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.


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.

Pudding in a mug

I haven’t drunk any coffee for over 7 weeks, and despite still loving the scent of a cup of quality coffee, I don’t intend to start drinking it again. I, however, still collect Starbucks mugs, and I still want to regularly use them. Our family vacation sent me on a trip down memory lane, and I suddenly remembered our choice of dessert in the summer that my Grandma always made for us: dark chocolate pudding (the kind you actually have to cook) in a glass or mug. With additional cocoa powder for a more chocolate-y taste, lots of raisins, she prepared it early in the morning so they would be cold to be our mid-morning snack.

Mugs courtesy of Sofy, Ági, and Iulia and Lia.

The Starbucks mugs are just perfect to serve pudding! Making a double portion fills 4 mugs about 2/3, so there is plenty of space left for fresh fruits or whipped cream. Now I just need more mugs.

Throw Back Thursday

A Budapest Crocheter as a beginner gardener cca. 1980 in Vonyarcvashegy

1975. Vonyarcvashegy Iczka

The Budapest Crocheter’s mom doing embroidery in Vonyarc cca. 1975.

1974 Vonyarcvashegy 002

The house where my childhood summers happened.

1985 001a Vonyarcvashegy

The Budapest Crocheter’s grandparents and little sister in Vonyarcvashegy cca. 1985.

Vonyarcvashegy cca. 1980

The Budapest Crocheter with her dad in Vonyarcvashegy cca. 1980

The Vonyarcvashegy Crocheter

For four and a half days I have temporarily turned into the Vonyarcvashegy Crocheter, as my family is on our annual lake side vacation. Vonyarc is a smallish village on Lake Balaton, close to Keszthely, making it about 200 km away from Budapest. Growing up my Sister and I spent a good portion of our summers here, at our grandparents’ summer home. That small house was sold 14 years ago, but by then I hadn’t gone there for a few years. The next several years the Balaton was not a strong contender when planning holidays.

After my Niece was born we returned to Balaton for our family vacations. For two years we experimented with the southern shore, where the water is shallow. One can literally walk a hundred meters in the lake and still have water up to their thighs. Itbis ideal for families with small children.

As luck would have it, when Niece was two, my Sister bought a groupon like thing for a cheap hotel in Siófok. It turned out to be the same place where our family vacationed when Sister was two. Back then it belonged to the company my father worked for. While Sister had little memories of the place, my Mom and I did. It was fun to see Niece at the same place, doing the same things as her mother had when she was the same age.

The next year saw us return to our beloved northern shore of the lake. Unlike the southern shore, in the north the water deepens quickly, but with some effort most towns created child friendly beaches. Last year I decided to check accomodations in Vonyarc. Two weeks later we arrived expecting lots of changes. Despite these anticipated changes everything felt so familiar. Going to the Lido there were even the same people selling cotton candy, running the big water slide, and taking care of the grounds. We shopped at the same store as we did when we were kids, went to the same pharmacy for eye drops, and bought rétes at the same stand. It felt like coming home. No wonder we returned this year, too!

Yesterday I went to the post office to mail something to the States as well as a few postcards. The postal worker saw my name and asked me if I was related to my Grandma. Back when she spent most of the year here he used to help her with the garden.

Now I have to admit that between swimming, re-reading both Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and James E. Talmage’s Jesus the Christ, and catching up on Wayward Pines, I didn’t crochet much, just enough to finish a bear for my Niece. I, once again, didn’t use a pattern. It was made from RedHeart Soft yarn, using a 4 mm hook, and as the safety eyes I ordered from eBay haven’t made it yet, I bought the smallest available sew-on eyes.

Balcsi Dorka. Bow from Claire’s, necklace from one of the stands selling touristy stuff.

Now I have two more bears, a cat, and three more table runners to finish. Good thing I’ll be on a train for three hours tomorrow!

Scripturally Speaking

Back in the Missionary Training Center in Provo one of my favorite activities was Scripture chase. Sometimes when we finished our lesson early, we’d play a few rounds. Someone would start reading a verse, and the first person who found it would continue reading and/or give the reference, and then it would be their turn. Usually we played it with the Book of Mormon, and I suprisingly wasn’t awful at it.  I say surprisingly, because unlike the rest of my district I had only read the BoM in a different language and only maybe twice in its entireity. I, however, had the weirdest memories of page layouts and verses relative locations to each other. It somehow translated to a different edition in a different language pretty well.

 I loved this activity because I learned a lot from it. I learned new verses, but even more, I learned a lot about my fellow missionaries from the verses they chose. Some relied on their seminary knowledge. Some were more adventorous. Some chose verses they thought would be challenging to find. The texts we chose revealed our mood, our focus, our attitude that day.

Now I’m doing a different kind of scripture chase. Earlier this month a wonderful friend of mine visited Budapest, and I asked him to mark some verses in my BoM. He did, and now as I’m reading through the Book of Mormon I am looking for the verses in yellow. When I find one I write it down, and while I do that, I think about what that verse tells me about him–and about myself. Despite my obvious disbelief, reading scriptures has been an important thing for me, in my quest for faith. Sometimes, however, it has become a rote task: read a certain number of chapters or pages, and get through the 600+ pages. Looking for those verses left for me by my friend has added a new layer of motivation in searching for more than just yellow pencil marks.