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Welcome, Isten hozott, Dobrodosli

Continuing in 2004. See here for the last year's newsletter.

In January lots of friends offered to pray about our smashed up Corolla and it worked like a charm (if charms would work really well, that is, instead of not at all! :).
I have threatened the insurance company to pursue this matter all the way, including seeking traffic expert's opinions and legal action for negligient handling of the case. Was it the threat or the prayer, I will never know, but the insurance company has made a complete U turn and all expenses will be covered by the policy of the other party (who, incidentally, was with the same company, and since we only had third party insurance and the other guy full insurance, there was a conflict of interest which might have influenced the decision initially).
Since then I keep thinking, what happens to those who perhaps don't speak the language confidentally or don't know the system well or simply are not the fighter type? I have found God's assurance "the meek shall inherit the earth" very comforting in those moments.

On that note, let's pause and take in God's creation...kanga at dawn in the park close to our house

In early December it was my brother's turn to visit homeland. Since he studies at a Uni, he was able to stay a long time, and returned mid Feb only. In the early stages we kept in touch throught e-mail (internet cafes are awesome), but towards the end we lost touch.
Early on I jokingly advised him to meet as many people and see as many places as he can, as he can always collapse in the airplane on the way home...I might have to be more careful with my words, 'cause when he returned, he did collapse a couple of hours after touchdown and got taken to the emergency ward by the ambulance. Tests were inconclusive, we suspect over-tiredness and dehidration. Good to see hime retaining his penchant for the dramatic. :)
A contender for the anectdote of the year did come from this...After arriving to AU seriously sleep depraved, passing out and waking in the ambulance car, his brain was understandably confused and he thought that he is still overseas, so he started speaking to the ambulance officer in Hungarian.
I'm sure the officer was wondering if this guy is delirious or what...but here's the clincher: when the paramedic asked my brother how he is, he replied: "Woa, your english is really good!"

Mid December I injured my back (by carrying the trampoline-see below) which prevented me from playing tennis and running for more than a month. So we watched tennis players playing tennis and cricketers running on the telly. I have collected a few extra kilos during this time which is hard to shake (but when I do, it wobbles in amazing, independent ways :). At one stage Beata powered on with Adele and seemed to enjoy her walk twice a week (she even mentioned joining a gym if Adele got a job in one, which she was, that is a miracle!), but that dropped off quickly as well. (she hates any physical exertion)

The girls got a trampoline for Christmas from all the family. I was afraid the girls would get sick of it soon, but I was proven wrong, and they often race each other to the tramp and make up routines which the adults have to witness before lost irretrivably to the black hole that all children's productions go to.

The girls on the beach

on Dec 30th, Jaeson Iskandar from Malaysia came to stay with us through Global Freeloader (a network of people offering and asking for free accom. - really good, I recommend it!) after his flaky Ozzie contact couldn't be reached. We had a good day out, he showered us with gifts, had great conversations, but next day the flaky person came back and prised him away before the new years party...

Since we used up all our holidays on the european trip, we had to work through the Christmas-New Year period. Couple of things that stick out from the daily grind and saved this period:
-We ended up hosting a new year's party (on a short notice after the long term plans fell through) but we had a great time. Music was mainly lesser known, but good tracks from Boney M. and Abba (I know, I know, but it was stylish and it worked, really). Ma-ma-ma-maaa Ma, Baker...
-Early January we hired a house in Loch Sport with the Majkas. The house was opposite the marina and the wind was so strong, we had to raise our voices in the house 'cause the cables on the masts in the marina kept "singing"! Les and Adele were there too, so even though the weather was horrible, we had a good time socially.

Zoe made a nice pic of her friend, Zofia. We like the blues and greys in it...

We got keen to upgrade our family car (a '95 Audi 80). We had a look at some new Toyota Camrys and Ford Falcons and we couldn't believe the discounts! like $7000-$8000 on a $35,000 car...unfortunately, our car was worth little to the dealers, so the changeover cost was still too much. We decided to keep the Audi for a while longer.

The bible study group resumed early February. We plan to do daily devotionals (christianspeak: a short bible reading, comments and prayer) by Selwyn Hughes and keep a diary on what happens. could be an interesting experiment.

Zoe had an interesting camp this year: Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. This is an old gold miner's site and Zoe's school will re-create the olden days, including clothes, school, customs and all. Insert pic here!

We've got tickets to Paul Coleman's concert (possibly his last with PC3). Actually our non-christian friends (the Majkas, who else) dragged us there. Paul was his usual spontanaeous, witty, entertaining self who inserted great messages (almost half sermons at times) between his songs. Followed up with a gelato from "Sophie's" at camberwell...huuuge servings, three people struggled to finish one.

In Early March we took a trailer full of Answers in Genesis books to display at home school meeting Glenrowan, only to find that another support group has already set we took the day off, and meandered home with the trailer the long way, vineries, cheese factories, mountaint roads and all.Click here for a quick pictorial.

Late March my good friend from way back (New Zealand times) Miso came to visit with his family from China. He married a chinese lady called Nancy in N.Z. and they have moved to Beijing about the same time we moved to Oz, and later to Shanghai. They are full of great stories, and we spent about three days together. It was great! Unfortunately, church camp cut into this time, but Srdan (a friend to both of us, also of NZ vintage) helped out as well.

Easter at my parent's place...

Not long after Miso, Nancy and Nina left, we purchased tickets to NZ for a departure on 27th Dec, return about 16 days later. After 6 and a half years, there is a lot of catching up to do with so many people we "left" there...and Bea's brother is still :) there.

Another summer gone...looking out from the back of our house...we miss the sun already. Next year we have to be more out under it!

Tati and Mami took the girls to Imax (3D underwater world, not the best Imax movie) and had a quick look at the museum which is in the same building. The pic below is at the entrance.

My Dad (Rudi) has written a play called "Minden Belefer" (Everything fits) and a small group of amateur actors have been practising for over a year for the big premier. It finally happened in mid April at the Hungarian House.
It was a huge success and the group was asked for a repeat performance on the spot. The second show was in May, but, according to many, it was not as good a performance as the first.We also struggled with the sound reinforcement (feedback problems) on both occasions.

On the recording front, I got together a few times with my brother Tom, Sam from work and David, my tennis partner to belt out a few songs in our living room. At times we sounded OK...and I really got to like Urge Overkill. Now I'm working on a midi outline of the songs over which we can lay the acoustic tracks. We've also worked out how to get the PC sequencer in sync with the HD recorder (this way I'll retain the ability to easily add midi instruments to the songs later) and use sound modules for recording midi instruments for better sound. My Dad also wants to record a number of songs with his band so that they could sell the CDs at the parties they play at...sounds like the HD recorder will get its workout this year!

In June Bea and I have plunged ourselves into home renovations. We picked up a luscious carpet at half price (still $$$), Robert (an electrician friend) is helping with lights and Bea is the designated painter. Before...(the new wall is built to cover up a window, downlights already in)

...and about $1800 and 3 weeks after...still bits to do and TV stand to build.

Mid July I volunteered to do security at a Dandenong youth event. I was horrified with the kids...not the things they got up to (let's face it, we were not any better), but the stupid way they go about it, like a guy trying to to impress the girls with his sexual prowess by humping the door and looking at them from a distance...just sad. I think I witnessed reverse evolution (which I believe the only direction it can go, anyway). It must be all this wealth and idle time that does it.

At the end of July we farewelled Jonathan, Mandy (the people you can see on the Whitsunday trip) and their kids. Jonathan moved to Wodonga Baptist as a senior pastor. We promised that we'll catch up soon, which happened in November.

Jonathan was also my running partner, and since he was leaving, I was afraid that I'll stop the running regime. Because we've got some money back on the tax return, we decided to purchase a treadmill. It proved very useful, my fitness has got better and my weight is down (started around at a tragic 103 kg two years ago, at this stage 97 and by the end of the year down to a more respectable 93). Bea and the kids also fiddle with it.

In August we purchased an investement property, so there was a whole heap of paperwork, cleaning, and renovating done with my parents. The first tenant is from ex-YU as well, we're all looking forward to meeting her and the whole experience of being a landlord (feels so weird even to think about it).

At the end of August Bea decided to have some fun and had a bit of of a ball on her birthday...asked people to dress unusually, most of them misunderstood and came dressed for a costume party, but it still worked great!

During September James, another good Ozzie friend rang to say he is off to Shanghai, China as well (transferred in his multinational company). What is this? Looks like we'll have to move as well. It is certainly a happening place over there. We've managed to catch up at a pub, see below.

The girl's third term finished on 17th of Sep, and the fourth started on 5th of Oct. I don't exaggerate, but the two of them didn't have one day when they didn't sleep over at someone's place, were taken to the city, for shopping, stay over for a day, etc. By the end of the break, they were so ready for one!

On one of the days of this break Robi invited us to Lilydale Lake where we rowed his canoe round the lake, played soccer, after which we retreated to his place and cooked the best goulash on woodfire. I kept smelling the smoke for days...great day out, thanks Robi!

At the end of October we visited the Stringybark Bush Festival with Zoran, Dunja, Sophie and Alex. While searching for information on the web, we've found Timi's picture below on the council's website! This was also in a calendar that every house got this year from the council. We still remember the time in 2002 at the same festival when a roving photographer wanted to take a shot with Timi in it, because Timi was very nervous and unwilling about having her picture taken, and kept asking us if she will be famous (which she didn't want). We just laughed, and said "don't worry, nothing will come of it..." Well, nothing except being delivered to every household as Miss October and plonked on the internet plugging a festival. Shows how much we can be trusted.

We've also decided to be really adventurous and get this amazing invention called ADSL (sarcasm detector:"bing"). We've got it late October and we love it. In fact we love it a lot. No, make it "We are ga-ga over it". Everyday new horizons open when I talked with my friend in Scotland for free and at very good quality using the program called skype (install it, its very good! if you want to chat to us, you can find us under the name zoltan bartus). Or when I found out I can listen to the radio stations of my hometown. Or e-mail friend from home. Use whitepages around the world. Use the online dictionary. Always have a TV guide. Listen to top 40. Should I go on? well worth the sum of around AUS$35/m

Early November there was a sunny day with 30 degrees celsius on the thermometer. We visited Rosebud foreshore to pick a camping site for January and later the beach called London Bridge (both about 50 mins from home). Zoe was told to be creative with the camera...this is the result:

In mid November we had a tough week. On Wed. Dad gets a call, her mum is very sick. On Thursday he is on the plane, on Friday halfway around the world at home. Omi, our last surviving grandparent knows that her son is there but unable to talk to him or even to see him. On the Saturday night she died, aged 81. About the same time (that is Sunday morning here) my brother collapsed (again, see top of page), ambulance, hospital. My parents are disoriented, I've never seen them like this. Then, on Tuesday my Mum lost her job that she has recently started, although at that stage she didn't mind that too much...

Then again, as if by magic, things turn out really well. Mum gets a really good position straight away in the company she worked before. Dad learns he can come home very soon, early Dec. instead of early next year- a big relief for him. Light at the end of the tunnel...thank you, God! Feeling somewhat like Timi is acting on this pic: serious but "it's gonna be OK"