Monday, March 26, 2007

St Paddy's Day

I have to say that this year was probably my favorite St. Patrick’s Day yet. As you may know, I’ve unfortunately had to spend a lot of time with my new Irish “friends” here in Budapest after all my trusty American lads departed for the states. So of course we ended up spending the country’s unofficial national holiday at an Irish bar. First though the day had a very Hungarian beginning.

On March 15th, (which I still have yet to talk about), we met up with Liz’s Hungarian teacher from last semester who invited us with the rest of her class to an afternoon meal of gulyas, sweets, palinka, wine, and soccer. So for the big day we had a giant, delicious, Hungarian lunch at her house. It was a very interesting day because it shed a lot of light on how Hungarians live. The teacher, Maria, is a college professor who teaches English at one of Hungary’s most renowned universities as well as teaching us Americans some Magyarul. I don’t think she would mind saying just to illustrate that her salary is around $500 a month! – For a college professor. The lady is truly amazing but it shows how hard academics must work to make ends meet. This is true of all of our professors.

Maria and her husband Ferenc live in a flat that was built under the communist regime. They were able to buy the flat after the transition, but the buildings aren’t meant to last. They were in built in the fifties and designed to last for fifty years – but there isn’t enough money or houses for the people to move out so they have to make do and try to repair the old buildings. I make all this sound terrible but Maria is actually a great person and loves teaching English and Hungarian.

So anyway after they got us good and liquored up and incredibly full of food, we met up with Eric and another kid Ian, who is also Irish and studying to be a vet here in Budapest, at this Irish Bar called Beckett’s. Oddly the entire bar was filled with people watching a rugby match between France and Scotland (I think). Anyway France had to win by less than 23 points for Ireland to win the Six Nations Rugby trophy – something that they haven’t done since Ian has been alive. Well France had to go and screw things up and score a try (touchdown) in the very last minute and the TV judge awarded it after the field judge said it wasn’t good. Anyway it just means lots of controversy and France winning the trophy instead of Ireland. The pub was a bit disappointed at this. Still the day was a good one. I had my first Irish car-bomb “baileys and Guinness” thanks to my friend Pat, but the Irish are quick to point out that the Guinness just isn’t as good as it is in Ireland.

We watched a bit more rugby, went home for dinner then returned to the bar for the rest of the night. We danced to this live band with a guy from Ireland as the lead singer. I thought it was especially fitting that they finished off the night with a song about an event in Iowa: American Pie.

I must add that it is St. Paddy's Day and not St. Patty's Day as we say in the US. The Irish thought it unbelievable that we would nickname a holdiay after Patricia (nickname Patty) and not after Patrick (nickname Paddy). Just to clear up the confusion...


greg said...

We read every blog and wish that you would proofread most of them!

Okobojicat said...

Most people call it St. Paddy's day in the states too kid.

Glad to see you had a Irish Car Bomb finally. I'll have to get you an Fire Bomb when you get out here. Their much better.

And yes, the Guinness is much better in Ireland, though Poland has good Guinness too.