Our new year, in our new home is well under way. All the season of holidays is past. Auntie Sarah has come and gone. The rubber has hit the road and we are simply living life. What does that look like for us here in Szeged? Our day is very different than what we were used to, in many ways. It has taken much adjusting, and more adjusting keeps coming. But I thought I’d share what a typical day and week is like for us right now.
By 9 am everyone’s personal morning time has been accomplished and we’re gathering for our ‘family time’. This is usually minus a kid or two for some of the time, as they all go in for their Bi-lingual school here at different times, but generally between 9 and noon. There is actually not a morning when all three are gone at the same time, their classes are so varied. We have a chart up to keep it all straight. But mornings and early afternoon are our time for doing what we used to do most evenings. This is when we’ll watch an episode of a favorite TV show, play board games or challenge each other on Mario Kart on the Wii. A time for relaxing and hanging out together at home, or running errands and exploring the city together.
Norbert starts work by 2 pm, and we give the kids some down time before their online school starts at 3pm. The kids’ schooling was not at the top of our radar for the past several months, as there was so much else going on and so much for everyone to get used to. But school is happening in earnest now, usually for several hours until dinner time, sometimes after as well. They are all basically working on getting a year’s worth of work done in about half the time. They are all up to the task.
For a while we tried having lunch our main meal, as is traditional here in Hungary, plus it was during Norbert’s free time. But the kids’ school schedule has changed that, as they are rarely all home for lunch at the same time, or at all. We were also buying prepared meals at very reasonable prices, trying out new Hungarian foods each day. This really helped when we did not yet have a fully stocked kitchen. But the kids really missed our ‘normal’ meals and we suspect, the American tradition of family dinner at night. So Norbert takes a work break and we all gather for dinner. Evenings are pretty quiet as the house full of teenagers head to their private spaces, eagerly waiting for their friends back in Colorado to get home from school so they can text or skype for a bit before bed. And yes, due to those same friends not being home until 10 or 11pm our time, we tend to have late hours. Norbert works until 11 most nights, later if he’s still busy. Oh and the dogs, they sleep all day; with breaks for eating and the occasional rope tug-of-war game or (joy of joys!) walk to the park.
We are looking ahead to some endeavors that should shake up our daily routines a bit. Rachel is in the early stages of starting, or attempting to start, a Girl Scout troop here. They’re called USA Girl Scouts Overseas, and would be just like the troop she co-lead and lead for the past several years. We’re excited about this possibility as a way to meet more people, to be part of the community and to give both Rachel and Anna some social outlets. We also still need to get the kids involved in the Baptist Youth Group. It is all done in Hungarian, but there are many who attend and, we’ve learned, some in the leadership and staff who speak English. Still, our gang is hesitant and we’re waiting for a friend to be able to go with them for their first time. Norbert is busy preparing for a financial class he’ll be teaching in March on budgeting and saving and what the Bible says about money. Most of the concepts he’s learned in English, so this also entails learning some new Hungarian words for him, and looking into what is out there for Hungarians as far as books and websites. It’s cool to see God using our gifts and abilities.
Our Friday night ICF group has taken a break since Christmas due to the University student’s many exams during this time. And then we’ve also missed church for most of the month due to various colds, flus and possible bronchitis. Basically everyone has been sneezing or coughing around here for a while. We are very ready for ICF to start up and to finally get to CC Szeged for a church service – we miss people. We are also ready for everyone to be well, which looks like it is finally happening. Speaking of missing people, we miss all of you, but are so grateful for your support and encouragement. We got many sweet reminders of your love at Christmas – most of which arrived after Christmas, gotta love the postal service! Thank you so much, they really meant a lot.