Sunday, September 17, 2006

Iskola

Friday was the first day of school. For most pupils it was the first day of the school year, though as it turned out, since there was a strike on, it wasn't. If you see what I mean.

However, for Bogi, it was the first day of school, ever. She's been attending kindergarten for a while though, so to me it doesn't seem like that different, but for her, and for children all over the town and the nation, it was, a very big deal. In fact it wasn't even a whole day, but a few hours of getting to know you activities and being asked to stand on stage for the watching parents. The first grade teachers stuck around espcially to welcome the new kids to the school.

Walking with her to school was an interesting experience. Because it was the first day of school (and because the news on the strike was a series of contradictory rumours -it was on, it was on for a day only, it was off, it was back on), the town was filled with children wandering off to their respective schools. Many of them bore flowers, since it is traditional to give your teachers flowers here on the first day of the year (and the last, and "teachers day", and a few other special occasions).

Here we see Bogi, wearing a skirt for only about the third time in living memory, trooping off to school, semi-excitedly, semi-nervously. Accompanied, of course by her mother (who has been delegated to hold the flowers, since a skirt and flowers may be too much to ask.) [If you're really interested, I think if you click on that it gets bigger.]

Anyway, we arrived safely at Jozsef Attila Elementary School. All schools here are named after famous people. I don't know if this is true throughout Romania, but in this town it certainly is. If nothing else, it provides an easy way of ascertaining whether a school is Hungarian language medium or Romanian language medium. Thus Jozsef Attila Elementary School is Hungarian. As is Nagy Imre, Marton Aron and Petofi Sandor, to name a few more. The Octavian Goga High School, on the other hand, is Romanian. Jozsef Attila, for those unaware (ie non-Hungarians) was a famous poet (Here's his Wikipedia entry). Interestingly, I've never heard a single Hungarian say anything other than "he was bloody brilliant" (or words to that effect). No "He's not really my cup of tea" or "Most people love him, but I find him rather trite". It's anecdotal evidence but he seems universally loved. I can't think of any English poet who invokes the same level of critical consensus.

The strike by the way, was a one-dayer, so tomorrow will see Bogi off for her second day of school (and kind of her first real one).

3 comments:

Ada said...

The photo is taken on the Taps Ter, isn't it? As for the school naming, it's a general Romanian thing - for example I went to the Avram Iancu elementary school and Dorin Pavel high school.(o/t: both Bogi and her mom are gorgeous)

Andy H said...

Taps Ter? I only know it as Szabadsag Ter (or Piata Libertatii). But, I suspect it's only been known as that since 1989, so possibly it was caled something else before.

Thanks for the comment - they are, aren't they?

Ada said...

Taps Ter (Applause Square) is just the humorous nickname for it, earned before '89 because that's where the "spontaneous gatherings" to celebrate 23 August and Ceausescu's visits were held. Ask Erika, she'll tell you, just like Robi told me :)