possession is 9/10ths of the law

Among a few other important things English speakers want to know when learning a foreign language is the verb “to have” and how to use it. “I have an umbrella.” “You have a cold.” “They had red car.” “He had a great time at the lake.”

What I finally realized today is that this is a passive idea in Hungarian. “The umbrella is had by me.” Or, “there is my umbrella.” I think “tetszik” is the same! “Something is liked by me.” “The shoes which are had by me are liked by me.” “Are they liked by you?”

Van egy pár cipőm. (vagy) Nekünk van egy pár cipőm. Nekem cipőm teszik. Neked cipőm testszik.

Speaking of possession, Kristof has an incredible 32 year old Zsiguli (spelling?). Oh my goodness. This is an amazing sight to behold. The speedometer reminds me of my dad’s old 1970’s model Dodge Dart speedometer! Even now, I can visualize driving my future Zsiguli down Szentendrei ut with the windows roled down and the whole family piled in the back!

Now, I should say that a person shouldn’t purchase a Zsiguli with the hope of becoming cool. A Zsiguli should be a reflection of the “coolness” within. I can also imagine racing stripes and fire painted on the side!


With a little work, I’ve corrected mz indecipherable Hungarian in my previous article. Here’s the updated version!

Tegnap az idő nagyon jó volt. A fiainkkal és négy ismerűnkkal mentünk kirándulni a hegyekbe. Mi felmentünk a Budakeszi Nemzeti Parkba, és sétáltünk egy órát. Nagyon kellemes volt. Az ösvénymellet látattünk sok állatot, például bölényt és sok madarot. A fiuknak tetszek. Utána, piknizetünk és Bocci-t játsztottunk.

Amikor azt mondom “Bocci”, mi jut eszetekbe? Nekem, süt a nap Olaszországban, és néhány jó ismerőm jut eszembe. Persze, soha játszom ezt Olaszországban, hanem én emlékszem jó időkre amikor játszottom Bocci-t ismerőseimmel észak Carolina-ban. Ha te még soha nem jatszottál, ki kell próbálnod.

Budakeszi Vadaspark

The weather was so so nice yesterday. We took the boys hiking, and four friends joined us. We went to Budakeszi National Park and we walked for an hour. It was awesome. Along the trail we saw many animals like buffalo, wild boars, and wolves. The boys loved it. After hiking, we had a picnic and played Bocci ball (thanks Kristof!).

When I say “Bocci ball” what comes to mind? For me, an Italian sunny day and good friends come to my mind. I have never played Bocci ball in Italy, of course, but I do remember the good times playing Bocci ball with friends in Raleigh. If you yet haven’t played, you need to.

A feeble attempt at Hungarian

Tegnap az idő nagyon jó volt. Fiainkkal és négy ismerűnkkal mentünk kirándulni a hegyekben. Mi felvezetettünk a Budakeszi Nemzeti Parkba, és sétaltünk egy orát. A legjóbb volt. Ösvénymellet látattünk sok állat, peldául bison és sok madár. A fiuk azt szeretettek. Utana, pikniztünk és Bocci-t játsztottunk.

Amikor azt mondom “Bocci”, mi jut eszetekbe? Nekem, süt a nap olaszországban, és néha jó ismerőm jut eszembe. Persze, soha játszom ezt olaszországban, hanem én emlékszem jó idők amikor játszani Bocci-t ismerőkemmel észak carolina-ban. Ha te soha már nem jatsztottál, te kell csinalni.


What in the World. Friday I turned 33. It is the third time in my life that my age has been divisible by 11 (11, 22, 33). I had a great day with the family. As soon as I woke up, the boys insisted that I open my birthday presents. When we moved to Hungary, I had to leave behind most of my camping gear. And here’s what a got for my birthday:


Recently, we had some problems with our electricity in our apartment. We called a repairman, and he came to fix it. He didn’t speak English, and of course my Hungarian is still progressing. Unfortunately, he took advantage of us and charged us a very very high price. Most Hugnarian businesses and repairmen can definitely be trusted, BUT, this isn’t an uncommon experience for foreigners.

As I was conveying the story to some Hungarian friends, they commented that, “well it isn’t as bad as Mohács.” And Mohács (mow-hatch) is what I’d like to tell you about.

The following quote is from István Bart in his book, “Hungary and the Hungarians.” I highly recommend reading this book.

“Mohács is a small town by the Danube near the southern boundary of Hungary, and the scene of possibly the most tragic battle in Hungarian historyé this is where, after having conquered the Balkans, the Great Sultan Suleiman and his troops annihilated the Hungarian army in 1526, and with it the medieval kingdom of Hungary, the middle section of the coutry came under Turkish occupation, Transylvania was separated from the mother country, while after the death of the Hungarian king, who fell at Mohács, the smaller northern and western parts of the country became part of the Habsburg Empire; from then on, the Habsburgs and the Turkish Empire engaged in what seemed an eternal battle for power, and which lasted for 150 years, on Hungarian soil, as a result of which large portions of the Great Plains became depopulated and were cut off from the process of European development; Hungarians regard the battle of Mohács and the annihilating victory of “the Easter Empire” such a tragic occurance, that in many respects it’s consequences can still be easily seen today.”


Last weekend we went on our first overnight family trip since moving to Hungary! We went to Debrecen (3 hours away) to visit the huge indoor water park called Aquatica Debrecen. It was amazing! The boys swam for 6 hours! There was a big swimming area for children, an area for babies, an area with caves and waterfalls, a “lazy-river” that wasn’t so lazy, a bunch of jacuzzis, and ten water slides. Wow. I think we’ll be returning to this place.

Debrecen is such a nice city. We drove around searching for all of the interesting things, and we found the giant church in the center of town. It is beautiful, and it is surrounded by a very nice brick road. Somehow we found ourselves driving on this brick road by the church, and everyone in that area just stopped walking, turned, and watched us. I got the slight feeling that we shouldn’t have been driving there.

On the way home, we grabbed some pizza in Gyöngyösi (another awesome little town).

response to conscientization

Check out the previous article for a wikipedia definition of conscientization.

I’d like to say that conscientization is like growing new eyes. It is growing into new ways of seeing, new ways of perceiving myself, others, the world around me. Freire’s thought is that with new eyes we can begin to see contradictions (of thought, action, morals, ideology), and the truth about those who oppress. But for many of us the oppressors are not people, but rather unhealthy (or even contradicting) ideologies or patterns of relating (to myself, others, society).

“Conscientization” gives experience a unique role in education and personal/societal transformation. As wonderful as the classroom is, it rarely gives a person new eyes or impacts them to the depths of their soul. But we all can describe an experience in our lifetime that deeply affected us, that gave us a new way of seeing and perceiving.

Sometimes these experiences sharpen our vision, and other times they might blur our vision. So there are other factors to be considered. Nevertheless, experience affects our ways of perceiving. It enables us to see with the eyes of our heart; and we live and act according to how our hearts see the ourselves, others, community, society, the world.

education as conscientization

Wikepedia states the following about “conscientization.”

The term Conscientization comes from the Portuguese term Conscientizacão. Paulo Freire used the term Conscientizacão in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, written in 1970.

Conscientization refers to a type of learning which is focused on perceiving and exposing social and political contradictions. Conscientization also includes taking action against oppressive elements in your life as part of that learning. Conscientisation proceeds through the identification of “generative themes”, iconic representations that have powerful emotional impact in the daily lives of learners. In this way it helps end the “culture of silence” in which the socially dispossessed internalise the negative images of themselves held by the oppressor in situations of extreme poverty. Liberating learners from this mimicry of the powerful, and is resulting fratricidal violence, was a major goal of Conscientisation. This is a major part of Paulo Freire’s problem posing education or Popular Education (In Brazil it is called pt:Educação popular)

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscientization”


A friend once told me, “don’t put your marriage on auto-pilot.” It’s easy to do. When you’re driving for hours in a car, it is so much easier to put it on cruise-control. And in marriage, it’s easy to stop being intentional, to stop investing in the relationship, and to let time just pass by.

We have a lot to learn, and I think Laura and I are still discovering new ways to invest in our marriage. I feel like we’re getting relationally richer all the time. Tomorrow is a Hungarian holiday, and we’re going on a date! I think we’ll go into the city, find a cool coffee shop, play some cards, and talk. I can’t wait!

back from Aachen

I’m so glad to be back in Budapest. After landing, it was wonderful to hear Hungarian again! There was a feeling of home. I had a great time with a few friends working throughout Central and Western Europe. We wrestled with some good topics related to community development (sharing stories, connecting lives, discovering meaning).

The highlight of the trip, though, was walking in our door to get some big hugs from my family!