Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Springtime of my Life

Hello again, and happy Spring!

I sit writing looking out over an inspiring cityscape. The clouds are rolling by, pushed along by the frisky wind, so it is cool even if sunny. William is asleep. Greg is working out. There is peace in my world.
Beautiful Spring gardens in Budapest

Spring has been lovely so far, not so much weather wise (its a rainy year AGAIN!) but events wise. For Easter the three of us travelled to Budapest. The flight was blessedly short as flying with William is a whole new experience now that he is a toddler. He can be interested briefly in looking out the window, pushing the window blind up and down (up! and down), and flipping the table tray open and closed (open! and closed) but after that it is a route march for Mom or Dad up and down the aisle. And up! And down.  The days of drinks and movies during the flight are long gone. Anyways, William still travels free on planes this year, and so anywhere we need to fly this is the year to do it. I see lots of route marching in my future.

So anyway we flew into Budapest, and checked into our lovely apart'hotel (THE way to go with a baby). Our first stop was, of course, the park, and this was a lovely, old, venerable park complete with a zoo and the famous bath house. The next day we walked over to the Buda side ( Pest and Buda used to be seperate duchies, with the Buda side for the richie riches and the Pest not so much. As the Pest side was anhilated during the war, it is more modern and so most of the hotels are there). We took the famous chain bridge and stopped for a local pastry treat made primarily with sweet cheese. The line for the funicular was long and so we opted to walk up the hill to see the castle and churches, however got stopped to pay entry as a special Easter market was set up on the grounds of the castle. At first this annoyed the heck out of me but it turned out to be one of our favorite parts of our trip. We watched traditional dances and listened to very high calibre chamber music whilst munching on typical food for lunch (meat, meat and more meat, with beer). I bought a few souvenires at the market, including hand embroidered blouses, so beautiful. Then we looked at St Michael's, famous for its brightly tiled roof (I tried to get in playing dumb tourist but the guy at the door must have been a former Soviet border gaurd with no sense of humor!). We went our separate ways, I to the art gallery where I saw evidence of all the major art movements but with fresh interpretation, and Greg to take William for his nap. The next day I took nap duty while Greg went for a soak at the 17th C. bath house (very beautifully decorated he said) and then we all went together to the Terror Museum. The museum is housed in the actual buildings used to interrogate, torture and kill citizens and was wonderful in a horrible way. It shocked both of us to realize what a sad history this city and its people have had. We cheered up when we found a fun local park (with a zip line in it:) to play in, and took ourselves out for Easter dinner. We were going to have goulash -when in Rome and all that- but there goulash is actually soup and so we had pasta instead! Overall we were struck by how undone Budapest is, save for the most major of tourist areas, and how friendly the people were. Apparently the government there is still very corrupt and so it is hard to get any traction with the tourism trade. Sad really.

Back at home we enjoyed our round of normal life. We went to a little friend's birthday party, saw friends for lunch, finally visited Butte Chaumont and took in an organ concert at St. Sulpice. I had book club and started writing non fiction peices for our local parenting magazine. With the help of our wonderful new babysitter, I was able to get back to my creative writing class which I love especially for its location at the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Greg is staying very busy at work, but still fitting in Spanish lessons at lunch once per week.

Soon we were off again, this time home to Canada to celebrate Auntie Heather's wedding! We went for 2 weeks and decided just to stay in Alberta rather than repeat our exausting multi provincial Christmas visit. It was the right thing to do and we enjoyed it so much more. We stayed with cousin Jenni and Brandon in Calgary, where we went to the zoo; saw my dear friend Irene and met her 2 little girls; visited with my entire family for a weekend in Edmonton (saw their zoo too); saw Auntie Heather's new house and helped make wedding favors; played in cousin Trina's back yard with the 'big boys' while Mom and Dad went out to go celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary; and travelled on to Jasper for the beautiful wedding. William handled the time change on the western journey very well, but struggled to adapt for a week when we got home, meaning Mom got very tired being woken at night again. The red eye was a bit tough for him too, and we were 'those parents' with the screaming baby, until he exhausted himself and slept. Therefore I'm not too up for further cross Atlantic flights for awhile. You may not see me in Canada again until we come home!

William is doing great. He is a sturdy, smiling, going concern. He loved our Canadian visit as he had so many other kids to play with. He loved cousin Brandon's sit-in police car (he spent an entire afternoon getting in and out of it) and Katelyn's princess tent. We took him swimming at the hotel pools while we were away; he was cautious at first (literally sticking in his big toe to test the water) but soon got to love it again. This is great because I want him comfortable in the water so he will enjoy our cottage once we get home. In Edmonton he experienced his first petting zoo and was quite fearless in pursueing the goat for a pat. He also had his first ice cream cone; after one bite he handed it back (too cold, I guess) but after watching Papa tuck into his, William gave it another go and discovered a new passion! I make 'jus-jus' popsicles for him here at home which are great on a hot day (wish we had more of those this summer!). He is a real little boy now with scratched and bruised knees. He was quite perturbed that a scratch would not wash off, but now is Ok with a kiss on his bo bo from Mommy (he will actually pull down my chin to give his knee a kiss). He gave me my first real hug too, chubby arms around my neck and patting my back. Recently we went for a walk down our street to go get a baguette (how French, eh?); this walk takes me 10 minutes there and back, but it took us 45 minutes doing it together! But everything is fascinating to William: puddles, dogs, cars, trees are all worthy of inspection and comment. It is wonderful to slow down and see how fascinating the world is through my toddler's eyes.

We have a passle of people coming to stay in the next few months and will fit in our own summer holiday during that time as well. So more fun to come!

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