Apr
08
2009
4

A Few Excuses

Wow, has it really been two months since I last posted? Yikes. Here are a few of my reasons, some legitimate, some not:

1. When we moved to our new apartment in February, we lost our easily available and free access to the internet. And I was too lazy to walk over to Chris’ building to get internet and too cheap to pay for it at a cafe.

2. I came down with what I have self-diagnosed as a case of the Eastern European Blahs. I never realized how much sun Minneapolis really gets in the wintertime until I came to the Land of Eternal Gray Cloud Cover.

3. I have done absolutely nothing interesting in the two months since I last posted. I am serious. Nothing. Nada. Who wants to read “So, today I walked to work again, and it was really gray and cloudy. Then I walked home from work and it was still cloudy, but then it was dark.” BORING.

4. I have been really busy gestating. Gestating is exhausting work, but there is a wonderful surprise at the end. Ours will arrive around September 6. We are beyond excited. And so are our parents, who have been begging for a grandchild since our wedding reception.

So, whether or not you find all of this valid, it’s the truth. But the good news, or maybe I shouldn’t assume how you feel about my blogging, is that I should be up and running at full speed again. For a variety of reasons (this time I promise not to list them) I am no longer working at the landscape architecture office. Instead, I have become like every other foreigner in Budapest and I am teaching English. My only qualification is that I was taught English as a child, but that seems to be all that I need. Language schools love the native speakers. The great thing is that I love it and I have a lot more flexibility in my schedule. I am hoping to fill those extra hours with some traveling, some soul searching, and of course, gestating.

It’s good to be back, even if I am just talking to myself.

A sneek peak at our recent trip to Finland. More on that in the coming days.

A sneek peak at our recent trip to Finland. More on that in the coming days.

Written by Laura in: News | 4 Comments »
Feb
07
2009
5

Hungarian Cuisine Level One

Friday night Chris and I were invited to dinner by two of my coworkers who wanted to share with us some classic Hungarian dishes; a tour around the country, if you will. They also invited a few other friends and the evening was filled with laughter and interesting new food experiences.

The table itself was scrumptuously decorated. First up was a goose liver appetizer. The proper procedure for eating it is as follows, and can be seen on the table:

The table itself was scrumptiously decorated. First up was a goose liver appetizer. The proper procedure for eating it is as follows: First take a piece of bread and spread onto it a thin layer of goose fat (bottom left on the table). Then put a piece of perfectly cooked liver on top and sprinkle, or should I say pour, salt onto the liver. After that comes a red onion/tomato mixture and if you are really daring (I am not) add some spicy peppers. Then take a bite and wait for a taste explosion.

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Written by Laura in: News,Slide Shows | 5 Comments »
Nov
06
2008
0

Sunday, Blessed Sunday

Chris and I have some friends who are Jewish and over the last few years they reintroduced us to the concept and imporatance of Sabbath. They have a strict set of rules of what they will and will not do beginning at sunset on Friday through sunset on Saturday. It means they don’t work on anything related to their jobs or their apartment. They read books. Go to movies. Take a walk. This is the real, Bible-thumping, Leviticus-loving Sabbath that they are practicing, and they swear by it. Well, okay, maybe not swear, since that may be a problematic activity on the Sabbath, but you get my point. They say it makes their relationship with each other better as well as preventing the stress of life from eating away at them. They may have a tough week, but they can always count on the meditative practice of Sabbath.

Chris and I tried doing this a bit during grad school, but things got a little tough and we fell out of practice. Now that we aren’t in our respective studios 20 hours a day, we have decided to try it again. Sunday is our Sabbath day, being the Protestants that we are, and we’ve done it for two weeks here in Budapest now.

This past Sunday was what you might call idyllic. It was a beautiful fall day and we decided to go to a nearby Calvinist church that I had read about. We knew we wouldn’t be able to understand what they were saying, but hey, maybe it would be cool. What we should have thought about before we went was that Calvinists are notoriously fatalistic. All that Predetermination stuff can make you pretty somber. The building, however, was lovely, and in a way, not being able to understand anything allowed me to meditate and ease my mind for the first time in a while.

I didn’t get any photos there, but here is a few from one of the loveliest walks I’ve ever had. Besides the fact that I was wearing totally inappropriate shoes and my baby toe turned in on itself and became instead a large fluid-filled blister. (Sorry to those of you with weak stomachs. I’m just here to report the facts.)

First stop: Bangkok.

First stop: A Thai food restaurant. And Christopher's La-La Land.

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Written by Laura in: News,Photos | No Comments »
Oct
26
2008
3

Granny at the Disco

On Friday night Chris, Maria and I went to magazine launch party at this fancy club. We have a new friend whose photography work is in the current issue of a new Hungarian fashion and art magazine. I had seen the magazine before we went, and it was very fancy-schmancy, so I should have known what we were getting into. Now, I try to think of myself as being able to hang out comfortably in a number of different social situations, from a local hoe-down to a stuffy dinner party. But I realized very quickly when we arrived that, not matter how much I deny it, I am a corn-fed, jeans-wearin’, Midwestern girl. And I’m also old. Now, I know there are people who read this blog that are older than me, but compared to the zygotes at this party, I am OLD.

Hunter and Zoe knew that this was going to be a night to remember...

Hunter and Zoe knew that this was going to be a night to remember...

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Written by Laura in: News,Photos | 3 Comments »
Oct
23
2008
0

Riots on Empty Streets

So October 23rd is an important day in Hungary.

  • In 1944, the Soviet Red Army invaded Hungary on this day.
  • In 1956, there was a massive student uprising against the Stalinist government on this day.
  • In 1989, Hungary was declared a Republic on this day.

While the National Day is an important day of celebration, it’s also seen as an opportunity to protest.  In 2006 there was a massive protest which turned into a riot.

Articles with titles like “New surveys suggest Hungarians much more sensible than they will seem during tomorrow’s riots“, the very recent crash of the Hungarian Forint against the Euro and USD, seemed to suggest that there might be some action on the streets today.  But there wasn’t much.  Perhaps it was the dreary weather?  Perhaps people just took the day off.  When I was out walking this morning I noted endless Hungarian flags, but the streets were almost completely empty.  Just a few confused tourists trying to figure out why everything was closed.  A strange silence.

Written by Christopher Baker in: News | No Comments »

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