Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Budapest Trip with Niki

My weekend in Budapest began with an hour+ drive to Szolnok, courtesy of Adam. He was going home for the weekend and offered to drive Niki and I to the Szolnok train station as it would reduce our travel time. After that day's training, we packed our things and started on our way. The train ride from Szolnok to Budapest would only be an hour. From there, we took a city bus to the outlying suburbs where Niki's family lives. Her mother had taken the day off of work to prepare for our visit. We were greeted by the traditional Hungarian cheek-kiss, which of course I botched, before being ushered inside for a snack of lunch meat, cheese, and various vegetables. Finally we showered off our travels and headed to Niki's room for bed.
We woke a little after 10 and had a family breakfast of scrambled eggs, fried ham, crescent rolls, various meats and cheeses, and veggies. Niki's father Istvan (Stephen) took us to his auto repair shop - the 2nd largest in Hungary - and then to the phone store in hopes to get Niki a new iPhone. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful on our mission. Instead, we ended up shopping for Istvan's birthday gift from the family: a new watch. Back at home Kati, Niki's mother, had lunch waiting. The food was delicious! We ate garlic and red onion soup with cheese, ground meat with rice and green beans casserole, add some sour cream and VIOLA! For dessert, Kati made apple pie...yummo :) Niki and I drank some coffee before venturing out back into the city for some sightseeing and shopping.

First stop: Hősök tere. "Hero Square", as it is called in English, is surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts and Palace of Arts. Located at the end of Andrassy Avenue located near the City Park. There is a giant column erect in the center of the square, with the archangel Gabriel located at the top holding the crown of St Stephen, the first king of Hungary. At the base of the column sit 7 horsemen, who represent the Magyar chieftains who led the Hungarian people to the Carpathian basin. Behind this monument are two semicircular colonnades, each with 7 statues representing great figures in Hungarian history. Next we ventured towards the city park, taking in the various historical sights. We passed the Műjégpálya Ice Rink, which is currently under construction before stopping for photo opportunities in front of the Vajdahunyad Castle. Further down the street, you could find the famous Széchenyi thermal baths and swimming pool. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs; the water has many minerals that include sulphate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and a significant amount of fluoride acid and metaboric acid. Our walk back towards Hero Square took us past the City Zoo//Botanical Gardens and the famous Gundel Restaurant. We took the yellow M1, Millennium Line downtown to Vörösmarty Square to meet up with Niki's sister, Ivi, for some shopping. After a few purchases, we went our separate ways: Niki and I to Oktogon intersection to have dinner, and her sister met with their parents to head home. Niki and I went to TGI Fridays for some American hamburgers and cocktails. Taking the metro and bus back home, we were exhausted and unsure if we would make it out to the disco with Ivi. Nothing a cup of coffee can't cure. We dressed quickly and rushed to catch the tram. Cue a series of unfortunate events:
1, it was raining.
2, we left the flat too late to catch the last subway so after being dropped off by the tram we sprinted through the rain in attempts to catch our bus.
3, we went to the wrong bus stop. Once realizing this mistake, we ran further down the road just in time to
4, watch our real bus speed past us. BOSMEG!
Luckily, the bus driver from the first bus stop we went to took pity on us and offered to drive us part of the way so we could try to catch the bus again. Köszönöm szépen!!! We rode the bus a few more stops to where we would catch a tram to take us to the...mall? Apparently at night, this mall opens a few pubs//bars as discos. Interesting. We met up with Ivi, split a bottle of champagne before heading upstairs to the party. We danced the night away, meeting some of the local Hungarian basketball players. Many of the American bball players were out that night, and I was definitely overwhelmed by all the English that was spoken. We finally were ready to call it a night around 4:30, heading out to find some kebabs to cure our midnight-munchies.
We slept until around noon the next day, packed our things and headed to the train station to head back home to Bekescsaba. It was a great weekend full of fun and laughter.
Until next time readers...szia!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Orange you glad its valentine's day?

Valentine's day is a day for love and romance, X's and O's, candy and flowers; one that celebrates affection and intimacy between lovers. It is a day to shout from the rooftops your undying love for that special someone who has won over your heart. This day, created by Hallmark, is one that people are to overly express their emotions and gush upon their loved ones. I hate this day. Lucky for me, I have the great Atlantic Ocean separating me from my valentine so I was able to avoid any and all romantical gestures.
Instead, I went about my day as usual, enjoying lunch at Holsten's with Adam and Niki. We had the day off from practice, so instead I was able to catch up on some shopping at the Csaba Center before doing some grocery shopping. Tonight there would be a valentine's day party at Orange Club, near the main city center, just a block or two from Niki and Adam's apartment. Around 5:45, I headed over to Niki's so we could begin our preparations for the evening. First on the agenda? shop for cocktail ingredients. We wanted to make our own fruity pre-party drinks at her apartment to get us in the festive mood. Back at home, we ordered pizza, showered and started to get ready. Selecting the perfect party outfit is a long and grueling process, the earlier it can begin, the better. Toncsi came over and helped as hair-stylist, a job she was quickly fired from; it was nothing personal, my hair just has a mind of its own and is often better left untamed. As we added the finishing touches, Barbi joined us for a few drinks before heading over to the disco. Let the fun begin!!!
Upon entering the club, we had a decision to make: green or red? Green if you are "single-and-ready-to-mingle", red if you are "taken-and-therefore-have-nothing-fun-to-rhyme-with". We selected our hearts, danced, laughed, and drank some more, constantly entertained by the random happenings around us. We ran into two of the local football players and FFTT (f**king famous touchdown Tony) and hung out with them for most of the night. One person in particular was able to provide laughter for days after.
Here, I shall share her story:
Her name is not important, just her valentine's day actions. My first introduction to this lady of the night was rather abrupt. I was sitting at a table, talking with Barbi and Toncsi when out of nowhere two bodies come timbering down. You would assume that people would rush to their aid as they painfully gathered themselves upright, but no. Instead they laid there, half-intertwined sucking each other's faces. Upon conclusion, the girl got up with a dazed look on her face, wiped her mouth, and walked back to the bar. The guy, on the other hand, seemed to have suffered more from the fall, and took his time recovering. Unsure of what I had just witnessed, I asked Niki if she had seen it as well. The look in her eyes confirmed this was real life. Later that night, this girl was spotted dancing somewhat sloppily with, you guessed it, the same boy she tackled. Obviously he hadn't had enough of her tender lovin'. A few days later, I received an anonymous tip about the rest of our lady friend's evening. It appears that she was a virgin at the start of the night, however, this changed after a romp in the sack with none other than the boy from the bar. That night they somehow "lost" the condom and she's not on birth control (being a virgin and all) so she went to the doctor to get Plan B just in case...well they found the condom. Clearly this would be a valentine's to remember.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Everything you need to know about the Hungarian Championship

Due to our performances Feb 11 and 13, the BRSE has secured their 7th place ranking in the Extra League (1st league in Hungary) by defeating Kaposvár. We will face the 2nd ranked team, TEVA-RC from Gödöllő in the quarterfinals; the first match is away on March 1, then we play at home March 3. In order to advance on to the final four, you must win 2 matches, so if necessary we will play against Gödöllő in a 3rd match to determine who stays en route to the championship and who will play in the consolation matches for places 5-8. In order to better understand the Hungarian championship post-season, I have developed a bracket for those of you at home to follow.
1. BSE FCSM vs. Albrecht-VSC-Misi Miskolc
2. TEVA-RC Gödöllő vs. Békéscsaba RSE
3. Vasas Danube Buda Car vs. SC Pre-MAV
4. NRK-Nyiregyhaza vs. Ujpest TE
You must win 2 matches in the first round, as mentioned above, in order to advance on to the semifinals/final four. From there, you must win 3 matches to advance to the finals, where you must win 3 matches to be crowned Hungarian Champion. For those of you who are visual learners, like myself, see the bracket below. I'm not sure exactly which teams will play each other in the next rounds, but this can give you a general idea.
If at any time, you lose, you will move to the consolation bracket. If you lose in the quarterfinals, you are now fighting for places 5-8, and must only win 2 matches to move on. If you lose in the semifinals, you will play for 3rd place; I believe this is also 2 matches to win, but not completely sure. See the loser's, I mean, consolation bracket below:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bekes Region All-Sports Banquet

So today, we had an all-sports banquet type thing for the Bekes Region. Adam drove Niki, Barbi, and I to the city center where we would go to the theater for the banquet. Misi and Attila whispered from the row behind us, “fordito, Niki!” before chuckling. So, Niki attempted to translate some of the information for me, but most of it was “not important”. I found out who each of the award recipients were, and the sports they played. They were recognizing the top 3 individual men/women athletes and the top 3 sports teams (handball was #1, ping pong is #2, and volleyball took #3). They also recognized a bunch of people from the region who do stuff for athletics, I’m assuming they are athletic department-type individuals.

Our team got called up to get recognized; We all got a certificate, a cookbook, a towel that has the region logo on it and a pink tulip. Unfortunately, they misspelled my last name..."Shermann", silly Hungarians. But still pretty cool, they had some people sing for us, and had a little skit performance. I didn't really get it, but it was still kind of funny...I think one guy was supposed to be hung-over, and another guy was supposed to be on some kind of drugs.

Then we got some champagne and access to a buffet. They had all kinds of food, different pasta dishes, some meats, cheeses, fruits, and of course dessert. Attila (our coach) went to the dessert table, and cut every type of cake in half before putting them on his plate so he could try them all. He then decided to eat a bite of one, rotate the plate, eat a bit of another, rotate the plate, eat the last flavor. He did this until all the cake was gone. And I watched him the whole time, thinking it was hilarious. I look up and see that he caught me watching him, and says "mi van??" (what’s up) to which all I said was "semmi" (nothing). So then Niki explained what I was watching, and she and I are cracking up, all he did was make an awkward grin. We looked around, noticing that we were the pretty much the only ones left at the party. Guess we know who the fat kids are…

Friday, February 4, 2011


We went to Székesfehérvár for a match against MAV; we lost in 3: 23-25, 22-25, 21-25. Their team is fairly young, and has the only other foreign player in the league, a girl from Canada. Also, their coach wore blue bubble kneepads while coaching. We blew a huge lead in game one, and were never able to regain our composure. Nothing was going our way. Our post-game wardrobe change was very somber. We made a pitstop at McDonalds for dinner before beginning on our 4.5 hour drive back to Bekescsaba. Timi had some “tiny cheese baguettes” aka pogasca, from her mother for her birthday, which was in January. I fell asleep shortly after eating, but only for about an hour. I woke up to hear the girls in the back of the bus laughing. They were playing a question game, led by Barbi. When I asked to play, Barbi responded with “we know about the man”, to which I responded, “what man?” The story goes as follows:

The man who ate the lunch. He killed himself because he is a fisherman and he are seagull soup. But why did he kill himself??? He hates seagulls because they eat his fish, so he poisoned them. When he found out he ate seagull soup, he knew he would die from the poison, so he killed himself. WRONG. He is actually a boat captain (shakes his booty, because that’s what sea captains do). He didn’t eat seagull soup, as this is a sick, twisted, “horse” story…I mean “horror” story. While he was eating the soup, his wife came into his mind. Earlier that day, he killed his wife out at sea, chopped her up into pieces and fed her to the birds. By eating seagull soup, he was eating the wife he had just murdered. He killed himself out of remorse. WRONG His wife is dead, but he didn’t kill her. She was not killed by the birds nor did they eat her. In the restaurant, it is seagull soup that they serve, but when his wife died she fell into the soup. Why is the wife on his mind? Because he hasn’t had sex in a long time and is lonely. WRONG. Sex is not important. He ate his wife, not at the restaurant where he ate the seagull soup, but before going to the restaurant. We know the man is a boat captain ad that before he went to the restaurant, his wife was killed. Who killed her? It wasn’t the man. It wasn’t the seagulls. There are no cannibals involved.

This story goes on much farther, but I would risk giving away the answer. Instead, I will just let you know that most of this conversation occurred within my Hungarian teammates, of course in Hungarian. The ridiculous comments you read above were solely from my twisted brain. I would raise my hand in the air, wave it ferociously to attract attention before bursting into laughter at the stupid comment in my mind. The girls would call on me, listen patiently as I explained my answer before kindly saying, “uhhh no”. We bantered back and forth, playing these riddle games and telling jokes the remainder of the drive home. I introduced them to some knock-knock jokes, which lost most of their meaning when I had to explain; example: knock knock, who’s there? banana, banana who? “knock knock, who’s there? banana, banana who? knock knock, who’s there? banana, banana who? knock knock, who’s there? Orange, orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say ‘banana’?” The “orange”-“aren’t you” substitution was a little difficult, and made the joke seem dumber than it already is. Stupid language barrier.