Friday, April 29, 2011

Lelki pizza--spiritual pizza

To help the members learn how to visit each other and have fun outside of church, we are having "spiritual pizza" parties where we invite a couple of families at a time over to make pizzas and watch a short church film and have fun together. We've done it four times so far. We hope to have had all the families over by the end of May. Here is Öcsi (Erchi) showing how to toss the pizza. He has been the most successful so far. We give everyone a chance to show off their skills--something new for many men since they usually don't cook here.

Here Ferika is cutting the first pizza. The parents have been surprised that children are involved in making Thompson style pizza.

Of course, after the DVD we have to have dessert. This was a yummy yogurt cheesecake topped with strawberries and whipped cream that Erica brought.

Sometimes we have the children make cream puffs. This one was shaped like a swan until Kiki ate the head.

Of course, to keep the pounds off, we throw in some sports like balloon volleyball. Which team looks most ferocious? Hajrá! Go team! I think the women were the most aggressive players!

The pizzas have all been delicious and everyone is surprised at how fun they are to make. Here Rita is getting one last bite.

They all take lots home for breakfast. I think we are the only ones who know that pizza the next day tastes even better. We may gain a few more pounds before we are done--but you know the Thompson motto: You need to have fun living the gospel and adding in some food makes it even better.

Watering Easter Flowers

On Easter Monday in Hungary, the men visit women, say a poem about finding beautiful flowers in the woods and asking permission to water them. Then they either throw a bucket of water on the women or squirt them with perfume. The women then give them an egg, chocolate, cookies or cake. Here are two of the beautiful flowers that I watered with perfume. The first gave me (Caroly and Kim) cake, the second a boiled egg. As you can tell, they were all delighted.

One student in our English class said he threw a glass of water on this wife while she was still in bed! He didn't report on how delighted she was.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Castle hopping with Kim

Hungary is a fairy tale land with many reminders of life hundreds of years ago. We promised Kim that when she came to visit us from Australia, we'd show her some of the many castles and palaces that surround Sopron. We had permission to pick her up in nearby Vienna. On the way home, we stopped by Schönbrunn Palace, where the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire lived.

Here we are cooling off by a fountain.

One of the first things you see in the inner city of Sopron is the remains of the city wall that is built on the Roman wall that used to surround the city.

The Wednesday after our expert librarian Kim got here, we had to go to Budapest for a zone conference. We left a day early and stopped first at the castle in nearby Sarvar to see the city library that is built in one corner of the castle. Of course, we were missionaries on duty and discovered a long time member who has children and grandchildren in Phoenix, Arizona, who dared only to whisper to us that she is a member because she was afraid of what the locals would say if they found out. We invited her to move to Sopron and join our lively branch.

The impressive Sümeg castle, built high on a hill above the city, is being restored so you have to climb through the construction. The view from the top is impressive.

We spent the night at a grand 100 year old hotel on Lake Balaton in Balatonfüred, the vacation spot through the years for the rich and famous from Budapest

Of course we put in our missionary service helping the locals.

Before the sun set that day, we found two other families, one Austrian, one American that we talked to about the church.

Back home in Sopron we visited castles and palaces that are just a few minutes away. In Köszeg is one of the few Hungarian castles that has never been blown up by the Turks or the Hapsburgs.

It is famous for saving Vienna. The prince of the castle with a small army of townsmen held off several thousand Turks on their way to Vienna.

Nearby is this Cinderella looking castle that is actually a church built a hundred years ago.

Of course we had to visit the Szechenyi palace, the home of the person who Hungarians feel is the father of modern Hungary.

Not far away is the famous Esterházy palace, built to rival the kings of Europe. The Esterházys were the richest Hungarian family and the largest landowner. They felt they were the most important Hungarian family and were famous for showing off their wealth. Here's the front door to this country estate.

On the way back to the airport in Vienna, we decided to visit some of the other Esterhazy castles and palaces in the part of Austria that used to be Hungary, a narrow strip of land called Burgenland. They are about 15 miles from Sopron and are closer than any town in Hungary. This palace in Eisenstadt was their business headquarters, today operated by an Esterhazy corporation. It is used as a convention center and concert hall dedicated to Haydn, who for 40 years composed music solely for the Esterhazys.

The Esterhazys loved to promote cultural events, as you can see from these faces under the eaves of the building. Can you tell that it was pouring rain when I took the picture?

This is the Esterhazy castle above the town of Forchtenstein. (Fraknó in Hungarian). On a clear day, you can see these hills from Sopron. This is probably my favorite castle. Because it was beyond the reach of the Turks and Esterhazy was a favorite of the ruling Hapsburgs, it was never blown up, making it a delight to explore.

Here's Kim getting a nice hug to send her back to Australia.

Fairy tale animals

When you live in a fairy tale land filled with castles and palaces like Hungary, you expect to meet some fairy tale animals, such as these horses with fins like a fish..

or at least a dragon or two...

or some exotic snakes that might gobble you up in the night.

Mom was happy to find horses practicing near Sümeg castle to carry knights in shining armor during the tourist season.

But if you look around, you'll see storks...

dogs that look the same in the front and back (A Hungarian puli. You put your hand down and the end that bites or licks you is the head!)...

hairy pigs...

long horned cattle...

and sheep with long curly horns.

Is that fairy talish enough for you?

Monday, April 25, 2011

See Kim...

visiting palaces...

and castles...

and porcelain factories,


taking pictures,

feeding horses,

and watching sunsets.

Can you tell that this week in English class we practiced using -ing to talk about things that are happening?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Traditional Hungarian Easter Eggs

We showed you the Hungarian Easter eggs with cute paintings on them.

At our branch Easter egg painting party, we learned two more traditional ways to do it. One is to use a special pointer to paint designs using melted bees wax. Notice that eggs in Hungary are brown rather than white.

Another is to tightly bind leaves to the egg using cut up squares of pantyhose.

They are then soaked in water that has been boiled for some time with red onion skins.

The leaf system worked out best.

You can see that our hands weren't very steady and we weren't very patient with the wax system.

The finished product is wiped with vegetable oil. Then a ribbon is glued on so you can hang the egg on the pussy willow tree.