It’s been almost three weeks

It’s been almost three weeks since my sister died, and, surprisingly, the good memories start to beat out the emptiness and the immense sadness of losing her. I never posted a picture of her here, because she was very picky about what she considered good photos, and she could never make her mind up which photo to post, but as I went through thousands of photos from her 34 years creating two photobooks the last two weeks, I found some that I especially loved. Maybe they weren’t the best photos, but the memories attached made them outstandingly good.

  
This photo was taken two years ago while we were on vacation in Vonyarcvashegy. It is the one photo that shows my sister as I remember her: beautiful, funny, communicative, witty, sarcastic, smiley. 

It will be a while before a day passes without a deep ache occuring at random times, missing her. But with the pain of her loss I am eternally grateful for the 34 years I had her as my sister. 

It’s been almost three weeks

Catching Up Part 2 – September

2015-09-06 01.12.12September was a rather busy month, as it is usually the case in Service Desk settings. The first week of September often brings the second highest volumes of the year (after the first week of January), and we service desk people prepare for that as best as we can. It still often results in a lot of work, overtime, and just generally feeling rushed all the time. During this crazy silly month there were some activities we did as well.

One such event was the Corvin Movie Night. One of the movie theatres offered a full night of movies for about the equivalent of two tickets. My friend Judy and I went and saw some films we had wanted to see for a while like Trainwreck (Bill Hader is my favorite SNL alumn), and the most recent Mission Impossible movie (Simon Pegg was awesome). Since one of the movies we wanted to see was full we accidentally ended up seeing a great Spanish movie, “La isla mínima“. It was a pleasant surprise, a film that managed to keep my attention even at 2 a.m. after three other films. I highly recommend it.

Part of the event was an Instagram photo competition. Judy and I both uploaded a few snapshots from the cinema and I was lucky enough to win one of the movie vouchers for two! We used it to watch the second Maze Runner movie. It was fun to finally win something!

My sister, niece, and I made a visit to my frien Bea's. She lives in one if the suburban districts and has a huge garden. In the “olden days”mwe had one of our best team building events there. Bea and her then fiancé (now husband) Tomi have a cat, who was still quite a kitten back then. The two kids-my niece and the cat-had a blast playing in the garden. Despite rains in the morning and a forecast of more rain, we ended up with sunshine and only limited mud. We picked some apples while there, and came home with plenty of other fruits and vegetables from their garden. It was a very pleasant autumn afternoon.

At the end of September my niece decided she wanted to learn to crochet. We tried a bit at first, but after a while we ran into a problem. Can you see what it is.

Yes, she is legt-handed, which would not be a big problem if I was, too. Alas, I am not, and I'm still in the process of teaching myself to crochet left-handed so I can show her how to do it.

 

Catching Up Part 2 – September

Catching Up Part 1 – Balatonföldvár

2015-08-15 11.29.34After our annual Vonyarcvashegy vacation we had a wonderful opportunity to spend another week at lake Balaton in August. This time we went to Balatonföldvár. It is located on the south shore of the lake, where the water is shallow to the extent of having to walk over a hundred meters in knee deep water to reach a spot where one can actually swim. Because of this the southern shore is popular with families with young children. Except, of course, our family.

2015-08-13 08.57.29-1My niece was about to become an independent swimmer, and the super shallow lake just didn’t cut it. Good thing our hotel had a pool! It wasn’t very large, but it was just funenough for all of us. Surprisingly enough there was hardly anyone else using the pool, so after two attempts at the lake we just went to the pool three times a day. We even convinced my Dad to take a dip! That was two for two this summer. My sister very carefully instructed her daughter on how to breathe while swimming, and by the third morning she managed to swim twice the length of the pool without stopping. 2015.08.14 Balatonföldvár 193354 Katafotó eredeti

We managed to find an exellent restaurant on the first day, and we kept going back every day to try their various fish dishes. It ignited the Great Hungarian Fisherman’s Soup Debate in the family, but finally we settled on everyone liking the Szeged style soup–possibly because that is what we know rather than the Baja style.

One day Dad and I went on a long walk in the village, through some of the tourist paths, in search of a different beach from where we usually went, and we discovered a small rest area with wild berries and beautiful floweres. It was in a secluded, moderately difficult to access area, and we only found it because we got lost. Twice.

2015.08.12 Balatonföldvár 9493 eredeti

While I took my hooks and yarn to Földvár, I have to admit my creativity kind of decreased while enjoying the sun, time with family, and a few good books. This occasionally happens when life intervenes.

Catching Up Part 1 – Balatonföldvár

A Century

  My maternal grandfather was born 100 years ago today. He was born during The Great War, he lost his mother and at least two siblings at age 3 to the Spanish Flu. He lost his firstborn daughter. His surviving two children had some disabilities: my mom was born with dislocated hips, my uncle had epilepsy and some mild developmental disabilities. Grandfather served in the army in World War II, lived in oppressive regimes. He passed away thirty years ago, so I was blessed to have him in my life for eight years. 

My grandfather lived 200 km away in the city of Miskolc. He and my uncle would travel to visit us a few times a year, and we would spend a few werks in the summer with them in Miskolc. My second cousins are the same age as me, so we would sprnd countless hours playing in the garden. My grandpa took my cousin Judit and I to the grocery store to buy gummi strips, and he always let us make a mess on the patio. He gave the best gifts and he had a great sense of humor. My mom tells me he was good at business and always managed to provide for his family, including some luxuries. One family legend is about how he managed to get some bananas back in the late 50s or early 60s, when it was very very rare in Hungary. My mother thought for the next 30 years of her life that she hated bananas: the Cuban import was green, unripe, and tasteless, but they didn’t know that: it was the first time they had any. Later on in the 80s when bananas were only sold in the winter and often there were great lines for them, Grandpa bought us some every time he came.

Every August my great-aunt’s nameday was celebrated in their joint garden with lots of family present. My great-uncle woukd make fisherman’s soup from fish he had caught, and my cousins and sister and I would frown at the thought of fishbones. My grandpa and my great-Uncle crefully removed the fishbones and the not-so-kid-friendly parts, and convinced us to try it. Then we’d cook bacon on sticks and drip the lard on bread and eat together. It is one of my fondest memories from my, childhood, Judit and I running around the garden, pretending to be wild horses, and the grown ups letting us.

Today I’m searching for specific memories of him in my mind, and I have to admit I remember less than I wish I did. Looking through family photos there are only a handful of him: he was often behind the camera. When I look at his photo, though, I see some of my mother and some of myself in his face–and I even see him in my niece’s eyes. 

He would be 100 years old today. I wonder what he’d think about the world we live in now. How different his childhood was from mine, and especially from my niece’s. I cherish the heritage he left behind with those family ties we have with our cousins 200 km away. And I miss him, like every Christmas Eve, when he, like my other grandparents, is missing from Christmas dinner.

Mom, Uncle Lackó, my Grandpa holding me, and my paternal grandparents on my first Christmas.
A Century

Hidden Gems of Budapest–the Dandár Thermal Spa

Budapest is unique as a capital city because it is rich in thermal springs. It currently has 8 operating thermal pools and spas and six open air thermal pools that only open in the summer. Basically most of our pools have water that are good for you.

There is a spa a block from my home. I have known it was there all my life, but for a number of reasons I never went there. About a year ago there were some outside pools added, and my sister decided to take me there. So we went, and then I went back.

There are two pools inside as well, both outside snd inside one is 36C and the other is 38C. There is a very cold dipping pool inside by the sauna as well. Outside the pools have hydronassage effects. Other services like massages, variois therapies and pedicures are available for an additional fee. Entrance fees are a fraction of the better known historic spas. I can hardly wait to go in the winter and throw snowballs while sitting in the warm pool.
Address: 1095 Budapest, Dandár utca 5-7, next to the Zwack Museum

Open: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 8 to 2 on weekends (till 6 p.m. during summer)

Entrance fees: HUF 1500 for the inside pools, 1100 after 5 pm, + HUF 700 for the wellness pools.

Hidden Gems of Budapest–the Dandár Thermal Spa