Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random Tidbits from Our Day

*99 times out of 100, you can throw a dirty diaper from the top floor to the bottom and it works perfectly. On the 100th time, it may explode. Upon exploding, it may shoot its' contents all over and some may stick to the wall. Just maybe.

*If you have no bread, frozen puff pastry dough can be used for peanut butter sandwiches. Pretty good, actually!

*Today my car was in the shop. I am thankful to live somewhere there is public transportation so that I could still go to my hair appointment! Today's public transport methods included a taxi, a bus, walking, and sitting in a friends child's booster seat for a brief time. All worth it for the haircut!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Fun Day at the Vidampark

Trying to take advantage of the sunshine, we visited the Budapest Vidampark on Saturday. It is Budapest's only amusement park, and it is quite amusing in more ways than one. Inside the gates, it resembles a parking lot carnival.  The amusement park was built in the 1950's, and I think some of the rides have never been updated. In spite of some questionable safety issues, we all had a fun time.

There was a cute little kids area with little rides and a playground. 

Notice Chelsea's left hand over Cade's shoulder....the rides pretty much all lacked seat belts. This one bumped up and down and went in a circle pretty quickly. She was a good big sis and Cade didn't fall out!
The kid ferris I was formulating my strategy on how to catch Cade if he decided to stand up.
He didn't like the rides that went in the dark..."All done! Scary!"

This was the most memorable ride of all...the Hullamvasut.  It is a giant wooden roller coaster built in the 1920's and is the oldest operating roller coaster in central Europe. 

There were NO seat belts or lap bars, and the seats had springs underneath for that extra bounce!

This man was the brake guy.  I later read that this roller coaster is called a side friction roller coaster and has nothing to keep the cars from flying off the track, thus the brakeman. Yikes!  

We took Chelsea on the ride and she LOVED it. I held onto her for dear life and prayed. There were some pretty decent sized drops, and without any restraining devices it was a bit scary! There is an overall theme of personal responsibility in Hungary, but this took it to a new level.  Thankfully, we all survived and had a really fun day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Fall means it is time for the annual pumpkin patch pictures. We heard about about a Pumpkin Festival in a the town of Zebegeny with a pumpkin patch, rides, and more! Fun!  

To get there, we took our first Hungarian train ride outside of Budapest.  Getting on the train was an experience in itself. We arrived at the station close to departure time. We felt like we were on the Amazing Race as we tried to find the ticket counter.  We found it, waited in line, and Larry used his Hungarian to get us a csaladi jegy, or family ticket. Strangely enough, if you get a family ticket, the kids are free and the adult tickets are discounted. How that works out, I'm not sure!  

From the ticket counter, we hurried to find the train with only a few minutes to spare. We arrived at the platform and began looking in the train cars for seats - every car was packed! I was shocked! At this point, we were running down the platform with both kids, trying to make our way to a car with some empty seats. We ended up at the end of the train, and we still didn't find 4 seats. Crazy! We sat, took a deep breath, and took a pleasant one hour journey to Zebegeny. There, the pumpkin hunt began.  

 We have been here a year. After last year's Halloween experience, we should know that festivals here are a little different than in the US. After fruitlessly hunting for the great fields of pumpkins that I had conjured up in my head, we decided the "patch" was a little row of pumpkins. Oh well.
The kids still posed with pumpkins, so mission was semi accomplished. 

 This was the best awesome is her hat??

 The only ride we found was the great Hungarian swing. You put your kid in a basket and someone stands in the middle and turns a wheel to make it go. Quite fun!  It would never fly in the States, because some kid would stand up and fall out and sue someone.

 New experiences, new memories, something new to laugh about....all in all, a successful adventure.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Larry isn't a big soda drinker, but he does like Dr. Pepper. He was quite excited the first time he found Dr. Pepper in Budapest. Now you can find it at many gas stations and specialty stores, but it is typically only sold by the 20 oz bottle and is roughly $2 a bottle. Occasionally, he brings home a few, but not very often. 

Last week, his fortune changed. He happened to see the Dr. Pepper truck driving around. He got the number off the truck and called the guy. Laci (pronounced Latsi) begin exchanging e-mails with us in broken English. Larry used his negotiating skills and today, we had 50 bottles of Dr Pepper delivered to our house. Mr. Laci threw in 2 cans for free.

So, fellow expats, if you get a craving for Dr. Pepper, we will make you a deal!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy Hungary-versary!

One year ago, we woke up to our first morning in Budapest. It was rainy and cold, and we had to find our way to the location of house number one to begin filming House Hunters. We didn't know how addresses worked here (zip code and city are listed first), so the address we plugged into the GPS was actually a city, not a street. There was traffic, we were late, we were lost. Ugh. Eventually, we found where we were supposed to be. We had a long day of filming and thus began our life in Budapest.

Now a year has passed! So hard to believe. How different our life is today from that first day!  We still can't really speak the language (and sometimes make really unfortunate will come in another post) and there are moments that are super frustrating.  But, now they are just that - moments. Not days and weeks as it was in the beginning.

We are thankful for the ways God has opened our eyes to the world that is out here. We are thankful for the ways he has challenged us to reevaluate our American worldview. We are thankful for the ways He has protected us here and provided for us in every situation.  We are thankful for new friends. We are thankful that, though life in Hungary is different, it is now normal.  It is home.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Walk the Wish

On Friday, we had the great opportunity to walk a 5k as a family through the forest behind Chelsea's school. Her school does the walk each year to raise money for a make-a-wish type organization in Hungary called Csodalampa.  In looking at their website, there is a list of the wishes that are waiting to be fulfilled for seriously ill children. Sadly/interestingly/I don't know what.....most of the "wishes" are things American kids have and take for granted. Laptops, slides in the back yard, the means to take driver's ed at 16, portable video game systems...these are their wishes. Food for thought.

Anyway, the 3 of us plus Cade in his pack trekked through the forest with about 600 others. The first half was all uphill - it was a workout for sure! We were so proud of Chelsea - she walked the entire 3 miles without complaining or asking to be carried. It was a fun afternoon and we were happy to take part in supporting Csodalampa.