Gyakorlás

Most gyakorolom írni magyarul egy kiscit.  Szabad érezzed az írásom jávitani kérem szépen.  Próbálom használni néhány új szólások. 

Amikor mi pihentünk a Horvátországban két hét ez ellöt, akartunk elmenni a Pagra.  Pag van egy kisci mediterén város a hátsó véghöz egy hosszu félszigeten.  Hát, csütörtökön elmentünk találni azt helyet. 

Indultuk a szálodánk kora reggelben, és ezallat utazásánk mi megnéztük a kép tenger mellet van az elképzelhetetlenül szép hegyekkel.  A földrajza hihetetlen volt.  Mi nagy örömére, tudtuk számolni tizenegy különbözö országok rendszámait.  Egy órát után megérkeztünk a Pagnál.  Meglepetésünkre, egy nagy gyermek park a Pagban.

tartózkodási engedélyeink

We got our residency permits today!  Exhale.  Ahhhh.

~70 days + 30-some documents + 9 visits to government offices + ~12 hours of traveling to these offices + ~13 hours of waiting in lines + many hours of help from our friend Bob = 5 residency permits

Next April we can start the process all over again!  Actually, we learned some things about the process this year.  Hopefully things will be more efficient next year.  But no expectations!

language

Vidám MesékI’m currently reading “Vidám Mesék” (Happy Stories), a children’s book by Vlagyimir Syutyejev.  I never thought that reading about little ducks, kittens, and mice would be so challenging and intellectually stimulating.  Actually, this book is perfect for our stage of Hungarian.

VocabularyI’ve also picked up these awesome vocabulary cards.  Our system of learning vocabulary work fairly good, but I’m eager to work through this set of 1000 words.  Actually its about 3000 since they do a great job including synonyms and corresponding verb/noun/adjective forms.  They are actually designed for Hungarians learning English, but they work the other way around too.  Here’s a phrase I’m working on: “Valaki nagy örömére…” (Much to somone’s delight….).

grassy field

Yesterday evening, I took Laura and the boys up to Visegrad (35 minutes away) to explore a new hiking trail.  We found a trail map, then we found the trail and started hiking around the top of Mogyoróhegy.  After 20 minutes, the trail opened up into a grassy field on top of the mountain….it overlooked the Danube river and a couple mountain ranges in the distance.  Sweet.  There aren’t any huge mountains in our area, but this was still a spectacular view. 

We walked out into the field, and Laura and I just stood there taking in the view with an occasional deep sigh of enjoyment.  The kids were running circles around us, and we were just soaking in the view.

I find that there are some activities, some forms of “doing” that create in me a greater sense of “being.”  They cultivate in me a greater ability “to see” and a greater awareness of who I am, who I am not, the quality of my inner-life, my own “something-ness” or “nothing-ness,” my ability to be “human” or my tendency toward “dis-humanity.” 

There are some ways of “doing” that point toward (or flow out of) my “being.”  Hiking to this grassy field took some time and effort.  But it led to a grassy field.  Or was it my desire for something like a grassy field that produced the time and effort needed to hike?

solitude

Tom and I recently read through The Way of the Heart by one of my favorite Catholic authors, Henri Nouwen.  I’ll paraphrase some of his thoughts: 

“Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.  The world has distorted the idea of solitude.  It has come to mean privacy, a place where I can’t be bothered, or a place to recharge our batteries.  Solitude, however, is not a private therapeutic place.  It is a place of conversion, a place where the old self dies and the new self is born.  It is the furnace in which transformation takes place.”

Solitude, for me, is indeed a way of “doing” that points to “being.”  It is not merely a place of absence, but rather it is a presence.  It’s a place where I become present to my real self, to my real motivations, to the world around me, to God, and to myself in God.  It is a place where the heart of stone is turned into a heart of flesh.  It is the painful, liberating, and joyful process of confronting my own nothingness and “dis-humanity” in the embracing, grace-filled presence of God.  It is a place of becoming.

I’m definitely in a stage of life where there is never enough quiet with three little wild animals running circles around me all the time.  I do love it though.  But even in the midst of a busy, noisy life, there is a way of BEING silent enough and still enough to let go of illusions and become truly present. 

being and doing

In general, I find this interesting tension/balance/harmony/disharmony between my “doing” and my “being.”  We live in cultures (even religious cultures) of “shoulds” and “musts,” and our actions are often more reflective of who society says I am than who I really am (or who I really could be, or who I am created to be).  Every culture has their own unique way of communicating the Japanese saying, “the raised nail must be hammered down.”  And thus, it is easy for us to manufacture a “false self,” a self who is ready to live and die for the expectations, approval, acceptance, popularity, power, success, and respect of the society in which we live. 

“Being” and “doing.”  I can see myself in a mirror.  My soul can see itself in the mirror of its activity.  But the activity is just a reflection, not the real thing.  In fact, the reflection is usually a distortion of our “real” being.  I guess there is a danger of falling prey to the “reflections” or illusions.  World religions and philosophies seem to agree on one simple point, that humans and humanity, as they usually exist and act, do not reflect what they were created to BE. 

Jesus was full of metaphors related to a person’s inward and outward realities.  He compared the quality and health of a tree to the fruit which it produces.  He compared religious hypocrisy and legalism to people who only wash the outside of their dishes and bowls.  “First clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside may become clean also,” he said.  And one of the more potent metaphors is found in his warning against becoming “whitewashed tombs,” beautiful and appealing on the outside yet full of death on the inside.

back from Croatia

Last Saturday we left for Croatia at 4:48 AM.  At 5:04 AM, Jacob asked, “how much longer till we be there?”  It was an 11 hour trip.  There are some amazing tunnels along the way, including a 6 kilometer one.  10 minutes after arriving to our coastal apartment, we were in the water.  It was awesome. 

view

This was probably one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to.  The Adriatic was spectacular with a mountainous peninsula 5 kilometers opposite of us.  Our apartment faced south, so we could see both the sunrise and sunset from our terrace.  

swim

Laura did an amazing job finding this place for us, and there was actually a sandy beach within walking distance.  The boys practiced their swimming everyday. 

soccer

There was also a soccer field just down the road.

krka national park

We took a day trip down to Krka national park, where we hiked around these water falls.  As an aside, Crotians have forgotten the importance of vowels in their language.  No human mouth can actually say “krka” without spitting. 

spin

Oh, and remember these incredible spinning rides that we used to have on the playgrounds in America?  Those were the greatest.  I think they’re outlawed now. 

bbqOn Friday night, the community had a festival where they roasted a cow.  The boys had to watch this process for about an hour. 

bobi flippsCroatia has “Bobi Flips.”  They are peanut butter flavored puffy chips.  All in all, we had a fantastic time.  Of course when you have three little boys, the word “vacation” is pretty subjective.  The days of sitting on a beach with a good book are long gone.  BUT, there is still the opportunity to sit on a beach with some good Bobi flips.