sorry the blog was down for a few days! my friend Matthew has rescued once again. thanks Matt!

i’ve been working on our visa renewals lately and learning some awesome new vocabulary. here’s some of my new hungarian words:

  • letelepedési engedély = residential permit
  • bevándorlás = immigration
  • ügyfélfogadás = ?
  • meghívólevél = invitation letter
  • tartózkodási = residential
  • hatósági = official?
  • bizonyítvány = report?
  • becoming

    “Every time you make a choice you are turning the control part of you, that part that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, you are slowly turning this control thing either into a heavenly creature or a hellish one.” – C.S. Lewis

    less is more

    As I teach English and learn Hungarian I am increasingly convinced that “less is more.” This is primarily true for beginner language students. A student can only acquire a “second” language through “learning by doing.” Learning huge sets of vocabulary and conjugations leads to a wonderful passive knowledge of the language. But active knowledge comes through use alone, and this requires a different approach to learning. “Less is more” and using a small set of new phrases rather than memorizing a large set of new words will lead to fluency and a “feel” for the language.

    So how does this impact my vocabulary notebook? Well, during each Hungarian class I get around 30-50 new words. I still write down all 30-50 new words, and I’m also trying to select 10 on which to focus. In my notebook I try to use these 10 new words in 10 appropriate and grammatically correct sentences. And then I try to use five of these sentences in my conversations during the week. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s a nice idea.

    Some words I “know,” but I can’t recall them. I only recognize them when I hear them. Some words I “know,” and I can call them to mind. But these words I can’t use in a sentence very well. And some words I “know” and can easily use them in sentences and daily life.

    So what does it mean “to know” a language? Is it to know lots and lots of words and grammitical rules? Nope. I guess the main point is to learn by doing/using/experiencing. And interestingly, this is sort of a life principle…for career, for university, for parenting, for marriage, for faith.


    Today I helped a friend (Kyle) from Virginia catch a train to Osiek Croatia where he’ll serve a for a couple months. He climbed into car #423 and threw his guitar and backpack above seat #66. Hopefully he’ll get off before the train reaches Sarajevo. I just have to say that it was really encouraging to see a university student, like Kyle, willing to give two valuable months of his life to Central Europeans.


    So I’ve been running lately, and even preparing to run in a couple distance races. I’m definitely not a runner, but it is growing on me. Now my brother Daniel is an incredible runner, and he competes (decathalon) for his university track team in Virginia. I need to get some major advice from him.

    I’ve got my eye on running a marathon one day in the future. Have any of you done this? Here in Budapest, Margit Island is one of my favorite places, and Péter and I had a nice 5 kilometer run there tonight.

    Here’s a cool article on “How to Run Faster.” I found this article and a lot of other really interesting things on this sight called Wikihow. Check it out!

    “Stress + rest = improvement.”


    Dave Sifry at Technorati recently gave his report on the blogosphere. Here’s the results:

    • Technorati now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs
    • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
    • It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
    • On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
    • 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
    • Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour


    We had an incredible eleven days with Laura’s parents and sister here in Budapest. It was a special time. Among the many things we did together was a day trip to Visegrad to see the castle on the hill. Here’s a couple pictures from that time.

    parliament and cigars

    A couple days ago we had the priviledge to tour the Hungarian Parliament with Laura’s family and Kristof. I’ve been looking forward to seeing it for a few years, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is just amazing.

    Here’s a picture of where the parliament occasionally meets.

    In the hallway outside of this room there are cigar holders below each window. If the speaker was boring, people would come out into the hallway and smoke. If the speaker was interesting, they would put their lit cigar in the holder and return to the room. Thus, the quality of the speaker is determined by how much of the cigar is remaining as well as the quality of that cigar. “That speaker was worth half of a Cuban!”