Travel with our family as we learn about, live amongst and embrace the people, culture and country of Hungary.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Birthdays, surgeries and friends (old and new)!

- Almost three months since I last is full, busy and blessed here in Papa, Hungary!!!

- We celebrated three birthdays these past three months - Jeff on Sept. 20 (had Chinese food in Gyor), Tania on Oct. 3 (had Hungarian food in Papa) and Grace who turned 10 on Nov. 9 (took a friend and went downtown for some shopping and lunch). We're thankful for every new year the Lord gives us!!!

- I have discovered a wonderful way to spend an evening...watching Jane Austen movies with some of my friends and sharing a yummy dinner!

- Went to see the ruins of a Roman villa. Amazing that so much of the structure, mosaic floors, and items found in the villa still remain after more than 2,000 years. I think the kids enjoyed seeing it and also eating at McDonalds.

- I've had to take the kids to the pediatrician here in Papa a few times...usually only have had to wait 30 minutes...not bad. Here, at the Dr and the vet, there is no waiting list to sign up on when you just sit down and everyone just goes in based on the order that they arrived...seems to work well

- Jeff was unfortunately gone a lot these past three months...back to the US for training, to Germany for medical tests (everything is fine) and various other trips. We are happy to have had him home for the past three weeks!

- Have enjoyed eating and cooking some yummy recipes from my friend, Sevtap, who is Turkish!

- In early October we were so excited to have our friends, the Alderman family, visit us! Thermal bath, jump castle in Gyor, stork restaurant, walking street...we enjoyed showing them all the sights, tastes and sounds of Papa and the surrounding area! But best of all, we got to talk lots and the kids got to play lots!

- Just finished up a Beth Moore study on the life of David with my ladies' Bible study. Such a wonderful study...biggest lesson learned - God is looking for a heart that loves Him absolutely and wholeheartedly more than He is looking for perfection.

- Here is an article that talks about Jeff's squadron here in Papa and all the work they do...I am so proud of him and all the folks here! C-17s in Hungary

- In October we had a nice time at the Chestnut Festival in Velem (about an hour west of here). People performing on stilts, eating roasted chestnuts, jump castles, music and vendors...a very nice time. What a pretty area of the country with the hills and trees! Here is a picture of all the kids watching a puppet show.

- Had some highs and lows when it comes to friends...high - our good friends, the Hobbes, get to stay in Papa for a few more months...bad news, our good friends the Comptons who were supposed to come to Papa in Dec will no longer be coming :(

- We had a wonderful week in Italy when we went to Aviano Air Base for medical appointments. We got to go to Venice one of the days. Venice was beautiful!!! And it was a perfect day weather-wise...thank you Lord! Fav parts about Venice in the minds of each kid - Sarah - climbing everywhere, Nathan - getting mask, Rebecca - wearing mask, Rachel - holding wild pigeon,
Grace - feeding pigeons. Looking forward to returning there with visitors in the future.

- The weather in Hungary for all summer and fall was absolutely beautiful! Now it is getting cold and I do not like thankful for a warm house!!!

- On November 4th we were all thanking God that He sent His angels to protect Nathan and we were so  thankful to the bus driver who saw a little boy run right in front of his bus and stopped in time. So loving our precious son and our precious Jesus!!!

- Our little dog Molly, that Jeff and I first bought in Okinawa almost 16 years ago, passed away in early November. She has been lovingly taken care of by Jeff's parents for the past 7 years (she didn't do too well with kids). Thanks Dad, Mom and Karen for all the TLC. I know she will be missed!

- I got the opportunity to share with our home church, the plight of the persecuted church throughout the world on the International Day of the Persecuted Church Sunday. I hope to do more work with Voice of the Martyrs and Gospel for Asia in the future!

- We moved houses a few weeks back...bigger backyard and bigger living areas. Whew! I am still unpacking! Hopefully we won't be doing this again for at least another year or two.

- Had a wonderful visit from our friends, the Smerz family! Budapest, thermal baths, shopping, yummy restaurants and Thanksgiving!!! They have been such faithful friends to visit us in Texas, California, Charleston, Korea and now Hungary!!! The laughs around the table and the children enjoying each other were so good for my soul!

- A few days before Thanksgiving, two other American moms and I put on a Thanksgiving celebration for the kids at Nathan and Sarah's Ovada (Kindergarten). We told the story of Thanksgiving (with translation), had food, made crafts and even had pilgrim hats and Indian feathers for them. It's funny how even Hungarian kids can run around, whooping like Indians. Here is a video of a song that the Hungarian children sang for us, at the end of the celebration. It's about a turkey.

- What a nice time we had for Thanksgiving! We had our friends, the Smerz family here, and then we invited our neighbors on either side from our old house. Jeff told the story of Thanksgiving and our Hungarian friend Peter translated it. It was so neat to share this special holiday with old and new friends!!!

- We finished up November and into December with a week-long trip back to Aviano AB, in Italy. This time it was for both Jeff (planned) and Rachel (unplanned) to have surgeries. Both are doing well...Jeff for hernia and Rachel for an abscess in her throat. What a whirlwind three weeks we have had! I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit! But PTL, everyone is fine, we have a warm home on a cold night and it's Christmas time!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goulash, Lake Balaton and windmills

- Szia (Hungarian for hello) family and friends! I'm trying to get back into Hungarian. We were taking lessons every week for the first few months, then we stopped over the summer, but now we are back with our teacher, Csilla, twice a month. We are also working on other languages...Jeff is brushing up on his German (he has spoken quite a bit around here as well as in Austria, Switzerland and Germany) and Grace is learning German (thanks Rosetta Stone) while I am getting refreshed on my Spanish and Rachel and Rebecca are also learning it.

- So happy that we have found a home for the little bird we rescued. "Alex" was doing great but couldn't fly due to an injury to its wing and foot. We couldn't keep Alex because of our dog Jake who is a hunting dog. Called the local vet and they found a home for Alex with a family who raises birds...yeah!!! It was such a neat experience to watch this birdie develop! We'll miss Alex.

- Rebecca lost her first tooth. She was so excited. Now she has a second that is a bit loose...keep in wiggling it!

- Sarah has decided to use the potty, almost every time. Yeah! That is a big excitement for Mommy who has been changing at least 5 diapers a day, or more, for 9 years. Way to go Sarah!

- Here is a short video on Papa, Hungary. It gives you a good idea of what the town looks like. I still drive around town and get a smile on my face when I think that we are living in Hungary and in such a quaint town

- We discovered, thanks to some friends, a really fun jump castle facility...just
like the ones in the U.S.

We went there for some friends' birthday party and then turned around and went there two weeks later for Rachel's 9th birthday. With pizza and cake back at the house, Rachel had a great birthday!

- The weather this summer has been absolutely beautiful! A much cooler summer here in Hungary than most of our friends in the US were experiencing. Overall, since we've gotten here, the weather has been great! I sure do like sun!!!

- Went back to the Dobronte castle ruins. Had a wonderful time with the family and Jake! Anyone who comes visit us will get to see it!

- We had a wonderful time over dinner with our Polish friends a few weeks back. We even tried blood sausage (actually, not too bad). My great-grandparents from Poland would have been proud! What a great group of people!!!

- We went to a great outdoor museum complex in Budapest in August with some friends. It's kind of like a Williamsburg for Hungary. Not expensive either. I posted a bunch of photos on my Facebook page but here is one of the windmill.

- Later, in August, we spent a lovely afternoon hiking in the Bakony hill area, about 20 minutes from our home. So beautiful!!! The kids did great on the 2 1/2 hour hike and Jake really liked it to. Why don't we do this more often? Only drawback...while we were starting out, a big pit bull jumped on Jake three different times. The owner finally reeled it in. As we were on our way back and later on in the car, Sarah kept talking about the "pickle." We had no idea what she was talking about until we realized that to her "pit bull" is "pickle." So now, any time we see a pit bull, it is a "pickle."

- We got invited to both of our neighbor's homes, on either side, at different times for a traditional goulash meal. What a wonderful time! And so yummy! We are truly blessed with wonderful neighbors. We hope to repay their hospitality soon!

- More and more. we can play older games with the kids. Recently we played Rummikub, Pictionary and Catch Phrase...I so enjoy that they are older and I can play games like these rather than Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders!

- In early September, we had a great time at Lake Balaton (our first time there). It's the largest lake in Central Europe and is only an hour away. Think -  beach town mixed with mountain town. Lunch, a boat ride, walking around and ice cream. What a neat place! We definitely plan to return!
I posted a bunch more pictures on my Facebook page.

- Sarah started attending morning Kindergarten/Pre-School at the local Hungarian/International school...the same one Nathan has been attending since January. She is having a great time! She and Nathan are in the same class...Lavendar. Her little symbol is a sunshine. Here Sarah is at the table, drawing with all the other little girls. There are about 6 girls in her class and 12-14 boys. About half of them are from international parents.

- With the two little ones at school in the morning, it is so much quieter at home. We are going on our 10th week of school and homeschooling is going great! Grace and Rachel are in 4th grade and Rebecca is in 2nd. Nathan does Kindergarten work with me when he gets home. Daily I thank God for the freedom to homeschool and a supportive husband. Very few people in Hungary, in fact, in all of Europe, homeschool. So, I often get to answer questions about it when I talk to the ladies here.

- Grace, Rachel, Rebecca and Nathan have started karate class. They go twice a week. They are the only English speakers amongst the students but a couple of the teachers speak English and they seem to be doing fine. They really enjoy it, it's a great workout and should be good for them. Jeff did karate for years so it should be fun for him to watch them progress in martial arts.

- Last Saturday night Jeff and I had such a nice time going to the Papa Wine Fest at the palace grounds,  complete with Hungarian folk dancing and music and some comedy show which would have been funny if I could understand it. We even ran into our friends which made it even nicer! I so enjoy living in Hungary!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Time sure flies

Has it really been more than two months since I blogged? Time is flying by. Life in Papa, Hungary is settling into a normal, predictable routine, interspersed with interruptions here and there. I will speak of the interruptions.

It's easy to stay in the house, doing homeschool (we had 7 weeks off for summer break but have now started our new school year) and forget that we live in a foreign country. But I don't want to do that. I want us to embrace this new culture and its people...this wonderful country that is Hungary.

I'm going to go back all the way to May, which is when I last blogged. I'm thankful for Facebook to help me remember all that has gone on.

- We had a nice dinner with some friends from Norway. It was interesting talking to them about their country and its politics and comparing that to America. They deal with some of the same issues with immigration, socialism, etc., that we are seeing in America. They brought us a beautiful dish from Norway. The tradition of gift giving when one visits someone else is so nice. I also like the tradition that some European countries have of a kiss on both cheeks in friend from Romania greeted me that way when she saw me yesterday. I am very sorry to hear about the shootings that just took place in Oslo, the youth camp and in their government buildings. The people of Norway are in our prayers.

- Jeff and I attended a military ball with members of his flying squadron. It was so neat to share a table and dance floor with people from 12 different nations, all committed to peace and freedom in Europe and the world. One thing I have to say for our European friends...they sure can dance! I am looking forward to next year's ball! of the neat things about being married to a military guy is that you get to dress up in ball gowns yearly and go to big dances. I don't know how many professions out there still do this. Here's a picture of us and our friends.

- Celebrated 15 wonderful years of marriage to thankful for his love, friendship and partnership!

- We have two wonderful babysitters for the American and one Hungarian. Nathan got called something that none of us has ever been called before..."cheeky." It came from our Hungarian babysitter who speaks British English. I tried not to smile when she said this because he had definitely been "cheeky"...he lost Wii for two weeks for his behavior. But, I just enjoy the differences between British and American English. :) We have another good friend who is British who points these differences out sometimes as well.

- We all attended a local Hungarian church in May, Faith Church. It's one of the 25+ satellite churches that are related to the large Faith Church in Budapest. The main pastor of Faith Church in Budapest was imprisoned and gave his life to the Lord and then started an underground church in Hungary during Communist times. It is quite a can read about it by clicking the link above. At the Faith Church in Papa there was an awesome worship time (we recognized some of the songs and for those we didn't, we did our best to sing along in Hungarian). The sermon was translated for us by two of the church members. This is the church that our neighbors go to. The kids had a great time in their meeting and surprised me by wanting to stay longer even though the service was 4 1/2 hours long. It grew me as I got to worship with Hungarians. What joy filled their hearts! Quite an experience!

- In the beginning of June we went to the local park by the palace, our favorite park, and Rachel gained quite a few fans there. She fixed the zip line rope that had been broken for a few weeks. After tying on the new rope that we brought with us, she was surrounded by about 20-30 kids who then spent the next half hour happily using it. When they left the park, one boy ran up to her and said "I love you, I love you." So fun to watch! Unfortunately, when we returned a week later, that rope had been stolen and so no more zip line. Why do people do that?

- We are wanting to learn all that we can about the city of Papa. I recently finished reading a book (online) about the Jewish population here in Papa (largest outside of Budapest) and what happened to them during WWII. Out of the 2,565 Jews deported from Papa, only 300 returned home. The number of murdered children was 671. Absolutely tragic! Here is a link to the book Papa's Jews  There is a synagogue in Papa which is now abandoned...since WWII. We have looked inside and it must have been beautiful at one time. Here is a picture from the outside.

- Nathan's Preschool had an end-of-year picnic. The kids had lots of fun. He has done really well there and we have been very pleased with his teachers and all that they do. Sarah will be joining him just as soon as she decides that she wants to be potty-trained. I have tried everything I know to get this little girl out of diapers but so success. Here's a picture of our happy boy at the picnic.

- We all had the opportunity to attend a horse demonstration in a town not far from here. The program included archery and swordsmanship on horseback. They wore traditional Hungarian costumes. It was really neat to watch. Afterwards, all the kids got to ride around the ring. This was the first time for Nathan (I think) and Sarah. Both of them did a great job. Fun afternoon for everyone followed up by a traditional Goulash lunch...yum!

- At the beginning of June our good friends from Charleston, SC, the Compton family, came out to visit us for a couple of days. We had a great time with them touring Papa, going to a local fair in Papa, visiting Sumeg Castle and Tapolc (where we went boating on an underground river) and out to eat for some yummy food. The kids had such a fun time together. I posted a bunch of pictures of all of these things on my Facebook page. I finally got some good pics of Papa and the surrounding countryside thanks to LaKrisha Compton and her camera. The town of Papa looks very pretty now as there are flowers people's gardens, from their window boxes and hanging from pots on every light pole downtown. The only place there are hardly any flowers is in our yard. I like the inside of our house but the outside is lacking in flowers and other pretty plants.

- While the Comptons were here, their daughter Kiersten was about to celebrate her birthday and so was Rebecca, so they got to have their birthdays together. Rebecca turned 7. What a sweet, lovely girl she is. She definitely brings much joy to her family...just as her middle name of Joy suggests.

- Our neighbors brought us two big bags of cherries off their trees and some honey she sweet! We made a chocolate cake and brought it over to them as thanks.  Later the same week, I took the kids to a local strawberry patch to pick strawberries. They were very good and I was so glad to continue our yearly tradition of picking strawberries. Now I just need to find a blueberry patch. Many of the houses here have fruit trees everywhere.

- Jeff continues to fly a few missions per month...some of them go to Afghanistan and Iraq with supplies, some are for airdrop training in various locations and some go back to the US. He instructs the pilots from other countries. He's such a good pilot and provider for his family.

- We started our new homeschool year on June 13. Grace and Rachel are in 4th grade (I've moved them online for some of their courses and they seem to be enjoying them), Rebecca is in 2nd grade and Nathan does Kindergarten with me in the afternoon when he gets home from the Hungarian kindergarten. The first couple of weeks have gone well...very busy!

- On June 16th, Jeff's grandma Beulah went home to be with Jesus. We were able to fly out to Fayetteville, NC and spend time with his family. She was such a wonderful lady and blessed so many people with her life. After leaving Jeff's parents' home, we spent a week, unsuccessfully, trying to catch a military flight back home. We finally ended up buying airline tickets, thankfully at reduced rates because of Jeff's American Airline ties. The bright spot in that week was seeing friends in Charleston and getting to stay with some friends in Dover. Here is a picture of Jeff's family at the luncheon after Beulah's funeral.
- While back in the US, the best parts were seeing family and friends, the restaurants (since Papa is a small town, it really pretty much has Hungarian food restaurants) and being able to break out of my "bubble of silence" and speak to people when I am going to the stores. I was reminded of what a small world it is when I took my broken Macbook to the Charleston Apple Store...the guy helping at the counter spoke Hungarian, of all things...his daughter is adopted from Hungary.

- Two days after we got back from the US, we rescued a baby bird (only about 2 days old) from the jaws of the dogs next door. As of today, "Alex" the bird is 2+ weeks old and doing well. We think it's a Song Thrush. Here's a picture.

- The day before that, Grace, Rachel and Rebecca chose to have their hair cut to give to Locks of Love. We were very proud of them...Rebecca's idea. This is the second time for Rachel. Here they are with their new sweet!

- Whew...that about sums up the last two months in Hungary and the US. God is good, family is a blessing and we are enjoying our adventure in Hungary!  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pony rides, castles and beautiful countryside

- Such a nice morning in Papa...we finished our school year last Friday so today, Tuesday, after cleaning up the house we went to a park downtown, close to the palace (no one lives in there now and it's under renovation. I will talk more about it when we tour it later this month). After playing at the park for awhile, a man came along with two horses pulling a wagon. The horses had their pony next to them. He took all of us for a ride around the park...for free. So neat!!! And riding with us was a Hungarian dad who spoke some English and ends up knowing some friends of ours...another pilot family...what a small town. Then, after the park, we walked a few blocks down to get some ice cream. What a wonderful morning. I think we will have to do this every week this summer!

- We've done a lot since I last blogged! In mid-April we had our first visitors to our home, Jennifer and Gerald Jacobs. Had a great time with them!!! One of the days we visited Castle Hill in Budapest. Beautiful views of the Danube River and the church up there, Matthias Church, was beautiful! Here's one of us with the Danube and Parliament building in the background. You can see all the photos on my Facebook page.

- We were very thankful that the Lord protected Jeff's family in North Carolina as tornados in April came within a mile of their home. We continue to pray for all the people in the US who have been impacted by this horrible weather!

- April was a month of visiting European cities as we took a drive up to Vienna, about two hours northwest of us. We visited the zoo there and had a wonderful time!  A couple of differences I noticed between Budapest and Vienna...graffiti in Vienna and more ethnically diverse in Vienna with many Muslims and Asians. Once again, we were so thankful for our GPS...I can't imagine navigating these big European cities without them. The streets are narrow, street signs are hard to find or nonexistent and it's crowded. After the zoo we enjoyed some incredibly good Chinese food...some of the best we've ever had. Nathan said it was even better than that's some good food! I posted pics from the zoo on my Facebook page as well, with explanations where appropriate. Here is a pic of Nathan and Sarah enjoying themselves.

- We also have been spending some time at the local park...very pretty setting and lots of fun things to play on. Here are the girls playing with one of the other families we are close to.

- The day before Easter we visited Szarvasko Castle, an abandoned castle about 20 minutes away in Dobronte. It was built by the Hungarians in 1360 and destroyed by the Turks sometime later. We climbed up to it and had a great time walking all around the ruins. Sarah kept exclaiming, "Oh Mommy, the castle is broken." Then she would pile up little rocks to help rebuild it.This time Jake was allowed to go and he had a great time exploring. Jeff even let him off his leash at one time and he sticked close by. We're so glad we brought him with us to Hungary! I posted many pics on Facebook but here is a picture of the kids with the castle in the background. Some of the Christians held an Easter Sunrise service here the next morning but 5:30 am was a bit early to get the whole Daniels crew up, dressed, out of the house and up a hill. We celebrated Easter with some friends who have a house church here in Papa.

- Jeff made a couple of C-17 trips in the past being to Entebee, Uganda. He also went back to Altus, OK for his quarterly simulator training. He is looking forward to doing his next quarterly training in Charleston...he's looking forward to seeing family and friends on that trip.

- I've mentioned the storks before. Here is a picture of a Daddy stork in the nest that is on top of a restaurant we like to go to. I don't know the name of the restaurant in Hungarian but the English-speakers all call it, appropriately enough, the Storks Nest Restaurant. Had some of the best onion soup ever!

- We began the month of the May with the most amazing week in Germany and Austria. We first went to Garmisch, Germany to the Edelweiss Lodge. It's one of five or six hotels that the US armed services run throughout the world. We stayed at the hotel in Korea, The Dragon Hill Lodge, when we first moved to Korea five years ago.  The kids especially enjoyed the breakfast and dinner all-you-can-eat buffets and the pool. We also got to visit a commissary and I was able to get some flavored coffee creamer - I haven't been able to find that in Papa yet.

- This area of the world has got to be one of the most beautiful on earth. We visited one of King Ludwig's palaces - Linderhof Palace and his castle Neuschwanstein Castle, and they were beautiful but they paled in comparison to God's creation all around us. It was awesome!!! We also visited the Salzburg Cathedral which was very pretty inside, but taking hikes in the countryside brought me much closer to the Lord. We are definitely going back to Garmisch again! Here is a picture of the family in the German countryside. Once again, I posted many more pictures on my Facebook page. Jeff is an awesome photographer!

- The second place we visited was Austria, near Salzburg. We visited Salzburg and saw some of the places that the Sound of Music was based on. It was an absolutely wonderful trip!!! As we were driving back into Hungary from Austria, though, we knew we were headed home. We are so happy to call Papa, Hungary our home.

- We celebrated Sarah Catherine's 3rd birthday on May 9th. She had a party with some friends and got to open some wonderful presents from all her family back in the US. She is such a sweet, beautiful, funny, lovable little girl. Our family is absolutely blessed by her every day!

- We planted a garden and a bunch of flowers in the backyard. Our yard will not compare, though, to many of the beautiful gardens that our neighbors have. They do love their flowers in Papa...and so do I!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tulips, storks and Google translator

- The time in Hungary is flying by...I thought I would blog more often but when our homeschool days don't end until 4:30 and, the info I spent the last hour typing up for this blog entry just dumped (some not so nice words are going through my head right now, directed at my computer), I don't get to write as much as I had hoped to
- Here's a picture of us on a hike we took about a month ago. The area was pretty and will be beautiful in the springtime. It's about 45 minutes away.
- Went to church for the first time yesterday and it was great. There's a home church here, with Sunday School for the kids, and all of us enjoyed it a bunch
- Yesterday afternoon, we spent five hours visiting with our Hungarian neighbors, who we just met. The sister was miraculously healed from Osteoporosis and as a result, the whole family became Christians. Thanks to one of the brothers whose English is pretty good and Google translator. We look forward to many more enjoyable times with them and hope to visit their church in the future.
- Last weekend we had a great time with some new friends from Bulgaria. It was interesting to hear about life in their country. Once again, I think the best thing about living here is meeting people from other countries, plus the wonderful American friends we have made.
- Speaking of friends, we just found out some of our very close friends are moving to Germany, only 6 hours away...yeah!
- The weather is getting warmer so no more fires in the fireplace. I do miss the coziness of it at night but not the smoky smell that often lingered in my hair
- Driving around the area has provided us with some neat sights: numerous wagons pulled by horses, chickens walking around the street where we live, giant crucifixes everywhere, two storks in their nest built on top of some power line poles, about five very different looking deer in a clearing, beautiful tulips, daffodils and flowering trees, life in Hungary is unique!
- We are taking weekly Hungarian language lessons so that hopefully we can speak to people and not walk around in a bubble of silence everywhere we go. The people are friendly but I would really like to be able to talk to the lady at the Tesco checkout counter or the parents of the kids in Nathan's class.
- Speaking of kids - ours are doing great! Here are some of their likes: Grace - reading, drawing, riding her bike around the house, piano, helping with Sarah; Rachel - making trees houses, computer, reading, organizing her room, earning money; Rebecca - animals, drawing, Barbies, swing set, Wii; Nathan - Wii, swing set, sword fighting, action figures and school; Sarah - anything pink, dresses, drawing, Starfall on the computer, dolls
- Jeff has been flying a lot and will be headed back to the US for the third time later this month. He's enjoying the job - I think the people are probably the best part for him as well
- We are enjoying a great couple's Bible study on Wednesday night, studying the book of Revelation
- My sister and her family are moving to Houston from Atlanta...happy for her but sad that this will postpone their visit to see us for a year.
- Just finished getting the guest room set up for friends coming here this weekend...the bed we bought is a bit smaller than a normal full-sized American bed. I'm seeing, once again, that America is the land of big things...big cars, houses, drinks, refrigerators, dryers, etc.
- Rebecca, Rachel and I spent a Saturday, a few weeks back, planting a bunch of vegetable seeds into pots. Hopefully, we can transplant them in May and have a great garden this year
- Grace and Rachel were quite the interest item at the park on Thursday. By the time we left, they were being followed by a group of about 15-20 girls. The girls were practicing their English with them and were especially interested in Grace's looks since there aren't too many Asians here in Papa. Reminded me of some of our outings in Korea.
- Jeff's parents have taken good care of us via care packages...about 6 already. The last two were filled with Girl Scout cookies which we shared with our neighbors and landlord...thanks! We are trying to send out a few gift packages ourselves, every month, to family and friends.
- Two flat tires prevented us from going to Vienna today to visit the zoo and the Easter Market. Hopefully we can get up there later this week and I will post pictures on Facebook. And this weekend i Budapest with our friends who are visiting. So many neat things to see in such close proximity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ice skating, new friends and Hungarian Revolution Day

- Can it be that we've been here for more than 2 months? Hungary feels likes home. I am so glad we live here!
- I have so enjoyed meeting new friends from different countries! I had a lovely visit with a new friend from Sweden and made two new friends in Spain - one from Poland and the other from Norway. So awesome and such interesting conversation.

- The girls and I had a great time ice skating. After an hour, all three who had never put on skates before could make it around either by themselves or else with just a bit of help. Afterwards we went to  McDonalds. What a fun day!

- I uploaded a bunch of pictures of the inside of our house on my Facebook page if you want to check them out. Such a cozy house. I really like it!

- had a wonderful time with the family two weeks ago at a little village 30 minutes from here...hiking in the forest and eating out at a quaint little restaurant that surprisingly had English words on the menu. The hike was 1 1/2 hours and the kids did great!!!

- our five days in Rota Spain were wonderful!!! We had a great time. I posted all the pictures with comments on my Facebook page if you want to check them out.

-Yesterday was the Hungarian Revolution Day. Everyone had a holiday for two days and celebrated throughout the country. I made Hungarian goulash for dinner last night in remembrance. Here is the background of this important Hungarian day according to Budapest Tourist Guide "The revolutionary wave that had swept over Europe in spring 1848 resulted in a bloodless revolution in Hungary on 15th March. A bunch of Hungarian poets and writers formed the core of the radicals. Following the events on 15th March a Hungarian delegation went to Vienna to tell their demands to Ferdinand V. After several discussions the Habsburgs accepted an independent Hungarian ministry lead by Count Lajos BatthyĆ”ny. In summer 1848 Vienna decided to take action against the Hungarian revolution. The ethnic minorities living in Hungary weren't happy with the Hungarians' victory. The Croats allied with Austria and their troops attacked and invaded Hungary.

Despite the Habsburgs' more power and larger army they weren't strong enough to defeat Hungarians so Austria convinced Russia to provide support for breaking down the Hungarian War of Independence. Despite being a small country, Hungary humiliated Austria by fighting tooth and nail and she emphasized this by surrendering not to the Emperor but to the Russian Czar in August 1849. Following the defeat retribution began. Fourteen generals were executed at Arad on 6th October 1849: Count BatthyĆ”ny Lajos, Hungary's first prime-minister was shot at Pest, and thousands were sentenced to death or prison. The Habsburgs built the Citadel fortress on Gellert Hill at that time with cannons directed at the town below. The age of terror stifled Hungary in the coming years."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fireworks, Transylvania and massage

Where to is good and we are so blessed here in Hungary! As I write this I am listening to a hymn by Selah entitled "O Lord, be Thou Near to Me." One of the verses resonates with my spirit:

And the holy voices sing “Hallelu!”
Ever will Thy reign be.
As I wander through this life,
Oh Lord, be Thou near to me.

In Hungary, in Korea, in Charleston, Okinawa...the list goes on, the Lord is always near. May He use our family, here in Hungary, to His glory.

- Right now the older three girls are at a sleepover (only the second one they have ever been to). Later today I will join them and the rest of the girls for ice skating in the nearby city of Gyor (jur). The girls have never been and Grace isn't so sure about the ice skating since she might fall down. I told her she will have fun. I have yet to decide if I will strap on ice's been years!

- We are on our way to becoming official residents (not citizens) of Hungary. On Thursday the children and I travelled to Veszprem...about an hour's drive. The trip was beautiful...rolling hills, trees, little villages with smoke curling out of the roofs, surrounding the central church with its beautiful steeples. I need to take my camera on every trip I go on, though it's not very wise to be shooting pics while driving down a two-lane road. I plan to take a bunch of photos of the countryside. Once we got to Veszprem, I mentioned to our translator and friend what a beautiful drive. He didn't seem too impressed. But, we're new here and everything is fresh and beautiful to our eyes. I am so looking forward to the spring when everything will be in bloom and green.

- Jeff returned home last night from a week at Altus AFB, OK. He has to return to the US every quarter for computer simulator C-17 training. He came back quite tired after his plane was delayed 2 1/2 hours in London, but baring a smile and lots of food/medicine from Wal-Mart. We now are supplied with mac-n-cheese and kid's meds for many weeks to come. But, he doesn't plan to do that again...the bags were incredibly heavy and really, we can find all we need here in Papa.

- I hosted a homeschooling meeting at our house on Thursday. There are six homeschooling families here in Papa...a few more maybe, but I haven't met them. Such a nice group of ladies. I think our biggest goal is to get our kids together to play and to plan some neat field trips.

- Yesterday I got my first massage in a few years from a great Hungarian lady. Her English was very good...the children learn English in school here. The massage was wonderful and it cost me only $12 with! I signed up Jeff for one in March. She had a little shop on the bottom of one of the apartment complexes. It smelt of incense and was filled with the sounds of soothing music...and customers who knocked and came in the door (just a few feet from where I was laying) 3 or 4 times during the massage. But, when you have a little shop and it's only you...I guess you need to deal with interruptions. Thanks to my friend for watching the kids for me!

- I also had a new friend over to my house yesterday. So much to tell from spending a few hours with her! She is from Romania...Transylvania. We didn't talk about Dracula, though. She amazed me in that she arrived in Papa 1 1/2 years ago speaking no English. She has learned to be very fluent in our language in such a short time. Wow! She and her son came bringing flowers and Romanian candy. I had made brownies. So, over coffee and brownies we talked about many things. One was the educational systems of Romania, Hungary and America. Her son likes going to school in Hungary because he has time for extracurricular activities. In Romania, he goes to school for 7 hours and then has piles of homework until bed. Sounds like the way America is going in our school system.

- She told me about gypsies. I had assumed, since they are also referred to as "Romas," that they mainly came from Romania. That's not the case. They originally came from India and Egypt, are spread all over the world and the word actually comes from the word Rome...not Romania. She told me the same as I have heard from many...that there are some who are hard-working, home owning, responsible members of society. But many do not want to work, do not send their children to school and tend towards theft and other crimes. The whole situation makes me sad. The Lord has burdened my heart for them. I don't know what, if anything, we are to do about it...other than pray.

- She also talked about the post-Communist Europe. The younger people like the freedom of democracy and all the technology and other things that capitalism brings. Unfortunately, many of the older people, who are out of work and struggling to get by on the meager resources they have, look back with longing to the Communist system where, although they had little personal freedom, they had food and a home. There is still a long way to go in Eastern Europe, it seems, before democracy really takes hold and ushers in a better life for all.

- Jake, our dog, turned 4 on Feb. 16. The kids made him a treat cake. They took five different types of treats, spread them out on a cookie sheet and put the sheet down in front of Jake as they sang "Happy Birthday." He enjoyed it! We laugh at his favorite dog food. We tried a generic Tesco brand of food but he would have nothing to do with it. Then a friend gave us some "Darling" dog food with little hearts and other colorful pieces. It's his favorite! He will pick out the "Darling" food and leave the Tesco brand on the floor (for me to step on incidentally).

- Speaking of birthdays, last Friday night we had a birthday party for Nathan at the Villa Classica hotel in their jungle-themed room. We invited some friends and everyone had fun. The cake had a "firework" on it...huge, sparkler. A friend shielded my hair as the kids were blowing it out and I was taking pictures, lest my hair catch on fire from the flames. The Villa Classica, as always, were perfect hosts and so accommodating.

- Our friends who have four children, and ours have begun a weekly Bible club...a little like Awana. We do miss Awana and maybe we can start one here in the future, but for now, this will be a blessing.

- This next week, in homeschooling, we will be learning about Spain in preparation for our trip to Rota, Spain the following week.

Szia! (Goodbye)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nathan accepts Jesus and first glimpses of Budapest

Nathan driving his sisters at the science museum
- The biggest news is that tonight...Nathan accepted the Lord Jesus as his Savior!!! We had just watched the movie Letters to God and so I guess he was thinking about Heaven. Then he and Grace were talking about Heaven and he said he wanted to become a Christian so he came in and talked to Jeff about what that means, Jeff prayed a prayer with him and we all celebrated!!! What a wonderful blessing!

- We had a great time at the Palace of Miracles in Budapest on Thursday. We went with four other homeschooling families. The museum is a science museum for children. It was three floors worth of very cool exhibits. The kids had a blast! Definitely a place we can take visitors when they come to see us.

- Driving to Budapest took about 2 hours. The first part of the drive was on a 2-lane road, narrow...with lots of trucks and people passing me...not my idea of fun driving. I am not an aggressive driver so the thought of trying to pass trucks and cars on narrow, curvy roads made me a bit tense the first part. Thankfully, once we passed the city of Gyor (pronounced Jer), we went to a four-lane road...much better...all the way into Budapest.

- My first impression of Budapest was a big, old city. Some neat buildings lined the streets...lots of carvings on the outside of some. Traffic was heavy, though, and the streets a bit confusing. Thankfully I was following Pam. After the museum, though, we drove across the Danube River to get to the other side of the city and I sure did wish I wasn't driving. It was BEAUTIFUL! It looked like castles, cathedrals and other neat building lined the river. I sure can't wait to go back and see more and tour some of the places.

- After the museum we went to the local mall and I bought some scarves. Here in Hungary, and I guess in much of Europe, most women have two things in and scarves. I had the boots and now I have the scarves.

- The kids have been having a great time playing with the grandchildren of our neighbor. They brought over some little gifts the second time they played together and then, on Friday, the grandchildren gave our kids some sweet.

- On Wednesday, I had my first day of being a bit frustrated with differences between the US and Hungary. And not that one country is in any way better than the other...just different. It started with the furniture we had delivered...wardrobes for the rooms since they don't have closets, American-sized refrigerator, transformers....well, the furniture is just so big and the rooms small that it all looked crowded. Then, when I plugged in the refrigerator it caused all the power to go out in the house. Once I fixed that I discovered that the power outage caused the stove to stop working and then the light bulb in the kitchen burnt out right before dinner. Oh well...the little challenges in life. And...but this has nothing to do with Hungary, Sarah chose that same afternoon to wipe her poop all over our vacuum cleaner that I had just unpacked. It was just one of those days. :)

- I have a greater appreciation for people who must maintain a daily fingers are chapped and swollen from handling wood so much and at night, when I clean my face, it is a bit dirty from the soot. But, I do have a sense of accomplishment from maintaining the fire, plus, watching a fire is such a pleasant thing.

- Off to bed. I hope you are enjoying our journey with us!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We've been here a month

- We've been here a month already and are settled in...over half the bags unpacked...sleeping well through the night...making friends...homeschooling and Jeff flying

- A sweet little Dachshund, named Toocheck (sp?) visited our yard two days ago. He lives, or so we thought, next door with our neighbor. The dog got through a hole in the fence to come over to our yard for much of the day and had a great time playing with Jake and the kids. When the girls went to put him back through our front gates, he jumped out of their arms and ran off. We were horrified. We live right near the main road. Jeff and I searched for well over an hour with no sign of him. So, through our wonderful interpreter we told our neighbor. He said, "No problem, he will come back." But, he didn't come back and all yesterday we felt bad. Finally, Jeff and I, armed with some Hungarian phrases that Jeff had worked out on the computer, went over to our neighbors' house last evening. We were greeted warmly by our neighbors. Turns out, the dog doesn't belong to them but lives two doors down and wanders the neighborhood. He's back home. Whew! We were so relieved. Then they invited us in and for the next 30 minutes, between our iPhone Hungarian translator and Misi and Jeff's German, we learned about them and their family. We are happy to be living next to them and so glad the dog incident turned out okay!

- Right now, the kids, minus Sarah who is taking a nap, are next door playing with our neighbor's grandchildren. I hear lots of yelling and laughing and see running and ball kicking. It's so neat how kids can have fun together, even if they don't share a common language. And our neighbor Misi (Mishi) is so nice...right now he is kicking a ball with Nathan and one of his grandsons.

- Jeff is on his second trip...this time to Oslo, Norway and some other spots. He was asking me if I could check the weather in Oslo to see if he needed his long underwear...well, it was snowy rain and below 0 degrees so he packed them.

- Jeff got to root for the Green Bay Packers as he watched the Super Bowl at the Villa Classica Hotel at midnight! He actually is a late night person so it was no problem. And, it's a bit better than watching the Superbowl over breakfast like he did while we were in Korea.

- Tomorrow our washing machine and dryer, refrigerators, transformers and a few other things get delivered from Aviano Air Base, Italy (our closest American Air Force support base). We are hoping that the washing machine and dryer fit through our laundry room door...the pile of dirty clothes we have could fill five laundry baskets!

- Living in Okinawa, Korea and now Hungary continues to grow our family's love for the people that God has made. We may have differences, but there is more that draws us together. Who would have thought, growing up during the Cold War, that we Americans would be living in a former Communist nation with our oldest daughter, adopted from a current Communist country...God works in such mysterious, amazing ways!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our new home in Papa

- As I write this, I'm sitting in our living room which is mostly unpacked, looking at the fire in our ceramic fireplace, which does a good job of heating much of the house, noticing that it just snowed, very lightly, outside...such a feeling of contentment comes over me...thank you Lord for Your many blessings

- After 3 1/2 weeks of walking Jake every, cold morning...I can now let him out in the backyard to pee...yeah!

- Speaking of Jake, he has become Nathan's roommate at night. We have the kids separated into Rebecca and Rachel's pink room, Grace and Sarah's (for now...until Sarah and Nathan can sleep together in a bunk bed which we have to purchase) yellow room and Nathan's blue room. He didn't want to sleep by himself but seems quite content to go to sleep with Jake sleeping on the end of his bed...what could be sweeter than walking into your son's room and seeing him happily laying in bed with his faithful dog at his feet. We are SO glad we decided to bring Jake.

- We met our neighbor, Mikhail...he seems very nice. We need to learn more Hungarian so we can speak to him.

- I made our big shopping store trip, yesterday, to equip the kitchen. Despite the language barrier, I was able to purchase everything. It's interesting to observe the differences in a US grocery store compared to Hungarian.
   -- both are very nice inside
   -- both have a great fruit and vegie section...I even found avocados marked way down (about .30 a piece)
   -- bread is good and inexpensive here and they are big loaves (less than a dollar)
   -- Hungarian stores don't have a lot of packaged foods (like Mac-n-cheese) but they do have a lot of sausages and items that looked like sausage (I bought one yesterday...had no real idea what I was buying. Turns out it was some sort of spreadable pate. Jeff tried cutting it up and frying it to add to some vegie soup he made. Nope...doesn't work. We agreed it had the taste and texture of meat tooth paste and Jake will be getting bits of that over the next few days)
   -- Lots of American products (sodas, Uncle Bens rice, chips) but they tend to be more expensive. I try to buy Hungarian for the price and for the experience.
   -- Lots of soup mix packages here and a whole section of different types of Paprika seasoning. Paprika is very popular in Hungary and is one of the things Hungary is known for
   -- At the local Interspar...guess what is right by the checkout aisle? Yes, the usual candy, gum...but also...Playboy videos. Nice. We haven't seen much risque stuff around here but a little more than the US
   -- When you check out here, they don't bag your groceries. You need to bring your own bags, or you can purchase one pretty inexpensively, and bag them yourself. I was working hard yesterday after buying so much stuff. I really felt like the eyes of all the customers were on me, wondering why any family needs so much food. I wanted to explain, but couldn't, so I just smiled.

- Doors...closing doors successfully has been a problem for us in Hungary. In the Villa Classica the kids, esp. Rebecca, were always complaining that they couldn't get the bathroom door closed; our friend Kellie's gate doesn't close well which led to Jake's escape a week or so ago, and now in our house, the front door had to be fixed because you couldn't close it from the outside, the back door has to be fixed because you can't open it from the outside and a few of our doors have handles falling out. Oh well...maybe God is telling us, symbolically, not to close any doors that He wants to leave open for us in Hungary.

- Nathan's school teachers held a special meeting for all foreign parents. They had an interpreter (to make the conversation flow a little easier) and told us about how our kids were doing, any upcoming events and wanted our input. So nice. Nathan did have a little disagreement with his teacher. Here in Hungary, and we noticed the same about China, they really bundle the kids up when they go out. At his school, when they would go out to play, they wanted Nathan to wear two pairs of pants and two shirts, with his scarf, hat, mittens and jacket over top. He didn't want to wear the double layers which led to his staying inside at recess. I explained to Nathan that he needs to obey his teacher but then gave his teacher permission to let him go out in one pair of pants, one shirt and his double-layered, Gortex jacket, with hat, scarf and mittens. He says he is plenty warm.

- The kids were quite happy yesterday, once Jeff set up the Wii. They played some new games, thanks Kelly, Ray and Melanie, and enjoyed themselves very much! In fact, Nathan is lying right next to me and just asked me, "Mommy, after breakfast can I do the Wii?"

- Keeping a fire going 24 hours a day is a bit of a chore. I think it is pretty neat right now, though. It gives me such an appreciation for our ancestors who had to do this and the many people who still rely on a daily fire to meet their needs. The girls have been great about bringing in the wood. We probably burn about 20 logs a day. But, it will cut our heating bill in half and it's so cheerful!

- We are now living in what some have referred to as a "Gypsy Neighborhood." I think a gypsy might live caddy-corner from us and we often see them out walking in their colorful, flowing skirts. I want to learn what I can about this people group as I pray for God's blessing to flow down upon them.

- I think the house will look beautiful once we get everything unpacked and moved in. We are so excited about welcoming any of our friends to stay with us and explore Hungary and Europe!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Frosted trees and deer

- Nathan enjoyed his first week of preschool at Faya Kindergarten. Here he is sitting at the table with some of the other kids, waiting for their mid-morning snack.  
- Last night we went over to dinner at some new friends who live in a little town a few miles from here. Driving there was just beautiful! We had a frost yesterday morning that iced all the trees, bushes and grass. It was beautiful with open fields and trees over the road and then, bounding across the road in front of us were five deer...very cool! The village is about 12 minutes from Papa.
- Two nights ago we experienced what some friends had already told us about - the late night party habits of Hungarians. There was some sort of celebration in the hotel downstairs (their conference/party room is right below our room). Well, they had live music (piano, maybe some other instrument) and lots of singing that went into the wee hours of the morning. It sounded like they were having so much fun and it was nice to go to sleep listening to them celebrate.
- Sarah, and the rest of us, are eager to spread out a bit in the house, this Tuesday. A hotel for 3 1/2 weeks is showing me the "2-yr-old" in Sarah as she goes from one mess to the next.
- The staff at the Villa Classic have been so awesome! Two nights ago they brought us coloring books, pens and pencils for the kids and three days ago it was some DVDs and a book for the kids. So sweet! A couple of them have become our friends on Facebook.
- I was happy to discover that they drink the instant coffee in little packages like they do in Korea. I am enjoying my coffee here!
- While the people in the hotel have been so very friendly, it makes me a bit sad to see most of the people walking down the street, because when I try to make eye contact, smile and wish them a good morning or afternoon, they usually never look up. I think it may be due to the communist background of Hungary but the people are not friendly and open like they were in Korea or America. I'm going to keep trying, though, wishing the people, that look at me, a Jo Napot (Good Afternoon) or Jo Reggelt (Good Morning).
- The toilets in the hotel are very powerful...kinda like the swoosh of an airplane toilet. And, they have two buttons...a small one and big one. Rachel explained to me that the small was for pee and the big for poop..makes as much sense as any other explanation.
- A very cool thing...the military will pay for our homeschooling since there is no school option here. They even pay for boarding school if one so desires. I just ordered a ton of stuff from Sonlight...our homeschool curriculum company...looking forward to its arrival.
- I'm realizing that putting a video on my blog takes a LONG TIME to upload
- Sarah just came in to tell me that Nathan is saying a bad word (stupid)...and she asks me: "Mommy, you spank Nathan in the butt?" Such love for each other...hah!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New thoughts

- This is our hotel, the Villa Classica. The hotel is very nice and the staff wonderful....but trying to keep five kids happy, content and homeschooling them, in two rooms is becoming a bit of a chore. I will be most glad, as will we all, to move into our home (hopefully next Tuesday)
- Here is a list of Hungarian words we were working on learning this morning (all words we have come across in the last few days). Realistically, we most likely won't learn a whole lot of Hungarian in just two years but if we can learn a few words every week, we can at least build up our vocab and try when we are out and about. I do hope to find a Hungarian teacher who will come to the house to teach us regularly

bread kenyer  (kenyeh)
butter vaj  (voy)
ham sonka  (shaunka)
and es (aysh)
frog beka  (veekah)
good jo  (yo)
bad rossz  (rohsh)
pretty szep  (sayp)
closed zart  (zart)
we’re closed zarva  (zee-ar-vah)
open Nyitva  (nyeat-va)
cheese sajt  (shyt)
cheetah gepard  (gehpart)
house haz (hahs)

- I have just discovered, thanks to my sister, a new Christian friend who lives in Hungary. She is a missionary and has been here for 10 years..they live 4 hours east of us. Her blog is wonderful if you care to read it - Confessions of a Missionary Wife

- We are going to a couple's Bible study tonight and I plan to join a women's Bible study next Tuesday morning on Beth Moore...looking forward to the Christian fellowship

- A couple things I like in Hungary that the US might benefit from doing:
  -- Dryer racks in hotels -- metal racks that heat up...put your towels (or your laundry if you are doing it in the hotel to save money) on and pretty quickly they are dry
  -- at the grocery stores (we saw this in Korea also) you get your cart by putting a small coin (a 100 Forint piece here - equivalent to $.50) into a little box on the cart. Once you put in the coin, you can release the cart from the one in front of it. Use your cart from shopping and then return the cart and retrieve your coin. Costs you nothing but causes the shopper to return the cart to the place where it belongs
  -- traffic lights that count down the seconds until they turn green
  -- traffic circles...make turns faster and easier (though I have heard there are some in Europe that are pretty tricky)
  -- these metal roller shades on the outsides of windows that roll down to keep out light...really keeps a room dark...would be great for hurricanes on the East Coast (I think they might have something like this in Florida)
  -- I know there are more but can't think of them at the moment

- Nathan is enjoying his Kindergarten class (not true Kindergarten...more like preschool). The teachers are very nice, kids friendly, lots of toys to play with and they include songs and games in both Hungarian and English. At snack and lunch time (he spend four hours there from 8:30 - 12:30) they set the tables with table clothes and real china dishes and glasses. The kids behave very well. He has three pairs of shoes - the ones he wears to school which he changes out of in the coat room for his indoor shoes, plus, he has gym shoes that he puts on when they run around the room and play with balls. Plus, he has his own toothbrush, paste, towel, comb, kleenex, liquid soap and cup which is all kept in a certain place in the bathroom. His little symbol is a croissant.

- We had a light dusting of snow this morning - looked like God sprinkled powdered sugar over everything - so pretty. Now it's almost all gone

- We started watching the Waltons last night. What a great show...I had never really watched it as a kid.

- Jeff bought a little Ford Countor to drive around. He gets off work at 4:30 and unlike in Charleston, everyone goes home at 4:30. Yeah!

- Life is good in Hungary. We are truly enjoying this lovely little town!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rebecca's thoughts after 2 weeks in Hungary

These are Rebecca's thoughts:

- in our hotel they have lots of pictures of zebras, elephants, and deer (the reason for this is that the owner is an avid hunter...there are also pics of wild boars, elk, etc.) Jeff learned that Hungary is known for its hunting and people often travel from other European countries to hunt in Hungary

- I don't see many school buses (the children do go to school from 1st grade on through high school)

- I like the chocolate Kinder-eggs with a little toy inside. I plan to buy some today at the store Interspar with some Forint that Mommy is going to give me in exchange for my dollars

- the food is tasty; my favorite thing I've eaten so far is the roasted/fried cheese

- the stores are exciting because there were pretty pink boots at one of the stores, (unfortunately, they were not in my size)

- I've met some very nice people..both Hungarian and American

- I liked going to the has a zip line that I can ride on (the park will be about a 10-minute walk from our new house)

- While we live in Hungary, I look forward to playing with my new friends

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two weeks in Hungary

Hungarian Puli
- Two weeks in Hungary and everyone seems to be into a normal sleeping schedule and over our colds (except for most of us having a lingering cough)
- Just went by our house we're going to be renting and we should be moving in around Feb 1...looking forward to it
- I took Nathan by his new Kindergarten on Wed to meet his two speaks some English and both seem very nice. I plan to go with Nathan the first couple of mornings for an hour or so, just until we feel comfortable
- The town of Papa is pretty took us less than 20 minutes to drive all the way around the town
- The entire town reminds me of Charleston's Rainbow Row and our old neighborhood Hunt Club...the houses are all very colorful with purple, pink, orange, yellow and blue houses all in a row; it's very pretty and quaint
- Most of the houses are flush to the street with inner courtyards and/or backyards behind the front wall of the house...I'll have to take pictures to show what I mean
- The kids go to nursery school and Kindergarten until they are 7 when they start 1st grade. Up until that point there is very little's just playtime. In 1st grade they start to learn to read and write
- There are dogs everywhere and one of the most common breeds is the Hungarian Puli (see picture above). They are everywhere...I saw about 5 just on our drive around this afternoon. Last week there was one at the house next to one we were looking at and it started barking at Sarah. She came over to me very concerned and said, "Mommy, the doggie is yelling at me." According to our new friends, both Hungarian and American, a lot of the dogs "yell" around here
- It has been cold and wet since we have been here...looking forward to the spring
- Gardens are very common here with many backyards consisting mainly of gardens. We plan to garden again this year. I'll have to research when to plant and what grows well here
- We started homeschooling this past Monday (week 23 of our 36 week year). It went really well.
- One thing I will miss here is not having the library, which in Charleston was a weekly trip for us
- I realize that cartoons are entertaining to the kids whether in English or Hungarian. They don't seem to miss out on much if they can't understand the language. News, on the other hand, is a bit harder to follow. Jeff has found that his German has come in handy.
- We went to a really cool swimming complex on's huge with more than 6 different pools...many of them heated by underwater hot springs
- I'm sure there is so much more but these are the observations that come to mind. I plan to set my alarm and get up early for the first time since being here, now that my sleep schedule is back to normal...I've missed my morning quiet time with the Lord.
- Good night everyone!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday's reflections

- we will move into our new house within a few weeks after the landlord builds us another bedroom (he builds furniture and said it would be no problem to add another room) he is really nice!
- being sick is no fun...esp when Jeff has to go to work, Rebecca, Nathan and Grace are sick and you have a toddler (Sarah) who doesn't sit quietly for very long...thanks to Rachel for helping out yesterday and thanks to Jeff for getting us meds last night
- the flight surgeon assigned to us here (Hungarian-American) came to the hotel last night...very nice; while he and Jeff talked in the lobby, his two big German Shepherds were tied up out on the patio and proceeded to destroy a watering can and broom...Grace, Rachel and Rebecca enjoyed watching them and scolding them from the upstairs window
- we chose our house...came down to 2 really, really nice but located too far away for us to walk into town and the other nice, but smaller, and located in town...we chose the second one...we want to walk places and live more like the typical Hungarians who walk everywhere; plus, it cost us $110 to fill up our mini van so we will definitely minimize our driving around here
- had a pizza with three different cheeses and sour cream on was pretty good
- Sarah has decided that she likes to be naked (first of our kids who have ever done this) and two nights ago I caught her running down the stairs to the lobby in her birthday suit...thankfully no one was around
- our hotel is small and has a homey much so, that Nathan likes to kick his shoes off and shed his jacket as we enter the hotel...we have to tell him to wait until we get to our room
- found an awesome park nearby...complete with a zip will be close to our new home

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday's reflections

- fog is still here...I'm not minding it, just different

- had pizza for the fourth lunch...met a really nice girl named Andi who works there. Her English is good

- took the kids to the local bowling alley for an afternoon of bowling with new friends...we've also been treated really well by new friends; I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the kindness poured out toward us

- back to the bowling's a little restaurant on a side street with a bowling alley sign out in front. When you walk in, the room is full of tables and chairs but in the very back there are two bowling alleys behind a sliding door with one ball container. I will ask the kids how they liked it later and if they had fun, we might have Nathan's 5th birthday party t
here...he turns 5 on Jan's the only bowling in town

- this is a very quiet town...I've had the window open (no screens) in the evening and other than the occasional car, it is silent

- many of you know our family's desire to share Christ with others, well, even though we are here for the Air Force,  we have been asking the Lord to guide us into whatever missional opportunities are here.
-- Our adoption agency, All God's Children international  has asked us to facilitate the beginning of Hungarian adoptions...what that means is that we will have to meet with Hungarian officials and be the go-between for AGCI and the Hungarian government. We're going to need to find a good translator

- since there seems to be no laundromat in town and we're not paying $2.50 to get a shirt cleaned, I took to washing the clothes in the sink with dish soap. Didn't get the stains out much but hopefully got the smell and surface dirt off

- looked at three more houses...nothing jumped out at us. We'll hopefully look at a few more today and make our decision by the end of the week

- got our mini-van fixed last night and met our new friends for dinner at the Stork's Nest restaurant. It is called that because it has an actual stork's nest (huge thing) on top of one of its chimneys. I'll have to take a picture of it in the daytime. We had wonderful Hungarian goulash soup...delicious!

- for those of you who know our dog Jake, you know he really doesn't have many bad habits...we would say just one (running off when he gets a chance,...he already did that once here when he slipped right out of his collar and headed down the street - thankfully he came back to me after about a minute or two). Well, now he has two...shredding things when he is left by himself. We left him in the bathroom last night while we looked at houses and had dinner and he shredded a pair of Sarah's pants and one of Rebecca's socks -- oops!

Nathan's first reflections of Hungary

Nathan's thoughts:

- wants a playground
- like the bakery next to our hotel
- wants a store that has a lot of bottles of water and other drinks...there is one right around the corner
- likes his new friend Alex who is five...nice of Alex to share his gum with him...would like to live right next to his house
- wants a Chinese place where people do karate so he can watch them (there are karate classes here so we might enroll Nathan and some of the kids in it)...he only wants to do a class with the younger kids
- doesn't want to do Kindergarten because he's shy (we do plan to put Nathan and Sarah in a local Kindergarten half day where they play, do crafts and learn manners at the lunch table
- he likes that there are nice pictures in our hotel room (they are all of different animals (local and African)
- he wants another Iron Man, Batman and Spider man toy...there are actually many American toys at the local Interspar store so we might find one of those for his birthday coming up

These are all in his own words...cute to see how a 4-yr-old's mind works

Monday reflections

- A bit surreal - sitting at breakfast in hotel lobby with Sarah, eating European breakfast (meat, veggies, granola, roll, dried fruit, sparkling water and coffee) watching her dance along to a Bee Gees song playing...what is it about other country's fascination with American music? I am sure they have some wonderful music of their own - I would rather listen to that
- got our van but the battery is dead - have it parked outside hotel, most likely the only Toyota Sienna in the  whole city of Papa
- Jake really likes his walks around the block, so much to one seems to pick up poop around here, I think that is why they have "no dog" signs at the entrance to their parks; our friend Kellie said as long as your dog is on a leash and you pick up after it, they don't seem to mind if you take your dog into a park. We have been told that most dogs in Papa are for security reasons only and are kept outside and bark a lot...we've seen this already although one house we looked at yesterday had the cutest Yorkie named Molly and she was definitely an indoor dog
- Jeff commented that he hasn't seen one police car since we've been here. I saw a couple parked outside the police station
- I've got to learn more Hungarian! The sweetest little Hungarian lady tried to communicate with me and Grace outside the yummy pizza place (where we have eaten three lunches in a row...good and cheap). She was the one using her English and was able to communicate to me that she has relatives in Sarasota, FL and Rochester, NY. She wanted to say more but I didn't understand her. We plan to hire someone to teach our family
- Saw three houses yesterday. All houses seem to ask for 400,000 Forint for rent...that is equivalent to $2,000 rent which is very good for this area! That is the limit that the U.S. military has set for what they will pay for rent and all the landlords seem to know that. Not too many houses with 4 bedrooms, which is what we are looking for. I understand since the families are fairly small here. 
- There has been fog for the last two days...very thick. This is common in winter throughout parts of Europe. 
- Still having trouble getting to sleep but I know I'l get used to the time change in a few days
- We have been so blessed with some really nice people, nice hotel and exciting adventures awaiting us!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday - 2nd full day in Hungary - Tania's thoughts

- Church pretty! There are a number of beautiful, historic churches in Papa. I will post some pics soon
- Jake enjoyed his early morning walk...saw 4 people walking their dogs and had a few people say Jo Reggelt! (Good morning in Hungarian)
- Walked to Interspar  It's a large grocery store, based out of the UK. Very modern with everything we would need. I already found the discount diapers...2/3 the price of the pampers.
- While out walking you can seen many of the Communist-era high-rise apartment buildings. They have tried to make them look nicer by painting them with bright colors
- It's a beautiful, sunny day...Jeff is out with the four older kids, walking to pick up some pizza for lunch
- I saw a Gypsy/Roma lady in Interspar with her two little boys.  I smiled at her and she smiled sweet. From what I understand, they are not always treated kindly by others but there is a growing Christian outreach to them. Maybe the Lord will lead us in that direction
- We met our translator and she helped us with house hunting...very sweet lady. She spent a number of years in the US and has wonderful English skills
- Our new friends invited us over for dinner.,,had a great time with their four children...three girls and a boy, all around the same age as our kids.
- We walked back to the hotel after dinner...about 15 minutes...cold and so very foggy - I knew that I was not in Charleston...very different and European feeling
- Rachel and I were up til 2:30 and 3:30 am...trying to transition to European time

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The t.v. here is mostly in Hungarion. But it's okay. They also have a big park  and hot baths! We are doing very well.


Our hotel

The hotel we are staying in is very nice. The people here are nice. We are staying in two rooms. They both have bathrooms, and bedrooms. And one of our rooms has a kitchen! We also are looking for a house. We saw a nice house yesterday. Three dogs live next door!  I hope you all are well!  Grace.                                                            

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We are here!

Our family arrived safely in Papa, Hungary. We're staying at the Hotel Villa Classica

I'm a bit tired but will try to give some of my first impressions. I will have the girls write some tomorrow.

First impressions:
- colorful buildings...old and quaint
- really nice people
- flat land going to some rolling hills...looks like it will be beautiful in the spring
- enjoy taking our dog Jake on his potty walk around the downtown rather than our neighborhood in Charleston, SC...much more to see....yes, I brought a poop bag with me
- food is good so far, Rebecca and I especially like the sparkling water or water with gas as they refer to it
- weather is cold and overcast but no snow...looking forward to the snow
- Americans here have been wonderful! We have already had one friend, Kellie, bring over some breakfast food for us and another, Lisa and Corey, chat for awhile and show us a great restaurant, with more invites to come and visit in the future,,,wonderful welcome
- kids are enjoying it though hopefully we will get a house soon since they are already antsy to get out of the hotel
- need to learn some Hungarian

There is much more but I'm off to bed! Will post some pictures soon!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

More thoughts from Rachel

Five more days till we get on the plane & I'm going to miss all of our friends and family.

Grace's comments about our move

Hi all our friends back at home! We are all going to miss you.

Mom, Rebecca, Nathan, and Sarah are going in five days, and me, Dad, Rachel, and Jake are leaving in six days. We hope you all are well!