February 17, 2002
Ron went to mass this morning. He can be so fanatical with this. He makes it a weekly habit. Needless to say, I have not found a place that I feel a need to be on Sundays with someone preaching at me in Hungarian. His time away gives me a chance to read or write uninterrupted, so I cannot complain.
Having a hot water pot that sits on an electric base has spoiled us. This is another common appliance in Europe that Americans are missing. Flip a switch and within minutes, you have boiling water for a cup of tea or for whatever reasons you need hot water. A burglar gets in the house, you flip your switch, and you scald him with boiling water. It is multifunctional. We could use the microwave to heat our water, but this is part of the coziness and romance of the ritual of making tea. We did not have a hot water pot here and we had to have one to feel complete in our kitchen, so we went off shopping.
Shopping on Sunday is an exercise in futility unless you go to the mall, but you also know the prices will be higher there than other places. We went to various stores and window shopped since very often they put just about every item they sell in the display windows and there are prices on everything to lure you back during their opening hours. I had already scoped out about six places that had these hot pots for sale and had been keeping a list of where and how much. The best deal was a hot pot that also came with a little teapot. Inside the teapot was a removable loose tea strainer. Since we now drink more tea than coffee, this was perfect for us to experiment with loose teas, once we figure out what different names are in Hungarian. My favorite is Assam and there are a number of varieties of it that I have yet to try. With this pinned down; it went on the shopping list for tomorrow, when that particular store was open.
The apartment has a phone with a built in answering machine. This was good news for us since the schools are always asking us if we bought our mobile phones yet. This was the next best solution for a temporary measure. The downer was that the answering machine needed an a/c adapter that was suspiciously missing. I had asked Timi about it, but she said she needed to question her father about it. Already, I knew her record of accomplishment was typical Hungarian. Manana or tomorrow in Spanish is translated into Hungarian as “I may get around to it sometime in this life cycle if the lunar position and the sun are in the right juxtaposition.” Nagging always helps, but hell, I give enough at home, I can give of myself with almost strangers too. Besides, she will be around every 7th day of the month for the rent check. Choosing my battles carefully, I decided the answering machine was a more justifiable tax write off the Hungarian tax laws than a comforter cover would be. We went shopping for that too.
Finding the best model for the cheapest price without all of the bells and whistles, that went on the shopping list too.
Ron being deprived of visual stimulation without a television wanted to go to the movies. Watching me cooking dinner like Julia Child or James Beard was not satisfying so we compromised on seeing Vanilla Sky. Settling on the 8:30 show, he took a nap and I read. Close to 7:45 pm, I had to persuade him to drag his meatless butt out of bed to get to the theater before they sold out of tickets. I stood in line for tickets and he went for the popcorn. As I approached the ticket counter, I asked for two tickets to Vanilla Sky, in perfectly enunciated English. I was told that they were sold out for the 8:30 show. My mind was mentally beating the buttless for now getting up and out the door sooner, but my immediate thought was to put a halt to the popcorn transaction.
I was too late. We were now the proud owners of a large bag of butterless popcorn and no movie to watch while we munched. We sat at the table in the lobby and munched while people watching instead. This was not going to cut it. Having been revved up to see a movie, hearing other voices other than our own speaking English, there was no way were going home feeling cheated. We bought tickets for the 11:00 pm showing and set off to walk the streets in search of some action. Action to me these days comes in the form of window shopping in house ware stores, looking for the next missing link from our kitchen. It is bad enough that we cannot identify foods, but it is worse when we do and do not have the pot, pan, peeler, wooden spoon, or other domestic equipment to cook it. That is the new definition of frustration.
We had popcorn, but no real food. We went to OK Italia and shared a pizza and salad. We lamented that Dawn was not here to join us. Every time we had been here in the past, she was with us. She introduced us to the place. We missed having her around. She headed back to Arizona for a few weeks and would be returning on March 1st. By the time we finished, we returned to the theater for the movie.
There were three of us in a theater that had capacity for 80. They still assigned us our seats by row and seat numbers. At least they did not cancel the show. That would have made us really upset!