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