A little Buda, a lot of Pest: Days 4-6

Isn’t it amazing how, as soon as you complain about something not working properly, it fixes itself? *Sigh* Life.
Anyway, to continue:

Sunday, Day 4, dawned ungodly bright and early. Saying we were used to it would be true, and unfortunate. But, we were on vacation and getting early starts is kind of necessary.

After breakfast at Frohlich Bakery (slowly becoming our favorite place to eat), we met up with M&E for a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter.

We met in front of one of the many drinkable fountains in the city – it turns out that Budapest sits on a naturally pure water source, so all the decorative fountains have drinkable water! And yes, we saw many people filling their water bottles from lions mouths and, ahem, other bodily openings.
Our guide Zoltan was informative, funny, and native-born Hungarian who lived in the Jewish Quarter despite a lack of religious credentials. The Jewish Quarter, it turns out, is home to many non-Jews because it is so centrally located within the capital. It also happens to be the center of the party scene in Budapest and is home to the famously infamous Ruin Pubs.

(I maintain what I said in my previous post about how nice everyone is – they could be even nicer if they would just be a little quieter while wandering the streets in their drunken dazes)

After 2.5 hours, Hubby, Nooshkin, M&E and I backtracked to the Dohanny Street Synagogue for a look inside. We decided against an official tour and just wandered around taking pictures of everything.

The interior of the Dohanny Street Synagogue

The interior of the Dohanny Street Synagogue

A close-up of the Aron Kodesh (where the Torah is kept)

A close-up of the Aron Kodesh (where the Torah is kept)

The cemetery in the courtyard

The cemetery in the courtyard

There was even a guestbook that you could sign so the synagogue would always remember and cherish your visit…that’s not weird in the slightest.

During the morning tour, I learned that Franz Liszt was the Shabbat Goy at the Dohanny Street Synagogue and played the organ during services!

Yup, accurate.

Yup, accurate.

How crazy is that?!

Once that was done, we all headed back to our respective abodes to relax and get ready for the wedding!
Which was on a boat in the Danube River with Buda Castle in the background.

The couple was gorgeous, the party went all night, and a good time was had by all. The craziest part was, they hired a second wedding planner who took care of the Kosher food for us and M&E. Actually, that isn’t so crazy once you really think about it.

Especially because they kept eating our food....

Especially because they kept eating our food…

What is crazy is how everyone seemed smitten with Nooshkin…nope, also not so crazy.

Day 5 was my plan. We were taking a roadtrip through the Hungarian countryside to Nyiradony, which is about 20 minutes Northeast of Debrecen, which is 2 hours from Budapest. It’s the village where my grandfather was from.
More about that in a different post.

Day 6 was devoted to shopping til we dropping. Which we were incredibly successful at (we are kind of professional). And, of course, taking more pictures of the sites around us.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack everything up. While the trip was wonderful, it was also incredibly exhausting – to the point that, fairly frequently on day 6 Hubby and I would look at each other and say “Yeah, I’m ready to go home”

I guess that is the best sign of a successful trip. That, and the swag we brought back 🙂

Currently Grooving On: Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody

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International Woman of….something

The Restless Mama family is going to Budapest!

Our dear friends J&E are getting hitched, and they graciously invited us so we naturally graciously accepted.
Hungary is one of the many countries we want to visit anyway, so this is the perfect opportunity to cross it off our list.

I cannot guarantee posts while abroad, but who knows? Maybe there will be some restless moments (ha, yeah right).

At the very least there will be lots of pictures when we get back.

Not Giving Up, or Music: A History

A while back, I posted very briefly about school. Now for some depth.

I’m currently studying for a Master’s Degree in the Interdisciplinary Program in the Fine Arts Faculty at Tel Aviv University (that’s a mouthful).
I have a BA degree in Musicology from Bar Ilan University, which I received about five years ago.

I always wanted to go back to school, and for sure get a Master’s degree; perhaps also a Ph.D. – we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, in about 10 years.

Education and Music have always been very important to me, as I started both at the same time. Education was mandatory, but music was apparently my own doing. The apocryphal story is that I was watching a PBS special on musical prodigies, and excitedly pointed to the tv screen and said “Mommy, I want to do that”

Apparently, some kid was playing piano at that moment. And that’s how that started.

For ten years, I devoted an hour each day to practicing piano, and another hour each week for lessons. Not to mention various recitals, performances, and competitions. Piano took a backseat in high school, mostly because I didn’t have any time, but partially because I wanted to do other things. Like Yearbook, and Public Speaking, and Acting. And, you know, sleep.

Yeah - pretty self explanatory.

Yeah – this may have actually happened.

But music was always super important to me. It was constantly on in the background, much to the annoyance of LAK who shared a room with me.
I mostly listened to whatever was on the radio, and made really horrible mix tapes of what I managed to record from said radio (hey, this was the late 90s and early 00s after all). When I came to Israel and met Hubby (and several other people) I was introduced to the wonderful world of Pandora and Jango. My love for Heavy Metal, Punk, Pop-Punk, and Rock music also flourished.

About this time, I found myself in the practice rooms of the Music Department, reminding myself that I was pretty good at the piano. I had won a few competitions in my youth, and I think the medals are in a box in the basement of my parents’ house (if, you know, the repeated flooding hasn’t rusted them over yet).

So I applied, auditioned, and was accepted to the Music Program at Bar Ilan University.

Music was everywhere. It permeated my soul, took up residence in my mind, and refused to let go of my very being.

And then I graduated. And got pregnant. And became a full-time SAHM. And then I went back to work full time while keeping the full time parenting gig going. Music, unfortunately, took a back seat in another country. I would fondly and wistfully look back at the time I had spent devoting myself to that craft – and I missed it. Horribly.

I told myself I would get back into it, that I would practice. But things always came up. My musical tastes continued to grow, and although I would hum along to almost every song I ever heard, it wasn’t the same as before.

Now I’m here. My piano skills have rusted over completely, and I forgot almost 3/4 of what I learned all those years ago.
But that first day back in school, back in a musical environment, I couldn’t pay attention to anything that the professor said. I was just enjoying the moment of being back in such familiar territory. I felt actual joy seeping through me, to the point that my co-workers knew without asking that I was so indescribably happy to be back.

I am slowly and steadily welcoming music back into my life, and it’s riding shotgun. This time, I don’t intend to give it up.

Currently Grooving On: “Bulletproof”, by La Roux
(I fully intend to include this section with all future posts, and I’ll try to have the song not be school-related) (but no promises)

Year 1, Semester 2: Begin!

The good news is, school started last week. Which means I’m getting out of the house twice a week for class.

The bad news is, school started last week.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m really happy to be back in a learning environment and I’m finally getting the hang of my degree (which is, simultaneously, not as and way more complicated than I initially thought).

Going back to school was something that I pushed off for my previous job. I don’t think they ever knew about that, but it’s water over the bridge, or under the dam, or somewhere. I always wanted to continue my education, if only to take a few classes here and there.
Getting accepted to a program, while not difficult for me, was something that I debated doing.

Did I really want a grind of education? Did I want to go back to a schedule that would possibly conflict with my work, my family, and my social life?

Or, like my former boss, did I want to just take a course every so often about something that interested me, because I’m a huge nerd?

Nerd Status: semi-professional Points: +1000

Nerd Status: semi-professional
Points: +1000

In the end, the grind won out. If only because I like having set schedules. Schedules are a godsend, for parents and for the restless alike. Knowing that certain days of the week have a certain event give structure to the day, and a reason for getting dressed in the morning.
They also give me a reason for not lingering over my coffee, but I’ll let that pass.

But more than that, I wanted needed to do this for me.

I have not been so good about doing things for me lately – I can’t remember the last time I went to the doctor for a general checkup that did not involve prescriptions for antibiotics. The last time I really did something for myself was a massage that the hubby gave me as a gift.

There have been so many articles recently about how women need to give more to prove that they deserve [fill-in-the-blank with whatever]. And, naturally, there are even more articles about how women need to take a step back and not drive themselves crazy with [fill-in-the-blank with whatever] and focus on the things that really matter.

But I don’t think I’m going crazy over my degree. Twice a week is nothing. Also, one of my classes this semester is about reality television. I think I’m doing myself a favor in that regard.

P.S. – All those books in the picture are for a seminar paper for the class I took last semester. And I will be taking out more from the library once I’m done with these.