Life

A quick catch up

Wow! Where has the time gone? I’m told that doing something for thirty days forms a habit. Well, considering how much I blogged in November and December this might not be completely true in my case.

November and December have been busy! In November we had the stake conference, where the daily study of the Book of Mormon was emphasized again, and then I had the opportunity to participate in a creative Saturday for charity organized by the Love Bihor Association and the Oradea District of the church. I met some wonderful people there, and had a great time. Lots of wonderful things were created by members and non-members working side by side that were sold by Love Bihor at various Christmas events.

December has been great! It started with St. Nicholas visiting us at work with his reindeer. img_5446

We also decided to #lighttheworldatwork in the 8 languages our team supports.

img_5374

One Sunday the ward had a little Christmas activity. Our furnace is broken, so it was rather cold in the chapel that day, so we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional wrapped in blankets from Primary. We had a nice potluck lunch afterwards, and it was wonderful to socialize a bit with ward members. We really have some wonderful people!

After the ward activity the missionaries had a finding activity on Deák tér, one of the busiest parts of town. The theme, of course, was #lighttheworld #LégyAVilágVilágossága.

img_5487

Then the next weekend we had my niece and her Mama visit. We were originally planning to see a movie, but since Star Wars overtook the standard kid movie time slots, we skipped that. Instead we went to the two major Christmas markets, walked around, enjoyed a folk dance show, had real hot chocolate at Szamos, and just had fun.

Last week one of the wards had a very nice Christmas concert. Two of my friends, Ildi and Iaponira came to that, and following the concert we had some gyros at Iaponira’s home, joined by her husband. It had been quite a while since I had last seen Iaponira and Peter, and we had a lovely time, chatting, making a new “business plan”, and doing nails. I am really grateful for the wonderful friends in my life. My 8 years at EDS/HP/CPL gave me some wonderful people, and CC has been just as great!

img_0585

 

October 31

onebrick

October 31, 2017. It is the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing those 95 theses on a door. It is also the day when millions of children go knocking on doors. It’s also the last day of Write 31 Days. It was fun.

Halloween on Temple Square was serious business. We closed early, and each zone dressed up and presented a show in one of the theaters in the North Visitors Center. It was a blast. Then my previous company brought the Halloween spirit back into my life, and this year it continued with my current company.

I have to admit today was more fun than I expected, but it was also nice to climb into bed with my scriptures in the evening, and just listen to music and read.

Thanks for joining me for this adventure of Write 31 Days!

The Post That Isn’t

onebrickThere was a special post planned for today. It was a post about special people and events in my life that led me to where I am now in my spiritual life. It was not meant to be long. I cringe once a post goes over 500 words, because no one reads long posts any more, and 500 words are over an A4 page long.

I started to write and the post kept growing. After close to 3 weeks and 3000 words the post was officially longer than my extended essay, and it took longer to write than my bachelor’s thesis. I showed it to the people who had the most significant parts in my story – after all, it was not only my story but theirs, too – and finally decided not to post it. Not now. Maybe later at some point I will be ready to share it with the whole world, but currently, even after being edited down a good 200 words of thoughts and feelings, this is still too personal – too much of the real me.

 

Shabbat and the Sabbath

onebrick

The below video is by a Jewish a capella group, the Maccabeats. It is a cover of one of my favorite songs, or really, three of them. It’s not only a wonderful version of The Sound of Silence, but at the end of it, we can hear Lecha Dodi to the tune of Lenard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Lecha Dodi is a song that has many tunes, with many Jewish cantors composing new ones. It’s a song that originates from Sefad, the home of Jewish Mysticism, and it welcomes Shabbat, the queen. Centuries later it is sung in synagogues all over the world, welcoming the holy day of rest. After the lighting of the Shabbat candles and singing Lecha Dodi–for part of it facing the synagogue’s door–Jews rest from their daily lives, setting aside the day to sanctify and enjoy this gift of G-d. A Jewish friend once said that the greatest holiday they have happens every week, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday.

The message is to sanctify and enjoy the Shabbat. We, latter-day saints might not have as strict rules of Sabbath observance as our Jewish friends, but we, too, aim at sanctifying and enjoying the Lord’s day. We gather in our meetinghouses to partake of the Sacrament–the Lord’s supper–, and to worship and learn as a community. We try to avoid working on Sunday–I’m not particularly good at that–or shopping, or the use of secular entertainment and media. We serve in the Church, we visit friends and family, we focus on the Lord on Sundays.

To be honest, I didn’t really miss the getting up early and going to church in the morning aspects of Sundays during my years of not being active. What I missed, though, even if I didn’t consciously realize or admit it to myself, was partaking of the Sacrament. In addition to the quiet reflections during the passing of the bread and water, I get to renew my covenants with the Lord. It’s not just a one sided promise to be good and keep the Lord’s commandments, but it is also a renewal of the promises the Lord has given me.

Sundays might seem boring, but truly they are gift from our Heavenly Father.

Journaling – Writing my personal story

onebrick

One part of doing family history work is recording our personal history as well. I am doing pretty awful with that: the only time in my life when I consistently kept a journal was on my mission (alas, not in the beautiful Missionary Journals I had–more on why I chose simple college ruled composition books for that will come later.) I wrote a journal on and off over the years, more in high school, less since then. I’ve blogged quite a bit, both in Hungarian and English, and I have the exports of past blogs saved in a number of places.

A few weeks ago, however, I read a very thought-provoking article. I can’t remember where it was, so I can only summarize it. Basically, with our move to digital technology, and storing our photos, documents, our lives really in the cloud and on rapidly replaced tape and disk technology, what will people actually know about our time looking back? With the technology I used to record a conversation with my grandma now obsolete, I have to rely on ever newer digital versions of that recording. Just as I have no cassette player any more, in a few decades people won’t have CD players, and who knows how long mp3s will be accessible. With very little written records of the life of the people on the 21st century, an archeologist from the future will have to rely on artifacts that survive from our time. I imagine that will involve a lot of plastic, because that will never break down.

What would be the things that would survive to tell your story?

img_5064It would be a couple of crochet hooks, with plastic handles for me for sure. My Pandora bracelet maybe. A 100% polyester shirt. My rubber boots. And hopefully some of my journals, because ever since I read this article, I have made a very conscious effort to write regularly in a physical journal, too. I try to do it between writing my daily blog post and some scripture study.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to write about, what is worth recording, and what is better forgotten. My approach right now is that I write about whatever I feel was important that day. It might be as unimportant as, “We had 5 calls waiting on the whatever language line, but we recovered it by the evening,” or “I can’t believe the lox bagel is actually salmon in a ciabatta that’s full of olives, yuck!”, or they might be about 21462584_1159969067479709_309492215769224520_nspiritual experiences, important milestones, or activities. Trust me, my disappointment in my favorite sandwich was important enough to record! So were the series of events that filled up a nice notebook that all happened in the span of eight days in the summer.

Pinterest is full of wonderful journaling ideas, and very structured bullet journals and templates for them that I always look at in awe. I have no artistic talent, my drawing ability is limited to stick figures standing in one spot, and my handwriting is quite messy.  A few weeks ago I posted this on Facebook:

Many of you know that I love nice stationary and I love writing. Yet I have a very hard time keeping a journal. The nice journals on my shelf are truly beautiful, fun, and made of quality materials. I love them, I loved buying them, but they are intimidating. Sloppy handwriting, spelling corrections–my spelling in Hungarian is even worse than my English–would ruin the beauty of the paper, and my mundane life and thoughts don’t deserve it. So my collection of journals and nice notebooks sit on the shelf, empty, but all of them filled with unwritten memories, the words only formed in my mind.

Those perfect Pinterest journals, with separate sections for scripture study, meal planning, reading journal, savings diet tracking and so on set an impossible standard to me. Since then I let go of them. My writing is messy, not very eloquent, randomly switching between languages, but it tells my story.  Who knows, maybe one day someone will want to read them and know who I was and what went on inside and outside my head in 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.

When it hurts to crochet

onebrick

I was going to post something different today, but I didn’t finish the crochet piece that goes with that post. It’s only a few more rows, but the last few days I noticed that I started to hold the yarn and hook differently, and that caused my stitches to change. This unconscious reaction to the discomfort in my wrist and fingers caused the simple basket to look uneven and sloppy.

The pain in my joints shows up every six or so months, and stays a few weeks. When it’s in my hands it’s more of an annoyance, a quiet, dull sensation that doesn’t really impact my daily activities. I have had it come and go since I was 13, and normally I don’t even mention it. Once a rheumatologist recommended homeopathic drops for it, so it is nothing serious. It just makes those stitches different as I try to avoid even that little pain.

Sometimes in life I try to avoid a little pain, and while it seems that nothing is changed, but just that little avoidance of something painful or uncomfortable can hinder me from achieving my goal. Coming back to the Church I knew one thing: I wanted to return to the Temple. I need a Temple recommend for that. I need to be active in my own ward to be able to get a Temple recommend. However, just the thought of going to my own ward gave me a panic attack. I couldn’t just do that. So to avoid the stress and pain, I went somewhere else. It was still better than not going anywhere, like for so many years before this summer, but it still wasn’t helping me to get to my goal. I needed to face that pain and with the help of lots of wonderful people in my ward, just get over it.

Of course it doesn’t always work like that with physical pain. While there are new projects I could start now, and finish them before I get back to my regular stitches, I think I’ll rest my hook for a few days, and get that book out of my crochet bag, and just enjoy a little more reading time.   Because that will make life better and more beautiful. IMG_0084

 

When the Day is Busy

onebrick…and I have three posts in drafts, but all of them need more work, but someone sends you a bunch of Conference memes, you get this post.

Tomorrow is my niece’s 8th birthday, and today she had her birthday party at an indoor playground place, here in Budapest. We all had fun, but boy, four 8-year-olds have enough energy to power a maller European nation for a week! I planned to take a few photos and then crochet, but instead I took over 200 photos and didn’t crochet. Hopefully there will be at least 10 good photos out of those 200! Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have a proper entry ready.

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 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.

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.