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

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!