Well I am following the adventures of the South Africans, via their tales when they return back to our flat. For some of the things, I would like to join them, but these are my last weeks of teachings, so I cannot.
On their first full day here, they went to the Citadel, the high point of Budapest on the Buda side. There you will find a white-stoned fortress from the 19th century. The fortress was built in 1851 by the Austrians to symbolize their dominance over Hungary after the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Independence. It sits on top of Gellért Hill where the 14 meter tall Liberation Monument is placed, a striking statue of a woman holding a palm leaf of victory, can be seen from most points along the Danube. The Russians placed the monument in 1947. The panorama of the entire city is spectacular from this viewing point.
There is a museum and an exhibit hall where they found a photographic exhibit. The theme was Children of War Around the World, not the most cheerful topic, but Patricia in particular was moved to tears with the theme as well as the beauty of the art.
After breathing in the fresh air of the higher altitude, they hiked back down the hill. This would be my preference too as once we did not realize there was a bus going up and hiked up. Half way up I was ready for oxygen, but at the top, I would have welcomed a Respiratory Therapist. The mistakes you make that you can share with guests are immeasurable.
Almost back down to street level, they stopped at the Church in the Cave before hopping on a tram to take the cogwheel for a ride. They had intended to ride the Children’s Railroad, but it was not operating yet.
Returning from there, they followed the Danube to the funicular taking them up to Castle Hill. They found their way into the National Museum where they spent the rest of their day. They were impressed with the number of huge paintings of Hungarian origin by artists, so few in the world have ever heard about. Patricia is hinting she may have to return for more time there.
When they returned there, they found the little co-op grocery store sufficient for their needs to assemble a dinner in our kitchen. We did this side by side and then ate together. We point out the five supermarkets within two blocks of our flat, but they appreciated buying from a co-op as opposed to a supermarket chain.
In the evening, we had an engagement to meet a Fulbright Scholar, a Professor of Nursing and her husband, for coffee. We invited Don and Patricia along to the Central Coffee House, one of the historic coffee houses in the city. The six of us had a lively and lovely conversation until 10:00 pm and then shared a bus part of the way with Beth and Bob before they got off at their stop.
On a personal note, this was the last full week of teaching. Next week is the last. I am so going to miss my sophomore students. They have been exceptional and I have appreciated spending time with them for the last four semesters. All of them have turned into exceptional writers and thinkers. This semester they had embraced the course with gusto, which adds to my being proud of them since I had suggested doing some ‘innovative things’ with them last semester for this semester and they were willing to be my ‘test case’. They not only met my expectations, but far surpassed them, setting the bar at a new level for those that follow.
While I am being the proud teacher, one of my former students who is now in the US on a scholarship, just had an article published in English Teaching Forum magazine, volume 44, number 1 – 2006. She wrote this as an assignment for my class and the secondary part of the assignment was to try to get it published. She and some others succeeded, but hers is the first to appear in print. This magazine is distributed to over 80 countries through the US Embassy.