After posting the account above, it was discovered
that a malfunctioning seggfej browser in Budapest did snag
(jpg-bmp-jpg) of a boy and his drapeau. Zut alors, is my
Finally, some folks have asked for additional pictures, so here are a few snapshots of Anikó, all taken during the winter of 1999: 14K, 12K, 11K and 16K. Now get a load of Alan's hair (facial and otherwise), viewed over the course of many years: 1969-9K, 1973-12K, 1979-27K, 1991-25K and 1993-6K.
What a long, strange trip it's been. ;-)
3 September 1999: As mentioned in the book's Epilogue, Anikó and I have been anxiously awaiting our initial face-
Her writing is a bit more fluid than her spoken English, so we both noticed a great improvement in our miming skills, during those first few days. I've also learned many colorful Hungarian words, and we like to laugh at the "creative" pronunciation we both give to each other's language.
To start things off, Edd, a page buddy from the ol' NBC/
This week has featured stops at the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere, a drive-through doughnut shop in La Puente, and Simon Rodia's towers. We thoroughly enjoyed last night's performance at the Hollywood Bowl, and hope to relive the experience in a few months, by purchasing the CD recording which is scheduled for an upcoming release.
However, I've saved the best news for last: Anikó's planned two-week visit has been officially extended for several months (or more), and I'm still trying to wipe this stupid grin off my face!
14 February 2000: The approaching feast of Lupercalia will bring another exciting development, but we'll try to maintain some suspense until the end of this update...
During the past few months, "our personalities have slowly become smoothed to each other," as Anikó wrote in a Hungarian interview, and we've been working steadily to arrange our future, while taking advantage of several wonderful opportunities to play. In October, for example, a makeup-artist friend invited us to visit the set of Fox TV's now-defunct Action. Buddy Hackett turned out to be surprisingly debonair (he flirted at length with Anikó in fluent Hungarian), Illeana Douglas shared her hilarious, if somewhat foggy, memories of getting hammered in Budapest on the local apricot-
This fall was also a time for reunions, and we've found many former high school and college classmates, thanks to Planet Alumni (if your school's not already registered, you can simply add it - Anikó's alma mater in Budapest was easy to locate, as you'll see by clicking that logo graphic). The site is highly interactive: I just set up a runner's group at an old high school, and it'll be fun to track down all those long-lost teammates!
Anikó's birthday rolled around at the beginning of November, and this one turned out to be a five-day celebration, starting off with visits to the Arboretum, a Microbrewery Festival, and Santa Anita Park. The next evening, we helicoptered through L.A.'s tall buildings, and out past the Hollywood sign, to indelibly mark the actual date of her birth, but the best photos resulted from our two-night stay in San Luis Obispo, at the Apple Farm Inn:
|We went beachcombing
on Morro Bay
one afternoon, and later watched the sun sink behind their
extinct volcano, while scarfing down a batch of tasty
<= 57K [Click to enlarge.] 65K =>
The next day, we
sampled many wares in a Solvang
beer garden, partly to dull the surreal edge of looking at those
For a VERY short time in December, we helped to decorate Glendale's Rose Parade float (an uncharacteristically-
<= [Click thumbnail for 122K version.] We've continued my long tradition of semimonthly hikes on Mt. Lowe, but it's been pretty quiet up in the San Gabriels (if you don't count the rattlesnake who loudly objected when Anikó nearly stepped on him!), and I was a little puzzled that we never ran into Jeff, a mountain biker I first met on those trails a few years ago. However, he finally showed up at the end of January, eager to experiment with his wife's Christmas gift - a new digital camera. We were happy to oblige, and he was kind enough to post our photo on his site a few days later.
Now for the exciting Valentine news: SHE SAID *YES*!!! Yup, today I finally worked up enough courage to ask for Anikó's hand, up at Angeles Crest (104K). She'll make a short trip back to Budapest (showing off the ring, no doubt), and I plan to join her for a week in the spring, mainly so this prospective groom can take a ribbing from his future in-laws, for having mastered only three words in Hungarian ("burp," "fart," and "goulash," if you must know). <g> No firm date has been set for the wedding, although it will probably take place a month or so after we (121K) return to Glendale.
6 June 2000: Today is the Dalai Lama's birthday [LATER: although The Old Farmer's Almanac lists this date, it's actually in July!], and we've just added a new reason for celebration... but there'll be more on that below.
During Anikó's stay in Budapest, we designed our wedding rings via the Internet, which was a tougher project than one might suppose. I searched long and hard for Hungarian motifs, even though she kept telling me that such jewelry doesn't exist. Being the pushy American I am, this fact was completely irrelevant, of course. <g> I figured, "What the heck, if we want something that ain't on the shelves, let's make it from scratch." Right about then, we came across an interesting notation about one 15th-century monarch: "Matthias I, King of Hungary, called himself Corvinus and had coins minted which displayed a bird holding his ring. When a raven carried off the ring that Matthias had just removed from his finger, the king chased the bird down and slew him, retrieving the ring. In commemoration of this event, Matthias took the raven as a symbol for his signet." After Anikó confirmed that the design was well-known in Hungary, this ring-pilfering raven was carved into our wedding bands!
My one-week visit to Budapest in April was very satisfying, to say the least. I had hoped to impress either the adult children (24 & 25) or the parents (76 & 80), but somehow BOTH groups were charmed by my feeble attempts to use a bit of Hungarian. Even the tiny piss-filled terrier became affectionate... but then, I bought her off with the latest advances in American doggie-treat technology. <g> There were also several family sightseeing trips, which often degenerated into bouts of giggling (89K=>) and/or hiccups, so as far as I can tell, a good time was had by all.
At this point, you can probably guess what happened today: uh-huh, we got hitched (39K)! Our ceremony took place at the former Avalon home of America's preeminent writer on western lore, Zane Grey. Originally built in 1926, Grey's pueblo (117K) was designed to serve as a haven for his prolific literary efforts, and features extraordinary views of the ocean, as well as the surrounding hills of Catalina. Twenty-odd miles offshore, this island really lives up to its reputation as a romantic getaway.
24 July 2001: Happily Ever After. Who knew? I've always doubted that fairy tales could come true... and yet here we are, in the midst of one! Sure, Anikó and I have faced our share of challenges (like "La Migra," detailed below), but we've stopped sweating the small stuff. However, newly-wedded bliss might quickly seem saccharine to outsiders, so let's just say that life is good. Yeah, it sounds like a lackluster statement, but if we carried on too much about our real feelings, you'd start needing dental work. ;-)
OK, so the Immigration & Naturalization Service provided today's hurdle: my lovely feleség has a command of the English language which is improving at an incredible pace (she's completed a large chunk of her "Hungary? Let's Eat!" cookbook, to the delight of this volunteer taste-tester), but our INS officer spoke with a thick, nearly-indecipherable Chicago accent. Yikes. Plus, poor Anikó was saddled with still another unfortunate handicap - an unbelievably stupid husband. When questioned separately, he couldn't even remember that he had nibbled on Szekelykaposta for dinner last night! Sure, we laughed about it afterwards, but when a governmental agency is judging the validity of one's marriage, and wields the power to deport one's beloved across the great water, nine time zones away, one's brain can fry to a crisp in seconds.
Luckily, that elusive Green Card (which is not really green, by the way) has now been approved.
In spite of me.
24 January 2002:
The Budapest oncologists just sent my wife's father home with a large bottle of pain pills, to wait for the end. We've offered to move up our planned visit, but János is convinced he'll still be around in April.
|I'm hoping against hope that he can keep his
29 January 2002:
In Loving Memory: János Bartos (9 August 1919 - 29 January 2002)