Friday, 16 March 2012

Freedom dreams

When I read Laura’s post about eTwinning I had so many memories and I felt I’d like to share with you some of them.

My thoughts went to freedom. It is so natural for us now, but it is not so easy to describe it. It is felt intensely nowadays in Hungarian schools, because we celebrate on 15th March the anniversary of Revolution and war of independence of 1848/49. We talked about freedom with my pupils, and it is so nice, we can talk freely.

When I was a little girl, this was not possible for us. I think I am lucky, because I was a child in during this difficult period, and as a child I didn’t have face any really difficult situations. Being a child, I felt everything was natural. At school it seemed normal to wear a sort of uniform during official celebrations (dark blue skirt, white blouse and blue/red cravat), and as I remember, older pupils had as a present from school: a little red star.

The first bad experience I felt was when we went to Jugoslavia. Since our town, Szeged, is really closed to the Serbian border, it takes a short time to go there. But it was not easy to travel. On a special day we eventually went there. For us it was the place of treasures. Just immagine, here it was difficult for example to buy bananas. When there were, they were green and you could buy them only if you had a friend who worked in the commercial sector... So, that day we went abroad. I had always liked to go in a stationer’s. That time I saw beautiful coloured pencils (24 in a box!!!) – a miracle for me. And my mother bought them for me. I was so happy... and few hours later I was so worried about them. I remember believing that, when we crossed the border, I would lose my treasures. Luckilly I arrived home safe with my pencils..

Later on, I remember the great days of 1989. All pupils and teachers were together in the sports hall watching TV, because something new and important was happening. After 40 years of regime, we lived the birth of free Republic of Hungary. Everybody talked about it, and everybody thought: now everything is possible, and this is only the beginning of a fantastic period in or country and life.

Hungarians helped with opening the borders the people from East Germany to meet their families in west, the other side of the Berlin wall.

We were happy and proud to be Hungarians. One of the really emblematic posters of that period was:

So, we started learning democracy, talking freely about our life, desires or politics. It was very exciting!
And during the years we felt that freedom is great, even if there are difficulties. Unemployment, higher prices, more and more taxes are part of the „package”.
I first studied in high school, later at university, and I was 22 years old when I started working in a village as a teacher. I worked in the afternoon school, and my pupils were 9 years old. It was perfect for me. I had always dreamt of being a teacher. But soon I met a sad and difficult situation.

Unfortnately the war arrived in Serbia. Because we are really close, we saw every evening the arrival of flying corp. And it happened every evening regulary. Airplans and bombs.
I can remember a night when a bomb arrived too close to the Hungarian border the windows of our house trembled, and I was so scared. But not only me, my pupils too. It was very scary to hear small children talking about the war. They told me they wanted to go to the prime minister to ask him to stop the war, and ask for peace. I don’t remember my answer, I just said something to calm them, but it wasn’t easy.

After the long dark days, peace finally returned. I’ve another class now, and my small pupils are 9 years old again. We visited the museum to learn about the revolution of 1848/49, and I am happy because they live freely, and they don’t know war, only peace.
This week we read a poem (National song) from Sándor Petőfi, a great poet of the period of revolution. Just some rymes:

Slaves we have been to this hour,
Our forefathers who fell from power
Fell free and lived as free men will,
On land that was their own to till,
By all the gods of Hungary
We hereby swear,
That we the yoke of slavery
No more shall wear.

After we talked about what does freedom mean. Some opinions from my pupils:

„ Freedom is when the prisoners get free from prison” (Viki)
„Freedom is when people don’t fight and people are calm” (Alen)
„Freedom is when I can play freely” (Ádám)
„We are free when we can go in the nature and listen to the silence” (Krisztofer)
„I can do what I would really like to do.” (Márk)

I hope my pupils can make their dreams come true, and they’ll be able do what they really want to do in the future. It is my freedom-wish for them.

In closing my post, I would like to share with you some of our photos in the museum, learning about freedom.



  1. A very touching and interesting post. Thanks, Monika.Elena

  2. I absolutely agree! As a "spoiled Swede", I often take freedom and democracy for granted. You gave me a good reminder that it's something we always have to work for and fight for! Thank you!

    1. Dear Elena, Agneta,
      thank you for your words.
      I think, freedom should be so natural as we breathe. And when happens something, we feel, being free it is one of the most important thing in our life.
      I hope, my pupils will never know the war, only peace.
      And I really wish it for all of us.

  3. Hi Monika,
    you know I love this post. We have so much in common, and I was shocked at how different our early years were. And speaking of freedom, it's definitely among the most important values in our lives. And we have to teach our pupils that's something well worth working for!
    Thank you for sharing this part of your life,