A piece of Hungarian winter wonderland

It is amazing that it has been already 9 months ago when we started the renovation process of our house which also meant a learning process of patience, resilience, hope and faith. If somebody tells me at the beginning that it will take so long, that it will require me to fight with so much worry, fear and tensity, most probably we wouldn’t have jumped into it. But life is so wise, it always puts so much weight on your shoulders as you can bear. Most probably my mother didn’t anticipate that our temporary stay in her guest room will end up in a whole year living together. We are really fortunate because our life together is filled with love and peace but still it is for us a constant state of alertness and worry because we would like to avoid disturbing my mother or being a load on her (although she always tells us that we don’t disturb her and we are not a load). I would like to avoid that Beeper barks to much (she tries not to) and that she doesn’t carry her favourite bites of food on the carpet in the living room. (Because she loves doing it, my mother even gave her a little carpet that is exclusively hers)
First we brought a bookshelf from the garage where we store our stuff to the guest room. Then we emptied cupboards to stop dressing from suitcases. Later we carried up an old armchair from the cellar to be able to sit down in the room. In my mother’s home- which used to be extremely neat and organised- now you can find toys lying in different spots around the house, thanks to Beeper. A giraffe, a turkey, without legs, the legs lying in different spots, a plush cat. My mother’s kitchen is filled with my kitchen tools. For me it seems like an occupation but my mother smiles and says: “we will go through it, don’t worry”.
We have passed over different phases of renovation. There was the apathetic time of “This will never end” and “My goodness, we don’t have any roof” and “there are holes everywhere on the wall”. Then slowly the nicest part began: we celebrated our new chimney, the time when more and more holes disappeared, a new window was built in, the new roof was ready, or the stairs were built which take us to the attic. We think of everybody with love and grace who help us along the way and bring us day to day closer to the moment when we will be able to call this house again our home.
We need to fuel persistence and enthusiasm sometimes, so we decide to get away just for a couple of days, only 30 minutes drive away from the house, so we can return if needed. We go to the middle of nowhere in a forest where wrinkles can be smoothed (the ones I have, Áron doesn’t have any), where I can finally heal myself from this horrible flu-migraine combination and where we can do things we barely do: reading, talking and watching the world around us.
It starts snowing when we leave home and it doesn’t stop for two days so as a result I can live something I have been dreaming about for the last decade. Half meter snow, sparkling sunshine and infinite silence. I wade into the snow until my knees and and not caring about the cold I spend an hour just photographing and wondering about the beauty of landscape and the Hungarian grey cattles. Beeper, our dog is fighting with the elements, jumping like a little goat, so we can only see her when she jumps, otherwise only her little apricot coloured pompom tells you there is somebody beside us. We start off into a direction without any intention to get somewhere only for enjoying the walking itself. Our footsteps are the first in the virgin snow and then suddenly a snowman shows up in the middle of nowhere. winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com
I realise that I can catch the perfectness of life in moments when really nothing special happens.
There is something in the nothing, excitement of waiting in moments of seemingly boredom, and preparing for action in moments of idleness.
Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her book “Eat,pray,love” that her favourite Italian word is “attraversiamo” (which means let’s cross over) because both of its sounding and metaphorical meaning.
We gave the title “Beeper, come on, we cross over” to that photo I took of Áron and Beeper while living in Spain when they were heading the amazingly blue ocean courageously and self-consciously. I make a collage with the photo taken while wading in the snow. I think of all the challenges and tasks ahead and behind I realise, that is our motto too:
“Áron, Beeper, let’s cross over…”winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com winter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.comwinter wonderland in Hungary www.tasteofmemories.com

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer is a food photographer, chef and writer living in a small village in Northwestern Hungary. Her bilingual blog, Taste of Memories is about life in the Hungarian countryside. While she is bringing new life into the 90 year-old house and orchard of 18 fruit trees she cooks and bakes her family’s old recipes and tries to preserve traditions and old knowledge about how to live in rhythm and harmony with nature.

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