Monday, June 30, 2008

One year

Today is our one year anniversary. It is so funny: all day I have been thinking of what I was doing a year eating breakfast, getting my hair done, and now, ten minutes before 5:30, I was sitting outside the church with my family, getting ready to be married. When I think back, it seems like the year has just flown by very quickly, which is the way life usually happens, I guess. We have grown a lot as a couple and as individuals during this last year by learning how to balance our individual interests but still have time to spend together as a couple.

Every day I am still thankful that I met David and we got married. I truly think that he is the love of my life. He encourages my interests and supports me to the max, which is especially invaluable during law school. He supports my hobbies, including playing music by getting a piano, creating by pestering me to draw him pictures and telling me to take an art summer class, and traveling to Europe with me. Such a supportive husband is wonderful to have.

So, I will leave you with some of my favorite things about David that I discovered this past year:
- He loves to sing while he is mowing. When he mows, I hear him, and think that the neighbors will get annoyed by his loud singing. But then I never ask him to stop because I enjoy hearing his happy tunes.
- Every night before we go to sleep I ask him to turn off the light, but this involves his reaching over me to do so. And every night he says, "but I'll pinch a nerve!" It is our little ritual that we both find hilarious for some reason.
- He is always smiling.

I always tell him that if the first year of marriage really is the hardest year, we are in for a pretty happy life. I know that in the future, we will always be smiling.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More fun pics!

Okay, so I realize that I am getting a little out of control with the pictures. But I don't care, and if you don't care, then we're golden. If you do care and want to stop looking at my pictures, then that is fine too. Just don't leave forever! But how can you think this dude is boring:
I'm not sure what "Fester" means, but if you know you can tell me as long as it isn't something that is explicit, in which case my mother-in-law reads this so keep it clean.

Here is a bridge that I thought was pretty cool, especially when considered against the landscape of really old buildings:
This was the disaster lunch. I don't consider myself a picky eater usually, but when we are in a foreign country where they sneak random stuff on sandwiches I get pretty nervous. So at this restaurant, I ordered a sandwich with no cheese (much to David's despair, since the sandwich was all of $5). When it came, it had this white mayo/horseradish/funk on it. I am not sure what it was, but have I mentioned that besides not liking cheese I do not understand why anybody would ruin a sandwich with any sort of creamy white condiment? So needless to say, this sandwich was rejected. Usually I would ask the waiter to either bring me a new one (since the menu really didn't say a cream sauce was on the sandwich) OR just buy a new one but neither of those options were possible at the time since 1. I was in a different country and didn't want to seem totally nuts and 2. David was with me. So David and Peter had a lunch while I sat and gnawed on my pretzel from the subway pastry shop.
Here is a picture of beautiful Buda:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Budapest: A fun side trip

After getting our opera tickets, we decided to do a bit of shopping to finish up our Thursday:

The next day, we headed out of the apartment and started to head toward Buda, where the castle is nestled across the Danube River. But before we did that, we ran alongside the Danube river and looked at all of the tour boats lining up to start river cruises. We also grabbed some pastries in a shop that was in the subway. The pastries were good, and the boys adored their cheap prices.

As soon as we got to the Buda side, we saw this:
Of course, the boys wanted to climb it. But before that, I had to head to the bathroom, for which I had to pay to use. David was not very pleased about that. We decided to climb up the stairs to the top of this hill, which provided many cool views:
And when we got to the top, we saw the coolest views of the city, which I will share tomorrow!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lake weekend

Man, I fell behind with these posts.

Last weekend we went on David's family's summer vacation to a fun lake house. Every year, they rent this house on a lake, but with all the recent flooding, we were worried that we could not go in the lake/use the boats/etc. However, after a bit of dock moving on the part of David, his dad, and his brother, we were able to get out and enjoy the water.

Above is a picture of Emma's and my swimming. At first, she didn't want to get in the water but after a lot of convincing on the part of Peter and me, she finally agreed. Once she got into the water, she was a little scared but quickly got used to it and seemed to like it a lot!

Tubing with David, his brother, and his cousin was a bit adventurous. When I am on a tube or skiing, I enjoy being nice and safe and doing stuff like holding onto the tube. As you can see, they convinced me otherwise:
They were goofy but fun. I also got to kneeboard, which was really cool.

On the Friday before we left, I rode with David to his work and met his co-workers. They were all so nice and fun! I love seeing where David works, and riding along made me appreciate his commute even more!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Romanian Castle

After visiting the Hungarian baths, we wandered to this cool replica of a Romanian castle, which was in the same park as the bath we visited. I think that David enjoyed seeing it a lot.
Isn't this pretty?
I think there was a museum and a restaurant in here, but we did not explore the insides of any of the buildings.
This statue is of Anonymous, an author who anonymously recorded some Hungarian history long ago. David especially enjoyed that story and this statue:
As you can see, a class field trip wanted to get a closer look.

After we explored this area, we walked back down the long long street and went into the Opera house, where we bought tickets for the next night to see Don Carlos. The cool thing was that the tickets were only like $2/each! After that we headed to dinner, where the boys both got pizza and I had some pasta. Finally, we went to bed and rested for another day of sightseeing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bumper crop

Our garden has been doing wonderfully for its first year, which makes me really happy. Last night I went outside and picked spinach and lettuce leaves for our supper. It is really fulfilling to eat the food that you plant and grow. Hopefully next year we can expand a bit and maybe build a better garden. We think we will have onions, peas, radishes, and tomatoes besides the greens.
And finally, here is some news that I have been waiting to share:
Please welcome the newest member of our growing zoo, Arwen. Arwen is as sweet as can be and so fun and tiny. At first she was not well-liked by Thorina and Paco (Paco mostly because he seemed a bit afraid of this bundle of energy, Thorina just because she is kind of mean), but now they are both warming up to her cute furriness and will hopefully love her as much as we do!

And finally---this Sunday is Father's Day! Happy Father's Day to my dad! He is seriously probably the greatest dad ever (not that I'm biased). I am very excited for him because he recently got a new job, working in an area that he loves, which makes me very proud. We had a father's day celebration at our house in his honor last weekend. Like my mom, I am very thankful of how much he supports me and David. We could not ask for a more supportive family.

Also--Happy Father's Day to my grandpa! I wish that I still had the goofy card that I sent to him because I think it was funny (it featured some very weird-looking cats). But I always appreciate his fun conversations whenever I see him.

And finally, Happy Father's Day to Tom, in father-in-law. We will actually be spending this weekend with him and the rest of David's family, which should be fun.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hungarian Baths

My number one item to accomplish while in Budapest was going to a Hungarian bath. It took a lot of walking, but it was sooo worth it! Now that I have been I wish that we had these in America (or at least by where I live) because it was so relaxing.

First, we bought a ticket at the ticket window for one cabin and three people. When we went into the cabin area, we gave our tickets to the attendants and they gave us a changing cabin. Once we were all in our suits, we went outside to the pool area, where there were three pools: one of warm water, one of cooler water (but still warmer than an American swimming pool) and one of hot water (that felt like a hot tub).
We stayed for about two hours, and did not even explore the other spa areas available, which I think included a mud bath and other fun treatments. The water pouring from the fountains in the pools served as massages for those who stood under them, and many whirlpools and jets made them so relaxing. Plus, it was fun watching the old men playing chess on the side of the pool!

We had a great time doing this. If you ever head to Budapest, this is a must-see!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Budapest, Morning 1

Remember how I said that I would try to get this trip posting finished in like 3 posts? Well, I don't think that is going to happen. We have too many cool pictures!!

After we ran on our first morning in the city, we decided to find a pastry shop and some espresso. The pastries were okay (I am not much of a pastry eater, but David and Peter said that they were really tasty), and the coffee was great.

After that, we headed to Andrassy Ut, a fun street that ran the length of Pest (Budapest is really two cities on either side of the Danube river). We saw St. Steven's Basilica, which was very beautiful. There were lots of tourists, though.

The very striking entrance:

The dome:

Stained-glass windows:
After the basilica, we headed down Andrassy Ut and walked a very long way to Heroes' Square (a World Heritage site!) and which has statues of some Hungarian historical figures:

Guys, let's act like we know each other, okay?

And then went into a city park:
More pictures from the park a post about the Hungarian Baths!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Our Budapest hostel

Our hostel in Budapest warrants its own post on this blog because the experience was so funny. I had booked this hostel a few weeks before our trip after reading many reviews about it on Hostelworld (a website for reserving hostels). All of the reviews raved about this hostel except for one, which said something like this:

YOU CANNOT FIND THE HOSTEL AND THE 24 HOUR CHECK-IN IS HORRIBLE. DO NOT BOOK HOSTEL UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE LOST.THE ADDRESS IS NOT WHAT IS ON GOOGLE. I figured that someone was a little peeved because they could not find the place when they arrived and I went ahead and booked it. It turns out that I should have maybe heeded the warning!

As soon as I booked it, I received an email that said that we had to call a number when we arrived in Budapest, which was annoying, because who wants to worry about calling someone when we first step off a plane? I emailed the director, asking if we could just set up a certain time to meet since we would not have a working cell phone. They emailed back and said, "Use coins in a pay phone," so they must have thought that I was a doofus.

So we got to Budapest and David ended up calling the hostel, and after much confusion with operating a pay phone, finally spoke with the director who asked if we were riding a taxi, train, or autobus to the hostel.

We decided to head to the hostel, taking first a bus and then the metro (subway). When we got off the subway, we attempted to find the hostel but were kind of lost. After asking for directions, someone pointed to our street and we headed on. The address where we were supposed to meet was something like 44 Vaci Utca. We saw 44 Vaci Utca, which was actually an apartment building. After much confusion, we asked a souvenir shop owner who was next door about the hostel. She said, "Hostel? There is no hostel here!"

And then we knew we were in trouble.

We attempted to buzz people in the apartment building, trying to find any numbers on our reservation email that would maybe be a number for buzzing someone in the apartment building. Nothing worked. Finally, after about five minutes, a young man came out of the building. We asked him about the hostel and he looked at us like we were crazy and said that he was just visiting someone in the building, but that he did not know of any hostels there. He took our reservation sheet and was kind enough to call the number for us. When he finished, he said that the man was meeting us there in about 2 minutes and that we should wait.

So we waited, and after about 2 minutes, a man who I can only describe as looking kind of like Borat came, waving his arms and yelling, "HELLOOOO!!!!" He asked us about our trip, all the while leading us to the "hostel". Finally, he stopped in front of an apartment building and let us into a courtyard, where he unlocked an apartment and took us inside. This was when we realized that the "hostel" was actually an apartment, and that his version of "24-hour check-in" was meeting us at this address and leading us to the correct building.

Everything was fine after that, but he kept telling us about the other fine amenities besides the 24-hour check-in service, such as automatic check-out. Automatic check-out of the "hostel" really meant opening a window from the inside, walking outside, and then throwing the keys through the window when we left to keep it locked. It was hilarious.

So I present to you our automatic check-out:
Also, the first night we stayed there, I got into bed to read and then David climbed in, and as soon as he did the bed crashed onto the floor:

So the boys fixed it the last day. We have a feeling that everybody who stayed there before us rigged it so that it was "fixed".

Needless to say, our hostel experience in Budapest was interesting. However, we had a great time and enjoyed having an apartment all to ourselves. The "hostel" was centrally located and really clean...but the amenities were quite funny and unexpected, to say the least!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Official deck update

The boys have been working so hard on this deck, and now it is 9:51 and they are out there power drilling. I better call them in so that the neighbors don't complain!!

But seriously, the deck looks really cool. I was skeptical as to whether David would actually know how to build a deck, but now I have much more faith in his home improvement projects. We doubled or tripled our outdoor space today. Should we have done this, since we have such a small back yard (as far as our house value goes)? I'm not sure, but I will say that the area that is now covered up by the new deck was quite a hill and pretty much unusable as yard space, so I think it was a good move. Plus we will certainly enjoy it!

Today, while they worked on the deck, I painted the study purple and hand-painted a border on our bathroom walls. The study looks really great and the bathroom does as well, in my opinion. Since I painted the bathroom a really really bright yellow in the first place, I knew that I would probably have to repaint it anyway when we sold this house. However, I am secretly hoping that whoever buys the house appreciates our color scheme (rainbow) and creativity and does not want everything painted over in white again. We'll see, I suppose.

Friday, June 06, 2008

So..piload the .yeah... (part of this title courtesy of Thorina, who walked on the keyboard)

So apparently I am not very good at updating about the trip. Let's just say that it will get done but not necessarily on a time schedule. How about that? Right now the huge amount of time it takes to upload the pics is kind of daunting.

But can I also just say that this no law school-summer time thing is wonderful? Almost every day I wake up with a little pinch of nerves, thinking, "what do I have to read today?" or I think to myself, "okay, I will go to the farmer's market tomorrow...and then read..." but I DON'T HAVE ANY READING! It is soooo nice.

Tonight I'm going out for some Mexican (hopefully with margaritas!) with some friends. Tomorrow David and his brother are working on building our deck, and on Sunday we are having my family for an early father's day celebration. It will be a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thorina just went to the bathroom in the guest bathtub. This STINKS! (Literally and figuratively!)

Monster picture overload! (Dublin- part 1)

The next few posts will probably be huge overloads of pictures!

When we first got into Dublin, we found our hostel, which was really nice. After cleaning up a bit from our hugely long flight, we decided to walk around and see some of the sights. After being in Dublin with my friend Colleen while studying abroad, I knew that only a few days in Dublin would be enough to see the sights, so we only scheduled two real days in the city, with this being the only full day.

First, we walked to Trinity College, the big college in Dublin, where the Book of Kells is located. After being in Dublin twice, I still have yet to see this famous book thing (I really am not sure what it is). But anyway, we saw the library and the boys wanted to take a picture there because their mom is a librarian. We walked around some more, acting like fun college kids and not the tired zombies that we were.

After that, we decided to walk down Grafton Street, the *ahem* famous shopping street in Dublin. And we happened to pass by Topshop, my favorite clothing store in the world. Oh man....what a coincidence. It wasn't like I remembered exactly where Topshop was from my last trip because the location was implanted in my mind like a mother ship calling its beings back home...oh no. We just happened to walk right past and it just happened to be open, and since we saw it, I had to walk through it just to get a feel for the inventory before my big shopping day. (The boys were less than impressed.)

After pulling me out of Topshop, we explored a park and then decided to head to St. Patrick's Cathedral. The Cathedral was beautiful! (Here is a tip for all tourists. If you want to go to church, you should go to the Cathedral during one of the service times and they let you in for free. Colleen and I did this the last time and it was great. Actually, I would recommend this for all churches in Europe. It is fun to see the different services around the world and you get to see the insides of the places, and you can just make a donation to help them maintain the building.)

After the Cathedral, we headed to Dublin Castle, where we acted like guards and I finally found a public restroom. After the Castle, we decided to have a lunch of traditional fish and chips, which was delicious after having nothing to eat since the plane ride.

After lunch, we checked our email to tell our parents that we made it safely and then went to our hostel to shower. Even though we really wanted a nap, we forced ourselves to stay awake so that we could sleep well that evening.

We then walked to the National Art Museum, which was really cool to see. I love art museums and even David enjoyed the artwork (supposedly)! When the museum closed, we decided to grab a quick supper and go to a pub to get a Guinness. This was so fun---in my opinion, Guinness is so much better in Ireland than in the United States, so if you do not like Guinness and travel to Dublin, be sure to get it anyway for the experience. It supposedly takes at least 3 minutes to properly pour a pint.

After the Guinness (or two!) we headed to bed. We had a bit of an issue that night---we slept over twelve hours and I awoke to David's saying, "Peter? What time is it?!?" and then the maid's knocking on the door. We scurried out of bed, as it was past the check-out time, quickly gathered our stuff and scooted out the door. That morning we walked around the Temple Bar area and had a Traditional Irish Breakfast. Here, poor Peter felt like a true tourist when we got our menus and he asked the waiter, "What are Home fried Potatoes?" and the waiter looked at him like a weirdo and said, "um....chips..." as if he wanted to say, "duh you stinking tourist!" It was funny and one of the many touristy things we said on the trip.

After our funny breakfast we went back to the hostel, gathered our items, and went to the airport for the next leg of our fun trip!