We got another family member this past weekend: Pascal the cat.
(That's Paszkál in Hungarian.) He is affectionate to all,
but he likes Karen best.
Karen holding Pascal
He's a proper cat; sunshine is worth seeking out.
King of the baseball bag!
While Doug and Karen were procuring the cat,
Lea joined some colleagues in Esztergom.
We hung out in the hospital, where Keri
was waiting to deliver her second child.
(Arden, Keri, Joanna, Laura, Lea)
Our fancy dinner at the guesthouse where we stayed!
(Joanna, Arden, Laura)
Our friends Shannon and Dalma at the Ladies' Christmas Tea
The first topic of discussion at Deaf church on Sunday was baseball!
Here's Szabi studying the ball itself.
Dalma during Bible study
Zsolt reads the Christmas story from Matthew.
Vác is getting ready for Christmas!
Last week they built shelters for a small Christmas market.
On Wednesday they put up the lights all over town.
The Christmas lights are pretty, although in our opinion
it would be better if they were all white instead of
white and turquoise.
Doug's student Erika is the Vác City Gardener.
It was her responsibility to put up the Christmas Tree.
The Deaf School is the pink building in the background.
Here are a few of the little shops, open for business.
I (Lea) have to admit, I'm pretty spoiled with Girlfriends here.
This past Friday, I went to Budapest on an IKEA shopping trip
with Donna George from Szeged and two colleagues from the area:
Joanna Foley and Laura Newell.
On Saturday, Karen and I went back to Budapest with friends
from Vác, Orsi (who soon will move to Montana) and Shannon,
along with Shannon's mom Jodie (second from left).
Three websites told us that the Budapest Christmas market
would be open that day, but when we got there, we found that
the workmen had just begun to build the shelters.
We had a joyful time anyway—easy to do when you are
with people who love each other and love God.
From our apartment windows on the other side of this church,
we often see the pigeons line up along the rooftop. Until recently,
I didn't realize that there were three rows of birds
on the far side of the roof!
Another bit of Hungarian "wildlife"...
November 1 is All Saints' Day, better known around here as
Day of the Dead. Pretty much everybody goes to their relatives'
graves, cleans them up, and decorates them with flowers or wreaths.
These wreaths were available last week at our local market.
During the fall break last week, we were visited by
most of the Brown family, colleagues in a city a
couple hours west of here. Saturday afternoon the kids
went to the park so their mom could get a much-needed nap.
Karen and Rebekah were happy to be together.
This past week, Tom and Anna Foley came to Hungary.
Tom, the esteemed director of CEO (our missions partners),
here shows us his shoe. Mark is smiling,
because he has already shown his shoe.
Here are Tom, Laura, and Joanna.
Joanna's former roommate, Samm, joined us.
Anna looks remarkably good for being totally jet-lagged!
Karen was knitting furiously, because she wanted
Joanna to show her how to cast off.
Anna took this photo on the Foley parents' last night in Budapest.
Karen, Doug, Tom, Joanna, Lea
We got a visit from 3/4 of the George family this past weekend.
While their wife and mother, Donna, is at a conference in the States,
Rob and the girls came to see us. The rain held off long enough
to play in the riverside park...
...and long enough for the adults to get in some
quiet time, good conversation, and rest.
Karen got invited to visit her girlfriend Rebekah this past weekend,
so Doug and I, and our friends the McGuires,
spent the weekend in the city of Veszprém ("vess-praym").
Saturday morning we were escorted arount Veszprém by the
pastor of the evangelical church and his family.
Left to right: Ádám, Dávid; Shannon, Jarrod, Dóra, and Doug;
Joelle finally went to sleep in the stroller.
Part of the castle, shown from below.
The city of Veszprém, looking down from the castle.
The huge rock formations were fascinating!
This one has a large crucifix on the end of it.
More than one stream runs through town.
Doug turned older this week!
This is the third delicious and innovative birthday cake
that our friend Ildi has baked us this year;
she's spoiling us rotten!
This is our fruit-and-vegetable "Wal-Mart":
the stand at the market where we usually go.
The Hungarian word for "vegetable" can be
directly translated "greenness."
We don't often go to Budapest these days, except last week,
when I (Lea) was there five times in eight days!
This is the Chain Bridge with the funicular railway
in the background.
I heard a lot about John von Neumann
in my university computer classes,
but I had no idea that he was Hungarian!
I got very excited when I saw this plaque on a
very nondescript building in Budapest.
On Tuesdays and Thursday mornings, Doug walks home
from a teaching job through flowery meadows.
Last week he brought me a sampling of the flowers!
One of the hardest things about being overseas
is not being able to watch our nieces and nephews grow up.
However, we do have a little friend named Joelle,
who gives us our little-kid fix when we need it.
We met her when she was just a few months old,
and now she is two!
Here is Joelle with her dad and mom, Jarrod and Shannon.
The Danube river is still a bit high,
although nothing like last week,
when it covered the entire embankment
and half of this park.
South of Vác, next to the Danube River,
there is a lovely park with a fishing lake.
Not many fishermen were out this past Tuesday.
In the spring, just before the end of school,
classes of kids come out here for field day.
Tuesday it was pretty quiet and peaceful.
The Danube River and the sky above it.
You can barely see one of the two
Váci ferries moored in the background.
We had heard rumor that the Danube River was high.
They weren't kidding.
Our riverside park in Vác had partially disappeared.
Usually the Danube runs about 10 feet below the park level.
In Budapest, the road by the river embankment
is covered by water in many places, ...
...and the Hungarian Parliament building is once again at risk.
We haven't done this every year, but here's a photo of
Doug and Karen on their First Day of School.
Every year, all schools hold Year Opening Ceremonies.
Here's the setup at Karen's school before things got started.
The entire program, including two national anthems,
poetry reading by two kids, and an address by the principal,
took all of 14 minutes.
And here are Karen and a few of her classmates waiting around
for others to arrive. The girl standing to her left,
Blanka, is second-tallest in their class.