March 30, 2014

In between appointments one day we walked past the statue of Ronald Reagan.  Hungarians revere him and are grateful to him for helping them regain their democracy when he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”  
 (An aside:  Some of you might like this comment made by Reagan, 
“There is nothing as good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse!”)

Jó napot mindenki!  (Good day everyone!)  Blossoms are out in Budapest, and sometimes when we walk past them, the smell is so refreshingly spring.  Birds are singing.  Buds are coming on the trees.  We are told that we must watch carefully, because on a warm day trees will suddenly be green!  It will be beautiful.  Daylight Savings Time started today.  It must be spring. 

This week we continued visiting – two foundations that helps children who were born prematurely or who had trauma at birth and have delayed motor skills.  The first one was started by a woman who has been doing this for 40 years.  She has written the ‘curriculum’ so to speak.  We asked her if her methods were known outside of Hungary and that very day someone was presenting her method and the statistics at a conference in Germany that now show most of the children who have attended her ‘school’ are at normal status.  We also met with a school who helps children with their speech and communication, a school for mentally disabled children and the director of the children’s cancer foundation.  All have fascinating stories, many needs and are serving and caring in most Christlike ways.  We are waiting to hear from several of these foundations so that we can submit projects, and waiting to hear if the ones we have submitted will be approved.  In the meantime, we keep visiting and learning.

Here are a few fun things in Hungary that are different than in the US:

There are little pékségek (bakeries) all over – in fact several to a block, some right next to each other.  Here is one selling loaves of bread that weight 3 kilos or 6.9 pounds!

Some items come in different sizes and shapes:  This 1.5 liter bottle is what people carry around to drink – either water (‘gas’ or ‘still’) or soda.  Eggs are always brown, small and only come 10 in a carton.  The common napkin at any eatery is one-fourth of what we are used to – and one-ply.

Baking items mostly come in packets – yeast, vanilla (I did find a tiny bottle), baking powder and baking soda.  The Shake Shake is the only way I’ve found malt powder to use in my bread sticks recipe.  Spices also mostly come in packets, i.e. nutmeg, thyme, black pepper and paprika.

On our Saturday P-Day we took an excursion to visit Parliament.  Any photo we could take of this magnificent gothic building would not do it justice, so we’ve included some ‘commercial’ photos. The Parliament building is a landmark in Budapest.  It is the largest building (691 rooms and 29 staircases) and the tallest, 96 meters (which represents the nation’s millennium from 896 – 1896).  It is one of the oldest government buildings in Europe; completed in 1904 (construction took 19 years). 

This model was made a few years ago by a Hungarian family.  It took them 3 years to build and is made with over 100,000 matches.

This is a section of the carpet in the Reception Room where we were standing.  It was made by Hungarian women using the Turkish method – meaning that when you walk on it, the knots get tighter – or in other words, it does not wear out.  Turkish rugs have every right to be expensive!  This carpet is 70 years old (the original was burned in a war); the one on the other side is 120 years old; they are all in one piece (23 x 7 meters) and are the third largest in Europe.

Beautiful stained glass windows all throughout the building.

On the window sills outside the meeting chambers are these brass fixtures, each space with a number.  These were to hold the cigars of the representatives.  They each had a numbered space.  If the session was boring they could come out and continue smoking. If they stayed and listened to a whole speech and came out and nothing was left of their cigar but ashes, they might say “that speech was worth a Havanna.” 

There are two identical Chamber Rooms.  One is always in use; the other can be used for conferences and tours.  Currently there are 386 representatives, but elections are coming up and they will be changing 199 elected officials.


Looking up at the ceiling of the Dome Room.

The guards move their sword and head and do a little two-step every 5 minutes, change places every 15 minutes and change guards every hour.  Other than that they do not move a muscle.  Well, one of them blinked when Stan asked him a question. The Holy Crown has been used in coronations since 1000.  It has had an adventurous history, much like Hungary.  It was lost, found, buried, stolen and turned up in Ft. Knox, but has now been displayed here since 2000. 

Standing on columns around the rooms are sculptures of kings, rulers and only one female Queen to rule in Hungary, Maria Theresa.  She reigned for 40 years, loved children (she had 16) and was the mother of Marie Antoinette.  Who knew? 

Too much history?  That’s it for this week.  Tonight we hosted our first senior missionary couples dinner at our apartment with 3 other couples who are close by:  President and Sister Smith, Elder and Sister Felsted (YSA couple) and Elder and Sister Bagozzi (office couple).  (Forgot to take a picture.) 
We love you all.  We send our best wishes and blessings.  We are so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.  We are grateful to be serving in Hungary.  We look forward to hearing from prophets this coming week.  Have a great week.


  1. Skyler wants to live in the parliament building, she's a princess at heart! We love learning about Hungary. I also find it amusing that Budapest is crawling with bakeries but mom is still hunting for malted milk to make breadsticks! We love you both.

  2. Did you know that Maria Theresa was one of the women who appeared to President Wilford Woodruff in the St. George Temple to have her temple work done?? Interestingly, Marie Antoinette did too. I guess we don't have the full story on these two women. Love your weekly epistles!!

  3. Thanks for your posts. I enjoy them so much. That bread is bigger than Stan's head! Our bathroom is technically all done. Shower door is coming today. We have a chest of drawers on order. The new fixtures are so nice - love the floor tile. Things are pretty much the same here. I am involved in a calligraphy workshop this week. hugs, nano

  4. We love reading your posts and following you mission with you. We love you. Phil and Liz

  5. NO! Never too much history. NEVER! Love the photos and the cultural bits. Wonderful blog!

    Nanoink's new bathroom is going to be great


  6. Stanley Elvan:

    I answered your questions at, but thought you would be more likely to see the answer here. So, copy, paste, and voila:

    We did eat at the Black Sheep: good, but pricey, and no mutton. We saw Grand Budapest and liked it very much. It is a typical Wes Anderson production and may not appeal to everyone, but we enjoyed the quirky humor.



  7. Those are great pictures! The eggs and napkins are what I also have here in Korea! Thanks for adding me to the"subscription" list--it's great to see what you're up to! <3

  8. Those are great pictures! The eggs and napkins are what I also have here in Korea! Thanks for adding me to the"subscription" list--it's great to see what you're up to! <3