Be thankful for what you have; you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey
Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and family in Canada! Sending you piles of hugs and kisses! I miss having the big turkey dinner, making the rounds to see some for drinks, others for lunch and lastly mom’s for the big dinner.
My memories always take me back to Mom’s table in Aldergrove when Steve, my step-father, was still alive. We didn’t have much, but what we had we always shared. A big turkey full of homemade bread and sausage stuffing, Steve always made his speciality gravy from the drippings which was never, ever enough, and family and friends would bring pumpkin pies, and homemade cranberry sauce.
Back then it was Scott and Nicole (Steve’s kids for his first marriage) and George and I from Mom and of course our partners and our children; Diana and Cameron (George’s children) and later, my two little ones, Daniel and Angelina and lastly baby Mathew. Although only Daniel remembers Grandpa Steve; I feel lucky that he could have been part of this family tradition before Steve died. These are some of my most cherished memories and a big part of my life.
We would arrive early to help mom clean the house and put dinner on. The boys would lazily watch movies until dinner was ready, usually around 18:00. The feast was spectacular. Every inch of the table was covered by yummy things to eat; slices of juicy butter basted turkey, fresh garden salad, steamed broccoli and brussel sprouts with parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese sauce, blanched green beans with fried onions, and fresh bread.
Mom made soup from the carcass which slowly boiling the meat off the bones after Steve meticulously carved the bird, after all he was a butcher. She sifted it clean the next day when she would add in the fresh veggies. We often spent the night and ate cold turkey sandwiches and soup the next day!
If the weather was good we would all go for a walk to the local elementary school where they had a big basketball court. Here we would play in teams until we built up an appetite for dinner. It is the little homemade traditions that I miss the most.
This Thanksgiving…. 2016
Alfonz had a bad bought of either the stomach flu or food poisoning, not sure which, and we had to cancel our plans to visit the zoo or aquarium with my Bakonysárkány cousins this weekend. We figure it was either my fasirozott loaded with red onions which I served with paprikash yellow bean stew, or maybe he picked up a bug from the kid’s school. Poor guy was up all night and sick for the week!
Saturday we stayed close to home and Sunday we ended up walking in the rain!
Angelina had her first birthday party invite at the bowling alley which took us to the mega mall Mammuth or Mammat as they call it here in Hungary. It is a four storey, two building complex of everything shopping you can imagine.
The food court was more like side by side restaurants, and they even had a proper sit down section with fancy restaurants as well. They had sushi, Greek food, Italian and the list goes on and on. I definitely missed the variety of big cities life living in southern France for so long!
While Angelina bowled, ate pizza and made some new friends; Alfonz, Daniel and I walked around. Unfortunately Alfonz went to the car for a nap as his stomach flu left him very tired. I have never seen him like this in all the 27 years of knowing him, and honestly when he is sick, there is no one sicker.
With hours to kill. Daniel and I enjoyed Starbucks and walked around the complex looking for vests. I found and bought one for Daniel from H&M, high quality, and full of down for a great price.
The weather here has been changing, and the nights are around 5° even if the days are 15-20° or more in the strong sun. I have noticed us wrap in our house coats before bed and Alfonz called the heater guy to check and service our heaters before the cold weather arrives and settles in until Spring.
With Alfonz in the car, Daniel and I got some quality time together. He is so interesting, and our conversations go to current events and are full of questions. I love his take on the world, and at 12 he is far older than his age. He knows exactly where his place is in the world, and how he fits into it. I cannot wait to see what kind of a man he will make but also don’t want my little boy to grow up too fast and cherish these last moments before he hits those dreaded teenage years. I will savour our dates.
Angelina was so happy to have had her first birthday party invite and she came home full of energy and happiness. She was singing for the rest of the weekend. We went home and ate left overs and watched movies until dusk. We all hit the pillows hard and slept late into the morning.
On Sunday, we left before lunch to find a nice place to eat. It was, after all, Thanks Giving back home and to go out to eat felt celebratory. We walked down a newly redone neighbourhood in district V where the nicest rebuilt homes are and the highest prices in real estate second to Buda Castle district II. It reminds me of New York City from the movies with little walk ups, terraces, inviting sidewalks and only residential parking. The stores in this area are uber chic with perfectly set up store fronts of designer clothes waiting for the passerby to see and purchase. They are very tempting and even I imagine myself dressing up in them.
The restaurants in this district are varied, some are very expensive and cater to the tourists and others are little hole in the wall local dives full of cheap eats. The eclectic mix makes for an interesting walk, and for those among us who like to people watch, pick any cafe and you will be satisfied. We saw a local schizophrenic talking to the wall, but he seemed friendly enough, dirty hippies in ragged clothes who sported the look as a style not a lifestyle, and blue haired ladies in little groups with small dogs and super highheeled shoes and way too much make-up.
After we walked towards Vaci Utca the pedestrian shopping street in Budapest on the Pest side that runs along the Danube River. Angelina was getting cold, and that meant the weather would change. We made our way to Zara where we all went in to help her find a vest. She tried on a few different colours and sizes and finally chose a furry hooded blue one with gold zippers. Just after we paid, Alfonz said let’s replace the one you are wearing, it is really old and not ever black anymore. So we returned to Zara and found me a matching one to Angelina’s and then we went the one floor up and found Alfonz a burgundy one too! Looking like a fashion magazine advertising for outerwear, the lady in line behind us said how cute our family was for buying all matching hoodies!
Then as we walked out the door as the first drops of rain fell. Perfect timing we thought; we made our way to the little underground metro, the oldest underground in all of continental Europe. It took us 20 minutes to arrive to central park. By the time we popped out the rain had taken over but that didn’t stop the festivities.
Chimney Cake or Kotlus Kalacs is a bread cooked over an open fire seasoned with cinnamon, chocolate, sugar, nuts, or coconut, and you eat it hot. They are delicious, and this was the festival to celebrate them. Although they are not originally Hungarian you can find them everywhere these days! Most likely they were brought over by the German descent Hungarians.
The line-ups were very long, even in the rain! Every tree had people huddled under them. I kept think that they must have over advertised this event because not a single parking spot was vacant and the buses, tram and metros were all full.
We quickly gave up and tried to get back on the underground, but the line-ups to get back on board were insane. So we walked along the Andras Utca trying to hail a cab. We were not the only one’s with this brilliant plan.
After a few hundred metres we gave up and walked under the tree line until we reached home. Angelina was freezing by the time we arrived and we worried she would get sick so we threw her in a warm shower and bundled her up on the couch to watch a film.
I heated up leftover soup for dinner and we went to bed very early.
Enjoy the photos…
Just another day in My Expat Life Hungary!