Monday, March 30, 2009

I am famous...well not really :-)

"The website called XpatLoop.com recently published an interview of me.  I actually wrote the interview and they kindly published it.

XpatLoop is a great resource for all kinds of activities here in Hungary.  For example, they are helping United Way Hungary promote our annual gala dinner.  You are invited of course!"

  - Steven

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This one is for Grandpa Jordan: hang in there!

"Mike Kappa, Diane's father, told me today that Grandpa Jordan  is dealing with kidney stones (again!).  I had kidney stones once and--knock on wood--may I and no one else in the world ever have them.  

My sonogram technician, who was also a mother of two, told me that she had stones one time and would prefer giving birth.  I also remember my surgeon telling me that as a man gets older it is easier to pass the stone.  Huh?!?  That is like saying eating glass gets easier with age because you lose your sense of taste.

So Grandpa, 'hang in there!'"

  - Steven


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back to 6-n-9


"6-n-9" you ask?  This is the time difference between Ohio/Kentucky and Seattle.  6-hours behind in Ohio and 9-hours in Seattle.

Daylight savings has finally come to Hungary this weekend.  For almost a month, we've been on 5-n-8 which made is somewhat easier to connect with people in the US.

The good news about setting our clocks 1-hour ahead is that we are truly 'springing forward.'  Today in Budapest it was 63 F (17 C) and sunny.  It felt so good.  Our spring has been cold--even snow--up until today.  Soon enough we'll be complaining about the heat which can reach 100+ F (38+ C).

Thank goodness our new flat has those old thick (really thick!) European walls with a large shade tree in our front yard.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fearlessness

"Yesterday while walking home a young man dressed in a suit asked me (in Hungarian of course) a question.  After I explained that my Hungarian is poor, he quickly switched to English.

He asked where I worked, as he was looking for a job.  He went on to explain that he recently graduated with a marketing degree from the US.  He was having a difficult time finding work.  I could tell he was frustrated and it appeared he had a long day of asking others this question either on the street or in formal meetings.  I gave him the name of one company to call and told him that his fluent English will help him greatly to find a job.  He said thanks and we parted ways.

I really admired his fearlessness to ask a stranger on the street especially a someone that really doesn't look Hungarian (at least I don't think I do).  I have to say that if I was hiring for a fundraiser, I would seriously consider him.  His fearlessness to ask is unique in any culture!"

  - Steven

Thursday, March 26, 2009

For Grandma & Grandpa Jordan

Every time I walk into our corner store I see this in the main aisle and smile...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bob's Butterscotch Cookies

Yesterday I baked a batch of Bob's Butterscotch cookies!  They were so good-if I must say so myself.  As the cookies were baking I was remembering when we were home in August, waking up to Bob baking these cookies because he knew how much we (Diane especially) loved them.  His were better (of course) but mine were not bad!
When our boxes arrived in January there was some butterscotch chips and butterscotch pudding hidden in the packages....just what we needed for a taste of home!!
-diane

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to Bonnie!

Today is Bonnie Main's birthday.  Bonnie lives in Seattle.  She believes that a person's birthday is one of the  most important celebrations.  So much does she believe this that the whole month is an opportunity to celebrate and rejoice with friends and families.  This is great advice from Bonnie Main.  Please help us wish her a very happy birthday on this day--her birthday--and for the month of March.   
 
Cheers Bonnie!
 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What the...?!

"Diane and I often see interesting things as we walk around the city.  Things are either interesting because we see them with "American eyes" (i.e., we really don't fully understand something) or they are just plain interesting.  The photo from the Office Max window down the street from us falls into the second category."

What exactly is the other use for this "luxury dual-use massage cushion?"

     - Steven

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First 100 grams of Hungarian Paprika!

"We have just finished our first 100 grams (0.22 lbs) of Hungarian paprika.  Diane is hoping if she eats enough of it that she'll start speaking Hungarian.  It is worth a try.  Hungarians reading this entry will laugh that it took us 6-months to eat only 100 grams.  We actually risk being kick-out of the country admitting to such a small amount of paprika consumption.  

Those reading this blog:  feel free to send us your favorite recipe with paprika.  Help us avoid being kicked out of Hungary :-)

Maybe I can put a "Paprika Eaten" meter on our blog..."

  - Steven

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Fever Sale!

Have you heard?
I am having a pillow sale!
All pillows are $28!

To buy a pillows click here.
To read my latest blog coverage click here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Anniverary!

Today is our 6 month anniversary living in Budapest. It is so hard to believe! Sometimes it feels like we just got here and other times it feels like we have been here for years. One thing is for sure, we have meet some very amazing wonderful people who have helped us adjust to our new life. We would not have come as far as we have without their help. We thank you.

Below are photos we took last weekend at an amazing cake and coffee shop called Lukas Kávéház. The retes was the best I have ever had! We meet our friends Eva and David there. It was a wonderful time of talking and enjoying sweets!

-diane


Retes and EspressoYummy rich cake and Cappacino
Inside of Lukas Kávéház
CAKE!
MORE CAKE!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Diane's adventure of 3 trains, 2 subways, 2 buses and 1 car

March 4, 2009
11:00
I am in a train station as I type this. I am on my way to visit a Folk Art Cooperative in Heves. The train schedule on the internet said I would arrive in Heves at 9:56. I didn't realize I had to change trains....

I boarded the train in Budapest at 8:00am. I was in an old train and in a car alone. It has been a hazy, cold, wet morning and the fog is thick. Maybe I have been reading to many vampire novels but it was a little spooky. As the train speed through the countryside I saw nothing....only thick fog. Then a gentleman (who smelled a little like stale booze) entered my car, sat down and started chatting with me. He had something wrong with his throat so even if I understood Hungarian I would probably have a difficult time understanding him. I kindly said “nem, beszélek magyarul” (I do not speak Hungarian) and he was quiet. About 30 minutes later we pass a station called Kál-Kápolna. As we were leaving the station, I noticed that my ticket says “Kál-Kápolna”. I looked at the smelly man and showed him my ticket. He began to explain that the stop I needed was the one we just left. He gave me very detailed instructions that I need to get off at the next station and take a bus back to Kál-Kápolna. It is amazing we understood each other. (lots of hand jesters and “jo, jo” which is like saying yes or good.) He was very nice and wished me good luck.

I got off at the next stop, went to the bus station. I approached a large group of older ladies and began with my usual...”jo napot kivánok, bocsánat, nem beszelek magyarul....heves?” (good afternoon, sorry, I do not speak Hunagrian...Heves?) The ladies looked at their bus schedules and shrugged....2 1/2 hours and I could take the bus. I am convinced they would have offered to take care of me if I said I would wait. But, I walked back to the train station and explained (in my broken terrible Hungarian) my situation to the women behind the counter. She had me buy another train ticket to head back to Kál-Kápolna.

The train to Kál-Kápolna was good. I asked a man if it was the correct train and he said yes. He said he was going to the same place and to followed him. All went well and I ended up where I am now, in Kál-Kápolna, waiting for the next train to Heves.

While sitting in the train station, the cutest little girl with deep amber colored eyes became fascinated by my computer and terrible typing... She kept asking me questions but unfortunately all I can say is “nem tudom” (I don’t know). I eventually took out a magazine and showed off my Hungarian by pointing to colors and saying the names. (She corrcted me when neccessary:) I taught her 2 words...books and purse. Eventually her parents called her to leave and she kept waving good bye to me. She was precious!

18:00
The train to Heves was so interesting. It was the smallest 2 car train I ever saw. I later was told that sometimes the men riding the train will drive the train. I am not sure what this means but it doesn’t sound good.

Three men, one conductor and myself were all that occupied the train. 2 of the men happily poured and toasted until their wine bottle was empty. The other man felt obligated to talk to me. He was saying one of two things...1. He was going to the hospital because he hit his head or 2. he was offering me a job at a whorehouse. He kept saying “korhaz” which means hospital but at first it sounded more like whorehaz or whorehouse. Once we arrived in Heves he made sure I got off the train and waved goodbye. I guess he was saying korhaz :)

A driver was waiting for to take me to the Folk Art Cooperative. My meeting was suppose to be at 10:00-it was now 12:00. Fortunately the ladies were very patient and suggested I take a bus back to Budapest. (There is no transferring and it is direct.) I had a wonderful meeting and am very inspired and excited about the possibilities of working with this organization. They employ 140 people at the co-op and then about another 100 in neighboring villages. They drop off orders to the homes in the villages where the women will embroider and work with felt. It was very interesting! They have the ability to weave, embroider, felt and sew.

After a two hour meeting I headed back to Budapest via bus. I happily took a short nap and woke up at home. It was such a long day. One thing I would like to mention...not once did I feel in danger. Also, the amount of people that tried to help me get to my destination was amazing. Each one was so patient with me as I fumbled through their language. Ironically it was good day.

The bus ride home I could see the country side and it looked lovely. I am anxious to head to the country again soon. Maybe next time with Steve:) One other note worth mentioning...my Hungarian friends will laugh at this but...I have never seen so many people riding bikes! Of all ages! When I was at the co-op, there was a hug line of bicycles lined up that were ridden to work. I wish I had a photo to show.

Below is a short video of the bus ride from Heves to Budapest. Enjoy.

video

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wandering Weekend

"Diane and I had a busy and fun weekend.  We kicked-off the weekend on Friday at a bar we originally called, "Roaches" (this is a story for another day), but have since learned the real name (of which I cannot of course remember).  Éva introduced us to some yummy snacks which are like cheesy, salty, baked potato chips.  Just what I need another "potato chip" snack!

On Saturday, Diane spent half the day with her friend at a fabulous "flea market" called Ecseri Market.  It is filled with wonderful and not-so-wonderful things.  It is a antique lovers dream come true.  Ours friends, Ruth & Leo in Estonia who have the best antique store in the country, would especially find this market interesting.  Meanwhile I was at the dry cleaners, doing laundry and off to the market where I accidently bought 1 kilo of chicken (2.2 lbs) instead of 1/2 kilo.  I forgot to say, "fel kilo!"

On Sunday, good friends of ours, Éva & David, who live in Brussels was visiting Budapest.  We actually know them from Seattle!  Diane and I then went to look at a lovely flat in District XVI (outskirts of city).  It was a cute flat that is part of a home.  We need to move in April, so we'll see.  We then rounded out the day with a stop at Tesco (a version of Costco, Krogers or any hyper market de jour).

You can expect some new blogs with photos soon!"

  - Steven

Ecseri market