Have I Taught Them?

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The school year has come to an end. I know my students will forget how to multiply over the summer, and next year’s teacher will show them how to do it all over again. I know my third graders will forget the difference between an adverb and an adjective, and how to spell spaghetti. But have I taught them that it is better to tell me that they did not do their homework last night than to lie? Have I taught them that it is better to include someone in a four square game than to tell him he cannot play? Continue reading

Children’s Dress Up — Hungarian Style!

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When I was in first grade, my teacher had a costume box. It sat in the corner of the room next to the sink and the record player. I’d eye it during silent reading time. Whenever I got a chance, I’d be over at that costume box putting on a cowboy hat or an eyepatch or a stethoscope then asking my friends to stick their tongues out and say, “Ah.” Come to think of it, I still like to play dress up. My colleagues tease me for wearing bow ties and suspenders and pocket squares in my sport coats, but I don’t care. So when Miss Piroska, our Hungarian culture teacher at school, asked me if I wanted to come in and take photos of her students getting dressed up in traditional Hungarian costumes, I said absolutely! Continue reading

Tokaji: More Than Just a Nice Wine!

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“Vinum regum, rex vinorum!” The wine of kings, the king of wines. That was the name given to Hungary’s famous Tokaji Aszú wine by Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, when he first tasted it. Recently, I took my first trip out to Hungary’s Tokaj region, where my host Zoltán, a local wine maker, toured me through sun-kissed hillsides and ancient cellars. Continue reading

The Lilacs of Budapest!

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If I weren’t a teacher, I would have been a florist. Back in California, I often made my friends floral wreaths for Christmas and birthdays. I never bought my flowers. I had my sources. One neighbor lady let me cut her hydrangeas in exchange for a bottle of wine. Another allowed me to climb her magnolia tree. A third gave me permission to cut branches from her holly bush. After a couple of seasons, though, I had to find another source for holly. I guess I’d been too zealous with my cutting. The bush died. Continue reading

Hurrah! Announcing My New Book!#@!

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First off, let me apologize for not posting lately. I do have a good reason though. This week, my new book came out! The title is The Charms of Miss O’Hara: Tales of Gone With the Wind & the Golden Age of Hollywood from Scarlett’s Little Sister. It is a biography of former MGM star Ann Rutherford, best known as the youngest daughter in Gone With the Wind and Mickey Rooney’s perky girlfriend in the Andy Hardy pictures. I realize that this post has absolutely nothing to do with Budapest, but I’m just so excited, I just had to share! I’ve been working on the memoir for about two years, and it’s finally here! Now that it’s out in the big world, I feel like I just sent my “baby” off to college! Click here to see it on Amazon. If you know any Gone With the Wind or classic movie fans, please share. I’d so appreciate your help in getting the word out. Thank you! Continue reading

Budapest: A Top World Travel Destination!

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Today when I was reading the news online, I was surprised and delighted to discover a photo of Budapest’s famed Parliament Building on CNN’s home page. Why? This week, TripAdvisor announced its top world travel destinations, and Budapest came in the top 25!  The award-winning destinations are determined using an algorithm that takes into account the quality and quantity of reviews from TripAdvisor users. For more information, read hereContinue reading

The Easter Basket

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When I was a youngster, I’d get up at the crack of dawn on Easter morning to hunt for my basket. It took no time at all to locate it. I’d find my brothers’ and sister’s baskets right away, too. Our Easter Bunny was never very good at hiding. But that was OK with me. I’d lend him a hand. Before anyone else got up, I’d re-hide my family’s baskets in much better spots like the bottom of the laundry hamper, the dishwasher, or the next-door neighbor’s doghouse. When my brothers and sister gave up looking, I’d offer to help – in exchange for a percentage of their candy.  Continue reading

Birth Announcement: Budapest’s New M4!

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This weekend marked the opening of Budapest’s long awaited Metro Line 4. Known as the green line, the M4 stretches 7.4 kilometers and has ten stations. One of the largest construction projects in Central Europe, it connects southwest Budapest (Kelenföld Station in Buda) to the northeast (Keleti Station in Pest). Tickets were free all weekend, and I ran down to the center of town to check it out. It felt like the opening of an amusement park. Parents brought their little ones. The transportation agency passed out balloons. All shiny and slick, the new stations and cars buzzed with smiling, camera-laden locals. I was proud of the city’s new pride and joy. Well done, Budapest! Continue reading

Like to Talk on the Phone? Thank a Hungarian!

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Like to talk on the phone? Thank a Hungarian. In the latter part of the 1800s, after moving to the United States to become a gold miner, Hungarian Tivadar Puskás was working on his idea for a telegraph exchange when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. This led Puskás to take a fresh look at his work. He got in touch with inventor Thomas Edison, and in the 1870s began working for Edison at his Menlo Park laboratory. According to Edison, the first experimental phone exchange was based on Puskás’s ideas. But when it comes to phoning, Puskás may have been responsible for more than that. Continue reading