Despite being spread across the city, most of us having sporadic internet access, at most half of the people having cell phones and the phones people do have being prone to not working for various reasons, news still travels quickly through the program. Friday night Chelsey decided to hold a dinner party for 7 pm Saturday night and I offered to help her cook. By 5 pm on Saturday, around 20 people had RSVP'd, so when I arrived shortly after 5 she was rather worked up (she had never cooked for such a large group). We managed to put together enough rice and eggplant/potato curry to feed everyone and then have left overs. I love cooking and feeding people, it always makes me happy :-) After dinner several of us just hung out and chatted, it was very pleasant.
Sunday morning I met Christina at the palascinta place at 8 for breakfast before going to church. On my way out the door, my host mother caught me and was clearly worried that she had not fed me breakfast. I tried to explain that I was meeting a friend for breakfast before going to church, but only managed to explain that I was supposed to meet a friend near the Battyani metro station at 8. She assured me that it only takes 5 minutes to get to the metro station, that I had plenty of time and had me wait while she made me a sandwich to take with me for breakfast (it made a nice lunch). After pancakes, Christina and I went to the Lutheran Church in Déak Tér. It was somewhat plain compared to the cathedrals we have seen around the city, but it was still a beautiful building. The service was also very nice and I was able to vaguely follow along as it followed the same basic service order as American Lutheran churches. Some of the tunes were even familiar :-). We both concluded that singing hymns in Hungarian is great practice for our pronunciation and that listening to the service in Hungarian is good practice for our listening skills - when preachers give a sermon they do not tend to speak as quickly as people do in everyday conversation. I was able to pick out a larger set of random words this week than last, which is definitely encouraging. Oh! The church also has an amazing organ and there were signs that suggested that it hosts organ concerts frequently. I definitely want to go to one at some point :-)
After church we stopped by Christina's apartment so that she could make a sandwich and to pick up Chelsey. The three of us then went and had a picnic lunch in Városliget (the city park). I have been asked if the pigeons are the only animals I have seen here. They are definitely the most abundant wildlife, but during lunch we also saw ducks.
While at the park, we examined the statues in Hősők Tere (Heroes square) and discovered that the street I live on is named after a famous general, Hunyadi Janós.
We also wandered around and found a giant hour glass. It apparently is carefully designed to time a year (with some sort of mechanism to account for leap years) and is turned at midnight on new years. It is quite impressive.
After the park I went home to study my vocab and conjugations. When my host mother came back home she brought with her sok, sok szőlő - lots and lots of grapes. The sheer quantity of grapes was really quite impressive. We went though them pulling the bad ones off of each bunch and completely filled the bottom shelf and half of the second to the bottom shelf of the fridge with good ones before she went and got out the blender. At that point we started pulling off the good ones from the remaining bunches and got several large bowls full. These grapes were then washed, run through the blender and strained. Fresh grape juice is incredible. We had enough grapes to produce several liters. Between the szőlők, almák, és silvák (grapes, apples and plums), I have been eating a lot of fruit. It is quite nice :-).
There is nothing really interesting to talk about from today, so I will leave it at that for now.