It isn’t a top-down environment

The ultimate goal is to be an interesting, useful, wholesome person. If you’re successful on top of that, then you’re way ahead of everybody.

Martha Stewart

Sometimes information filters my way, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I learn of things via students (like, “teacher, we can’t do the final exam next week because we’re taking a national test”), and sometimes I learn of things from other teachers (like the schedule of classes is totally different now that the seniors are gone – we have a 15-minute break between morning classes and five minute break between afternoon classes instead of ten minutes between all classes – information given to me after I’d wandered back to the teachers’ room looking confused) and sometimes I don’t learn of changes. It all seems to be okay.

A teacher told me that the two women who run the büfé (snack bar) at the school like me because, unlike other Angol Lektors (English lecturers) in the past I try to use Hungarian and seemingly don’t purposely make their life harder.

This week several teachers asked whether I’ll return next year, and I thought word had already spread, that either the lead teacher or the Assistant Principal had informed them, or that other teachers whom I told had let them know, so now I wonder whether a rumor mill exists. To clarify: yes, I am returning to Z.

I bought a miniature tea rose – I haven’t bought a plant for myself, something that I’ll need to care for in …. I don’t know. The lead teacher installed netting to keep the flying insects out of my apartment, so my view of the outside world isn’t clear as it once was, but now I have more breeze and fresh air.

Notes on getting to & staying in London

I flew via Wizzair, the Hungarian low-cost airline, and stayed in a room I found on Homeaway. I traveled to and from Budapest via train, booking the return at the Déli station in Budapest but buying the originating ticket online.

For some reason buying the online ticket required completing several forms – which were relatively easy to complete because I had printed the 7-pages of A4-sized paper that told me how to buy an e-ticket. The instructions were extremely comprehensive and thorough.  With that out of the way and having used only an hour and a half, I turned to other matters.

Actually, the train travel was train-bus-train because from Ajat to Veszprem the travel is via bus.

So, travel. Fun and excitement.

  • 04:30 walk to train station
  • 04:43 make wrong turn
  • 05:05 arrive at train station
  • 05:17 train departs ontime
  • @ Ajat get off train
  • walk & schlep
  • board bus
  • get off bus
  • walk & schlep
  • @ Veszprém get on train
  • 08:29 train arrives Budapest-Déli ontime
  • walk and schlep to red line (M2) subway @ Déli
  • 08:50 transfer to blue line (M3) @ Deák Ferenc tér – walk and schlep
  • 09:30 transfer to bus @ Kőbánya-Kispest Metro stop- walk and schlep
  • 10:00 arrive Liszt Ferenc Airport terminal 2- walk and schlep
  • 12:20 depart for London ontime
  • 14:55 arrive Luton ontime- walk and schlep
  • 15:34 on shuttle bus to Thameslink
  • 15:40 arrive Thameslink Luton- walk and schlep
  • 16:25 to West Hampstead- walk and schlep
  • walk and schlep to lodging, take wrong turn, take another wrong turn
  • 17:00 arrive lodging

I compared Ryan Air (which the students were using) and EasyJet to Wizzair, and Wizzair won out on meeting my time and budget requirements  and – importantly – it allowed me to print boarding passes before I left the apartment; Ryan Air seemed to have more restrictive policies on that, and all the budget airlines have absurd charges in addition to the airfare, including one for printing a boarding pass at the airport.  Wizzair flies into Luton, which is slightly northwest of London, but it was nearer the homestay I had booked and was fairly convenient – albeit expensive – to reach via the ThamesLink train.

The airfare with all the budget airlines might start at 19 euros or so unless it’s the destination to which you’re headed, in which case the lowest fare is closer to 99 euros. You’ll pay additionally for just about everything, including personal items taken into the cabin and the air that you breathe.  And, like touts everywhere, they never stop asking you to buy, only it’s done online, and at the airport and – yes – while onboard.  One way low-cost carriers save money is by not using jetways; they’ll bus you between terminal and plane.  If the weather is miserable, you might find yourself in a miserable state for an interminably long time. Other than the constant harassment to buy additional services, I’d fly Wizzair again.  Courteous, efficient, and comfortable enough for a two-hour flight.

I had tried to find a low-cost hotel room – I know it’s near-impossible to do so in London – but I thought maybe I could catch a last-minute deal. Nope. Places in my price range weren’t in my comfort zone.  So I tried to find a homestay using wimdu and homeaway; several peoples’ calendars were open for hosting, but they weren’t. I found one near Queen’s Gate just off Brondesbury for more money than I wanted to pay, but it was only 8 tube stops and one underground transfer from the students and Brigi, so I went for it. It was a great neighborhood, many shops which I didn’t need, and a Sainsbury’s grocery, which I used especially for the best yogurt I’ve ever had and some terrific mango chutney.

In all, I probably spent more time arranging travel than I spent at Windsor Castle.

Gabriel’s Oboe (Morricone)

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2 thoughts on “It isn’t a top-down environment

    • Heya, I dunno. I’m staying. To US at end of June, back in H mid-August. Where will you folks be in mid- to late June? School is over 15 June & unlike my colleagues, I haven’t anything to do then.

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