Thursday, 9 June 2011


The trusty workshop where I took the car (some 10 days ago) on recommendation turned out to be one where the owner and boss happened to simply hate Ladas. This part, that the vintage aged car they were to check over my contact forgot to mention to them and only came out when sighting the thing, the very car. So they weren’t much motivated to do anything to the car. They twisted some nobs and pulled some levers at some point I am sure, the doctor style. The engine sounds a hint better, although it had a pretty neat sound already before. They had the courtesy to change oil and check the breaks which is a definite must after our trip to Austria late December (remember, we driven the car wondering about the funny noise it makes when breaking only to find out back in Hungary that it was mostly luck that the breaks haven’t failed completely – it was a new built Suzuki on which the breaks shortly before have been checked). Our Lada had and has good breaks but checking them was important anyways. Ok, the hand break was kind of crappy.

And it feels ‘Szeged’ is needing a new name soon. One like ‘Lada’ or ‘Kitty’. But there are other things too. Like people. Or cats that can now be found also on the bathroom ceiling (still wondering if we should take them on the journey – there should be enough room on the roofrack, or should we allocate a box for them (of which we seem to have plenty). And monkeys in the trees outside our window ( I think the monkeys will fly. Better situation for everyone, perhaps the flight attendants would beg to differ). Ernest will miss going to the zoo. I will miss being with Ernest and Lili at the zoo. Though now Lili has a bit of a boost of zoo in her system. The last week of the school they are spending out at the zoo. I guess it gives a bit of a breathing space for her teacher. Throw them in with the gibbons…

Now that we are running out of things to put in boxes, I have really established my habit of collecting boxes. I became rather successful in collecting them, the really good ones. So we will have an excess of boxes when we finally leave. In fact, I already have thrown away a bunch of crappie ones. That didn’t leave up to our new standards of super durable boxes. Now here in inner city Szeged that means that as a private person I can litter the streets with them for mainly two reasons.

First of all, our fellow housemates dislike the idea of the bins being clogged up with cardboard, even the night before the binmen come. But then, the binmen dislike the idea of treating cardboard as communal rubbish. And just throw the large bits out on the side of the street, or if it is next to the bin than they leave it. I was thinking about burning it but then I would get a fine for doing that in inner city Szeged. A bit of a standoff.

Fortunately a fellow housemate, actually building mate, came to my rescue and she knew that the best thing to do is to rip them into fairly small bits, and mix them in all the bins. So far no maniacs expressed any desire to still take them out of the bins.

I wish I could say that all that is left to do until we leave is making seat-covers so we don’t stick to our leather seats… this isn’t the case

And recently I have left out politics altogether, not because there isn’t any, or because it is of no interest or importance. I have no energy anymore. A move, across so many miles takes a toll on one’s capacities. What may be worthy of mention is perhaps not worth mentioning. Apparently the Hungarian EU presidence has been a success. Somehow. But at least , non-politically again, the matter of antimatter is settled now.

Monday, 30 May 2011

30th May

We have taken another leap. A different kind. I am learning new things to get along with our car. It seems I have been being overprotective. Now I know, I need to give it some air... but this isn’t the leap.

Children’s day came and passed. I don’t know if it is an international one, but definitely a local one. You could think that we didn’t bother ourselves with it but it isn’t true. When all things considered. Ernest and I – as planned – yesterday departed for Budapest.. Jen and Liliom were left behind at Szeged ( I almost wrote Oulu here). Lili couldn’t really come with us because she needs her final, stage practices before the ballet performance on Thursday. I had to come to bring the car to be checked over proper by some trusty workshop. Especially that we are gonna take it abroad for a considerable length of time. It would have been foolish to leave Ernest behind, Jen could have done no packing during the days whatsoever, time wasted for everyone.

Lili at first thought it was an unfair deal. Later she realised that she would have a few days without having to accommodate the mad needs of a 2 year old toddler. Besides, Jen promised her sewing machine learning experiences and perhaps other special events. And she could play sophisticated games with detailed toy layout without having to worry about imminent end. So a children’s day in a sense for days to come.

Ernest was rather nervous on Sunday morning. We were packing the car and getting ready to go. He is always worried he might gets left behind. Eventually we were sitting in the car getting good bye kisses from the other two. The realisation, that we were going, in our lada, just him and I… in that instant he lived children’s day.

After about a third of the journey he fell asleep. Not much later I picked up a man walking by the side of the road. Apparently he was going from Romania to Budapest, mostly walking because it is hard to hitch a ride here, and he will definitely find work in Budapest. He didn’t speak Hungarian, only a couple of words. A couple of words of English, Romanian, Russian, a Roma dialect from Romania. Our conversation exhausted after about three minutes, then he too fell asleep. A bit of a disappointment of a hitchhiker.

This morning taking the car to the service, driving on the dirt roads leaving from my mum’s place, at the first corner I picked up an elderly couple. Drove them to the nearest bus stop on the main road (actually not the nearest but the one near to Cora, more buses stop there). They were most surprised to be offered a ride by someone so young. Young people usually don’t bother themselves with helping others nowadays. Maybe I am just not so young anymore. Maybe I find it natural to give a ride to people, considering, I have travelled enough in other’s cars.
Our time here since we arrived is rather pleasant. I don’t get to do much though as the car is gone, and Ernest need to be kept an eye on in the garden. I filled up the little paddling pool with water for him, he gathered some flower-heads and petals into it and spent much of the day between the pool and the sandpit. Occasionally chasing some of the animals etc…

Before I post maybe it is time to explain what the leap is!
it is our car use, we travelled with our car, last time we went to Szeged it was a journey with a stranger. It felt different now. It was a travel with a car we now mean business with. We are adamant to take each other to places we go. It was comfortable. and funnily this is one of the most comfortable cars to drive I have driven recently.

Friday, 27 May 2011

May 26th - 27th

We have been psyching ourselves for some days now to take the leap. I think I am almost into it now, on a kind of ‘just do it’ slogan. For once I could make my parents happy. In the past year or so they haven’t failed to let me know they believe my inability to integrate has a great deal to do with me. Especially a particular quality of mine. It is now the day to remove this obstacle.

I may fear that even though they think such, they may be wrong. My immediate reaction to particular cultural strands of this locality has always determined my interaction with figures of the establishment and even general interaction. I can’t go on. I cannot say it yet. at this stage it isn’t final and my psyching still requires work.

Maybe later

On Tuesday Liliom was given a new role in the big ballet performance. Last week when she presented us her part she immediately commanded our respect and amusement and realised that our child whom we often accuse of a lack of concentration is capable to an amazing level of it. The fact that she has been chosen to learn a new part only a handful of sessions before the show actually highlights how wrong we were. Her teacher apparently trusts her most to be able to pull it off. I guess we usually expect her to maintain focus and attention like a regular grown up, but we don’t spend time with other young ones her age to realise that she is perhaps a rather focused person.

However, in the mornings she puts all this to question. For ten months now every morning we have the exact same weekday morning routine. Yet, she still needs constant reminders on the next step in the great task of getting ready. Of course, probably far as she is concerned this constant nagging is part of the routine too.

Ernest is a different case. He decided that the appropriate time to get up is a minimum of 90 minutes before the alarm would suggest so. He has taken on to serenade us. The other day he just sat at the end of the bed singing away. When having enough of that he started taking out various instruments and played us music of all kinds. My favourite was the ukulele. Is the ukulele. He plays a song and he sings along giving himself a round of applause after each song. It has become a new hobby of his.

We have started planning our route to the far north. For a long time we only had the 2 stops in Hungary, Budapest to say our good byes and Aggtelek in the north east where I promised Liliom some pretty caves. Now we have some vague and some pretty solid ideas for the days we are en route to Oulu. With Jen however we had an argument last night about the starting moment of the journey. She claimed it starts once we leave Budapest considering that is where the final packing and readying will take place. I claimed however that it will start when we drive away from Szeged on the grounds that that is when our flat is given up and we are only stopping at Budapest to meet up with some folk (my parents) and to take part in Budapest Pride.

I think she was surprised how uncompromising I was in my view and tried to tell me that it is ok to disagree but I wasn’t listening much, we dropped it. This morning we were talking about the journey, sorry, The journey when I realised that when I mentioned something about the beginning of the road trip I actually referred to leaving from Budapest as the start of it. I think she hasn’t noticed it but then writing it here perhaps gonna give it away. I now publicly admit she is right.

Another day has passed. I was going to finish the circle of this entry last night but haven’t gotten to it.

Maybe I haven’t mentioned before that we have been having some issues of infestation. The kind that goes on at school, but doesn’t stay at school. We were completely oblivious to this problem until one morning discovered in Ernest. Finally, after hours of thorough examination I have become a suspected carrier too.

Last night after all the psyching the process of making my parents happy begun. I thought it wasn’t going to take long but Jen was determined to save me some strength. Sampson’s legend was strong in our minds. After five hours I have become a new man. It is amazing how much dirt one can live with so close to his skin for such length of time. I don’t feel any more integrated, and at our local shop I have had a conversation of regret (the shop assistant though it was regretful to be more ‘integrated looking’). I am thankful for Jen for keeping me some strength to carry on.

The truth is, some time ago I have said, aacually when I started the new blog in Hungarian of life in Oulu, that I already feel gone. Testing Sampson’s legend was a planned event for July, when we are already in Oulu. It is life’s sweet twist to bring events forward. Shall I feel I am gone from Szeged; it is time than to act accordingly. It is a new beginning. You shall not be fooled by this blog’s name, Szeged, is history

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The other day finishing dinner we were sitting at the table chitchatting. I think our usual conversation topics now increasingly are ones about packing, moving, journey, Oulu, etc. Ernest was still eating but with Lili we talked about the journey. She drew up the route on the table, the map of Poland and the Baltic states, the Baltic sea and Finland. All imaginary lines, and she presented the two alternative journeys, one driving through the Baltic states and the other taking the ferry from Gdansk, actually Gdynia to Helsinki. She was asking which way we go, she wanted to make sure we take the longer route, shorter ferry from Tallinn. I was happy to calm her anxiety because we are driving up to Tallinn. She however amazed me with the incredibly detailed knowledge of the European north-east. A was almost rendered speechless. Almost. But it’s me

Ernest quickly realised that drawing imaginary lines on the table and explaining something very important like ‘blabla tapatee dubiduh…’ will not only get my attention but fill me with pride and joy. And it did. In his case for a slightly different reason than Lili’s, naturally. Nevertheless they both made me joyful in an easy manner.

We run out of boxes. I will have to go on the hunt tomorrow morning again. I guess it happens. Jen fills them up quickly. But I finally managed to start chipping in, taking part in the great effort in ways other than making phone calls. I gather up stuff that need to go in boxes. I did our cloakroom (hah, we have one of those) and I started stripping parts of the kitchen. Ernest was standing on the step this morning doing dishes while I was also standing on the step sorting the glasses and cups cupboard. I must have not anticipated my clumsiness when it comes to breakables.

Wonderful how quickly the human mind can make a decision. I had the choice of trying to catch our last remaining wine glass before it reaches the sink, potentially smashing it up against the cupboard or letting it fall into the sink and smashing to bits there. I chose the former even in the full knowledge this was exactly the way my mum cut her hand rather seriously some 25 years ago. She also went for the catch. Our story didn’t end in the accident and emergency however but Ernest did have to take a break from doing dishes for the incredible amount of shattered glass (you wonder how a wine glass can break into a million splinters).

Small mental note; do not handle breakables above the heads of your children. Taking a break from doing dishes though resulted in tears. I wish my children retained their fondness of dishwashing in the years to come.

Hungary’s EU presidency finishes by the end of June. I was going to ask you to keep watching with a close eye. If you think they were… hm, hard to find a PC word here, so if they were somewhat dubious till now, once the lame light is on Warsaw you can wonder what politicians find themselves doing in Budapest. But. Recent public comments from our beloved Berluscone makes you wonder, why bother at all. I follow politics from four European countries and vaguely from a half a dozen others and honestly, the only place that so far does not make me cry is Scotland. The SNP – if my understanding is correct – managed to win an election through a positive assertion rather than going ugly like the rest of them. Scots also inserted a party into government with a majority in an electoral system that is designed to make such thing impossible. And it’s all about devolved government and self-determination. Make no mistake, I am not fun of this government (I usually rather critical of them all) but I certainly take a joyful break when looking at the relatively civilized manner with which politics is ‘done’ in Scotland (especially when compared with the rest of Europe). Wonder if one day we will return to claim a refuge there from the madness that slowly, actually at an increasing pace creeps up or actually advances on Europe.

I’ve read a status update recently from Glasgow, about not wanting to go shopping with the kids because of the wind. I thought ‘what?’ but quickly remembered, the west coast… hm. If a local complains about the wind there must be flying roofs and cars. And there almost were. Sitting in the 30 degrees heat, bagging for rain I wonder, politics is a thing and climate is another. For the time being

Saturday, 21 May 2011

May 21st - this is it?

We thought we will solve our financial challenges (PC) by good old fashioned capitalist enterprise.

Szeged is full of secondhand clothes shop that claim to sell top quality ’english’ clothes. We have a lot of top quality second hand ‘english’ brand clothes. Especially children’s clothes. So we thought that on the second hand market we rent a stall and make a killing. My mum kindly visited us for the weekend to hang out with the kids and enjoy the Szeged Bridge Festival so Jen and I can stand around on the market for hours on and on.

I think we didn’t consider the problem that everyone with a significant disposable income today would rather be in the citycentre. At the market people generally seemed to be pissed of that we charged money for our stuff. We earned a sum of 10 Pounds. Our first capitalist venture so far is a failure. I bought a lottery ticket just in case we can avoid tomorrow’s market day. Jen has printed a whole bunch of signs of the UK brands and union jacks like the proper second hand shops downtown. It feels really silly to imagine standing under the British flag, especially when we are people who argue for the breaking up of the union. What capitalism does to you.

I had an interesting conversation, well, I thought it was a conversation with a man at the market. It was about values. Interestingly he started talking about the two movies that he has read about recently in a magazine. Both are prize winner creations, one of them is a Romanian movie – which I also read about – tells the story of two siblings whose life meet again after long separation and they become very close, the story never reveals how intimately close if at all that much. It’s a very beautiful, slow, scenic movie set in N-E Romania, on the mouth of the Danube. The locals disapprove of the siblings’ decision to build a house together. That’s it. The other movie is about a couple where the husband has to go away for an extended period and the wife becomes intimate with the husband’s good friend. Both are potentially realistic stories, something that happens to real people in real life.

I was slowly realising this was not a conversation. The man started lecturing about how this movies, remember prize winning movies are propaganda that say it is ok to fuck your sister and your best friend’s wife. I eventually managed to put my views in that I think these stories can be told now, because it is possible, it is ok to tell such stories now and explore the moral dilemmas for instance, because these are potentially real stories that happen to people and perhaps these were winning movies because they were good at telling stories that people can identify with.

The response was that it used to be that when the men had to go away for three years to the army, the woman would wait and not have sex and not cheat and would raise his children and even if he died and never came back she would never touch another man again.

I said that this is pretty sure true for some women but not all people. There were probably others who didn’t wait for their boyfriends and boyfriends who found love while away from their love and I think only because he believes people should behave in a certain way and approves only of that behaviour does not mean that everyone should behave in that way.

The shit hit the fan.

Did I know that 85 percent of employees in ‘Hollywood’ are jewish? He asked me. Such movies as these two could be prize winners because they are made by such people which can be done because it is all part of a or actually The jewish conspiracy to rule the world or something like that. A sort of jewish agenda.

I said good bye to the person, I still cannot respond to this kind of sudden and ‘normal’ anti-Semitism. He asked back ‘what are you, jewish?!’ I said ‘that’s irrelevant’ and added another good bye.

Jen told me later I should have asked back if he knew that half of Hollywood are Hungarian and the other half are Australian. Could there be a Hungarian-Australian-Jewish conspiracy than? But I don’t know, there maybe are too many on the ‘in’ of this secret plan this way.

Got to go now, no fun stuff about the kids, felting at the festival, Lili’s story about her selling experiences at the school’s tent, nothing about our wonderful afternoon with Jen while the others were visiting people… you only get the nasty stories tonight. Now shower and with Jen we hit the street for the Wine festival. Who know, May 21st is the day after all, tomorrow it would be even more of all hard work with all that folk gone.