Archive for Life at Home in Hungary


A kindergarten graduation is a big transition in childhood. Our Hungarian “ovoda” is similar to an American preschool, and children usually stay in the same class between the ages of 3-6. After this, they can go to first grade at the elementary school. Elizabeth has attended for one year and will go to first grade next year. The daily routine consists of playing, learning Hungarian poems and songs, eating, brushing teeth, and napping together. Hot tea or warm milk with bread is served in the morning, a hot lunch at noon, and a snack for the afternoon. For the graduation ceremony, each child brought bouquets of fresh flowers to decorate their building for this special occasion. Greenery, large leaves, garden flowers and florist flowers were brought and hung from the ceiling and doorways. We did not fully understand how big of an occasion this was! Parents even brought specially made bouquets for their child.

Parents were invited to the classroom to listen to the children recite the poems and songs. We heard stories of hedgehogs, flowers, trees, and chickens.

While this was a happy occasion for us, there were many tears! It was unbelievable to hear Elizabeth recite her poems, how well she speaks Hungarian, and how well she loves her friends. It was hard to say goodbye to her teachers and classmates, but we look forward to what will come in the future.

Third Culture Kids

What’s it like growing up in another country? I wouldn’t know, but as I observe my kids I see the differences between their childhood and mine. They are Americans absorbing the Hungarian culture, which equals a unique mix – a third culture. Here’s some of the new things they have encountered while living here:

They watch Dora and Diego in Hungarian,
Electronic toys talk in Hungarian,
Language doesn’t really matter when there is another kid to play with,
When we buy a DVD here, we get to choose from Czech, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Slovakian, Hungarian or English language,
Our cereal boxes can have ingredients written in up to 20 languages on the back,
We don’t use idioms in our house, or try very hard not to use them simply because they are too difficult to explain to the kids,
Our son has friends from around the world at the international school,
Our daughter prefers to play while speaking Hungarian even while at home,
I had to explain corn dogs, smores, root beer floats, and Taco Bell,
Toy selection here is nothing compared to ToysRUs or Walmart (I am grateful for this),
Toy selection here is very expensive, and we don’t buy unplanned purchases,
They know the clothes drying rack works better than the dryer,
And to turn on the AC they open the window (in the van or in the house),
Free drink refills and ice at a restaurant?
No free ketchup at McDonalds,
Fast food restaurants are not a part of our daily life, so we eat healthier!
The girls have learned how to make biscuits and roll out tortillas and pizza dough,
They have learned that anything you want to eat can be made at home – and you don’t need a boxed mix!!!
They love paprika on their food,
Pre-packaged “snacks” are too expensive or non-existent, so we eat fruit, homemade cookies, etc.,
The fresh breads and rolls are in abundance and our kids know how to choose a good croissant,
The children help carry our bags to the stores, help bag the groceries, and like to pay the 100 forint to “rent” a grocery cart!
They visit their grandparents through Skype, and
Church is not about great programs, large video screens, age-graded classes, or colorfully printed take-home papers……it’s simply a group of people who meet together, adults and children together, to pray, sing, and share the Word.