Thursday, December 26, 2013

St. Nicolas Day

December 6th is Szent Mikulás (St. Nicolas) Day in Hungary.  This is the day that Hungary and most other European countries celebrate St. Nicolas.  I love it that he is separated from Christmas Day, and after the 6th there is no more Santa Claus.  In Hungary children put their boots out and wake to find sweets in them.

I found out that the óvoda was going to have a St. Mikulás come on the 6th and do a celebration, so I asked if I could take pictures.  The teachers were excited about that and asked if they could have my pictures to put on the class website too.

DSCN0032St. Mikulás arrived to the children sitting in their chairs.  One of the teachers gave him a wrapped book.  DSCN0043He read from this book.  I have no idea what it was or what he was reading other than it was fairly long and there were things that the kids responded to.

DSCN0087Then, while St. Mikulás was there, some of the children played some different types of games and had some sayings that they did.  Ethan said that he hadn’t seen the children do these things before, so we were both pretty clueless.DSCN0094DSCN0121After the games each of the kids got to come get a present out of St. Mikulás’ bag.  DSCN0122Unfortunately he called on Ethan to be the first kid to come get a present.  Normally, this would probably be exciting for a kid, but Ethan usually watches what the other kids do in order to know what to do himself.  He understood St. Mikulás telling him to come, so he did and he figured out to take a gift, but I could tell that he wasn’t real sure what was going on.

After St. Mikulás left, the kids had a snack (which wasn’t the normal fruit, but sweet and salty things).DSCN0213I’m including a picture on here of the snack time because I think a few things concerning this are interesting in the Hungarian culture.  One is that the sweet foods and salty foods are always separated.  They aren’t put on a plate together.  Secondly, it’s just put in the middle of a table and the kids just reach for it (as you can see Ethan doing above) and eat it, instead of having their own plates.  And this way of doing things continues into elementary school from what friends have told me.  In fact when I have the women from my Body & Soul exercise class to my house for parties, they always stay in the kitchen standing around the food, even when it could be taken in the next room where they could sit.

DSCN0230These are Ethan’s three teachers:  Eszter néni, Zsofi néni, and Andi néni.  Néni means aunt, but that is what is used at the end of all of the teachers’ names.  (In Hungarian, the names come before the titles.)  The two on the left are Ethan’s teachers.  They rotate each week with one working in the mornings and the other in the afternoons, and then they overlap from 11:00-1:00.  The one on the far right is probably best described as an aid.  She doesn’t do any of the teaching but helps the kids with certain things.  She is also the one who cuts up the fruit for snack, etc.

Monday, December 9, 2013

First Campfire

We have a little fire pit-type thing in our yard that we’ve never used.  This summer we planned to build a campfire when we camped out in the tent.  However, we went to someone else’s house for a cookout that same night and didn’t get home until the kids’ bedtime, so it was too late to start a campfire at that point.  We decided that we would just do a campfire some other time even without camping, but just got around to it last month!

DSCN9548We invited the Beattys to join us for our first campfire (first for their kids too).not sure what they think about the fire Not sure what they think about the fire.

Sienna is still thinking, but Ethan and Evan discovered the fun of a fireSienna is still thinking, but Ethan and Evan discovered the fun of fire.

DSCN9626We found some marshmallows in a store here that was having an “American Days” sale for a week.  This was the kids’ first experience roasting marshmallows in a fire.  However, we gave Sienna a banana instead (as you can see in the picture above).  

DSCN9638 Ethan’s first taste of a marshmallow.  He ate one and a half.

DSCN9654We will definitely have to do this more often… after winter is over!