With most people out of town and the house in the country closed up for the season, I was lucky to be invited into the homes of friends for the holidays this year. On the 24th, I was with the Freidays and their extended family. I received a Butler Hot 'n' Tot bed warmer in the form of a monkey. Now while there is something fundamentally wrong with microwaving a monkey, it does keep my toes warm. On the 25th I was at Chris and Nora's for a turkey dinner with bread sauce, and black velvets (Guinness and champagne). I was introduced to the excellent UK TV series "Life on Mars" and then had to of course borrow the DVDs. The 26th was grey and drizzly, but Josey and I still got out into the Buda Hills for our traditional Christmas hike. Starting at the Nagybanyai ut 11 bus end station, we hiked up through Huvosvolgy and along the ridge to the right around the foot of Harmashatarhegy almost to Solymar and back to Josey and Blinky's for a nice turkey dinner, broken up by reading their sons Joey and Alex a nice children's book titled "The Man with the Edible Coat."
At the ExpatsHungary First Night Out event at the Minyon Restaurant, I ran into some lovely ladies from NAWA. On their recommendation I watched Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwick. While I think Katherine Hepburn would have been better cast in the lead role, it was an enjoyable film. ExpatsHungary has recently been taken over and relaunched by the Inter Relocation Group with a discount club card, and also now reposts articles from Treehugger Dan's Positive Blog. And of course Discover Budapest's annual staff Christmas party blowout was held this year at a bowling alley. As a child, I always wanted to go bowling for my birthday, but do not go often now. Happliy, my injured back was not an impediment, and it was a great evening.
The 2 weeks before Christmas were very busy with my secret holiday duties as Santa Claus at 4 different international nursery schools and kindergartens, as well as one private party. I look forward to this almost as much as the children.
Lastly, I had a pleasant evening at my second Baby Blue Banana Christmas Speed Dating. While sparsely attended compared to the previous month (probably due to the holidays), it flowed well with just enough people to make it work. Since I intentionally spoke Hungarian with the first woman, English with the second and continued to switch languages. I realised that I could try a Hungarian speed dating event next time. While I still have to fight my shyness to go to these things, I am glad I went, having met some nice people and had some nice conversations.