September 03, 2006

Hungary Trip--Day 5

Sunday morning after breakfast we walked to church. The new Kecskemeti Baptist Church is very close to the F's house. Hilda, a friend who has also helped much with translation in the past, translated the service for us as best as she could with a wiggly 4-year-old daughter on her lap. As the service came to a close and announcements were being given, Papa Erwin invited Ted and me to come to the front to say a few words about our family and what we've been doing in the years since I had last been to Hungary. Hilda translated for me, and it was neat to see so many familiar faces in the congregation--though I would have been hard pressed to have remembered more than a few names, since I had only come in contact with most of the church members during church services, not in my own English classes.

After visiting awhile, Ted and I went back to the house to relax a bit before having lunch with the P family, neighbors to the Fs and family of the bride. It was a lively, rambunctious affair, with much laughter and jesting. Ted and I felt a bit like outsiders at this meal, as only a couple of people knew English well enough to communicate with us, and there was so much discussion that it was difficult to keep us informed. But we enjoyed the food and obvious affection the family felt for one another, and after the meal we did visit a bit outside and showed off our photos once again to those who wanted to see them.

Around 2:30 in the afternoon Eva, Jozsef's mother, picked us up and took us with her two youngest children to the little town where she works as a dentist. It was maybe a 45-minute drive. Ted rode in the front and enjoyed chatting with Eva. She is a dear, sweet lady whom I had only known as Jozsef's soft-spoken mother when I was in Kecskemet last, and it was a joy to get to know her better during this day that we spent together. She showed us her workplace, an old building that houses her office as well as the town doctor's office.

Then she took us to meet her friends, Laszlo and Kati. Laszlo operates a winery in his cellar and took us downstairs to see it. He invited us to sample some of his red wine...Ted and I are not wine drinkers, but we had some regardless--though I did ask for just a SMALL bit because of the baby. We visited for awhile, and then the family had some things to take care of, so we snapped a quick picture and prepared for our next stop. Before we left, however, Laszlo presented us with two bottles of his wine! What a gift! We knew we'd be able to share this special treat with people in the States who would truly enjoy it. As a side note, last Friday Ted took one of the bottles to work with him, where it really WAS enjoyed by some wine connoisseurs who said it was the best wine they've ever tasted it. Not being overly fond of wine ourselves, it was nice to hear that from someone else and underscored the generosity of our host in Tizengard.

Next Eva took us to a wonderful farmhouse in the middle of rural country to meet more friends of hers, Robin and Gyorgyi (similar to our name Georgie). Robin is a British man, and he and Gyorgyi have been married, oh, I don't know, quite awhile, I guess, as they have 4 children, the oldest of whom must be in the mid teen years. Mark, another British friend, was there as well, and we spent a nice hour or so having tea in the garden and chatting. Robin teased Eva that she must not begin speaking her English with an American accent since she was spending some time with us! Ted and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these folks. Mark is a fascinating person, working in Budapest as a reporter and studying a myriad of languages and tidbits about various cultures.

After tea we drove to the "oxbow lake," a blocked off portion of the Tisza River, and did some swimming. As the evening wore on, however, the mosquitoes forced us to retreat to the car, where we rolled up all the windows and endured the stuffiness for the sake of being able to kill the remaining blood-thirsty predators.

Back at the farmhouse, Robin, Gyorgyi, and Eva bustled about the homey, inviting kitchen, plopping various foods in front of Ted and me to satiate our suddenly ravenous appetites. Mmmm! Nothing like being able to nibble freshly made bread, home-grown tomatoes, plums, cheese, and homemade sausages! After we had satiated our stomachs, we went outside to a nice fire and prepared for a Hungarian barbeque. Having been to two "fat barbeques" before, I decided Ted simply MUST experience this for himself...though I have to point out that Ted, at least, was able to roast an actual chunk of bacon and not simply bacon lard, as is typical. By this point I was too full to eat, anyway, but I enjoyed the smell of roasting onions and bacon over the fire. The stars were out, and lightening flashed along the horizon, though we never did hear thunder. Occasionally we could hear fireworks--August 20 is a national holiday for Hungarians. We enjoyed more conversation and then decided we really had to call it a night, as it was approaching 10:30ish and we knew we'd need to get some rest if we wanted to enjoy our next few days of being tourists.

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