• Monica Montanari

Day 19: Bittersweet


Today started off with all of us waking up in Gyula and getting ready- then we met with Dalmi and her mother, Agnes, and drove to their house for breakfast! We had toast and tea, and eggs! It was so sweet of them! Dalmi is a professional dancer, so I got to see her costume yesterday and had to sneak another peak today. It is gorgeous!! She dances Latin, so her dress kind of looks like a flapper girl on top, with aqua. She put rhinestones all over the top, and the skirt (which she also made) is a snakeskin print trimmed with the same aqua- it's fantastic! We then drove to an antique swap meet- but we didn't find anything cool there. Basically people brought their old, dirty stuff and tried to sell it. Gross.

But afterward, we went to the shopping center we had walked around the night before, and window shopped until we reached this adorable "sweet shop" that is actually a renovated house from the 1800's, where we had more gourmet gelato (I just can't get enough- and it doesn't help when there's another stand every 500 meters! Shane's dad doesn't like to keep change, so I told him I'll keep it and since then we've made an "ice cream fund" for Shane and I). We sat down in the adorable parlor, then walked around it, since there's a tiny museum in the back of it. Then we walked back to the car, and drove to Dobos, the birth place of Shane's grandfather. His house has since been torn down, but it was fun to see the church and city surrounding it and to walk a little bit in his shoes.

Then we drove back to Gyoma for a family lunch at 1 at Monika's house, where she made chirkapaprikash (chicken with paprika). Basically, most Hungarian food is DIY- they cook it all together to get the flavor, then take it apart, and you put what you want on your plate so you don't waste food- so with this dish, you put the noodles on bottom, and chicken and vegetables on top, then you pull apart the chicken and eat it with the noodles and vegetable and some sour cream if you want, etc. It was awesome and we all ate soo much! It's easy to make too, so I'll have to cook some at home some time :). I swear people are coming out of the woodwork to see Shane and I (driving 3 or 4 hours to Gyoma, or bringing us sweet gifts).

Today, Zsolt's mother came out to see Shane's grandma, and brought her a cute new scarf- and brought me a white shawl like many of the people wear here. She is an artist- so she painted a picture of a guardian angel for Shane and I and gave it to us, writing on the back, "May this special angel always watch over you" in Hungarian! Also, Shane's cousin Fefe took the train from Budapest to hang out with "the Americans"! We honestly feel like royalty- and I hope I can learn to be this hospitable to people who come to visit me; which I hope some of our Hungarian friends do soon!!!!!

Then a group of us went to a restaurant with Hungarian billiards (a pool table but set up differently- you'll see in the pictures on Facebook) and ate pizza and ice cream! Today we also learned some lessons about Hungarians: to them, "bacon" means bacon fat. If you want bacon like we have in America, you'd ask for "bacon with meat".

Anyway, now we're just relaxing again and thinking about our trip- how bittersweet it is to be close to home but have to leave. Definitely gonna miss all the culture and history- and Budapest (which was my favorite part of the trip so far), and being treated like an adult- where you're able to go to clubs and just hang out- but I'm going to be glad to get back to my bed, dog, American food, and driving around with Shane in his big yellow hummer thinking of fun things to do when we're bored :).