|My favourite book stall at Moszkva Tér|
Yesterday, during a break from work, I was talking to a Hungarian colleague
and describing to her my last very enjoyable experience of a conference day at
the Pető Institute. I had forgotten that I had written
about the day that I was describing here on my blog.
I did a search of my blog discovering that I had written it exactly five years ago to the day.
I enjoyed re-reading it, it has a very positive and and excited air about it so I decided to repost the
whole blog here.
It was a
bleak November day in 2011 when I took the photographs from the hotel window showing the Cog-wheel Railway terminus, which takes one to the beginning of the Children's Railway, with the chacteristic yellow trams trundling by.
that we get some brighter and crisper December days when we are there for the
9th World Congress.
It is encouraging to read that so many people are
expected to attend WCCE9 that a larger venue has had to be found.
26 November 2011 – Összhang a Petö Intézetben
Harmony at the Pető Institute
conference at the András Pető Institute of Conductive Education
And what a
wonderful atmosphere there was.
This was not
only my opinion, I heard a German visitor describing how cold and dull such
conferences can feel in Germany. He was absolutely right, they can also be a
bit icy back ‘home’, but the PAI got it just right at this Hungarian Science
Festival 2011 event.
Of course I am
A singing soul at the PAI
My soul was
singing as I walked past the cog-railway terminal and up Kútvölgy, past János
Kórház and the other hospital, the name of which I can never remember, all done
with the rumbling of trams in my ears.
The only thing
that I felt was missing was the smell of a Trabant chugging up the hill beside
me! They are really very noticeable through their absence!
walked through the door of the Pető Institute with my head held high, I
did not have to sneak in like I had had to do ten years ago, and from the
first moment the atmosphere was almost electric. An atmosphere had been created
that any conductor would be proud to have achieved in their group.
followed a continuous bumping into old friends, mostly from twenty years
ago! It was like we had always been there. Some of my Hungarian friends were
visiting for the first time after many years too. This made for a really
lunch-break I went up the stairs that for once were not filled with singing
children, until I found the red floor and made my way towards my first-ever
group, then the spina bifida group. There, in that group, with little Hungarian
to my name and in the early months of my training, I soaked up as much through
my skin and my soul, as if by osmosis, as I could. I believe that many students
and conductors had singing, happy souls working in that particular group and
that is why we all get attracted like a magnet back there, and why when I
opened the door today Laci básci had beaten me to it. He was already there
enjoying being back home too.
Laci bácsi had
been a special friend to me during the early months in Budapest because he was
learning English at about the same rate as I was learning Hungarian. Sometimes
as he gave me a lift in his brown Láda he would give me a Hungarian lesson.
I am sad to say
that his English today is far better than my Hungarian is nowadays, but,
never-the-less, as in Rome you do as the Romans and today I insisted that we
That funny language
When I was
still at work in Nürnberg on Thursday, my colleagues were teasing me and
insisted that we spoke Hungarian together in the lunch-break. They thought
that I needed to practise, but I could not utter one word. My
mind went blank.
I travelled to
Budapest with a Hungarian colleague and still our common language remained
German, until Friday morning when I walked through that door at the Pető András
Institute. It was like one switch was turned off and another turned on.
two languages today were English and Hungarian, it appears that I still
cannot deal with all three at once so I had automatically switched German off.
was in Hungarian. I decided that I would manage the introductions without a
headset for translation, but I asked for one later, just in case, for when the
The first stumbling block
I managed so
well when Mihály Szivos Ph.D., from The Hungarian Ministry of Sciences, was
speaking about the significance of unspoken knowledge in general pedagogy and
Conductive Education. I did just as well, if not better, when Franz
Schaffhauser Ph.D. spoke on the philosophy and pedagogy of inclusion.
The going got
tough when Dr Ildikó Kissné Horváth, from the Ministry, was at the podium.
Everyone in the audience I think realised, even before she told us at the end
of her speech, that she had not known that the Institute worked mainly
with disabled children and apologised for preparing a presentation about
rehabilitation with adults. This lady spoke really quickly so I finally decided
that I must reach for the head-phones.
I then did what
I always did as a trainee conductor, I held one ear piece to my ear and kept
the other ear free to get the gist in real life, in Hungarian! I find it so
important when listening to a speaker to hear how they actually say what they
say, and despite it being very tiring with two ears listening to two different
people I get more out of it than just hearing it in English.
A favourite voice from the past
As I put the
headset to my ear I got such a lovely surprise. Twenty-four years, almost to
the day, since I first met her, I heard once again the voice of our regular
translator. Ratz Kati translated for us British trainees from the word go which
was in 1987. She was our favourite translator. She knew so much about
Conductive Education, even then in the early days, so she knew how to translate
lots of the in-house terms that usually mean nothing to an outsider. She also
knew how to translate what we said in English into the Hungarian Conductive
me today would have wondered what the translator was saying to make such a
huge grin cross my face. As I sought her out later just as big a grin
crossed her face in the moment that we met.
Thanks to Zsuzsi
It was Kati’s
non-English speaking, school-teacher sister who I had spent a lot of time with
in Budapest she had taught me to speak Hungarian in two lessons a week for four
years. This day in 2011 was the first time that Kati discovered what a good job
her sister had done. Previously we had only spoken English with each other but
today we spoke Hungarian.
Today I was
very appreciative Zsuzsa’s patience and infective enthusiasm while teaching me
so long ago. Speaking the Hungarian language somehow allowed me to feel even
more comfortable and at home in the place that I spent four of the happiest
years of my life.
With the lovely
one-day conference over a weekend of meetings could begin.
I had meetings
planned with hopefully two of AP’s first students, from 1947. A dip in the
Gellert baths, a trip up to the castle and a long visit to the Mária Hári
Back to the
I loved trimming up that five-year-old blog for re-posting. It has made me look forward
even more to the 9th World Congress and I am hoping there will be even
more of my old friends to meet than on that last occasion. I know there will be some interesting presentation to attend.
I know we
all have lots of work to get through until we get there, with Christmas coming
up to it is a bit hectic, but Hungary look out, here we all come! Many of us coming home with joy in our hearts.
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