Many of you have gathered by now, that I raise Daniel and Angelina to be independent and divergent thinkers. Sometimes I look at my kids and ask myself, why do I want this again? They have amazing ideas, and along with it the freedom of no idea being wrong. Their knowledge is only limited to their imagination and at times, I wish I had them conformed, regimented and submissive. Careful what you wish for, right?
Daniel is independent, responsible, clever, funny, sensitive, and loving. Consequently when he decided he wanted to visit Hungary alone, there was little to do but give in to his request. He was sure he was ready for this, and we had to give him a chance.
Daniel left Capestang with Alfonz at 5:00am to catch his Montpellier 6:3am flight and took it all in stride. I packed him a ham and cheese sandwich for his 2 1/2 hour layover in Lyon. Alfonz handed Daniel off to a pretty, little stewardess who works for Air France and said how hard it was to leave him at the airport. He was shockingly unemotional and said, ‘Bye Daddy!’ and turned to leave.
The Air France flight attendant did not leave his side until they reached Budapest. There was one older girl also with the chaperone heading to Lyon as well. From there, she caught another flight leaving Daniel alone to Budapest when they parted ways.
Daniel’s account of the flight and layover was not much more than playing videos and looking out the window. Occasionally someone offered him a snack or a drink, however he said it was uneventful.
My cousins packed up the family from Bakonysárkány to drive the 1 1/2 hours to Budapest Airport to gather up Daniel and his luggage. Daniel requested a sign with his name on it in case he did not remember them, which was more for reassurance, as we talk with them on Skype, and visit them each time we are in Hungary. Still, it was a nice touch and made my son feel big.
Zsolt and Detti, Peter and Zdenka, Ili Neni and Laci Bacsi took Daniel under their wing, and shared nearly two weeks of their summer holidays with my nine-year-old boy.
My cousin Zsolt, who speaks English, had to leave for work during his visit, and left Daniel with his two young daughters and wife, who do not speak English at all. Daniel’s Hungarian improved very quickly, and by day three, Detti reported that he was communicating well and spoke to the girls. The youngest is just under three years old and the older is six years old. The younger doesn’t stop talking, and taught Daniel Hungarian in a few days. LOVE IT!
Of course, my cousins spoiled him rotten. Gifts, excursions, and adventures were the primary items on the list. They travelled to the famous Balaton Lake, when the weather had turned and of course I did not pack anything for weather under 20 degrees. Daniel found himself wearing everything he brought, layered on top of another. They went to a children’s festival and went out for dinner. Daniel was having the time of his life.
He experienced horseback riding twice, and managed to revisit the ranch where my cousins married a few years before. What a beautiful setting with rolling hills, a man made lake and horses grazing in grass fields. They have wooden stables and hold competitions in a round pen as well. The kids were able to pick a horse and then ride them.
Zip lining is a new activity in Hungary, and doing it from treetop to treetop was something Daniel could not stop talking about. The pictures speak for themselves.
Lastly, they took Daniel to a Cowboy themed restaurant set up like a western film. Daniel and Zsolt both love guns and the cheesy film set made it that much more special. The photos reminded me of John Wayne, ‘A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do…’ and they did, they ate burgers and fries.
My cousin Peter took the kids out on his tractor. That night, Daniel Skyped us with quite a story about how he drove the tractor on his own. How exciting for Daniel and also brave of my cousin. I guess in a big open field there is only so much damage that can be done.
Daniel spent much time with the girls jumping on the trampoline, playing games with them, and spending time outside in the garden. He requested Detti’s vegetable soup with croutons and ate Paris sandwiches each day, which is Lyoner or balogni. Nutella was a food group for my boy during his stay, as was chocolate milk.
By day 9, Daniel finally said he missed us and couldn’t wait for some cuddles. That night Detti packed his bag and found the sandwiches I packed for him. I guess he did not really need the after all. Little bum never bothered to unpack and my cousins gave him free reign over his own things. He must have felt like a big kid during his stay.
The next day my cousin, his wife and two children drove Daniel back to the airplane. On route they stopped and visited other cousins and two more babies. Daniel was ready to go home, and they said by this time he was visibly anxious to get on the plane. He said his goodbyes, kissed and thanked everyone.
On course home, this time the layover in Lyon was four hours and Daniel stayed close to his chaperone and played video games. By the time he reached Montpellier, France, it was late, nearly 10:00pm and I waited for him patiently an hour away in Capestang.
It was so nice to hug him. He smelled of Hungarian soap, which reminded me of our apartment in Budapest, and he was excited to see us, but his eyes were tiny. It was a long trip home. He asked for food, we fed him well, and then my big boy fell asleep.
The next day, when he woke up, I had chance to take a good look at him and he had visibly gained weight after nearly 11 days. Detti fed him well and he said he was so hungry that she kept on feeding him. My nine-year-old must of hit a growth spurt while visiting Bakonysárkány.
Daniel bought us gifts from his allowance and delivery service money, and proudly gave them to us. For me it was a bracelet, paprika and my favourite spices, Alfonz received a scorpion in a glass paperweight and Angelina got a Monsters High Doll- Venus. He was mature and confident and both Alfonz and I was are proud of him.
He said, ‘I want to go back and meet Sarah (the new baby) after she is born for another ten days. But not right away, once the baby starts sleeping through the night and they are settled in with three kids.’ So wise this boy of mine, he just got back and is already planning to go again.
I love my family in Bakonysárkány they are truly amazing and generous people for taking my boy. And he came back with a perfect Hungarian accent and larger vocabulary. He’s getting close to knowing three languages fluently.
Daniel was right, he was ready for to travel alone, and he fully understood the responsibility we gave him. I am glad we trusted his judgement and he did a good job with it. That’s my boy!