We had a great weekend in Miskolc, and four friends from North Carolina were able to join us.  It was a great time sharing stories, thinking about Donnie’s questions, hanging out at the orphanage, soaking in the cave baths, riding the train.  Thanks Reni, Réka, Eliza, János, Zsolt, Dávid, and Kristóf for organizing everything!

Seth’s Thoughts from First Grade in Hungarian School

Here are some of Seth’s thoughts from his first two weeks in the first grade at Dr. Szent-Györgyi Albert Általános Iskola.

“Hi, this is Seth.  I am in first grade.  I have some letters and words that I am learning how to write and read in Hungarian.  For example, ‘kék’ means ‘blue,’ and ‘faházak’ means ‘tree houses.’  Some of the letters I am learning to write are V, Á, A, Z, í, K, F, É, E, H, and I.  Everyday I have házifeladat (homework).  I have a magic box with magic sticks and beans in it.  What I do with it is I use it to spell words (see the picture).  The magic box in Hungarian is called a ‘varázsdoboz.’

“In the morning, I go to the closet in the hallway, and I hang my hat up, and I get my inside shoes on, and I go sit at my desk in the classroom.  Then the teacher comes in, and all my friends arrive.  My teacher tells me what to do.  First I have Hungarian class and then math.  We also have torna (phys. ed.), an English class, and drawing.  We go to the play ground and come back to eat a snack.  Mom and Dad pick me up from school.

“My favorite parts of the day is when I have torna, drawing, swimming, and snack time.  I also like lunch, math  and Hungarian class.  When I go to Hungarian school, everybody speaks Hungarian.  I speak Hungarian to them too.  I have some friends who I talk to.  We talk in Hungarian about things like animals.  Some of my favorite animal names are kutya (dog), hal (fish), and technősbéka (turtle).  In class I understand everything, but some things I don’t.

“I have some friends in class.  There names are Kinga, Bendegusz, Jenő, Dani, Márk, Benedet, Patrik, and there are a couple others, but I can’t remember their names.”

-Seth Whitfield Newell


Here’s a picture of my normal 5K run. I’ve been a bit lazy with running this summer, but building back up.  This northern Budapest run along the Csillaghegyi Duna part is great. Though I do miss the run around Margit Island (5.5 K) which we used to do (with my friend Péter), especially in the evenings when you can see the city lights.

With this run, I start from our house and run .75 K to the river. Then we go north on a running/bicycle path along the riverside for another 1.75 K before turning around. Seth and Jacob (on their bikes) are my usual companions, and they keep my pace steady. I run a lot slower without them! Today we made one of our fastest 5K times: 21:44.16. We’re aiming to break the 20 minute barrier. Just need to keep my legs healthy.  Anyone interested in the Budapest half marathon next weekend?


We get to spend time with some really great students through the English Club and the Outdoor Club at Corvinus University. One of our friends, Norbi, invited us to visit his home in Slovakia for a few days. So this past week, we spent a couple days in and around Kassa (Kosice) Slovakia with Norbi’s family. We had such a great time. Their family lives in a small village 40 minutes outside of the big city (250,000), and the kids loved being in the countryside for a while, eating home-grown vegetables, picking grapes, and chasing chickens. Standing in the backyard are grape vines, apple trees, a giant walnut tree, a vegetable garden, a chicken house, and an outhouse which hasn’t been used for a long time. The outhouse, for me, was the coolest. Seth was a bit bummed that we couldn’t use it. Me too. It was a cool imprint from an earlier time, and I’m glad they haven’t torn it down. The kids loved the chickens, and I’m thinking that we are going to have to get a few pet chickens soon. Thanks Norbi for hosting us!!

Hungarian Fish Soup

In this post, I would like introduce you to one of Hungary’s finest foods…Fish Soup.  Here are the instructions.

1) Find some good Hungarian friends who know how to make it:

2) Chop red onions and get them started in the “bogrács.”

3) Add a handful of fish pieces, a liter of water, and several spoons of paprika:

4) Scoop the fish and liquid into a puree device and press the liquid through with some of the fish, and then remove the left over fish chunks and bones:

5) Stop for a moment to watch Seth yo-yo while jumping on a trampoline:

6) Put the soup base back over the fire:

7) Add new fish chunks, some “Fish Milk,” more paprika, spicy peppers, and let it cook:

8) The cooking process should take 2-3 hours.  After enjoying the awesome fish soup, eat some turos testa (dry cottage cheese pasta), and then have some ice-cream!