Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Our Flat...with Internet!!

We have INTERNET!!! After weeks of drinking caffeine at local cafe's and ingesting numerous Burger King cheese burgers, we finally are set up with internet at home.

For those waiting for a video of our place...you still have to wait.
However, here are a few photos!
FYI: Our flat is pretty big. It is about 700 square feet. With the super tall ceilings it feels HUGE!

The Living Room
(notice the skylights:)
Dining/Living Room
(notice Steve hard at work and our clothes drier on the right hand side of the room.)
(Skylight was so bright that it washed out the ceiling in the photo.)
Mud Room
My office corner
(for now)
(with another skylight)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Creating a Memory...

A wonderful afternoon in the sun and near the castle. We walked along one of our favorite places--Fisherman's Bastion--and enjoyed the wonderful view. We took in the fresh air and the warmth of the sun. We thought of our friend Mabel and how she would approve of our afternoon.

A view of Pest and ParliamentAn AngelEnjoying the afternoon
Ilonka the Beautiful

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunny Day

Today is a beautiful day! The sun is bright and sunny and there is no rain...yet...a few photos taken yesterday.

Steve and Diane in front of Gerbeau
Budapest's most famous café is Gerbeau. The fine old building, dating from 1858, is known as a Kaffeehaus,but it also has a restaurant, pub and take-out shop in its several interconnected rooms. The two main rooms face Vorosmarty Square in the heart of the city.
One of the many Markets in Budapest. We found the most amazing store in the basement! It was called "The Chinese Shop" and they had all sorts of imported foods and the most amazing selection of spices! (I will take a photo of the spices next time.) The selection of spices made the spice selections in the USA look tiny. I don't think I have ever seen so many kinds of curry's! We found tortillas, marshmallows and all sorts of Asian foods!

I love this car! How happy the yellow makes me:)
The below picture is not from Budapest or even taken by me. My Grandma Jordan sent this to me. These are so veggies out of Grandpas garden. I just love the colors-I think these peppers and the yellow car above look great together!
Hopefully Internet will be up tomorrow. If so, we will post a blog from home!
Also, tomorrow we start Hungarian lessons...wish us luck!

Friday, September 26, 2008

...Ring Ring...

Such great color in such a simple thing.
A T-Mobile public phone

A Friend Indeed!

Today we meet up with our friend Andrea who took us to the post office to help translate a few things. What would we do without her? We would have spent 2 hours at the post office instead of 15 minutes:)

She took us to a great market to buy some goodies. The market was remodeled and was very controversial. They remodeled it in the shape of a ship. You cannot really tell from this photo but trust me-it looks like a ship!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And we wait....

Another day without internet...another day in a cafe...
We have been told they will come on Monday to it up...and we patiently wait...

Let us look at something nice...Szent István-bazilika

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Diane went to yoga! For those of you who did not know, I have been practicing yoga for about 5 years. I was very sad to leave my yoga instructors in Seattle. I had gotten so use to there teaching methods and practice. I was even fortunate enough to have one of my friends and fellow Yogi give me a few private lessons before we left. (Thank you so much Amelia!)

You can only imagine my happiness when a few nights ago we were walking down the street from our flat and passed a building with a yoga sign on the door. Last night I went to my first class. It was in English and very nice. I even meet a nice woman who is happy that I will be coming back next week. Finding a yoga class was one of the things I wanted to do when we got here. Until next time.


Monday, September 22, 2008

A few random photos...

A few photos..

Diane in our courtyard

Our building
Steve on the Metro.

A few random photos of us:)

Magic and Mayhem

On Saturday, we huddled along Andrássy út (an upscale street two blocks from our flat) trying to keep warm while a demonstration marched toward Szabadság tér (center of Budapest). Political demonstrations were on the agenda. Both the left and right political groups were marching today. We happened to catch the the far right that was marching from Hősök tere. We didn’t understand too much. The demonstration was loud, full of slogans being shouted and without incidence. It is always good to see freedom of speech spill out on the street. Of note, we saw what was probably the Hungarian secret police in a second story window snapping photos of the protestors. Once the crowd discovered them, they taunted the police smiling for the camera. The secret police smiled back.

We have to update this. We went out later that night and saw about 5 fire hydrants busted and the streets were blocked off. Riot police were marching, sirens were in the distance and helicopters were everywhere. People were just walking around peacefully. I think the police were trying to make there presence known. We actually went up and asked one of them for directions and they were very nice. They actually let us inside the perimeter to get to where we were going. They were taking pictures of each other posing in their riot gear-guess they don’t get dressed like this often (a good thing). Anyway, the next morning we went to the store and right outside our flat was a festival! The same street with the busted hydrants was full of people eating “Langos”(a salty elephant ear that is very tasty!). Then we got back from the store around 8pm and when we came out of our subway stop we found ourselves in the middle of a concert with a stage in the middle of the street! It was a surreal weekend!

In front of the Opera house
On Andrassy
Later that night...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?

So, the first week we were eating the same thing for every meal-the photo to the right. ( I do believe we have hit all the food groups.) Maybe it was being nervous about what we were buying or maybe it was we were so hungry we just stuck to what we knew.

We have since went to many super markets and have bought all sorts of things. Last night I made my chicken pasta dish and it actually tasted pretty similar to my US recipe. The challenging thing with food is not knowing if you are buying tomato paste, sauce or juice.

We are having a friend over for dinner on Monday and we are figuring out what we will serve. She did said that we can ask her all our stupid questions we are afraid to ask everyone else. Andrea, can you help me dye my hair? (This is Diane writing this not Steven :)

We have taken a video of our flat but my connection right now is very slow and the techno music in the background is like nails down a chalkboard...we are in a mall...we should have internet next week. I know I said next week last week. What can I say, it is taking longer than we thought. Until next time....signing out...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What time is it Flavor Flav?

As we settled into our new surroundings, we quickly discovered that we didn’t know what time it was. In the states we relied on our mobile phones as our watch. Most US mobile phones don’t work in Europe so we left them behind. We also relied on our phones as a travel alarm clock, so not only were we late but we were sleeping in all the time.

Not to fear, we fortunately packed a travel alarm clock (see photo below). Steven took to carrying this with him everywhere we went. Wondering what time it was, we’d consult the rather large clock. The clock is not your classic time piece that your Grandfather wore.

Just imagine. We are in the bank setting up our account (which took two hours by the way!) and Steven pulls out this travel clock. From that point Steven became Flavor Flav named after the rapper in the 90s who wore large clocks around his neck. I am sure Hungarians were entertained every time we pulled this clock out.
Steve's great clock!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hol van IKEA?

Where is IKEA?

Well, we made it to IKEA and bought a few things for our place...can you figure out where the pillows are? Hint: for side sleepers:) I just love the packaging. Much easier for traveling on the subway.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Courtyards and "Control Agents"

We have moved into our apartment and love it! It is a wonderful place that is big enough to host your visit:) We will send interior photos soon. For now you will have to manage with the courtyard photos. FYI_Hungary is known for its wonderful courtyards. From the outside, a building may look old and a bit run down, then you open the doors and the inside you find a little treasure.

The courtyard to our building
Our Unit
We signed up for internet today but it will not be working until next week. So, for now we find cafes with free wifi. If you don't hear form us for a few days don't worry. We will be in touch.

We have accomplished alot in the short period of time we have been here. We got our transportation passes (see below), bank accounts, meet with a lawyer about establishing my business and resident visa's and even went out for a celebratory drink last night. We are beginning to settle into this new life and enjoying it.

These are our transportation passes. The "Control Agents"
ask to see these everytime you take any form of public transportation.
Without this in hand you pay a large fee.

Lets try to do Laundry....

We did laundry...!
OK, we got the detergent in-maybe the right amount?
We figured one knob was for water temperature, one for speed of spinning? And then one knob for go.
We turned it on....
spinning starts....
spinning stops.....
open lid....
no water....
Steve turns a knob and water shoots our from the open lid all the way across the apartment at speeds so fast we couldn’t react soon enough.
We drop the lid and laughed as we mopped up the mess.
We still don't know what all these knobs do.
Any ideas??

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


OK. So after I posted the last blog I went to find my computer power cord and realized....I left Steve's computer on the airport shuttle...I about died-over two hours had gone by!

I ran into our "hotel" lobby and found the guy who checked us in. His English was limited but I told him what I had done and he said, "this is very bad". He called the shuttle company for me and after about 15 minutes he hung up and said they have your bag. He proceeded to argue with 2 ladies that we worked with about the best method for us to get to where the bag was. He decided he knew best.

He negotiated with a taxi driver for us and Steven and I hopped in a cab. 45 minutes later we pull up to the address. Steve was so calm and patient this whole time (I think it was the jet lag) He waited in the car with the driver while I got out and went to the office to ask about my bag. Ok, I get into this office (and it was an office) and there are full size girlie nudie pictures on the wall. Gotta love it! The guy said I was in the wrong place and pointed me in the right direction-he was very helpful and not ashamed or embarrassed of the lovely artwork on his walls:)

So, I eventually got Steve's computer and bag back and we raced back to the hotel. We had 20 minutes to shower and dress and meet our realtor to view some apartments.

The day turned out to be pretty good-lost a computer, found a computer. Needed an apartment, found an apartment. We sign the contracts tomorrow! Will send pictures soon. What a day!

a cute flower stand we walked by on our way to the hotel

jet lagged....yawn

After a long and very bumpy flight we have arrived in Budapest. All of our luggage made it and we had no problems! We didn't even know we went through immigration-we thought there would be lots of questions about our 300lbs of luggage and one way ticket. We are both very tired and are going to take a nap before we meet with the Realtor to see the apartments.

More later....goodnight..

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Windy City Chicago

We spent a few hours in the Chicago airport today waiting for our flight for Frankfurt-->Budapest. Our departure from Cincinnati was flawless. No one bothered us about our overstuffed bags and Mike (Diane's father) didn't get towed running Steven's forgotten jacket into the airport. Next post from Budapest!

Follow your Dreams...

Listen to your heart...
follow your own star
and dream your own dream.
There wouldn’t be a sky
full with shimmering stars
if we were all meant to wish on the same one.
There has never been and there will never be a dream exactly like your own,
because you are wonderfully unique.
as you follow your dream,
always do your best-
there are no shortcuts
on the path to true happiness-
so give all that you have
in all that you do.
And above all things,
believe in yourself
for you are as amazing
as the stars themselves.
-Linda Staten
(thanks aunt Sue and uncle Brent)

Chili makes the heart grow fonder

Today was a busy and emotional day. A few last goodbyes a few tears being shed throughout the day....

It is 10 pm and we are packing the last of our stuff for the flight tomorrow. We will have about 300 lbs that we are taking on the plane. (Don't worry, on international flights you are allowed 2 checked bags (each) at 50lbs + 1 50lb carry on each.)

We are excited to make this move and wish we could take all of you with us. We hope that you come visit soon! We will post our next blog as soon as we land and get internet...probably Wednesday.

Our last Cincinnati lunch...unforgettable!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My New Friend

We are saying our final goodbyes before we depart on Tuesday morning. It is hard to believe that what we have talked about for so long is finally going to become reality.

Cincinnati at nightDiane's new friend Cameron and his parents Kim and Dustin.
I am in love...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tour USA

15 States in 21 days!
Between August 11 and August 31 we saw 15 states.
And you wonder why we are exhausted...

South Dakota
North Carolina
South Carolina

We arrived back in Cincinnati after a fun week at Diane’s father’s cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and his condo on Florida’s west coastline. Like good Ohioans, we drove to Florida—a 17-hour drive in one day.

This road trip punctuated our cross-country trip three weeks ago. We racked up over 3,500 miles (5632km)…probably about $500 in gasoline. Steven joked with a friend that we are trying to consume our annual quota of gasoline before arriving in public-transportation-rich Europe.

When we arrive in Budapest on September 10, we’ll have no car (thankfully). Having a car in Budapest is liability as it would be in London or New York City. We’ll likely go several years and never sit behind the wheel of a car. Luckily our Ohio driver’s licenses don’t expire until 2012.

We are looking forward to consuming less energy while in Hungary. Consuming less is one of the attractions overall to living in Europe. It is cliché these days but we do want to reduce our environmental footprint.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Until We Meet Again

Last night Diane's Aunt MaryEllen and Uncle Werner threw a farewell party for us. We had such a great time! We didn't take too many photos as the paparazzi was there doing a good job (paparazzi=Grandma Jordan, Werner, Aunt Sue). For now here are few favorites that we took. We will post more when we receive copies from everyone else.

Thank you MaryEllen and Werner! We can not thank you enough for everything!
And thank you Grandpa for getting such a tasty cake!

the cake

Diane and Lisa (Diane's Sister)

Werner "the grill master"

Olivia...cutie pie!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gone Coastal

We drove 18 hours yesterday from Florida to Ohio!
We arrived home tired and missing the ocean.

We had a great time at the cabin and the condo. The view from the condo is so beautiful.
The smell of the sea and the warmth of the sun...ahhhhh.
Here are a few more photos from the week.

A few more good photos from the cabin.
Dad totally hustling Steve and Diane..."I don't know much about playing pool"
Then he beat us 3 games in a row....hmmm...

After rain at the cabin...sun at the beach.
We were on the Atlantic coast-far from the hurricanes.

Archie's Biker Bar

Diane and Steve

After a day at the beach-a little sun and a little tired.

Mike and Maya at the beach
Diane enjoying the sea and trying to hide from the sun after being sunburned the day before.