Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

This was our first Christmas in Budapest at our new apartment.  Grandma lives with us and the entire Christmas feast was in  her hands.

A lovely snow fell on the city on the 23rd, setting the Christmas scene.

Christmas here, at least for our family, is celebrated on Christmas Eve.  That morning Laszlo took the kids out to see a children's movie.  This gave me time to wrap the gifts.  It was a modest selection this year by design and due to lack of time.  We have all been sick for most of December and Laszlo as in America. There was little time to shop.  I did make a last-minute trip to the WAMP, a Hungarian Design Market.  I made a pass through the market but was a bit overwhelmed at the options. So I headed back to the nearby mall.  The mall, however, was filled with junk.  The usual mass-market, made of toxic chemicals, shipped around the world, disney-themed stuff of the toy store.  I dashed back to the design marked and made a few lovely purchases just as the market closed the day before Christmas Eve.

In the afternoon I took the kids down the block to our local church for what was advertised as a nativity. I am sure it was lovely.  But I can't report for sure because we arrived thirty minutes late and heard a few hymns but spied not one shepherd.  The kids didn't seem to mind and we explored the church until the priest had locked the front doors and started to turn off the lights.

I led the kids to a local grocery store to buy yogurt, but lo-and-behold it was closed.  Everything was closed. Luckily the hotel on the corner was open and we took our time riding the elevator, searching for the hotel swimming pool, and finally crossing and recrossing the pedestrian bridge over the main street. We found a drink of water.  Used the bathrooms.  Had a minor tantrum.  Finally, I got the call.

The angels had arrived at the house.

We returned.  The angels had dropped some candies along the hallway and lit candles making a trail to the tree and all the gifts.  Wrapping paper exploded.  The kids could read all our names and distribute the packages.  Grandma Kelley and family were in attendance via Skype.  Daniel visited virtually as well.  Not to mention Livi.  It was a cozy family gathering around the glow of the laptops.

Dinner was stuffed cabbage.  It turns out that nagymama does not add tomato paste to her dish, which I believe I did last year.  She also refrains from adding extra sausage or other add-ins.  Simple, tasty, and not too cabbagy.  Champagne and szaloncukor rounded out the evening.  I bought the handmade szaloncukor chocolates from the Aztek Choxolat Cafe, a favorite spot of mine from our days on Semmelweiss utca.

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