It’s HTTPS, Dang it!

Inspired by some of the work I’m doing at my new gig where we are an all https shop, I took the $15 plunge and bought a ssl certificate this morning for HarmsBoone.org.

Honestly, given how easy it is these days on top of security concerns, Google giving preferential treatment to HTTPS sites, and the NY Times issuing a challenge to all news sites to go HTTPS by 2015, it only makes sense.

Now, whenever you browse this site you can do so with the comfort of knowing that all the communication between you and this site is private, secure, and authentic. I’ll be doing the same for the other HarmsBoone sites, and for International Underground in the coming weeks, but decided to get the flagship, the oldest and, honestly, most trafficked of our sites locked down and secure first. The next step will be going through the site and making sure that all images and script files linked on our blog posts are also done with https so you know that those are coming through uncontaminated, too.

And that’s about it.

The biggest thing you can do as a user is remember to type https when linking to any website. The worst case scenario is the site hasn’t configured it and you fall back to an insecure connection. For the most part, though, you’ll be sending your friends and family to secure, trustworthy locations on the Internet.

A Legfinomabb Magyar Étel

disznóvágás
After a long disznóvágás day, the blood sausage is ready.

On a Friday in late autumn, I walked into my ninth grade bilingual classroom to find an interesting query scrawled across the blackboard. “What is disznóvágás in English?” My command of basic Hungarian pronunciation was still rough around the edges, and as I read the sentence aloud, I mangled the word. I waited for the students to have a good laugh at my expense before I could get a chance to ask, “What exactly is a disznóvágás?” As they explained it to me the first time, I gathered that it was a pig slaughter, but little more.
Continue reading “A Legfinomabb Magyar Étel”

Ruminations on the Hungarian Language: Take Two

Due to a potent combination of distraction and procrastination, here is part two of a short series on the Hungarian language, belatedly posted and slightly aged. Interested in reading part one? You’re in luck.

Attempts at Hungarian
Who knows how far we'll get with the infamously elusive Hungarian language, but when June comes around, the goal is to at least be able to honestly say we tried.

Not speaking Korean in Korea was easy compared to not speaking Hungarian in Hungary. Korea’s population is remarkably homogenous and there was no mistaking me for a compatriot. As a result, I was rarely forced to speak Korean and, I’m a bit sheepish to admit, coasted by on “Annyeong haseyo” and “gamsahamnida”. One look and the cat was out of the bag that I wasn’t Korean, and thankfully kind Koreans often came to the rescue with English. Suffice it to say the language expectations of foreigners were low.

Yet now I find myself in Hungary, a land of fellow light haired, light eyed people, and the plug on my neon sign blinking, “Foreigner, please talk slowly or stick to charades” has been yanked from the wall. Now when I walk into a store, people don’t treat me like a toddling three year old. Of all the nerve, they treat me like an adult. Continue reading “Ruminations on the Hungarian Language: Take Two”

Nem Beszélek Magyarul: Ruminations on the Hungarian Language

Making my way past the supermarket’s overflowing crates of pale green paprikas and stacked tubs of sauerkraut, I found one phrase sliding through my mind.

That's salt and pepper to you, or pronounced something like "show aysh borsh" to you.

With a storm of graduate school admission deadlines approaching, I’ve been a patchy blogger at best. Forgive me for posting pieces months late (including the apologetic preface that follows). Over the past couple of weeks I have had lots of time, and reason, to ponder the Hungarian language, specifically my inability to express myself in it. Between lack of Internet and the exhaustion of miming in as many ways as I can think of, “Please don’t bite others,” to first graders, among other tiring demands of teaching, I’m a bit behind on updating the blog. This first post was written in my first couple of days in Kaposvár. Even since then, my survival Hungarian has improved. Still, the message on biting and how we should only do it to our food and not our friends has yet to reach at least one member of the first grade. All in good time.

Making my way past the supermarket’s overflowing crates of pale green paprikas and stacked tubs of sauerkraut, I found one phrase sliding through my mind again and again, like a slideshow with a solitary picture: “Nem beszélek magyarul.” I don’t speak Hungarian. Continue reading “Nem Beszélek Magyarul: Ruminations on the Hungarian Language”

Linden Honey Baguette

A post inspired by our friends at Just a Rough Draft, we turn this week to a recipe made from scratch.

A post inspired by our friends at Just a Rough Draft, where they blog about creative concoctions and exotic foods they encounter from around the world, we turn this week to a recipe made from scratch. Continue reading “Linden Honey Baguette”

A Quick (Belated) Podcast

A podcast documenting our first two months in Hungary. From school, to a celebration, and a memorial.

It’s been a while since our last post here at Keeping up with the Magyars, but among working, applying for graduate school, and enjoying this splendid country, we have not had a lot of time for updating the blog.

So here it is, a collection of audio sampled from across about two months covering the first day of school, a community celebration, and the 54th Anniverssary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Enjoy the audio, and stay tuned here for future entries about dinner parties, education in Hungary, and our upcoming week in Slovenia.

Listen:
Download:http://harmsboone.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/introducing_hungary.mp3

Trabbis and Transitions: First impressions of Hungary

Remnants of Soviet communism and European Union sponsored construction projects dot the workaday landscape of Hungary.

Part 1 of 2: Read part two at https://harmsboone.org/more-first-impressions.

Prior to my arrival in Hungary about a month ago the only Trabant I had seen was on display at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin amidst the plethora of East German communism memorabilia. The Trabant, or Trabbi as they were affectionately known, was the only and official automobile of East Germany. The fabled vehicle survives, for most, only through the myths and legends that precede the brand that fell with the Berlin Wall. Continue reading “Trabbis and Transitions: First impressions of Hungary”

Welcome

What this blog is all about.

Welcome to “Keeping up with the Magyars”, a new blog from Harms-Boone Productions. This blog is our venue for telling the stories of our lives as English teachers in Kaposvár, Hungary, as well as analysis and commentary on the issues of the day. If you are familiar with our work, you know that we tell well-written, thoughtful stories about the places as we experience them, not as they experience us. Our commitment is to exchanging information openly through the Internet. It is for this reason we donate all of our work to either the open source community or to the creative commons. Unless otherwise noted, our content is free for you to use, distribute, and repurpose as you see fit as long as you are not using it commercially and give us a little credit. We strive to update weekly, but to be sure you aren’t missing any of our posts, be sure to click the subscribe link above and sign up for our feeds or for our email list. Continue reading “Welcome”

Dispatch from the Classroom: First Grade

Don’t Pick the Flowers

“Don’t pick flowers,” was the immediate response when my first grade students were asked recently to imagine that our class had been whisked away from our room in Ilsan, South Korea and plopped down on an isolated island with the challenge of governing ourselves. “Don’t pick flowers,” was among the first must-have laws. Our white board was soon overflowing with edicts like, “Don’t catch whales or animals, except cows,” “Pick a president, then be nice to them,” and “Love the nature.” How simple it is to bring law and order to a society. Others included:

  • Don’t pollute nature or the sea.
  • Stay away from strangers.
  • Don’t go to dangerous places.
  • Don’t go too far from the group.
  • Don’t say bad words.
  • Don’t kill animals. Eat rice, fruit, or vegetables.
  • Eat what is good for your body.
  • Behave.
  • Always be happy and work hard for the country.
  • Always try your best.
  • Stick together.
  • Don’t use too much water.
  • Every child should go to school for free.
  • Be nice to others.
  • Don’t go to the deep sea. Continue reading “Dispatch from the Classroom: First Grade”

Snow Day in Ilsan

It was a sunny and snowy day in Ilsan on Monday.

After a week spent in the crunchy snow and shiver-inducing temperatures of the Midwest, my winter boots got plenty of use. When it came to packing them for my trip back to Goyang, South Korea, I nearly left them behind, thinking of the snowless streets I had left behind only days earlier. Over-packer that I am, I jammed them in my suitcase just to be safe, and by Monday, I was glad to have them. Christmas day brought a light dusting of snow, leaving about 2 inches of packed powder to derail my rolling suitcase on the sidewalks, but little more than that. As I woke up, jet-lagged and groggy, on Monday, I looked out the window and thought, “Is it snowing?” And snowing it was. A lot. And the flakes didn’t just make an appearance in the morning, but consistently fell in a white flurry all throughout the day. Continue reading “Snow Day in Ilsan”