Goodness, it has been quite a year for our family. This summer brought great changes for all of our family, well, for all except for Joshua. Joshua spent the summer once more in Millstatt, Austria at the Christian Conference Center that holds so many special memories for our family, he returned for the second year as an intern, and enjoyed the power of bossing others and lugging a huge set of keys around all day. In the fall Joshi also returned to York, England and Calvary Chapel Bible College York where he spent the spring semester. After this Christmas and semester break, he will again return there and will graduate from the college this spring. While Joshua has been pressing on in England and Austria, the rest of the family have been doing life somersaults. Danny graduated from High School at the International Christian School of Budapest, and set her sights on college in the US, at Concordia University in Irvine, CA to be exact. After six years of living in Hungary full time, we knew it was time for our presence in the US once again – to be here for Danny during this transition time, as well as to be near Rachel’s 90 year old grandmother and to be closer to our oldest son Josiah for a season. While Norbert, Rachel and Danny made the leap of life from Hungary to the US, Josiah made the leap of moving from Colorado and our home there where he’s been living with several other young adults, to life in southern California to pursue his dream of working for Disney.
We all moved into Grandma’s house in LA together at the end of July. There’s a small sort of guest house on the property that is home now to Norbert, Rachel and Danny, and Josiah has settled into Grandma’s spare bedroom. Siah and Grandma are actually a perfect pair, both enjoying the heat while everyone around them hugs the AC. Danny moved into dorms at Concordia when school began, and Siah took a job at Chuck E. Cheese (back in his very first job during High School!) down the street to pay his bills while applying to Disneyland. Norbert has continued in his job for Infinitely Virtual, his online job that has allowed us to live overseas, and now, allows us instead of other extended family, to live with Grandma and be near our kids at the same time. It’s a special season and opportunity to be near family, and we’re relishing it. We don’t plan to be here long term, and so also saw it as a possibly once-in-a-lifetime chance to own and use Disneyland Annual Passes, a lifelong dream of Rachel’s – and so our ‘year of Disneyland’ began on Danny’s 18th Birthday in August.
By October the three of us were twirling deep into reverse culture shock (it is real). Adjustment has been strange, maybe strangest for Norbert and I, as we know this is not where we’re going to stay. But Josiah has been learning his way around the LA freeways like a pro, and Danny has jumped into college life and making new friends with gusto. It was so exciting to watch Siah’s big gamble pay off (he left behind a very solid and well-paying job with benefits) and see him get accepted for a job at Disneyland, a stepping stone to his future. He’s listening to audio books on the long commute and we’re all having so much fun having a Disneyland Cast Member in the family – plus he can finally join the rest of us when we pop into the park on a whim just about each weekend!
And so while all these somersaults have been going on in California, our life was also still continuing in Budapest. That has been an acrobatic feat sometimes, keeping everything afloat. Three years ago we began taking steps to buy the apartment we’ve been living in in Budapest for four years now. It is a long and crazy story as to why it has taken so long, but this spring we finally began to see a dim light at the end of that tunnel. Frustratingly, nothing could move quick enough to let it all be completed before we left the country this summer. It meant sending paperwork back and forth plus giving Norbert’s family power of attorney for us, but also by October we finally saw the end of three years’ waiting and our home in Budapest is officially our own. And yes, it felt strange to celebrate owning one home while simultaneously setting up another across an ocean. But maybe it’ll answer that question we got often, will we be back in Hungary? Yes, yes we will – we own a home there, all our stuff is there (we came with just suitcases and two dogs), God called me to Hungary in 1994 and I’ve never felt that pull weaken. But for now we’re in California with family, and highly anticipating a large family Christmas! Joshua comes home tomorrow. Danny made us so proud and completed all her first college finals with flying colors and fairly normal stress levels, surprising even herself, and is now home recovering. Josiah’s sweet baby girl Aubrieanne is even coming to visit for several days, allowing lots of extended family to meet our granddaughter. Rachel’s brother Noah and his family arrive just after Joshi, and her sister Sarah arrives just before Christmas – filling Grandma’s house to beyond capacity, especially when cousins who live nearby squeeze in! Oh, we will make precious, squished memories!
And so we enter this holiday season, in a strange place of in between – sort of like an acrobat between two swings. It has been a year of twirling and spinning, and we’re often still dizzy and not sure of our footing – but we know Who holds the net under us, and Who has been guiding all these leaps. We’ve already seen some amazing fruit from our time here, as well as so many confirmations that for now, this is where we’re supposed to be. And yet, we do look ahead, and are making plans for probably two visits to Hungary in 2018, a spring trip is already in the works. We’re stretching and bending and getting ready for more high-flying adventures across oceans, with bits of our hearts here and there and expect we’re entering a season of collecting more airline miles than we’ve done before. Pray for us as we sort out what our new ‘empty nest’ life will look like, and for all our kids as they test their wings and begin their own leaps and jumps and twirls of Faith.