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Chance for an encounter with Pope Benedict XVIth

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In 2005 the 20th Catholic World Youth Festival (in German: XX. Weltjugendtag) was held in Cologne, Germany (from August 16 to August 21). This was the first participation in the world youth meeting of Pope Benedict XVIth (and me). From Aug 16 to 19th 200 countries, 400,000 young people participated in the programs, schools, universities, church groups, religious organizations and representatives but during the weekend the number had trippled, in 21 of August, 1,200,000 faithful were attended to the Pope’s mass.

At the wrong place at the wrong time

Since I don’t really follow the events of church life’s, it is no wonder that the 20st Catholic World Youth Festival escaped my attention. At that time my husband worked in Munich, and we saw each other far and few between. On the 18th of August was my husband’s turn to come home, and we were ignorant enough toward the outside world so it could happen on that way that we agreed to meet in Cologne. I thought it would also be a good opportunity for a shopping spree. I like Cologne very much, we had often been there with my daughters as it is only two and a half-hours away from Brussels. In the hope of doing some shopping again my younger daughter accompanied me. After a smooth and seamless trip we arrived in Cologne at half past ten, and had easily found a parking place not far from the city. With the joy of seeing my husband soon we started walking towards the cathedral, but a short time later, we were stopped by the unusual sight of crowds and lots of policemen. When we made some inquiry we had learned that the city was considered to the 20th Catholic World Youth Summit! It is fine we thought, it definitely means a good event with fancy fair and the evening Mass, on which we can not participate, and so naively we went on and headed to the shopping street. But after a few steps we had to adapt to the surging crowd. The whole maze reminded us as if we were in a rock concert, young people were hoping mad and singing, the only difference was the audience: priests, monks and nuns in their uniforms from different denominations. I think because they had already been excited enough of the thought that they would meet the Pope personally. Later walking in the street became more and more difficult and finally we found ourselves among some Brazilian chatolics. It also meant that we had been trapped because there was no way out. We couldn’t go neither forward nor backward. What a bad luck I thought and I started to worry how could we manage to meet my husband at the subway station at 12 o’clock?

My daughter suggested: “Mom we need to get out of here somehow, otherwise we would avoid to meet father” – And then something happened a woman who was standing next to us turned into green and silently fainted. My teenage girl who had participated in some pop, rock concerts had already experienced similar situations so she acted routinely and shouted lustily in German: “Somebody help! There is a woman on the pavement”. Instead of God, a policeman showed up, and we were released behind on the heels of paramedics they cleared the way immediately. Meanwhile the victim was exported on a stretcher in the ambulance care we could also escape from the crowd.

So where to go now? We asked each others helplessly, after we recovered from the not nice experience. – “Look for a safe place and wait there for father, proposed my daughter. It was a wise advice, and we acted according to that. Meanwhile we were waiting for him we killed the time studying the nuns, monks, and their loose behaviors. We saw Spanish nuns, who were clinging to a rope in the fear of not losing each other. Then Italian nuns, who were jumping up and down rhythmically with excitement, in the hope of that soon the Pope will deploy front of them. Later we were crashed into a Hawaiian priest’s chest, a 38-40 year old man, who seemed to be in complet despair, as it turned out later he was swept away from his flock. He came from Waikiki and did not know what to do. I reassured him that Cologne is not a big city to not find his fellows. From then on, he persisted in our side.

Meanwhile my husband was still trapped in the airport. He let us know by SMS that he had already arrived a half an hour ago, but stuck in the airport which would be closed until of the pope’s leaving it and not a soul was allowed to go in or out until he resides there.

At 12.25 a great roar shook the square of the cathedral. We immediately knew that only the appearence of the pope can provoke such an ardour. A few minutes later came another message (not from the pope, but from my husband), that finally the exits had been opened and we did not believe that, but in about 5 minutes later we had found each other. We wanted to rush to the car, but the police formed a cordon and did not allow anyone to change its place until the pope walked around the square in his bulletproof capsule (the pope mobil). The mass hysteria outbroke, a few nuns wept, Negro groups sang gospel “I will follow him wherever He may go” … and then suddenly there was a great silence because the pope’s mobil appeared in the curves. Yes, it was him, Papa Razzi as he was called jokingly by the German press. Meanwhile the pope approached us very slowly I recalled the memory of my religious grandparents, my grandmother, who always dreamed of that one day she could pilgrimage to Rome in order to see the Pope but instead she got a rosary from us from Rome. Then the distance between us and the pope became less and less. Only 200 meters left then 100, then the holy man stood before us in life-sized and we could look through his capsule. His hair was as white as snow, his ivory white festive dress matched to it and a giant gold cross was hanging around his neck. He looked astonishing. And the air around him flowed endless peace and harmony, joy, spiritual peace and contentment. And then miracle happened, he glanced at us with a kind, loving smile, raised his hand and blessed us! After 10 minutes we were released by the police and could reach our car.

In one thing I am certain,  this year I’m not going to meet anyone in Madrid, specially not in the mids of August !

Some datas

History of the World Youth Day dates back to 1986. At the initiative of Pope John Paul the II was the first meeting in Rome. Since then, every three years two meetings will be held. In Cologne in 2005, 1.200 000 young people attended the closing Mass and 7,000 journalists. It was also known that as Joseph Alois Ratzinger now Pope Benedict’s XVI was his first public appearance in the Catholic world. In 2008, the meeting was in Toronto this year will be held in Madrid.

The Pope’s 2005 apostolic journey in Germany

In January of 2005 Pope John Paul II died, in April  the new pope was inaugurated, the German-born Ratzinger, chose the name Benedict XVI th (this name was chosen because St. Benedict was Europe’s patron saint. Another argument is that  he wants to continue Pope Benedict XV’s footsteps in his peace project. Benedict XVI th is the eight German pope in history. The last German pope was pope Adrian VI nearly 500 years ago.

Dying for the era of Diana

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To the memory of Lady Diana Spencer who would be 50 on 1st of July

The obsession with celebrity that led to her death also defined the era she lived in

SHE DIED FOR A BLURRY PICTURE, a pointless snap from a speeding motorcycle that might have appeared on an inside spread of Hello! or Paris Match or some other glossy of no consequence.

It is unfair to the real Diana Spencer, by all accounts a nice person who used her fame well, that her death so symbolizes the emptiness of celebrity worship, the false faith of the end of the 20th century. Dodging tabloid photographers, she was doing her bit not just to preserve some privacy but to hold back forces that she helped unleash-forces of media intrusion that will now be subjected to an unprecedented backlash. In a twisted way, she died in the line of duty, not to country but to the age she came to represent. Historians are likely to judge that Diana’s reign she did owed its brilliance to the tranquility of the times. With no global wars or cataclysm no Hitler or Churchill to dominate the public realm, we could turn our full attention to diversion of gossip and fantasy. We now routinely view image and spectacle as large with meaning with old-fashioned substance suddenly the boring trifle. The irony is that with the end of her short life. Di may well achieve a political goal more substantial than of all but a few politicians. The shock of her death is being likened to the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Clearly the analogy seems overdrawn their forever young influences on popular culture notwithstanding. Diana wasn’t president and her death leaves no creative vacuum like that on Elvis Presley or John Lennon. But just as Kennedy memorial was the civil rights act Diana s could be ratification of a treaty banning land mines, not just in Britain but in the USA where skeptical senators may now have to contend with a new public groundswell. This could yet yield for her reputation as a first-rank humanitarian as well as immortal icon of style. If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, Lady Di launched at least a thousand of covers, and hundreds of millions of newspaper and magazine sales. In the 16 years since her marriage she became not only the most famous woman in the world but the only personality who consistently sold big in the global marketplace. While paparazzis are not a new phenomenon Di as prey took the game to a new level. Instead of 3 or 4 photographers trailing a celebrity it could in her case be 30 or 40, each hoping for that six-figure shot. This created a strange and perhaps emblematic protocol of coverage: the president of France can stroll down the Champs-Elysées undisturbed: a divorced ex-royal couldn’t leave a restaurant without a high speed chase. Di came to understand that the tabloids were simultaneously the bane of her existence and the source of her strength. In the recent years she not only developed working relationships with tabloid editors but learned to exploit publicity for her cause, be it skewering Charles or raising money for charity. One reason for her popularity was that the public essentially shared her spurgle-and purgle attitude toward celebrity news. Readers buy it and bemoan it without fully confronting the contradictions. They want to inspect the clay feet of their heros-then cry for the head of the sculptor. Will this global hypocrisy market still work as it always has? In the short run, only a foolish publication would pay for gory pictures of the accident. To do so would risk a boycott. The more difficult question is whether Diana s death might change the tabloid culture permanently. In recent years with global news proliferating photographers have gone from being a minor annoyance that came with the territory of fame to being a major source of anxiety for public figures. As their private loathing of the press boils over publicly, it will likely find a ready audience among millions already fed up with the news media-any new medium. The distinction between tabloids and so-called respectable news org will be difficult to uphold in the recriminations that lie ahead, and for good reason. If there had been no accident and the motorcycle paparazzi in the Paris tunnel had obtained a good shoot of Di and Dodi kissing, most of the world s newspapers would have checked over the price paid for first rights to the shot-then published it themselves.

Ultimately nothing much can change because media coverage is the oxygen of modern public life. Watch as celebrityhood is transmogrified into secular sainthood, courtesy of a publicity machine that will turn even its own remorse into just another story. Perhaps that’s appropriate, for it is the mighty communications culture that made Diana and shapes the world she left. The princess will never be queen, but maybe the titles don’t mean much. The England in which she lived will never be remembered as Elizabethan. It will be The Di Era.

 So sad she had to die for it.

after by J. Altar

Roman recipe dictionary

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If there is only one vegetable Rome is known for it is the carciofo- the artichoke. The classic Roman preparation, the carciofo romana. It is made from the large, globe-shaped artichokes and they are stuffed with wild mint and garlic, then braised in the owen. For the excellent Roman-Jewish version is the carciofo alla guida. That artichoke version is the best from the young artichokes that are deep-fried until become crispy and leathery brown in color.

Bucatini alla matriciana

Spaghetti with red sauce a spicy rich and complex dish that owes its flavour to an important ingredient the guanciale, the pig’s cheek. The sauce is made of crushed tomatoes and red pepper flakes. It is served over bucatini, a kind of pasta (spaghetti like) and topped with grated pecorino romano cheese.

Coda alla vaccinara (stewed oxtail with lard and celery)

Oxtail in the style of slaughter house. The sweet and sour dish is made from oxtails stewed with tomatoes and wine, seasoned with garlic, cinnamon, pancetta and myriad other flavouring. The stew is cooked for a day or even two, then finished with the sweet and sour element raisins or bittersweet chocolate. Served over polenta or pasta

Rigatoni con la pajata (macaroni with calf’s intestine)

Rigatoni con la Pajata in Italian is Rigatoni con la Pagliata, is a classic dish of the Roman Cuisine. The dish can still be found in some traditional trattorias in Rome. Pajata is the term for the intestines of an “un-weaned” calf only fed on its mother’s milk. The intestines are cleaned and skinned, but the chyme is left inside. The preparation the intestine is cut in pieces 20 – 25 cm long, which are bond together with white thread, forming rings. When cooked, the combination of heat and the enzyme rennet in the intestines coagulates the chyme and creates a sort of thick, creamy, cheese-like sauce. These rings can be served simply seasoned and grilled (pajata arrosto) or in the traditional roman dish in which pajata is stewed in a typical tomato sauce and served with Rigatoni

Trippa alla romana (tripe) dishes regarded in the past as suitable for those doing heavy manual work and which today continue to be appreciated in the numerous family-run trattorias.

This dish is made of  beef honeycomb tripe cook with extra-virgin olive oil, onion, carrots, celery,  garlic , dry white wine, and can of whole tomatoes.

preparation: Cook the tripe covered about 4 hours (tripe will have a pungent aroma while simmering).  Meanwhile steam the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in wine, adding tomatoe can with its  juice to the sauce. Finally flavour with mint and sprinkled with finely grated Pecorino Romano and additional chopped fresh mint.

Being accepted at the Five lakes region or a clinic for menthal health

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On one day my GP, who is also my best friend, confessed that she was hesitating for long time whether she had to become a psychiatrist, or a general practitioner, and finally opted for the latter. But she has never abandoned the old love of psychiatry because she works twice a week in a mental institution. That was the first time when I heard of the psychiatric clinic in Gauting.

Well, since I’m also a journalist, have been translating articles on psychological topics for years, I started to interested in the thing. I turned to my physician friend for help and she finally arranged to participate in the psychiatric institute programs in January 2009. I was ready for the challenge and after the permission of my GP my name was put on a waiting list for a vacant bed. When everything had come together I was got a phonecall that I could go there. When I arrived in Gauting it was a very cold, gloomy January morning. At the entrance door I was admitted through an electric gate, then, I just could go on accompanied by a nurse from the grade. Then the C grade doctor, a young woman, (perhaps freshly graduated), interviewed me whether I am taking a sedative, antidepressant etc, so if yes then I had to give them to the nurse, who may return only when it is necessary. I reassured her that I do not live in any drugs, and I do not have any medicine with me then I was allowed to go to my room.

The nurce introduced me a 3-beds room, what I would share with two young female patients. A 35-year-old and another one in her early twenties. Well, I’ll stay with them for three days-I thought-. First I surveyed the scene: the bed was comfortable, the room was spacious, the bathroom was clean and quite large. At the kitchen free tea, coffee, biscuits were available to the patients any time.

Then Dr KH was interested in “my pathologycal past,” so that she inquired me privatly and jotted down everything. Then she handed me a schedule, which included the so-called Ergotherapy treatment programs, such as, sports, music, ceramics, drawing, etc. At the same time I was handed a green card, which meant I was freely to leave the building whenever I want, or I could go home to sleep and I could come back, anyway, the most important thing was that I should always show my card at the main entrance. I unpacked my things, and got acquaintanced to the room mates. The 35-year-old woman looked very weak. She had suffered from insomnia already for one and a half years. She was a kind, intelligent woman, as it turned out later, married and had an 8 year-old girl. Before her problem started she had worked as a bank clerk. She had a red card, which meant that she was not allowed to leave the building just only accompanied by a greencard person, because due to her insomnia accident can happen and the institution is responsible for it.

The other girl, was admitted to the clinic at the request of her mother. She was strange and frenzy, her rages started a year ago after the death of her father. I think that in spite of the favorable external look she was in much worse state than the lady with insomnia. Her mood swings were really scarry.

After arranging my things, blood was taken (for what reason!?), then I checked the schedule and chose a program something called Chee Kong, just because it started the earliest. The C grade nurse informed me that the therapy rooms and other places are located on the ground floor. I had only few minutes to catch the gym course so I ran like a “crazy” and entered into the small room, where a middle-aged Asian woman had already begun the training. She wore a traditional pink silk dress. When I looked around I perceived that all ages were represented in the room, but what I also noticed that many of the participants were foreigners, Turks, Arabic, Asian, young and old as well. The therapy lasted for 60 minutes, consisted different patterns of movement. To be honest I did not enjoy it, firstly because I missed the music, secondly to freeze in various postures didn’t replace for a good pilate or other body styling. But perhaps I felt that way because I have been a member of a sport’s club for four years. After lunch we went for a walk with my roommate who was struggling with the sleep disturbance, and after being checked out at the entrance door we had been given the permission to leave. Susanna, that was the name of the young woman, started to talk about how her insomnia started it all:

About two years ago she and her husband took part in a trip to the Caribbean Sea, without their child so in the beginning it was like a second honeymoon. All well was and good, except for the nights, because for their bad luck the engine were placed next to their room. Well Susanna couldn’t sleep the entire maritime journey. When she returned to Munich, she was even more exhausted than before the holiday but she had not yet thought about her life that came trough. The sleepless nights and weary days and her life became more and more miserable. Morning she was captured by the anxiety, the fear of the coming evening. And so it was going like that for a couple of months and she started to develop problems in the autonomic nervous system, fast pulse, cold feet and arms, weight loss, memory loss, loss of appetite, until one day, she collapsed at her workplace. She was taken to the hospital where she had been sedated medically, later she was sent to an other insitute where doctors wanted her to give up the drugs. Since in the Gauting institute psychiatrists and psychologists are available to the patients, I asked her- „Have they already begun to implement the therapy?” She responded quietly –„Yes I get once every 2 weeks!- Holy God, I exlaimed. I think you need a therapy every day, at least until it turns out what did cause your disturbed sleep?- The poor woman just nodded, -Yes, yes, I should do something”.

The way back I was wondering what could have happened to her in the ship in the Caribbean, what trauma hit her? I am not a Dr Jung nor Freud, but I studied 2 and a half years of psychology in college and I had learned that there is an exploitation therapy, with it is possible to help people. Since Susanna was an introverted type, I could imagine that if she went through in some trauma, such as her husband cheated on her, or she was raped, or other horrors happened, instead of talking about it, she would respond to it with punishing her body and soul. But what kind of husband she has who could leave her wither away!

In the afternoon I participated in an other ergotherapy, a dance lession. The evening meal was distributed at 5 pm, and then you could follow again by your choice of programs. The TV was out of another room, but I did not enroll for watching at, so at 8 pm I entered my room. I saw Susanna lying in her bed and turning over magazines. She looked worn out. Whenever we started conversation she always returned to her sleeping disturbances.  It seemed that she was not really present in the room, only her thin body, because every thought of hers revolved around the fear of the night. Then her husband called her on the phone. After the conversation she made a sad remark that she had not seen her daughter for weeks, but finally she came into the conclusion it was a better way, because when her daughter visited her she felt estranged from her.

Around eleven o’clock the lights died out in the hallway. I tried to fall asleep, but the new impressions occupied my thought too much so finally I succeeded around one o’clock. The next day I was tired, but  Susanna woke up with a fresh face and said that after our conversation she took an upbeat mood and slept relatively well. Might I am a better therapist than those who are working here?

But the young girl, Kathrine’s rage started again, she kicked her bed, cursed her mother, and then when she started screaming, I decided to take an act. Who knows what is going on in her mind, she might attack me with a pillow and suffocate me, or stab with a knife. I hope that the doctors are aware of her condition. In order to prevent a tragedy I called the doctor who was on duty and reported what was going on. She came running, and when she saw Kathrien, sent us out of the room. What did she do with her, it remains a secret, but at the breakfast Kathrien was grinning like she won the jackpot. She was a Lisbeth Salander kind of girl, from the Millennium’s  wild, but basically not obnoxious. Perhaps at the threshold of adulthood she suffered some trauma, such as the death of her father. Or her mother brought home a new man? Who knows?

The second day passed in the same way: with gym, walking, talking to the doctor (she dealt with us individually for 10 minutes), and then she proposed to us diligently don’t forget to collect points for the activities. As if that would help resolve the emotional troubles! I was fuming. But I was glad for Susanna who had finally got an appointment for medical treatment.

In the afternoon I went for a walk again and I met a nice, middle-aged woman called Eve. She lived near the clinic, but usually slept in here because of her husband worked in India, and her adult son lived in Switzerland, so the nearly 60 year-old woman was left all alone in a large family house. The menopause hit her with a rather severe depression and for already five years she had better or worse phases. In the past she owned a decoration shop in downtown Munich, but she closed it 2 years ago and since then she found herself in a kind of vacuum. “But why don’t you join to India to your husband, I asked her?” Then you wouldn’t be so alone. -It turned out that she had already tried to live there, but her husband was working all day, (which of course is completely normal), so there she was alone as well. Her only companion was a househelp who did the shopping, but she left the country also because of the poor standard of living. I would rather suffer from the depression than live over there-she added.

The third day had sat in, the last one (I would be lying if I said that, I felt sorry). I looked for an interesting program, and I had found the music therapy. When I went downstair there was only one guy who subscribed to the program, a tall, handsome Mediterranean looking man, with oily brown skin, grayish-black hair. I was surprized by the poor attendance, because it’s well known that, how music lovers the Germans were, but this time anyone else did not seem interested in music. The teacher, Charlotte was a vivid, middle-aged woman. First we tried out African musical instruments in terms of the sound, then she handed out us a printed sheet of music, an American gospel. She made a presentation first then it was our turns.  My partner started to sing with his wonderful bass voice, I followed him with my mezzosoprano’s, and the teacher was accompanied us on the piano. Becuse of the emotions tears were coming out. When the music therapy was over, my partner approached me and curiously asked what nationality I was. When I said that I am Hungarian, he laughed loudly and continued the conversation in Hungarian. It turned out that he had lived for 30 years in Munich and was a restaurant owner, but when just several years ago was diagnosed with liver cancer, he closed his restaurant, and moved back to Hungary. In Tápiószőllő (a little village near Budapest) he bought a house, opened a small restaurant and ever since he had been living there with a German friend. But once every year he is back here for detoxification. We switched emails then I checked out from the institute and returned home.

And now I’m sitting at home front of my computer and trying to process, assemble, evaluate the experiences.

Studying at home the institute’s website I figured out that since it was founded in 1956, had gone many changings. In a nutshell: the first seat of the clinic was located in a mountain road in Gauting but in 2001 the Psychiatry Clinic center  moved to the city. The hospital building was completely renovated so it became a modern, architecturally appealing hospital, which clearly stands out from the existing standard Psychiatry.
Since 2004, the hospital has an outpatient department, which also acts as an emergency ambulance and patients can come and go 24 hours, so can work round the clock care..
Both the department heads and staff are committed to providing the patient an atmosphere of security and safety that makes it easier for them to engage with doctors and therapists. Their aim to try to reduce or even eliminate drug treatments, and just turn to them when drugs are absolutely necessary.

The Mexican great-grandchild of Béla Kun or whom I am working with

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In this spring, a new student arrived to our department. When I met the black, curly-haired, very handsome guy, alias Luis Khun, who came from Mexico, I jokingly made a remark, – accidentally aren’t you Hungarian?- for my great surprise his answer was -Yes, I am- what is more he also knew about the fact that he was a great-grandchild of a dubious man Béla Kun. Well, Béla Kun was a dubious man? –I repeated his saying because it was clear that Béla Kun had been targeted.  About the name a compulsory reading book rang a bell immediately, the book of Dezső Kosztolányi: Anna Sweet, where the writer described quite negatively the escaping of the Hungarian ex-communist leader of Béla Kun:

 “Béla Kun fled the country in an aeroplane. In the afternoon – about five o’clock – he passed the so called Russian house, then took off an Aeroplan, flew across the Danube river from the castle, and daringly turned toward Vérmező-(Bloody field it is the name of a square in Budapest where famous people were executed). The plane was conducted by the  commissar himself. It flew barely twenty meters height, so that his face had been seen. It was pale and unshaven as usual. Beneath he grinned of the citizens, with a  mischievous face, even waved mockingly goodbye for the citizens. His pockets were stuffed with the Hungarian layer cake the Gerbaud and moreover with jewelry, gems, church chalices, among other treasures those he got as a charity from barons, gracious, benevolent ladies. His arms were loaded with thick gold chain bracelets.  When he swung aloft with the Aeroplan he disappeared from the sky as he had been dropped some gold bracelet right in the middle of the Vérmező sqaure.  There was an old citizen between the Krisztina district and  in the Trinity Square, called something Patz – Patz Charles Joseph – he found. At least it was the rumour in the neighbourhood of Kristina district “

The second time when I met Luis, took place in our favorite Chinese restaurant in the outskirts of Munich, called Yuan, and as the Mexicans are very open to other nations culture, (probably that was the reason why he came with us to the Chinese restaurant), so was Luis, when he entered the restaurant he immediately pierced me and sat next to me. Word followed word and while we were waiting for the drinks, he shared some detailes of his life. I learned that he had attended the University first in Saarbrücken, and then he applied for a PHD position in our department of microbiology of the University of Munich LMU. -Mexican and Jewish bloods are running in my veins, “-continued Luis the story of his life after we finished a big bowl of  Chinese soup and ate some sushi. -My parents are divorced. I was raised by my mother. Later on I diverted the conversation to Mexico. What can I say about Mexico?- began Luis after the third main dish, -(at Yuan’s the kitchen is so good we can not stop eating after one main course) Mexico city lies in two thousand meters above the sea level, located in a valley where the air is so rare that man are choking due to the oxygen deficiency. Owing to the smog which is produced by twenty million people in Mexico city no one is able to tan. Of course, the vicinity of Popokatepetl volcano provides more smog as well.

We were already about consuming the dessert, (a lot of ice cream, fried bananas and honey) when Luis told me that he spent his childhood in a Jewish colony of Mexico city, where people lived happily together with other smaller ethnic groups. His grandfather, whom he revealed it later was related, was the cousin of Bela Kun. He lives there and runs a coffee shop.  I still had a few more questions to ask, but unfortunately we had to go back to the college, so I hailed the waiter to get the bill. The Chinese restaurant owner showed up soon, holding two small cups of plum wine, with the gift of the house. And I don’t know what happened to me, might be the Chineses put some potion into the wine but I couldn’t resist to crack a  joke about  Bela Kun, which is usually fired when we make a toast, but I asked Luis appology in advance, saying that I do not want to offend him, and I agree with that that the great-grandchildren are not responsible for the sins of the grandfathers, unless trying to excuse them, so here’s the joke: “Cheers!” I said in English, then I asked whether he knows  the respond to this by Béla Kun. Of course he did not know, “Well go into the body! – (means join to the governing body ) hahaha and Luis laughed at the punch line which was well spoken in English.

Our  third meeting was not a coincident because I did not trust to the chance, but I went ahead and invited Luis to a dinner. The party which I threw from my apartment turned out very well, because nice company energizes me very much. Around late night after midnight most of the guests had already departed, except Luis, perhaps because in Mexico they start for dinner later, or just he felt good, (I hope so), so we remained threesome, my husband, Luis and I, and of course, in the company of a nice dessert wine from Hungary, we returned to our roots again. We were just curious about the fact that how did the ancestors of Luis’s escape to Mexico. But he couldn’t track anything back at all what he had known was that his father was the offspring of Kun Bela’s ancestors.

But we started to google together and revealed the next: In the twenties, there were two large waves of emigration in 1921 and 1924, when in the United States adopted two laws on immigration, which tightened the Eastern Europeans to settle. The emigrants, who often did not have a permanent residence permit, it is related to the ethnic Hungarian migrants also, had to leave USA and  fled to Mexico, Latin America or other countries. Probably the descendants of Bela Kun immigrated at the same way to Mexico.

So, do you want to visit Hungary one day? –I asked from Luis when he was about leaving.  Certainly-answered he because on the one hand the roots!- added he with a great smile –but on the other hand my grandfather asked me to look around in Hungary well, because he would like to open a restaurant in Budapest. He thinks that the Hungarians live fantastically well!-Hm. it was already too late to analyze the economic situation of Hungary. However, based on Luis who said just a half an hour ago, it seemed to me that the Hungarians who are living in Mexico might be richer, because in Mexico most of the Hungarians are living in the middle class. But a small number of Hungarians, in Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia live within the elite, they are highly trained doctors, engineers. In Brazil, Argentina, are living in the less educated Hungarians, the peasants. They are more likely had wandered through many countries before they decided what country they could establish.

PS: I recently read on the internet that there is a Spanish-language home page for Hungarians who live in Spanish spoken countries, and there they can inquire about relatives living abroad. Everyone is able to search his or her own families.


Sea Peoples -“Are we related?”

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 A non-expert theory by István Nagy

A few years ago I visited the British Museum and I came across the name of Sea Peoples. As there were most of the tribe names similar to modern Hungarian geographical, tribe or family names I got interested. Browsing the internet, Wikipedia and reading couple of books about them I felt that most of the trials to find an origin of them weren’t kosher. However on Wiki I found under the” Sea Peoples – Invader hypothesis” the following sentences:

Invader hypothesis

The term invasion is used generally in the literature concerning the period to mean the documented attacks implying a local or unspecified origin. An origin outside the Aegean also has been proposed, as in this example by Michael Grant: “There was a gigantic series of migratory waves, extending all the way from the Danube valley to the plains of China.

Such a comprehensive movement is associated with more than one people or culture; instead, a “disturbance” happens, according to Finley:

A large-scale movement of people is indicated … the original centre of disturbance was in the Carpatho-Danubian region of Europe. … It appears … to have been … pushing in different directions at different times.”

So, I started to put things together on a comprehensive way and I ended up with the thoughts below. Instead of an introduction on the historical background I copied here the photo I took in BM on Sea Peoples description, and I refer the reader to Wikipedia – Sea Peoples.

  1. It is pretty much overlooked by many historians that Rameses III donated the title to himself “ruler of the Nine bows” after defeating the Sea Peoples. The explanation for this might be the following: it is known that, Oguz or Ogur nations divide their tribes by arrows (the word oguz comes from ok (arrow) with z as suffix). The Bulgarian Turkic word ogur developed from oguz. It is important to note that the word Onogur (the name of one of the ancestor nations of modern Hungarians) means ten tribe (ten arrows), while the tribe name Kutrigur means Nine arrows.

     2.   Modified table after David Rohl: The lords of Avaris (2007, Century) to compare the tribe names of the Sea  Peoples found in ancient descriptions to modern names and Hungarian geographical, tribe and family names

Egyptian Ancient Greek Hittite Modern Name Hungarian
Peleset Pelastoi   Philistines PalócPalástiJász
SekeleshShakalasha Sikeloi   Cilicians Sicilians Székely/Székely
Taruisha Tursenoi Taruisha   Thurzó
Shardana Sardanoi   Lydians from Sardis, Later Sardinians Sárd(i)KülsősárdBelsősárdKun,Kumán?
Weshesh, Wasesha Ashiyoi Ashuwa Asians VasVasas
Khara Karioi Karkisha Carians KerkaKerkáskápolnaKarka
Lukka Likkioi Lukka Lycians Luka(fa)
Denyen, Danuna Danaoi   Danaans DunaDinya
Tjekker Teukeroi   Teukrians Teker(es)
Ekwesh Akawasha Akhaiwoi Akhiyawa Acheans IkvaEkevas?
Dardany Dardanoi   Dardanians Dárda(i)

In Hungarian “s” is equivalent with English “sh”.

The Hungarian names listed in the table either reflect tribe names, family names or geographical names. Interestingly the geographical names are concentrated in a relatively small territory of West Hungary. These names can be derived from river names like Danube (Duna) Kerka, Ikva, Tekeres and Rába and the mountain Vas (after which the county is named). For Lukka and Shardana I found only village names like Lukafa and Külső- and Belsősárd (Outer-  and  Innersard) on the banks of river Kerka close to Lenti. The “fa” in Lukafa means tree or village an extent for many other villages of the region. The extension –as,  -es,- os at the end of noun transforms a word to adjective, like in English for instance mud and muddy (in Hungarian sár and sáros), while a “d” at the end of a noun is a locativus expressing that it is somebody’s territory.  It is also well known that nomadic nations or tribes of the steppe are also distinguished by river names, where they live. The most well known example is the Kozaks of the Don. It is tempting to speculate that Wheshes were named after the mountain Vas, the Karkisha after the river Kerka, the Ekwesh after the river Ikva, the Tjekker after the river Tekeres, the Danuna after the Duna (Danube) and the Labu (Rebu) after the river Rába (I refer the reader to the slide show inserted below).

Seapeoples map

I do not want to write too much about the Sekelesh (Székelys) as there is a pretty exhaustive chapter about them in Wikipedia. It is an anthropological/historical fact that they lived on the territory of Moson-Danube until the Hungarian king let them move to their recent location in Transylvania. Besides, there is a saga that Székely’s lived in nowadays Őrség (in close vicinity of river Kerka).

The Peleset (Philistei) are the most well known tribe of the Sea Peoples. The Hungarian equivalent of this tribe might be the Palóc. Here I cite from the book” Bridges on the Danube” by László Rásonyi to give some introduction to the origin of this name: “In the year of 1399 Pope Bonifac IV mentions “Cumani, Philistei, Tartari” and still in 1428 Michael de Katha is called as “universorum Cumanorum, Philisteorum necnon Tartarorum regalium judex” in context of tribes had moved to the Big Hungarian plain. From these texts now we are interested only in Philistei.  The name Philistei is the archaic name of nomadic tribes of alan/osset (Iranian) nations (in modern Hungarian they are called Jász). A small group of them moved together with the Cumani (Turkish type nomads) to the North part of the Hungarian plain maybe in the beginning of the 13th century.  Nowadays there is a group of people called Palóc in the vicinity of this region. The two names Palóc and Polovec should not be mixed. Polovec is the Russian name of the Cumani which comes from the Turkic name of this tribe (ku: pale, yellowish).  Interestingly another Turkic/Hungarian name for these people is “sári” (pale, yellowish) which might lead to the tribe sar(d) like nowadays Sari Uygurs “Yellow Yughurs” of Western China are distinguished from the rest of the Uygurs. There is vague information about the presence of Cumani on the Apennini peninsula in the time of Etruscans whom they helped in time of troubles. If we accept that Shar(den)s and Cumani are the names of the same nation than it is very likely that Cumani (sharden) were living on the island Sardinia. The connection between the Etruscans and Cumani can be enforced if we accept that the Etruscan city name Tarquinii equals the Turkish/Hungarian name Tárkány (meaning black smith). Other city names of the Bronze Age Mediterranean that might reflect Turkic/Ossetic inhabitants are Iassos (Jász- Philistei), Cumanea (Kuman, Sarden), Avaris (Avars). The personal name Akish (the name of the Philistine Lord of Gath) is very similar to the Hungarian name Akus (and still used nowadays as Ákos) can also be derived from Turkic Akish meaning invader. The other maybe authentic Philistine’s name is Padi. This can be compared to the Persian Padishah, Padshah, Padeshah, Badishah or Badshah (Persian پادشاه Pādeshāh) which is a superlative royal title, composed of the Persian pād “master” and the widespread shāh “king” (Wikipedia).

There are not too many words known that can be related to Sea Peoples therefore it is crucial to find meanings to them. The Sea peoples called their land troops as “teher” soldier. In Hungarian/Iranian word “teher” means load, which might indicate the logistic nature of the land troops. The world Karka is an ancient personal Hungarian name and it can be derived from Turkic language, meaning Corvus. Another explanation for Karkisha can be as follows: “They /the Hungarians/ have for their first chief the prince who comes by succession of Árpád’s family, and two others, the gylas and the karchas, who have the rank of judge; and each clan has a prince. The karchas Boultzous is the son of the karchas Kalis, and Kalis is a proper name, but karchas is a dignity, like gylas, which is superior to karchas. —Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De administrando imperio.”

Wheshesh (Vasas).  In Hungarian  ”vasas” means iron works or iron worker originating from the noun “vas” (iron). The Bible describes that the Philistines had monopoly in iron manufacturing therefore it might be an important point to notice. These people had known iron manufacturing and this might have been the secret of their military success over the Middle-East countries.

I believe it is important to mention that the Sea Peoples had a good relation to the Phoenicians. One of the outcomes of this relation might be the overtaking of the Phoenician alphabet which was adapted to their own language(s). “The Old Hungarian script (in Hungarian known as rovásírás, or székely rovásírás, székely-magyar rovás; for short also simply rovás “notch, score”) is an alphabetic writing system used by the Hungarians in the Middle -Ages. Because it is reminiscent of the runic alphabet, the Old Hungarian script has also popularly been called “Hungarian runes” or “Hungarian runic script”. The script is thought to be derived from the Old Turkic script, and probably first appeared during the 7th century. The Hungarian Runic script is not directly related to Germanic Runes: the only tie between them is that both derive from the Phoenician alphabet (if Old Turkic indeed does).  The Hungarians settled the Pannonian plain in 895. When the Kingdom of Hungary was established in AD 1000 and Christianity was adopted, the Latin alphabet was adopted and the script fell into disuse. In remote regions of Transylvania, however, the script remained in marginal use by the Székely Magyars at least into the 17th century, giving it the name “székely rovásírás”.  (

There is an old legend in Göcsej (a territory on the East bank of Kerka river) that the ancestors of the recent inhabitants were the Palóc, who inhabited the area already before the invasion of the Huns.  They greeted Attila as their relative and asked him to help them out to fight their restless neighbors. Interestingly, on the Western bank of Kerka lies Hetés, which word resembles to Hattusas the Hettita capitol. In the book “The Lords of Avaris” by David Rohl on page 406 there is a photograph on the chieftains of defeated Sea Peoples in a row: a Hettite, an Amorite, a Tjekker, a Shardana, a Sekelesh and a Teresh – supporting the connection of the Hungarian geological names and the Sea Peoples. Another photo from this book on page 448 shows a warrior among the Shardana with a clear Mongoloid face (in an unusual hat). These two observations reminds me to later large scale destruction of the” civilized world” by Attila the Hun, and Genghis khan, who were also masters of the steppe, and forced their captured enemies to fight for them (just like the “civilized world” forced the captured Barbarians) .

3. To summarize my thoughts:

  1. In this short review I tried to correlate the origin of Sea Peoples with Turkic, Ugric and Iranian tribes. I correlated the tribe names, personal names and sparse words used by the Sea Peoples to geographic names, personal names, tribe names and words of recent Hungary and Transylvania.  My linguistic and historical knowledge is limited but I think this theory makes at least as much sense (even if not more) than others.

    2.    I suggest taking into serious consideration that the Sea Peoples were a confederation of tribes living on  the  Eurasian steppe (including the Carpathian basin) like centuries later confederations ruled by Attila the Hun, or the Avar, Bulgarian, Magyar, Cuman, Mongol etc. confederations which included Turkic, Ugric, Slavic, Germanic, Iranian, etc. elements.

 Whether if they were originating from the Carpathian Basin, or they were settling there after their lost battles (or both) if at all, remains elusive.

My Roman vacation or eating and drinking in Rome

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 This year I went for a short (for 10 days) spring holiday for Rome not only for pleasure but also to discover the Roman cuisine. I am a great gourmet so that I got already excited when my airplain took to the air. This time I haven’t thought yet that my food adventure would turn to a non stop fuming. Here is the story:

I tried out four different restaurants namely:  the Da Meo Petacca (Trastevere), the Suggestium (piazza Barberini), Cul de Sac (piazza Navona) and one Argentinian-Italian one the Carlitos Gardel 

At Da Meo Petacca’s: It was Sunday afternoon around two o’ clock. We were worn out of the 5 hours non-stop walking (being a tourist is sometimes hard istn’t it?). So it was high time for recharging our batteries so we decided to take a bus and go to Trastevere. But when we had found our right bus the driver told us that there is no public transport until 3 o’clock due to the 17th Roman marathon. Seeing our great disappointment he wanted to help us-but tell me where did you want to go?-asked he.  We answered that we would want to eat somewhere. He smiled at us and gestured just jump in.-I will take you to my favourite restaurant. And he did. He took us to the Da Meo Petacca. When we arrived at the piazza De’Mercanti he opened the door, bade farewell and drove away. 

The restaurant was housed in an ancient stable in the heart of Trastevere, (the left-bank section of Rome) and  at the first sight it cut a poor figure. From outside it was everything but not invited. And the surroundings? Oh my God!  It was dirty and filthy, the plants were about perishing. But we were in the end of our sources so we took the plunge and entered. What we saw after all it was another surprise. Nice stylish interior with beautiful, reminiscent decoration. We also revealed that much later that the Da Meo Petacca was not only a restaurant, but also a night club, a carefree beer parlor or we can put in that way an old Roman rendez-vous, depending upon the mood and inclination of the visitor. (The owner Remington Olmsted, former football star of Los Angeles, dancer and student of opera, after leaving UCLA,  when he arrived in Rome, he felt like coming home. In no time he married an Italian girl, Diana, daughter of Daniele Varè, the former ambassador and author of  the book “The Laughing Diplomat” and settled down in Rome.  His Italian friends, some  Trasteverini’s docs, encouraged him to start a restaurant the Da meo patacca.  His choice of the name explains much of the flavor and spirited activity of continuing fiesta and song that floats out on the night breezes from the Piazza Mercanti. Olmsted added several troupes of troubadours in the Ol’ Italian style who sing everything from naughty Trastevere songs to the romantic melodies of Naple and from grand opera to  American songs).

 So we stayed there and had a lunch.
 About the food: our primi piatti alias de horse d’oeuvres were: My husband’s pick was the typical Italian starter the bruscetta (garlic bread with tomatoes). He got a tiny, mini slice of bread with some squashed tomato (but they had a cheek to ask 3 euros for it) and I went for the pinzimonio (olive oil with pepper and salt in which raw vegetables are dipped). Other choises could have been the spaghetti alla carbonara, the stracciatella (broth with egg semolina and parmezan cheese) the Pasta e broccoli con cotiche (pasta with broccoli and the pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) while Italians account dishes with spaghetti as a starter.

The second course: I ordered a Fetuccini pasta with porcini mushroom and my husband chose the famous Saltimbocca ( rolled veal and ham cooked with sage) they also had baccala fritto (fried fillets of cod) but we didn’t feel like eating fish while we eat enough at home. 

The first surprise was when my husband got his dish, a piece of meat and nothing else. He was not aware of the fact that side dishes in Roman meaning are never mere accompanying main dishes but ones in their own right so he got only bread and one slice of courgette. About the porcini: I should have known that March is not the best time eating porcini while the fresh ones are not yet available in the markets. Maybe that was the reason why my porcini was far away from the enjoyable one. They were soaked in water before cooking so that they tasted slimy. They were not bad but not good as well. For both of us the dessert -Tiramisu- was the most delicious dish but the portions were quite small for 5 euros. Good for our lines!


Mardi gras

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mardi gras

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras

Hungarian scone “pogacsa” recipe

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Hungarian scone “pogácsa” recipe

The pogácsa is a type of savory scone-patty in Hungarian cuisine. The Hungarian word derives ultimately from the Latin panis focacius, i.e. bread (panis) baked on the hearth or fireplace (focus), via the Italian  focaccia and, more directly, south Slavic languages (Serbo-Croatian pogača). The word, and to a greater or lesser degree the food itself, is related as well to the Turkish poğaça, the Greek μπουγάτσα, and the French fougasse. Pogácsa is also a typical product of other cuisines in the Pannonian Basin. It is known by similar names by the people of these regions like the Austrian German pogatschen, borrowed from the Hungarian.

Pogácsa, in Hungary are made from either short dough or yeast dough. As with scones and biscuits, eggs and butter are common ingredients, as is milk, cream or sour cream. Many traditional versions exist, with size, shape–the most common is round– typically 3 to 10 cm in diameter- and flavor variations in each region/city of Hungary. A dozen different ingredients can be found either in the dough, sprinkled on top before baking, or both: medium-firm fresh cheeses, aged dry hard cheese(s), pork crackling, cabbage, black pepper, hot or sweet paprika, garlic, red onion, caraway seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or poppy seeds. They are traditionally eaten as a snack or with soup specially the bigger ones, with a stew such as goulash or bean soup.

The imagery of a young boy or young man off to see the world with fresh “pogácsa baked on cinder” in his knapsack is a common scene in many Hungarian fables and folk stories.

The recipe:

Ingredients: 2 cups or 500 grams all-purpose flour, 1 pinch of sugar, 20 grams of yeast, 100 ml milk, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 8 tablespoons or 300 grams butter, 1/2 cup or 200 ml cream, 2 large eggs, 200 grams cheese such as Emmentaler, Maasdam


  1. Add yeast into the lukewarm milk. Don’t forget to add 1 teaspoon of sugar! Wait until yeast is raised.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, raised yeast-milk, baking soda and salt. Add butter or margarine into flour mixture, and using clean hands, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal (mixture should resemble coarse meal).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk cream and egg until smooth. Add egg and cream into flour, and mix until dough holds together.
  4. Grate cheese and add to dough.
  5. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together).
  6. Cover and let it grow for about 2 hours. Then roll the dough with a rolling pin.
  7. the dough
  8. Preheat oven to 400 F or 220 degrees. Form dough into round balls with the pastry cutter.
  9. Place scones on a lightly buttered and floured surface or nonstick cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper). Make a crosshatch design by pressing the back of fork tines on top of each scone. Scones should be spaced about 1-inch apart. Smear scones with egg white or oil.
  10. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes, or until scones are pale golden. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
  11. The pogacsa is ready

Carnival feast

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Carnival, the  exciting time of the year is coming in two weeks!

Preface: The official beginning of Germany’s carnival season, the so called “Fifth Season” is on November 11th, at 11:11 a.m. The “Council of Eleven” comes together throughout Germany to plan the events for the upcoming carnival festivities. The official hats of the councils’ members this year is the Colorful fool’s caps with little bells. The real deal though won’t happen until March 7-9, 2011; in this year Germany’s costume balls and street parades take place between March 7-9, 2011, so mark your calendars and start planning!

Almost every German city celebrates carnival and organizes a street parade in its city center, but the best and most traditional carnival festivities take place in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Münster, Baden-Würtemberg, Aachen, and Mainz.

The celebrations kick off with “Women’s Carnival” on Thursday before Ash Wednesday. So ladies, this is your day: You can kiss any man you like after cutting off his tie.

The next highlight is Rose Monday: Marching bands, dancers, and floats parade down the streets, throwing confetti, sweets, and toys. The elaborate floats often show caricatured figures mocking politicians and other personalities. Thousands of dressed-up Germans are flocking the streets every year to watch this spectacle.

On Shrove Tuesday, costume balls are held all over Germany, while the quiet Ash Wednesday marks the end of the frenzied fun.

Carnival can not be celebrated without eating donuts (Krapfen in German). The name Krapfen comes from eaten on “schmaltzy Saturday” as “Schmoizana Samsda”, and arose from the custom of that day a large supply of fat noodles and donuts to bake, which had to reach up to Shrove Tuesday – following the motto: “It is funny the Fasenacht if the mother Kücheln bacht, but if they do not bacht, I whistle on the Fasenacht.

 So you do not desire to “Fasenacht” passes, we have to put together some recipes for the schmaltzy temptation.