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

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)

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