Jan
27
2009
4

Home Sweet Home

A little over two weeks ago, Chris and I began looking for apartments here in Budapest. We had been living “temporarily” in the apartment owned by Chris’ workplace for the last three months and it was time to move. We needed a place we could call our own. Or at least call ourselves leasers. With the help and guidance of a number of friends, we found a great place that is still within walking distance of both our workplaces plus a short walk to the gym we just joined. The place is bright and cheery and we really like it. Strangely enough, it is far more “clean and new” than we usually like, but it’s kind of nice to have a clean slate to work with. It came furnished and we only had to buy a few things to brighten up the place.

Mood lighting courtesy of Ikea.

Mood lighting courtesy of Ikea.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 4 Comments »
Jan
24
2009
3

The Last Thing We Did on Our Christmas Vacation

While I have not posted in a few weeks, it was not because I didn’t want to. I really really did. However, I have been living in a wireless wasteland for the past several weeks, hence the lack of contact. And, while my current living quarters are still a wireless wasteland, everything else is magical. We just moved into our very own apartment here in Budapest, and it feels great. It makes everything feel much more real. I will be posting photos of the new place very soon, but until then, I MUST finish this Christmas Vacation recap if it kills me. And the end of this particular vacation almost DID kill me, as you will soon see….

Once we left beautiful Switzerland, we drove back to Munich on New Year's Eve. Once we got settled into our hotel, we headed out to one of the most famous brewhouses in Munich (and maybe...THE WORLD...).

Once we left beautiful Switzerland, we drove back to Munich on New Year's Eve. Once we got settled into our hotel, we headed out to one of the most famous brewhouses in Munich. However, it seemed that everyone else in Munich had come up with the same dinner plans for the evening and we had to wait in line for 1.5 hours just to get in. Considering that impatience runs in my family, we were all pretty upbeat, despite the frigid temperatures and the frostbite on our toes.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows,Vacations | 3 Comments »
Jan
10
2009
2

What We Did on Our Christmas Vacation – Part III

This story of what we did over Christmas is taking me far longer to write than expected. It’s practically spring and I’m still talking about December 28. Okay, I exaggerate a bit, but seriously, we all need to move on. Unfortunately, I am stubborn as an ox and I cannot leave a job unfinished so you all are forced to read about Christmas when we are all clearly looking towards our next big holiday, Penguin Awareness Day, which, incidentally, is also Chris’ birthday.

After our tour through Austria, we drove into Switzerland, where we met up at our good friend Reg’s house. I am not exaggerating this time when I say that Reg is the Ultimate Hostess Extraordinaire. Chris and I visited her on our honeymoon nearly four years ago and she was so kind to us even though Chris was upchucking all over the house. Did y’all know that my new husband came down with the vomitous flu on our honeymoon? So very romantic…

Anyway, Reg was so generous to let Chris and me, my parents, and our good friends Jeremy and Rachel and their two babies ALL stay with her three days after Christmas. She is a saint, I tell you.

I caught Reg in mid-smile here. She has a wonderful smile and laugh. Can you tell I really like her?

I caught Reg in mid-smile here. She has a wonderful smile and laugh. Can you tell I really like her?

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 2 Comments »
Jan
05
2009
0

What We Did on Our Christmas Vacation – Part Deux

Today’s post is going to be entirely dedicated to exploring Ambras Castle in Innsbruck, Austria. When you hear “castle” you may think, “Oh, a king and queen lived here!” But alas, you would be mistaken. The highest ranking person to leave here was the lowly Archduke Ferdinand II, who, incidentally, was the second son of Ferdinand I. How did that happen? My guess is that the first son popped out and everyone agreed that he looked more like a Harry than a Ferdinand. Not that I have a clue what the first son’s name was, but I want him to be called Harry.

Anyway, back to the castle. Ferdie the Second had the existing medieval castle renovated in the 16th Century by a bunch of Italians. Everyone was going Italian in those days. He had it renovated so he could hide his wife away from everybody. You see, the poor dear had no royal blood–that is. she was not his cousin–and therefore deemed an unworthy spouse. However, love triumphs over all, and when it does, you get a castle out of the deal.

alskdf ;alskdjf; alskj;alsdjf;alsdkjf;lksdjf;lksd

Ambras Castle. I think they kept Ferdie's "common" children hidden away in the little shed on the left.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | No Comments »
Jan
03
2009
6

What We Did on Our Christmas Vacation – Part I

First of all, I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating with your family or with people who are just like family. I wish you a very happy New Year and a reason to feel hopeful for the coming year.

I took a bit of a break from writing these past few weeks, mostly because of limited access to a computer or the internet. My parents flew here to Budapest on December 21st and we have been tromping around Europe for the past two weeks. It was a fantastic trip where we met old and new friends along the way. The next few posts are going to be about our adventures.

We spent the first few days in Budapest, showing my parents the sights to be seen and enjoying a nice Christmas Day.

Christmas morning in the Baker/Bates household. Because Santa Claus

Christmas morning in the Baker/Bates household. Because Santa Claus comes on December 6 in Hungary, Baby Jesus brings the presents on Christmas morning. I am not making this up. I guess because he is so small, he can fit into tight spaces like through keyholes, under doors, and between iron bars. If you think about it, this makes way more sense than believing that an obese octogenarian somehow manages to squeeze through the chimney. Baby Jesus has size and divine intervention on his side.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 6 Comments »
Dec
10
2008
3

Randomness

Here at Trajectories, I don’t even try to share all the details of our lives here in Budapest. First, it’s impossible, and secondly, I’m much more inclined to share specific stories with you all. Some days just aren’t worth writing about, regardless of the fact that we are living in a strange new European city. I get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. Not exactly intriguing…

However, there are a few things that I want to share with you that don’t really have stories to go along with them, but may give you a few more details of our lives here.

Our friend and apartment-mate Maria left us this week.

Our friend and apartment-mate Maria left us this week. She moved back to Paris and we will miss her laugh and positive attitude.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 3 Comments »
Dec
07
2008
1

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

So, I met this girl who knows this guy and this guy is a part of a cool recycling/reusing program here in Budapest. He and a group of other tree-hugging folks take discarded billboard canvases and banners and make them into all manners of things such as pillows, purses, wallets, backpacks, and furniture covers. In my unexplored world, I guess I thought all billboard signs were made out of paper. But that makes no sense in some situations, I suppose. Every time it rained, there would be wet globs of paper bombs attacking pedestrians.

Anyway, this group had a workshop on Saturday where you could pay 1,500 Forints (which is around 7ish U.S. dollars depending on the day’s exchange rate) and design your own billboard creation.

These bags were examples of what you could make at the workshop.

These bags were examples of what you could make at the workshop.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 1 Comment »
Nov
29
2008
4

“Thanks for the giving”

After I left the nest for college 12 years ago (I cannot believe it’s been that long) Thanksgiving has been a contested holiday for me. Seven of those Thanksgivings I was in college or grad school, making the timing of Thanksgiving right before final exams every fall semester. I would drive home in a half-daze and spend most of the trip thinking about the fact that I had to leave my home–where the presence of my family gave me comfort and support–and go back to school to spend days and nights toiling over final projects and tests. It made for a bittersweet Thanksgiving experience. Christmas was always the better holiday because I knew I had more than two days to spend with family.

This year, however, I firmly duct-taped my rose-colored glasses onto my head and became a Thanksgiving freak. I have never wanted to celebrate the holiday with so much fervor. I suppose being so far from the poeple and the things that are familiar to me made me nostalgic for the turkey, sweet potatoes and pie. Luckily for me, nobody here in Budapest has any Thanksgiving baggage to sour the concept of the holiday, so our new friends were nothing but excited to learn how the Pilgrims in Jamestown were saved that first winter by their new Native American neighbors.

You can imagine the slightly confused looks on our Hungarian friends’ faces after we told them that story. “But…didn’t the new English immigrants sorta, you know, treat the natives in America ‘badly’?”

“Well, yes, but at least they waited until after they thanked them and gave them a national holiday!”

Okay, sorry about that. I just had to say it. Back to the gorging on massive amounts of food in front of near strangers:

We had about 15 people

We had about 15 people come from my office and from KIBU. Plus, we were hosting three artist friends from Minnesota, so we made LOTS of food.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 4 Comments »
Nov
23
2008
5

The Significance of Food.

Obviously food is important in the biological sense, i.e. if you don’t eat food you will die. However, food is also important because of the beautiful cultural variations in the way it is served, the way you eat it, and the way it can break down barriers. Food is so much more than food–it’s an experience. When you go on a trip, one of the first things people ask you when you get back is usually, “How was the food?” The types of food cooked, the way it is cooked and how people eat together says a lot about the culture.

I’m not even going to pretend I know anything about Hungarian gastronomy at this point, but I would like to show you a few examples of the great experiences I have had with food here.

First, let's talk coffee. Coffee is so much more of an experience here than in the U.S. where getting your caffeine is more of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am sort of event. Here, you order your drink, and along with the incredible coffee, you get sparkling water and a cookie to top you off. This way of serving coffee may be the single reason for me never leaving Europe.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 5 Comments »
Nov
15
2008
4

Walking to work

One of the best things about living in Budapest (or any other cool European city plus New York–my favorite place on Earth) is that I can walk just about anywhere. Everything I need is within a 15-minute walk of our apartment. And I love that I get to walk to work. No more sitting on a smelly bus with “all of God’s creatures” or driving in traffic for 30 minutes each way. I get to leave my apartment at 8:55 and arrive to work at 9:00. Here’s what I get to see as I walk:

The front door to our apartment building.

The front door to our apartment building. 30 Raday Utca. It's not pronounced in any way you might think.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 4 Comments »

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