August 20th

I try to start out each morning with a perfect long coffee espresso. Sometimes I add 7.5 grams of 10% cream and sometimes I add 2.5 grams of raw sugar. The star, of course, is the espresso.

In college, or after when teaching, I could pound a liter of black coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to school, especially before an early class.  And there were plenty of nights in grad school when I had to stay up late defending theory papers fueled forward only by fear and a venti latte from Starbucks.

I think that moving to Europe really brought out my love for coffee, which I think is central to many Americans. Only I didn’t know how wrong I had been drinking it for so many years.

I’ve told my parents to start practicing on cappuccinos before they come here in less than two weeks. I hope to convert them during their time abroad.

We’ve been running around so much getting ready for my parents, in addition to travelling back and forth from Budapest and Szeged for weddings, that I almost forgot that tomorrow is August 20th and a national holiday.  The day is to celebrate saintiness of King Stephen, though it actually commemorates the anniversary of the holy relic (Stephen’s mummified right forearm and hand) arriving in Budapest. I don’t think it travelled here on its own, but if it did, that would really be something to celebrate.

You can read about my August 20th experience last year here.

We probably won’t be attending any of the festivities this year, though we might watch the fireworks tomorrow night from the part of the river near to our flat.

If you are in the city I don’t even have to urge you to see the fireworks because basically all of Budapest shuts down for them. And they are really a site, so make your way to the river if you get a chance.

As for me, I’m spending the weekend getting excited for my family’s first visit to the “old country” by preparing things for the flat they are going to stay in, and of course stocking up on gin and tonic.  I’ve never been the type to wish away the summer, but this year, I’ve just been looking forward so much to their arrival that I find myself literally counting down the days. So I guess I’ll celebrate that the month is almost over and the fun is about to begin.

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