Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…Dory, Finding Nemo
We made it through another month of restricted movement and distance learning and I think it is fair to say that at this point we have all experienced the full range of emotions expected during an international crisis. Our little town has been operating fairly well with added physical distancing, mask wearing, store hours, and if you’re out for a walk, things seem bustling at first glance. We have shopped about once per week (frankly I have avoided it – it’s no fun right now) and stayed pretty comfortable in our little quiet neighborhood. This week we were informed that restrictions are beginning to lift but we are expected to operate with an understanding that we aren’t out of the water yet, we just have to play it smart.
We had a really fun Easter here, in spite of our disappointment that we were supposed to be celebrating it in Croatia and Montenegro with my parents. Last year we were traveling over Easter too, so this was our first time celebrating in Papa! The kids loved searching for and collecting eggs, and we made homemade cinnamon rolls to enjoy. We made bulk orders with friends of our favorite wine (Batič) from Slovenia and our favorite craft beer (Garden Brewery) from Croatia that arrived just in time for us to enjoy in the sunny afternoons on the terrace over the holiday weekend.
Didi and I celebrated our birthdays and found creative ways to feel special. For me it was a week of self care and a surprise outdoor drop by from friends bearing champagne, and for Didi it was her very first shopping trip with mom to go buy her OWN gifts! She had a gorgeous artist cake and we were able to Facetime with grandparents to sing happy birthday. So fun! We had originally planned to go horseback riding, but that will have to wait. Mothers Day was celebrated the same as usual – with breakfast in bed and homemade cards by the kids. Willow’s preschool teacher was so sweet and dropped off muffins for each of her students the Friday before Mother’s Day along with a little special gift she made for each of us of our children’s hand print. Just lovely!
School has been going fairly well, but I can feel the “Groundhog Day” monotony beginning to take its toll. The kids need a bit more oversight, accountability and motivation, and so does this home school substitute teacher! At any rate, we will make it through. We are still finding creative ways to learn, including “Fun Food Friday,” making friends with critters outside and doing all kinds of arts and crafts inside. It looks like school will end in exactly one month, on June 11, so with any luck this stay-at-home order will only be about three months in total. There have been a couple of school spirit days over zoom calls including sunglasses day and hat day, but my favorite was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You) and Beau got a very special haircut for the occasion! Didi has been practicing her gymnastics and has shown great determination in making progress on her handstands, cartwheels and splits! For the record, she could only do a back bend before this pandemic started, so it has been really productive for her!
We finished another big, beautiful 2,000 piece puzzle that took up the whole table for a couple of weeks and would’ve made my grandmother Maxine proud!
I’ll admit this is the least amount of photos I have taken in a month since we moved to Hungary. On one hand, I appreciate being present and just enjoying the moment, but I also don’t want to forget to chronicle this experience. I am still cooking new recipes – especially soup – when I can (a few memorable ones included cauliflower soup, lasagna soup, Instant pot Tuscan chicken pasta, and fried rice and scallops for Didi’s birthday!) and am pleased to have so much time to read. I love having things on hand for quick lunches like leftover soup or egg, chicken, or tuna salad for the kids, and as usual I’m obsessed with avocado toast! It feels good to be prepared and not be scrambling to come up with meals. I have also been the recipient of a few loaves of bread from various friends – such a treat! – so it seems I am not the only one baking up a storm during this pandemic!
I have blazed through four books this month and racked up the miles on my walks. I finished all of my continuing education credits for my credentials and renewed my counseling licensure, which is an annual weight off my shoulders. This month I began tracking my meditations again too, and it sure has helped with my overall wellbeing. I did a little experiment one week and all but eliminated my screen time to see how it would feel and it was so much more amazing than I even imagined! I blogged about it here. I learned a lot, and it was a great way to usher in my 38th year. Any time I can sit down and reflect on my own feelings and what I have learned during this time, I well up with gratitude. We still don’t know what is coming next for our little family, but we sure feel fortunate to have been able to write this chapter in Hungary!
We managed to get out for some fresh air a few times on the weekends which was much needed. Down near Lake Balaton, beaches and public areas have been closed, but I suspect they are opening up again soon, just as playgrounds did this week. We are so lucky the weather has cooperated and the kids have been able to spend a bunch of time outside. One weekend we went to hike Badacsony and it was beautiful! We also went to explore the Sea of Stones down near Lake Balaton, followed by a walk along the lake in Alsóörs.
More information on Badacsony and the Sea of Stones hike on my blog, Hungarian Hilltop Hikes.
Sea of Stones
This time has really made us appreciate the country we live in. We are so grateful for the slow down in pace and our time together. It has allowed us to explore closer to home and appreciate it much more than we would have before the ‘Crona. We have enjoyed our days without walls, connecting with nature and each other. Even though we can’t cross borders, we have the green light to travel throughout Hungary now, and we plan to do whatever we can as soon as we are able!