me find the "best" laundry detergent, and it seems to be working well. I don't think I smell, but then again it's pretty cold here, so its possible I do and just don't notice. Feel free to send some super strong deodorant in my next care package :)
2. My Hungarian words/phrases are still severely limited to mostly numbers and a few words here and there. Last weekend after we lost our first match, we went to Zsoka's (the 43 year old middle) apartment for a team meeting to discuss our playing and how we can make changes to do better. Definitely a cool experience for me, that the team takes that stuff seriously and a good way for us to all hang out and have some "team bonding". Niki (one of our outsides) translated for me. Afterwards the girls wrote out their alphabet and challenged my pronunciations before giving me a pseudo-spelling test. I did well with the consonants, but the 14 choices I have for vowels is nearly impossible. My untrained American ear just can't quite make out which of the four o's or four u's is being used.
3. Volleyball is going well. We are 2-2, and undefeated at home *knock on wood*. We have a lot of mental learning that can be done, but physically we are pretty good. The team doesn't have a true leader, and that makes things a little difficult. The language barrier makes it hard for me to be that, as I don't know what to say to them that could help motivate them or give them confidence. We are all gradually beginning to figure out the best means of communication, and overall I think I am doing pretty well. Very little is said to me in the time outs or pre/post game talks, but any pertinent information is translated by one of the girls or Misi (pronounced Mishi, a coach/English teacher at the university). Our head coach, Attila, speaks about as much English as I do Hungarian, which always makes for a great time. Luckily I am pretty boss at catch phrase/taboo/charades so I can usually figure out what he's trying to tell me.
4. I have been taking pictures of street signs around town when I go on my random wanders, to then return home and find where it was I walked on my city map. Its nearly impossible to get lost in this town, but still nice to get a mental image of where I've been. I've also been able to visit Gyula (15 minutes away) and Sarkad (30ish minutes away), two nearby towns close to the Romanian border. We've been to Budapest twice, but only for matches so I wasn't able to go around at all. Its about a 3.5 hour drive in the bus. We head to Nyíregyháza Sunday to play a match, its about 3 or so hours away from here.
4. My interactions with the locals, besides the people I know, are few and far between. Occasionally I've gotten stopped while on a wander about the town and asked a question or two. Apparently I look like I speak the language, maybe that's just because there are so few foreigners here. Today at lunch, I was talking to Niki and a guy turns to her and asks where she's from...she shook her head and pointed to me. Well the dude now lives in Destin, and knew a bunch about Jacksonville..we ended up sitting with him and talking to him all through lunch. Long story short, I'm super popular and everyone here wants to be my friend, regardless of being able to actually communicate with me. You all should consider yourselves honored to be my friends =]
That's all for now....so until next time, you stay classy, readers.