Welp, tomorrow morning Laura’s parents and sister arrive at 9:40 AM for an 11 day visit. We’re excited! They’re taking one of only two direct flights from the U.S. to Budapest (BUD). It is with Malév from JFK (New York). This is good deal for our family, because Laura’s brother and sister-in-law live on Long Island (just an hour from the airport, I think, depending on traffic). We’ll keep the schedule loose and relaxed, but we also have a bunch of fun things to do. I’ll post some pictures and thoughts during their stay!


Here’s a few interesting English language stats from McCarthy and O’Dell, “English Vocabulary in Use.”

  • Did you know that there are approximately 500,000 words in English?
  • A person with a particularly large vocabulary might use around 60,000 English words.
  • The average native English speaker uses about 5000 words in everyday speech.
  • There are 50 words that represent 45% of everything written in English.


Would you like to learn Hungarian? Perhaps it would be good to start with the second longest Hungarian word.


It simply means: you (plural) were against (the idea of) something that had been thoroughly Savoy-cabbaged.

Name Day

Name Day is a really cool tradition in Hungary. It seems to me that name day is equally as important, if not more so, than a person’s birthday. But I’m not sure. There’s actually a big list of possible Hungarian names from which parents will choose a “first” name for their child. If you’d like to see the entire list of Hungarian first names according to the name day calendar click here. Try to find your name on the calendar! Yesterday was the day for Márk! 🙂

Hula Hoop of Fire!

Yesterday, we experienced another amazing piece of Hungarian culture. We drove up to Szentendre and saw the traveling Hungarian circus called “Colorado Cirkusz.” Unfortunately, there was no bearded lady, however, we did see a monkey riding a horse!!!!

I should have counted how many times the boys said “wow.” They loved it! The tent show was 2 hours long and included jugglers, the unicyclists, the lady who twirled balls and cones with her feet, the knife throwing man, the “put the man in a box and shove swords through it” act, and the man who could do a hand-stand on two giant poles.

But what impressed the boys the most was the “hula-hoop of fire!” A lady came out with a bazillion hula-hoops. She hula-hooped every kind of hula-hoop known to man. At one point, she hula-hooped 40 at the same time. For her finale, she ignited the “hula-hoop of fire!”, and the boys went crazy.

If you’d like to read about hula-hooping and find the various world records just click here. You’ll see that in 1987 Roxann Rose hula-hooped for 90 hours without stopping, and that five and a half years ago 2290 Taiwanese people simultaneously hula-hooped for 2 minutes.


As some of you know, my grandmother passed away with cancer this week. The past few days have been a time for Laura and me to grieve, to cry, to laugh, and to rejoice. We have felt the physical distance from home but also the nearness of heart with family.

There are too many things to say about grandmom. She made really great chocolate chip cookies. She knew exactly when to take them out of the oven. I can’t recall hearing her complain. She and granddad never missed one of our sporting events. She convinced my friends to eat apple pie with a slice of cheese on the top. I was never able to leave her house without taking something…a coke, a bag of cookies, a magazine, a handful of pictures. When grandmom got startled she would let out a big “whoop!” She gave us a particularly good “whoop” while playing cards at the beach many years ago. 50% of the time she called me “Tommy” or “Gary” (my dad’s name and my uncle’s name). I always liked that. She loved to help and to serve; and this is what stands out the most to me. I was always amazed with this.

Grandmom was a woman who put her faith in Jesus. Even now I can imagine her saying these words from Psalm 84:1-2, “What a beautiful home, God of the Angel Armies! I’ve always longed to live in a place like this, always dreamed of a room in Your house, where I could sing for joy to God—alive!”

I want to say “thanks” to all of you who have encouraged us with your words, your presence and your prayers.

answering the “how?” post

Great work Jason! You hit the nail on the head. As you can see in the picture, Nathan has a “motorcycle.” I’m pretty sure that every single Hungarian child has one of these little “motorcycles.”

There are two gears on this bike. In first gear, Nathan pushes himself along one foot at a time…leisurely walking the bike down the sidewalk. Second gear is more like an F-15 taking off of an aircraft carrier. Nathan uses both feet to push himself at the same time, and after about 3 or 4 pushes, he is virtually flying down the sidewalk. When he’s ready to slow down or stop he simply drags his toes behind him.

I’m going to take these shoes to a shoe store and have them repaired. I may ask the shoe repairman to put steel toes on the shoes. I’d love to see the sparks as Nathan cruises through the neighborhood.


This is a picture of Nathan’s left shoe. How could a child have done this to a shoe? Actually, his right one is the same. Any guesses?

Oh, by the way, we bought these shoes about five weeks ago.


Laura’s parents and sister are coming to visit us in 17 days. They will be here for 11 nights, and we’re incredibly excited. We have lots of fun plans for the itinerary. Below, I’ve listed a few general things we’re planning to do with them. Do you have any other specific ideas? Any good tips?

  • Buda Hill / Castle District
  • Visegrad/Esztergom
  • Balaton (Klub Tihány)
  • Golf
  • Theater
  • Normafa / Janos Hegy
  • Thermal Baths