The beautiful spring came: and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. Harriet Ann Jacobs
Slowly the elephant of a house is getting done! At nearly 300 square meters, it sounded like a good idea at the time! But we have space for lots of visitors and it is turning into a beautiful home… eventually.
Our last update was written on Thursday of week one during our holidays, but the second week got very busy, very quickly!
I visited a fellow teacher from the private school where she lives and we were treated to a glorious home cooked meal of sauteed mushrooms and zucchini bruschetta, garlic prawns over pasta, and a yummy dessert which I can’t remember because we polished off three bottles of champagne! WHAT!! Total lushes! We had so much fun even with my back completely out; eating, talking, music, singing, laughing… Such a lovely couple, the kind love stories are written about. They inspire me to appreciate my husband more… not allowed to take him for granted, not for one minute of any day!
In Budapest there is a very cool cab service where they come and drive your car home for you! This is the third time we have used this service with friends and family and are very pleased. For about 10-20€ two guys come to your place of partying, and one drives you home in your car and the other comes behind to pick him up. Priceless in the land of zero tolerance for alcohol! Not worth losing your license for one night of drunken fun!
They generously invited us a few days later to go to the opera with them and we saw “Il trittico”, or “Triptych”, three-one act operas based on Dante’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy”. The link between the three is that they all deal with the concealment of a death. The first a love affair on a boat all gone terribly array. The second was about a woman put in a convent by her parents because she fell in love outside of wedlock and in typical opera fashion, everything wrong that could possible go wrong does. And the last was about a man who dies and leaves everything to the church! His family concoct a plan to change his will, and the opera ends on a very funny high note.
We rooted for the bad guy. I cried with the character who lost her love, and I felt her heartache and man could she sing! I found myself laughing out loud during the third performance; every spectrum of emotion was hit!
They changed clothes and were unrecognizable from one scene to the next. Each a top act to follow, no corners were cut, and it was among the best I have ever seen; even at three hours long and stomach growling, I craved more.
Puccini intended the three operettes to be performed together, I am guessing because they were all so different, all so moving in their own way that it becomes an honest account of death and the realities that come with it. Often only two are staged together, but how could they possibly chose which one to leave out. We understood how rare it was to see all three at once.
It was glorious! Especially the music!
After the opera it was about 10:00pm and we were all starving! We went for sushi at IMÁZS Thai és Japán. Our friends were very smart to order from the menu at intermission at 9:00 and placing it before their chef went home.
We arrived to the restaurant with our meals ready to devour!
The opera house also finished their performance at the same time as Erkel, and a famous opera singer was also there at the restaurant with her entourage.
The native Hungarian woman was talking fluent Italian with some in her party. She had a low cut blouse revealing her operatic voluptuous shape. I felt as though we were on to a hidden restaurant known and open to only the local musicians and stars.
It was like being inside the famous painting ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams” featuring Marilyn Monroe, James dean, and Elvis except in place it was us; the opera singer, the cellist and the writer eat sushi! Now we just need to become uber famous for a famous painter to paint us!
The next week was full of appointments for me. We made our way to Kika and IKEA, shopped for food and bits and bobs for the house… I went to meet a lady from NuSkin who is an online Facebook friend, and we met up for a cross marketing meeting. She was lovely. I love meeting people this way, it still blows my mind to meet someone you already know (or don’t know) for years! If anyone needs NuSkin products in Budapest, I have your gal!
The next day was my very much anticipated English Book Store date with my colleague from school. Her and I started working at the same time at the private school, and have become good buddies! We are both always trying to navigate through the system together, supporting each other, sometimes jaws dropped, or wide eyed in complete wonderment at how we got here! Both of us so very content at being part of it all.
Our outing was so much fun. I think we could have stayed there at Libra Book Store for the entire day. We searched for some teaching materials for B2 and C1 levels for private students, and also searched for novels for our middle school students. I spent a bloody fortune that day, but not just on books.
After we went to H&M to find some clothes to help me look more like a teacher! I bought three pretty blouses, a long skirt and a long casual dress made of cotton! I was so happy to have help, as we all well know how hopeless I am with fashion! The Unfashionista! That will be my next blog full of dress-up disasters and crazy old fashion statements resuscitated back to life by me, but actual items that stayed put in my wardrobe until they came back in style.
Then we went to a local waterhole with a fabulous lunch menu! I ate caesar salad and pad thai ! She had risotto and pumpkin soup! Everything looked extremely delicious; it was hard to chose. Lastly we managed to fit in a cream-cheese icing carrot cake with our coffees. Well rounded meal! It was the first time all vacation break where I really felt as though I was on vacation. And one good girly gab session later! I am truly lucky to have this lady in my life!
Then on Thursday I went to interview a potential homestay family, and was so happy with the interview. She’s awesome! I think she will do very well indeed! Looking forward to getting her online and finding her some students.
During this time, Alfonz took the kids to Aquaworld! They had a blast! We arrived home at the same time, all exhausted and happy…
Friday, it was a beautiful warm day and we were in and out in the garden. I bought flowers for the garden and got my manicured nails very dirty! It was time to get them done again!
Saturday we went to visit my cousins in Bakonsarkany! Early up and out the door, we were there by 11:00 and stayed until 19:00. I laughed and talked with the wives, Alfonz and the boys took the kids on a long walk.
I love visiting my family and always feel like this is what was missing in France. You know a safe place to fall. A place to truly talk and be free to say what you think. A place to learn and be heard. Those deep connection only family can give.
They have five little girls between them, and Daniel comes here each year for a week a two to rest. He gets on best with the second oldest, as she is very dynamic and loves Daniel the most. Together they are like two boys climbing trees and getting covered in mud. I honestly believe Bori taught Daniel to speak Hungarian! Love all of them with all my heart. I leave feeling recharged!
Sunday was a day of Decathlon shopping, namely for a trampoline, but also clothes for Daniel. He never stops growing! Daniel needed new shoes for Parkour and sweatpants.
Today, I look into my garden, and I see the large fruit trees starting to bloom, birds are perched on the branches, tweeting away. Two white doves are doing it in the tree making quite a ruckus, but I think their nest is in the neighbor’s yard. Why can’t they go home to make birdie love?
Yesterday, I told the children to check them out, learn about the birds and the bees, by watching the birds! I thought I was being so funny, but of course my kids know all about this already, taught very young while in the Montessori program. Angelina just blushed and got angry saying, ‘How could you make such a joke!! God!!’ I said What? It’s funny! And I continued to laugh at my own joke.
Through the mossy carpeted lawn new shoots of green grass are peeking up; the seeds I scattered far too late in the fall season, thought long eaten by the winter animals, managed to survive. I imagine how soft they will feel under foot in summer, something France did not have, and something I grew up with in Canada. Such a luxury really, velvety green carpet outside, a bed of grass to roll around on. Weird how I never thought of it as a insect haven or worm home.
To make the most of the lawn, we decided on things to entertain Daniel and Angelina, our LivEnglish homestay students and visiting friends and family with children.
This house will not need a swimming pool, the summer is far too short to pan out the dough. At least that is what Alfonz thinks. I think we will have to live through an entire summer to decide. When we find ourselves sweltering away in the heat, I bet I can convince him!
For now, unequivocally, we decided that because Daniel has officially started Parkour, that a trampoline would be a great addition to the house. We also bought a Strapline (trackline), a balancing nylon 2″ line hung with a pulley to string up between our two fruit trees, and a badminton net and four rackets, plus a volleyball for the upper lawn for the children to have matches. The soccer and basketballs made there way from France, but we haven’t decided where to place the hoop yet. Maybe on the street just outside our gate, or perhaps above the garage. We will see once the renovations are done and the weather improves.
I always seem to get back to this topic. Six months in and this unsettling feeling comes over me. Before, in other adventures in other countries, this would mean excitement and intrigue; a feeling of discovery, or a new beginning. This time, perhaps because of my age, I crave deep roots and community, family and friends.
Before I wanted to drink from every fountain, taste from every plate; now I would like to know my silverware and be familiar with my cup.
I know it is also what my teenaged son and preteen daughter needs. Stability. Comfort. Long term friend. A room that is their own full of creature comforts and homemade artwork. A neighbourhood they know and feel safe in. Not much different as to what we searched for and found in Capestang France.
There is something therapeutic about consistency. I crave it. I even like the ritual of getting up in the early morning, drinking my steaming coffee while checking my emails and preparing lessons for the day. I love the rainforest shower, drying my hair in my new little bathroom and even putting on my makeup. becoming familiar with the house and wearing in little paths through the house. By the time I leave I already decided what’s for dinner and mapped out my entire day. Early to bed, early to rise, keeps a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Not sure about the wealthy though…
After work, I still have loads of time to forage for food, clean the house and the energy to take private students.
It doesn’t feel like work at all. My life feels like an worn glove; comfortable, and soft.
I want to trust my new life. Something that is hard for me, but it is a goal; to honestly trust the people in my life. Normally I grant the trust and get disappointed, however this time I want a secure place without that critical judgement. So far I have encountered judgement, preconceived notions and some very incorrect stereotypes about who I am. I don’t think I am a stereotypical (North) American, Canadian perhaps; naive and super nice to a fault. Or maybe they are right: secretly I am a loud mouth opinionated flag waving North American? But then why would I ever leave home?
It is often in human to eat (control, take down) the weak, not much different from the animal kingdom but the “weak” are often simply not willing to confront. They step back to let others vent and to express themselves. It is not always about fighting for dominance and your own sense of justice, but it is about letting everyone grow and gain strength from one another.
I try to rise above the gossip, the judgements, the backstabbing, the two faced people trying to claw their way to the top.
In a perfect world I would see a supportive place where we join in on each other’s triumphs, where we help each other reach higher ground and come together to move mountains. Alone, well we are just alone aren’t we.
Today is International Women’s Day, and I was greeted by a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Alfonz. He rarely buys me flowers and what a lift they gave me!
A bright coloured yellow and pink variegated rose, and two gerbers; one red and one salmon pink, a stem of white nearly green carnations, and two shoots of Alstroemeria; one orange and the other pure white with leopard spots on its tongue.
I felt truly appreciated, loved and recognized.
What a lovely man full of surprises after so many years together!
You see I haven’t been easy. I have been struggling with pain, and haven’t been drinking my red wine or consuming painkillers to deal.
I am trying to lose some weight for the House Hunters International TV show which is scheduled in 6 weeks. So I am grinning and bearing the pain as my body cleanses out all the toxins and drops the weight for me.
I got myself a French manicure yesterday and talked to my hairdresser about how to do my hair for the show. I am thinking to wear it curly in Hungary and straight in France.
I am also starting to think about what the family should wear as well. I need something flattering for Hungary and something cool and airy for France as it will be hot during our return visit. Dresses of course come to mind, but maybe a skirt and a little blouse for Hungary. I love having such difficult problems to solve. I mean, after this, I will tackle world peace of course!
I don’t know how I will feel about returning to France after six months.
Will it feel like returning home?
What does home actually mean to expats anyway?
Us travelling vagabonds that can pack up and take the next right on a whim!
What I do know is that where Alfonz is feels like home. He is my soft place to fall and the safety I require to function every day. He witnesses my life, and without him I wonder if it would ever happen. Like a tree in the woods, does it bother to make a sound when it falls? I also know that where I bury my nose, in the tops of my children’s heads, that familiar smell of their hair, for me also means home. I run my hands through their locks like stroking a cat, or I take my hand over their little faces and remember when they were small little stinkers.
I don’t think home is a real country or nationality for me, but rather these three faces which I love more than anything on the planet. Yup, that’s it, they are my home.