Hoping to go back to Budapest for Christmas to enjoy a traditional Hungary holiday with our family; skating, a big dinner and Christmas Eve gift giving, we have a change of plans. With great prospects here, and a routine just begun, we decide against hauling the children across yet two more countries before they have settled in completely to their French life. The 2 week trek would cause more havoc then it would be worth.
The poor kids are already so confused. School is working out well to give them stability, especially for Daniel, who needs to know what is coming next in his life to feel safe. After a few bumpy starts, Daniel has found a rhythm, is making friends, and learning each day, even the dreaded Math homework! He progresses quickly with the language, and is well liked, being somewhat of a novelty.
Angelina is a different kid; you have to stop her from finishing the book and is fine without a friend in the world. Yesterday I was translating with Daniel in the kitchen, and forgot about her completely, as she read all her work from the beginning of the school year to the end. She finally came to me and said, I am done, and she really was! I just shake my head wondering where did this child from?
Sick of wearing the same three sets of clothes, Alfonz goes back for the rest of our luggage, stored at the apartment in Hungary. Alfonz drives the Mercedes camper van the 1700 km trudge back to Budapest alone. With little sleep the night before, he makes his way. I got a call around 6:00pm the day of departure letting us know he was in Italy, finishing approximately 700 km the first day and made it safely close to the Slovenia boarder. He looked exhausted as we talked on Skype and I remind him to eat. How can people forget to eat? It is all I think about. Weird. Anyways…
The next day he set out early, right after breakfast, and was on the road by 8:00am. The fog through Slovenia was thick as pea soup, but he managed through. Inside the Van was nice and warm, he said. Last night I got the call he made it to the Walnut Apartment in record-breaking time, completing the second day finishing the 1000km journey. He was enjoying his cousin Angie and Akos’ company at their bakery when I called.
I am glad he is there. I was running out of my usual spices, and got used to some of the time-honored flavors of Hungary in all my dishes. Goulash cubes, mild paprika, hot sauce, and soda syrup for the kids. Hungary has a healthy version of syrup, with natural fruit, you just simple add to soda water. It taste like pop but no added sugar just natural fructose. And you can regulate the amount too!
Capestang has a high of 17 degrees today and Budapest is hovering around zero! Poor guy, Alfonz said it is freezing, but has the heat cranked, and enjoying seeing his family and friends in his hometown.
In the mean time, the kids and I ride bikes through the village, bump into neighbors at the market, and decide what’s for dinner? Daniel and Angelina strip down to T-shirts, and say it feels like summer. It was up to 20 degrees in the sun over by the school where they get no wind. Other parents ask me, Ils ont friod? No, this is summer in Vancouver Canada! I smile.
As soon as the weather changes in Hungary, even a little, they are wearing scarves and gloves, in early fall and some days it is 20 degrees. Capestang is the same. It could be 20 degrees at noon, but drops to 8 in the evening. People are prepared for the cold. We layer, and strip down and bundle back up if the weather changes.
Without Alfonz here, I spend my days singing, practicing the difficult pieces of music for the Christmas concerts. I also translate Daniel’s French reader, as well as try to listen to the French CDs and walk at least an hour each day. Today I also add in yoga, as my back has been killing me. I think hunching over the computer for hours on end, is not the best for my injury.
I have already walked the kids to school, then to the Intermarche (supermarket) and mapped out my next few meals. I buy ground sausage meat, cubed veal for a bargain price, and turkey winglets. I made quick lasagna for the freezer; with the blanc and provolone formage and fresh herbs I had in the fridge. The cubed veal is for the Hungarian Goulash Stew I promised our lovely hosts J and B from our first week here. It waits in the freezer till time comes. When Alfonz gets home I will make a date for us to visit them and take over supper. The winglets are in the soup pot now, for a nice cozy cream of cauliflower soup, I plan to purée using plain yogurt. Could be good, not sure, just winging it! No pun intended!
With Alfonz away, there is still so much bread in the house, no need to visit the baker each day, or the liquor store! I don’t drink or eat alone!
The kids can feel a hole in the family. With Alfonz gone, each child in turn came to visit me during the night to snuggle, and then after an hour or so returned to their beds. I guess they feel bad that daddy isn’t here, and stopped by to make sure I was okay. They are sweet kids.
I would be lying if I said I am not enjoying the silence in the house right now. We have been together 5 months day in and day out. It has been great to enjoy my hobbies, without stopping to make lunch, or go out to see real estate, or drive somewhere on another adventure. I need some down time, to recoup from days without sleep. Today I felt I could have slept another 8 hours easy.
No TV at the end of each night either, I am sure Alfonz is happy to hear, I am saving our downloaded show for his return. I am wiped by the time the kids go down for the night, and struggle to squeak in an extra hour after they go to bed, before hitting the hay myself.
I am sure after the weekend I will be missing Alfonz like mad. But for now, I sip coffee the day away, and enjoy my make work projects.