Kokopelli Moose breezes through TSA

Tuesday April 25-The adventure begins at the Denver airport.
For some reason I’m TSA-Pre approved but my husband is not. The guy who checks the tickets looked bored. I asked if he was lonely but he said he was fine with not working so hard.img_0116

He asked about the significance of the Kokopelli moose pin on my cape, I responded with an  explanation of the Kokopelli story.

TSA-Pre is nice. You don’t have to take off shoes or belts. The X-ray people were fairly idle too. I looked back at their screen as my things went through the machine but couldn’t decipher anything from the images. Apparently, fortunately the X-ray folks are trained to identify things. The young man complimented me on Kokopelli moose.

Meanwhile my husband was disrobing to the extent required by the general security line. When he finally came out on the other end he called me to watch his laptop as security was going to go through his carry on case. Going through the bag with his blue nitrile gloves, the TSA guy identified the suspicious item, a shopping bag full of beautifully individually gift wrapped boxes of Colorado’s famous Enstrom’s toffee, purchased for our closest Hungarian relatives. Hubby had to unwrap every one of the packages. I really don’t want to think what they are doing with all the other gifts in our checked luggage.

Dancing with my Ancestors

Édes-Orbán Family

dancers 300 The Seven Dancing Hajdú in the town square of Hajdúbosormény, with a couple of extras.

In Eastern Hungary close to the great plains, in the town square of Hajdúbosormény, the 7 Hajdú warriors are dancing. There is one for each of the original 7 villages built on the land donated by Bocskay István in the 1600s. The dancers are rugged and fierce and carry their weapons of war. They all wear big bushy very Hungarian looking moustaches.

These are the people of my oldest named grandmother, Kerekes Katalin who was born in nearby Hajdúhadhaz.

The beautiful baroque buildings on the square contrast with the shabbier businesses and homes elsewhere in town. Around the corner, the building that houses the Hajdúsag museum is in need of a paint job. It looked so sad we were surprised that it was really open. But, we were in luck.  We had the place to ourselves and were amazed…

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Csíkkarcfalva, great-grandmother’s hometown

We visited a number of ancestor hometowns. Didn’t spend a lot of time but it was illuminating to see how different the places were than places I have lived in North America.
I really enjoyed meeting the coffee lady.

Édes-Orbán Family

There are many little Hungarian villages tucked away in the Hargita Mountains in the Székely region of Transylvania. My mother’s family is from there. Relatives still live there, including some that Mother never talked about. Perhaps she didn’t know them either. My great-grandmother Borbála Both was born in 1883 in the village of Csíkkarcfalva ( Cârța in Romanian).  A century later my parents travelled there for the first time. This summer my husband and I visited the village with my cousin and her husband as tour guides.

Church 1983 Csíkkarcfalva Church 1983For centuries the village market took place at the foot of the hill in the center of town below the fortified church.

The 15th century fortified church occupies the top of the hill in the center of town. For centuries the town market took place in the main street below.

In my parent’s photo from 1983 a soviet style flat-bed truck raises dust clouds as…

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The Crying Places


Sírhely/Gravesite/Crying Place

Sírhely  the Hungarian word for gravesite was new to me. Sír (sheer), I knew, means cry and hely (hay) is place. On a day trip from southern Hungary we visited two crying places, scenes of heartbreaking death and destruction that took place over 4 centuries apart.

Grave Posts

Grave Posts

In 1976, 450 years after the battle that destroyed the Kingdom of Hungary, the Mohács Memorial was opened. Scattered about the wide green park are 120 wooden grave poles beautifully carved in the Hungarian style depicting the horrors and sorrows of a brutal war. They are not grave markers, but reminders of the vastness of the bloody battlefield.  Still, I was careful where I walked on the lawn, respectful of the souls that died here. Continue reading

Great-grandpa’s house in Kolozsvár !

This is the address where my great-grandparents lived in Kolozsvár, Hungary when my grandpa was born. Today it is called Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


Some of the buildings on the street are run-down but this looks better and it has some nice details.

It has lace curtains in the windows and a bit of a garden in the back. I bet great-grandmother would have loved that. Continue reading

Going back to where I come from

We have been planning this trip for a couple of years. Part genealogy pilgrimage, part family vacation and the rest will be the adventure of visiting countries where we don’t know the language.overview map copy

My family descends from the Magyars as far back as anyone can tell. Having spent several months this year learning to read and write the language I will soon find out how well that translates into actual conversations with the locals.

We visited Budapest a few years back and loved it. On the same trip my entire immediate family along with spouses, children, and other relatives trekked over to Transylvania to mother’s family’s home town. We had the good fortune to meet some cousins whom we had not even heard of before. We will check in with them again.

Just need to recheck the packing list and get the bags zipped up so we are ready for the airport shuttle. Let the adventures begin!

A Skypen tudnánk beszélni

The phrase came from one of my Hungarian Facebook friends who shares my surname and may or may not be a distant relative.  ‘We can talk on Skype’

Language is a living breathing growing thing. And the internet has grown all kinds of entertaining appendages onto many a non-English language.Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

We connected on Skype. He understood lots of what I said. I understood lots of what he said. I call that a great start.

We will be guests at his house on jetlag Sunday.  Looking forward to visiting in his lovely garden.