Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Archive for December, 2005

Just in case

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 December, 2005

Just in case anyone’s logging in here specially to find out the news of our forthcoming daughter, she’s not here yet. We went to the doctor yesterday who showed us that she’s quite ensconced in there (although she was looking a bit grumpy – possibly from being stared at via ultrasound technology). If she doesn’t come out before then, we have to check into the hospital next Wednesday (when I say “we” here, I mean, of course, Erika) and they’ll coerce her into coming out next Saturday. So, she will almost certainly be born in 2005. Aside from that, all bets are off. She’s certainly not demonstrating her father’s punctuality, though she does already weigh 3.9 kgs and has a big belly, so she has inherited something from me.

Been driving for 7 hours through a blizzard today, so my eyes are bugging out of my head and I shan’t be writing further. Hasta mañana, insh’allah.

Posted in paula | Leave a Comment »

Just in case

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 December, 2005

Just in case anyone’s logging in here specially to find out the news of our forthcoming daughter, she’s not here yet. We went to the doctor yesterday who showed us that she’s quite ensconced in there (although she was looking a bit grumpy – possibly from being stared at via ultrasound technology). If she doesn’t come out before then, we have to check into the hospital next Wednesday (when I say “we” here, I mean, of course, Erika) and they’ll coerce her into coming out next Saturday. So, she will almost certainly be born in 2005. Aside from that, all bets are off. She’s certainly not demonstrating her father’s punctuality, though she does already weigh 3.9 kgs and has a big belly, so she has inherited something from me.

Been driving for 7 hours through a blizzard today, so my eyes are bugging out of my head and I shan’t be writing further. Hasta mañana, insh’allah.

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I look like Prokofiev

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 December, 2005

According to this site, I look a little bit like Sergei Prokofiev (60% like him to be exact). I also look 66% like Howard Dean and 63% like the kid who plays Harry Potter. And I look 53% like Nicolae Ceausescu. Fortunately I think it’s utter rubbish and I don’t look anything like any of them. It’s supposed to be a demo of face recognition technology. As demos go, it’s not that successful.

Baby watch

Still no sign. I think, astrologically speaking, she’s verging on changing from an archer to a goat.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

I look like Prokofiev

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 December, 2005

According to this site, I look a little bit like Sergei Prokofiev (60% like him to be exact). I also look 66% like Howard Dean and 63% like the kid who plays Harry Potter. And I look 53% like Nicolae Ceausescu. Fortunately I think it’s utter rubbish and I don’t look anything like any of them. It’s supposed to be a demo of face recognition technology. As demos go, it’s not that successful.

Baby watch

Still no sign. I think, astrologically speaking, she’s verging on changing from an archer to a goat.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The Waiting Game

Posted by Andy Hockley on 18 December, 2005

Today (Sunday December 18th) is supposed to be Paula’s birthday. Well, that was the theory given to us by the nice gynacologist. The obnoxious gynacologist told us December 13th, and the serious and unfriendly gynacologist plumped for the 23rd. We selected the middle one because (a) the nice one said it, and you always like to believe nice people; and (b) because it seemed like the statistically logical way to go about choosing between three dates (it being not only the median, but the mean).

At the moment, though, she shows no signs of showing up. It feels like we’ve been waiting for ever, when actually we’ve been kind of semi-anticipating her arrival since about Monday. Frankly, it’s getting a little bit tiring being in this constant state of more-or-less alertness (those who know me will know that alertness is not exactly my natural state and, well, y’know it’s an effort and stuff). I constantly watch the weather, I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in about three weeks (this may actually be a healthy side effect), and I’m constantly thinking about whether the car will start.

For Erika, of course, this feeling is magnified. She can’t get comfortable, she wants to lie down, or sit or stand or something all the time. Plus I think she’s just tired of carrying Paula around everywhere. In some ways I think all this would have been easier if the doctors had told us that the due date was January 10th and we could have been taken by surprise when she turned up a couple of weeks early.

We have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, so I think if Paula’s not made her mind up to come out by then, Erika might get admitted to the hospital anyway. I mean it is pretty cold out, so you can’t really blame her for hanging round in what must be this very comfortable and warm womb, but that doesn’t make it any easier for those of us outside waiting impatiently with our nails bitten down to the quick (the quick? why?). I’ve tried talking to her, remonstrating with her, cajoling her, being stern with her, but nothing works. She’s already testing the limits of my paternal authority despite not even being born yet. Kids, eh.

Posted in paula | Leave a Comment »

The Waiting Game

Posted by Andy Hockley on 18 December, 2005

Today (Sunday December 18th) is supposed to be Paula’s birthday. Well, that was the theory given to us by the nice gynacologist. The obnoxious gynacologist told us December 13th, and the serious and unfriendly gynacologist plumped for the 23rd. We selected the middle one because (a) the nice one said it, and you always like to believe nice people; and (b) because it seemed like the statistically logical way to go about choosing between three dates (it being not only the median, but the mean).

At the moment, though, she shows no signs of showing up. It feels like we’ve been waiting for ever, when actually we’ve been kind of semi-anticipating her arrival since about Monday. Frankly, it’s getting a little bit tiring being in this constant state of more-or-less alertness (those who know me will know that alertness is not exactly my natural state and, well, y’know it’s an effort and stuff). I constantly watch the weather, I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in about three weeks (this may actually be a healthy side effect), and I’m constantly thinking about whether the car will start.

For Erika, of course, this feeling is magnified. She can’t get comfortable, she wants to lie down, or sit or stand or something all the time. Plus I think she’s just tired of carrying Paula around everywhere. In some ways I think all this would have been easier if the doctors had told us that the due date was January 10th and we could have been taken by surprise when she turned up a couple of weeks early.

We have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, so I think if Paula’s not made her mind up to come out by then, Erika might get admitted to the hospital anyway. I mean it is pretty cold out, so you can’t really blame her for hanging round in what must be this very comfortable and warm womb, but that doesn’t make it any easier for those of us outside waiting impatiently with our nails bitten down to the quick (the quick? why?). I’ve tried talking to her, remonstrating with her, cajoling her, being stern with her, but nothing works. She’s already testing the limits of my paternal authority despite not even being born yet. Kids, eh.

Posted in paula | Leave a Comment »

Monitor Blizzard

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 December, 2005

There’s an insane snowstorm going on outside right at this moment (and it seemingly came from nowehere – 30 minutes ago there were blue skies). If Erika goes into labour in the next few hours we’re screwed.

Later addition in keeping with the title: It’s stopped now. Only lasted about an hour in the end. All we need now is for the roads to be cleared and we’re laughing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Monitor Blizzard

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 December, 2005

There’s an insane snowstorm going on outside right at this moment (and it seemingly came from nowehere – 30 minutes ago there were blue skies). If Erika goes into labour in the next few hours we’re screwed.

Later addition in keeping with the title: It’s stopped now. Only lasted about an hour in the end. All we need now is for the roads to be cleared and we’re laughing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Who comes at Christmas?

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 December, 2005

How is a Transylvanian Christmas? Who comes and gives out presents? What do they give? And what other features are there? These, I’m sure, are questions I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know the answers to.

Firstly, the present bearing visitor. Early last week, we were all visited by the Mikulas (Hungarian), Sfantu Nicolae (Romanian, possibly misspelled), or as English speakers will know him, St Nicholas. He comes on December 5th and leaves sweets, fruit and various goodies (finomság) in your shoes.

He is merely the first of two visitors in the month, though, as on Christmas Eve there is a second, toy dispensing visitor. This is where it gets more complicated, because the visitor varies depending on your ethnic group. For Romanians, I think, though I’m open to correction, it is Mos Craciun. This translates as something like Old Man Christmas, though that’s not a very satisfactory translation (Hungarian speakers would translate it as Karacsony Baci). I’m not quite sure how and where Mos Craciun and Sfantu Nicolae differ since in Englsh the British Father Christmas is equivalent to the American Santa Claus, and therefore these two characters are roughly the same thing. Perhaps he makes two visits with different hats.

For us, the visitor wil be the Angyal (angel). The angel shows up on Christmas Eve at a time when the children have been removed from the house (I suspect that in the late afternoon/early evening of that day you see a lot of grandparents walking their grandchildren around while the angel comes), and not only leaves presents but also put up the tree, and decorates it (I think Mos Craciun does this for Romanians too). As you can see it’s quite a demanding life being the angel. None of this popping down the chimney, dropping a bunch of presents, and then drinking a glass of whisky and eating a mince pie. (Did you know by the way that Father Christmas in the UK gets whisky, while his American counterpart gets milk? It’s prohibition gone mad). But there is a variation (we think). Erika thinks that in Hungary (and in Hungarian families in parts of Transylvania close to the Hungarian border) it’s not the angel that comes but Jesus himself (in baby form, rather than 33 year old hippy form). One wonders whether all sects of Christianity would be happy with the thought that Jesus comes to Hungary once a year and hands out toy soldiers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Barbies and so on.

After the children have come home to find that their house has been miraculously decorated in their absence, the presents are opened, and then everyone sits down to the big family dinner. I’m almost certain that stuffed cabbage is involved. It usually is. Subsequently, those who are interested in doing so go to midnight mass. On the 25th, there is no special event, but people go round and visit each other.

In our household this year, we have no idea what will happen. Unless the baby comes in the next two days, it is almost certain that Erika will be spending Christmas in the maternity ward, and it will be just me and Bogi here to celebrate the big day. I will have to hire someone to take her out for a while so the angel can come round and put up the tree (which is currently sitting on our balcony). We have some presents to open, and I’m not sure what we’ll eat, but possibly it will involve large amounts of chocolate.

Posted in hungary, romania | 1 Comment »

Who comes at Christmas?

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 December, 2005

How is a Transylvanian Christmas? Who comes and gives out presents? What do they give? And what other features are there? These, I’m sure, are questions I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know the answers to.

Firstly, the present bearing visitor. Early last week, we were all visited by the Mikulas (Hungarian), Sfantu Nicolae (Romanian, possibly misspelled), or as English speakers will know him, St Nicholas. He comes on December 5th and leaves sweets, fruit and various goodies (finomság) in your shoes.

He is merely the first of two visitors in the month, though, as on Christmas Eve there is a second, toy dispensing visitor. This is where it gets more complicated, because the visitor varies depending on your ethnic group. For Romanians, I think, though I’m open to correction, it is Mos Craciun. This translates as something like Old Man Christmas, though that’s not a very satisfactory translation (Hungarian speakers would translate it as Karacsony Baci). I’m not quite sure how and where Mos Craciun and Sfantu Nicolae differ since in Englsh the British Father Christmas is equivalent to the American Santa Claus, and therefore these two characters are roughly the same thing. Perhaps he makes two visits with different hats.

For us, the visitor wil be the Angyal (angel). The angel shows up on Christmas Eve at a time when the children have been removed from the house (I suspect that in the late afternoon/early evening of that day you see a lot of grandparents walking their grandchildren around while the angel comes), and not only leaves presents but also put up the tree, and decorates it (I think Mos Craciun does this for Romanians too). As you can see it’s quite a demanding life being the angel. None of this popping down the chimney, dropping a bunch of presents, and then drinking a glass of whisky and eating a mince pie. (Did you know by the way that Father Christmas in the UK gets whisky, while his American counterpart gets milk? It’s prohibition gone mad). But there is a variation (we think). Erika thinks that in Hungary (and in Hungarian families in parts of Transylvania close to the Hungarian border) it’s not the angel that comes but Jesus himself (in baby form, rather than 33 year old hippy form). One wonders whether all sects of Christianity would be happy with the thought that Jesus comes to Hungary once a year and hands out toy soldiers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Barbies and so on.

After the children have come home to find that their house has been miraculously decorated in their absence, the presents are opened, and then everyone sits down to the big family dinner. I’m almost certain that stuffed cabbage is involved. It usually is. Subsequently, those who are interested in doing so go to midnight mass. On the 25th, there is no special event, but people go round and visit each other.

In our household this year, we have no idea what will happen. Unless the baby comes in the next two days, it is almost certain that Erika will be spending Christmas in the maternity ward, and it will be just me and Bogi here to celebrate the big day. I will have to hire someone to take her out for a while so the angel can come round and put up the tree (which is currently sitting on our balcony). We have some presents to open, and I’m not sure what we’ll eat, but possibly it will involve large amounts of chocolate.

Posted in hungary, romania | 1 Comment »