We’ve been ‘back’ in the US two and a half months now, and in our new home in Southern California almost a month a half. We are deep in this period of transition, but through some of the most stressful bits. It wasn’t enough for us to simply relocate our family across an ocean and have our youngest move move out and start college, we had to engage in lots of ridiculous amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy across those same oceans and over state lines as we also, finally, bought our apartment in Budapest (a three year process, might share the whole crazy story some day!), are trying to re-finance our mortgage on our home in Colorado and also had the roof and deck worked on due to a crazy hail storm this last spring but working through the insurance companies has drawn it out to a three month process. We don’t get to have one of those fun pictures of the keys to our new place, given that we’ve been living in our apartment for the past four years, but it’s officially ours since August 28th! The final three months of paperwork have been nightmarish, but we really got a fantastic deal with our landlady putting our last three years’ of rent toward the price as well as keeping to her word and giving it to us at her asking price from three years ago when this all began, despite the market changes. We are grateful and so blessed. It would have been nice, as we left and said goodbyes this May and June, to have been able to say, “We own our home here, we’re coming back.” But we just were unsure at that point, the timing has been…interesting. Sort of reminding us of when Rachel got her Hungarian equivalent of a ‘green card’, it took over a year of paperwork and jumping through hoops, and then came through the month we had to leave Hungary in 2003. It felt mean at the time, like a cruel joke – but also, thankfully, a sliver of hope that we could and would return to Hungary. We don’t plan on waiting eight years this time, never fear! We are already making our plans for a two month visit in the spring, for the months of April and May and can’t wait to be in OUR home again, and to see so many friends and family.
But what about life here, now, in California? We feel like we proved our seriousness by arriving at the tail end of July, start of August – when the temperatues were in the low 100’s (40’s)…and we’re still here to now enjoy the perfect weather that is ‘fall’ in LA. Grandma is getting cold and putting on her sweaters and asking us constantly if we aren’t cold, as we sit in our shorts and tank tops and are finally not dripping sweat in the lovely 80 degrees days (mid-high 20’s). Our little home here is a guest house behind Rachel’s Grandma Willson’s home in Reseda, CA – we have a little bedroom and a large living space where we’ve included a day bed for Danny that is our couch otherwise. Josiah, who moved from Colorado with us, is settled in the house with Grandma in her guest bedroom. It’s really nice that Siah can be right there with Grandma, she needs that, and yet we’re here and in our own place – it’s really a great set up. One of Rachel’s first ‘projects’ around Grandma’s house was creating an inviting area and setting out a feeder for Hummingbirds, after our long stint in the middle of the city, Rachel was desperate for nature. They came almost instantly (it was seriously only a few hours before they discovered the new feeder!) and we’ve so greatly enjoyed our tiny and speedy little friends, even adding a second feeder, this one with cute ledges to sit on as they drink, helping the amazing creatures actually slow down long enough for some great pictures!
Danny is almost exactly a month into her life at Concordia University, Irvine. She loves her dorm and the international community she’s in there called Global Village, it’s a perfect fit for her with fellow students from Austria, China, Germany, Australia, etc… as well as American students with high interests or future career goals internationally. Some of her first big tests are happening this week, and thus far she’s loving her schedule, classes, professors and classmates. Prayers appreciated as she nears the 4-6 week stretch when the ‘reality’ hits most new Freshmen as well as homesickness. Concordia is about an hour and a half to three hours away, traffic depending – ah, LA traffic! 😉 Still, it’s close enough that we’ve already been able to go and bring a sick kiddo home when she was dealing with a nasty cold one weekend, a confirmation of sorts that we need to be here right now.
Josiah came with us to pursue his dream of working for Disney – ultimately to work in sound editing or ??? on movies, but to start with he wants to work in the Disneyland or California Adventure Park and then work his way up, plus they do a lot of in-house training and hiring, so once he’s in… He applied online six months ago, and had to wait six months to apply again, which he just did and has an interview next Tuesday, the 26th! We’re so excited for and proud of him. To pay his bills until Disney happens Siah got a job at Chuck E Cheese (one of the few places near Grandma’s house and where he worked for over a year a couple years ago) and is also looking into being an Uber driver, though, if the interview goes well next Tuesday… we’d love you to join us in prayer.
Joshua had a wonderful summer in Austria as an intern for the Summer of Service program at Schloss Heroldeck and the Calvary Chapel Conference Center there. It was a harder summer for Rachel, as the leader Scott instituted a new rule of no internet for the S.O.S kids, as an intern Joshua could still get online during his free time, but we missed all the pictures the other kids would take and tag him in. Still, fully understand the rule and what it meant for those kids this summer, just missed ‘seeing’ our Joshi more often. At the end of August he began his 2nd year at Calvary Chapel Bible College, back at the campus in York, England where he was for the Spring Semester last year. Also the same week classes began Joshua also began a part time job for the same company Norbert works for, able to do his online work during his free time at school and thus earn an income and actually pay for the college on his own this year. Super proud of this kid and cannot wait to see him at Christmas!
Since about May Rachel has been looking forward to September, as it would mean our stresses and busyness of all the moves and adjustments had slowed down and we could sort of catch our breath. Well, September had begun as a slowing down month, but has quickly brought busyness of it’s own. Just over a week ago Rachel’s other Grandma, her mom’s mom, Grandma Frie who lives in a retirement center in San Diego near Aunt Linda, fell and broke her hip. They had to do an emergency surgery and she’s being moved to a full care facility. Grandma Frie came through the surgery fine, but she’s been struggling with dementia for a couple years now and is very confused, as well as being upset by the move taking her away from Grandpa Frie. Rachel’s folks are coming out to be with Grandma Frie at this time, they actually arrive tomorrow, Tuesday. Rachel and Grandma Willson will go with Bruce and Jan down to San Diego for a few days, coming back for the weekend in Reseda. Please keep Rachel’s Grandma Frie in your prayers, and the time with her – especially for Jan to have special time with her mom, and for Grandma Frie to know Jan, as she doesn’t really know who people are anymore. And yes, we see, once again, that we’re supposed to be here now. This will also be our kids’ first time with their grandparents since we moved to Hungary in 2011. Danny will come home for the weekend, and while it’s a sad reason, we’re grateful for the family time we’ll have.
And then fast on the heels of our unexpected family time, we’ll be taking a two week trip back to Colorado to winterize our home there and hopefully see some friends we didn’t really get to see while we were there this summer. It’ll also be a chance to see all the recently completed work done on our house, and get to know the new renters better who had all just moved in as we left. And then we’ll have the pleasure of coming home via New Mexico and a certain baby girl’s First Birthday Party – how is Aubrieanne already one year old?!? Josiah will fly out to join us there (we are all SO thankful to friends who shared the news about Allegiant Airlines and their $80 flights from LAX to Albuquerque). Maybe by the end of October our life can finally have a sort of schedule and routine again? Norbert has hopes to find a gym and start going again, and Rachel is joining a Women’s Bible Study, and we’re both looking for a home group to be a part of. Speaking of Bible studies and home groups, it’s looking more and more like we’ll be calling Calvary Chapel Burbank our ‘home’ for this season. Have not yet spent a lot of time getting to know people outside of talking after services, or even attending all that many services as we’ve been visiting our old churches as well as attending with Grandma at her church some. We have slowed down enough to start to get lonely, missing our friends and home group in Budapest. And for that we are thankful for the confirmations we keep getting that this is where we’re meant to be, for right now, for our family. Like our little hummingbirds, our wings rarely slow down in life these days, so we’re thankful for the chance to sit at the feeder and rest while being fed, instead of hovering and drinking at the same time – it’s doable, and just as our little birds can easily drink from the feeder without ledges to sit on we have kept going and going through some tough seasons of life recently. But it’s the feeder with the ledges that is most popular, and we too are grateful for this respite in the midst of our family’s life.