I came across my first Hungarian pun Friday night (and forgot to mention it Saturday, so I will now) when I was at an open air concert (something classical, not sure what - all of the information was in Hungarian) at Kossuth Tér(square). They had set up one of those portable outdoor stages and it had a sign on it reading (and the capitalization is theirs) audiTÉRium. It was exciting.
On Sunday Jessie and I decided to go a service at a beautiful church that we had been wanting to see the inside of. I think I eventually deduced that it was a Calvinist church. The service was entirely in Hungarian, but it was pretty, and Hungarian is phonetic so we could sing the hymns from the hymnal :-). Other than that, Saturday and Sunday were basically spent wandering around Budapest and meeting the other BSMers here that are here for the language course.
Monday, aka Szt. Istvan Day
My host mother Éva spent all morning cooking and I helped her roll potato dumplings for the soup she was making. Éva's daughter and her family came over for lunch. We started with the potato dumpling soup and then had fried meat (not exactly sure what kind, but it was good), squash, zuchini and potatoes. Hungarians seem to be fond of fried food. For desert we had málna biskota (sp?), a sort of cake with raspberries in it and a cake made with cottage cheese and plums. The whole meal was delicious and the only troublesome part was convincing Éva that I really was full. Here is a picture of some of the food:
After lunch we took Éva's grandsons down to the Danube to watch part of the air show. This included such things as giant passenger jets flying at very low altitudes down the river and a stunt helicopter. Around two, we left to meet up with some of the other students at Déak Tér. We wandered around and eventually ended up back down by the river, this time on the Pest side. By that point the air show had switched to the Red Bull Air Race, basically stunt planes seeing who could run the obstacle course the fastest. It was fun to watch, in part because of the energy of the crowd. It was very clear when the current pilot was a local favorite :-). In addition to the handful of English used by the announcer (whenever a plane started the course they would announce the plane's number and then shout "Smoke On" - we all found this hilarious), I managed to pick out a few words, things like "nagyon szep" - very beautiful. When we got board with the planes we wandered around some more and I finally discovered the Hungarian equivalent of a water fountain:
As we approached the fountain we noticed that all of the locals were drinking from it, and it actually had surprisingly cold water! Gives new meaning to the phrase "Straight from the lion's mouth" ;-)
We had dinner at a local étterem (restaurant), and then headed down to the river for the fire works. They launch fireworks from all of the bridges and the top of the statue hill in Buda, so there was enough front row seating that we were able to sit right by the river. Even the 4th of July in DC could not compare to that fireworks show, it was phenomenal. In the US fireworks shows are choreographed to music, here they choreographed it with itself. For example, there was a large display on the hill that would end with slow falling red embers. As they fell there was nothing, but as soon as they hit the ground, the next round exploded from the bridges. The dramatic timing was amazing. The fountain fireworks from the bridge that fell into the river were also amazing.
Today was the first day of language school. We took the 16 busz (which stops right by our house, but which does not stop down by the river on the Buda side) to Déak Tér and then the red line of the metro to Astoria for the language school. The whole commute took about 35 perc (minutes). The class was long, but fun. We learned the csip csep song and now it is stuck in my head :-).
Ok, I should be heading home for dinner now.