Next on my Hungary family reunion was the weekend where I was invited to Debrecen located in the east part of Hungary. I got off the train and was greeted almost immediately by family who then drove me everywhere for the rest of the weekend. Again, I felt like a King and was treated to as much great Hungarian food and drink as I wanted. I was greeted by my second cousins Csabi and Imre at the train station. Imre then showed me his office where he works as a lawyer. As he had a few things to do at work, he arranged for Csabi’s daughter Juditca to show me around downtown. It was very easy as she spoke pretty good English. Her sister Nikki was finished school and so we met up with her and continued walking around town. Later, Juditca had to go to an Italy meeting because she is doing a student exchange next year in Italy. As a result, it was Nikki and I left to tour Debrecen. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that Nikki who is eleven years old does not speak English. Luckily I’ve had experience communicating with others the past half a year that we were able to manage just fine. I bought her some ice cream, she showed me her school, we met some of her friends at the school and then one of her best friends Lille and the two of us visited a couple pet shops. It felt like I was a teacher again as we were reviewing the entire list of animals they had learned in their English as a second language class.
The next few days involved much great food from each of the three families hosting and lots to drink. I had never tried Palinka until I arrived to Hungary but now I feel like I’ve made up for not having any up until now. If you have never heard of Palinka, it is a Hungarian wine that is fermented for an extremely long time and it does not contain any additional sugars. It is anywhere from 37 to 70% alcohol. The best comparison would be our moon shine at home. The only difference is Palinka tastes pretty good. There was one night where I went out with Imre in which I had a few Palinkas before going out and several Dreher’s. It was a really fun night out meeting some locals but because I had been fed similar to a Christmas dinner every meal for about ten in a row, something in my stomach had to give…and it did the next morning!
I know several people at home are probably wondering who these relatives are that I am visiting so I will do my best to explain. You might need to draw a family tree to help because that’s exactly what Csabi and I did one night. (If you’re not a Lendvay, you have permission to skip the next part). Here we go:
My great grandpa is Steve Lendvay. He was born on May 24, 1871. He married Theresa Adrien. They had nine children; Frank, Irene, Aronka, Theresa, Julie, Steve, Mary, Elizabeth and Ethel. Of those nine children, three moved to Canada and they were Frank, Aronka and Steve.
My grandpa is Frank Lendvay. He is the oldest of Steve’s children. He was born on January 26, 1899 in Baracs, Hungary. He moved to Canada in 1925. He married my grandma Rose Bulyaki in 1928. Frank and Rose had 8 children; Steve, Theresa, Frank, Irene, Rose, Elizabeth, Leslie and my father Joseph James (Jim).
Now here’s who I have visited so far and how they fit into the equation:
In Budapest, I have been staying at Gabi and Laci’s house. I need to clarify that Gabi and Laci are NOT married. They are brother and sister, they just live in the same house. They live on separate floors with their respective families. Gabi and Laci’s father was Lajos and more importantly their grandmother was Irene Lendvay (who is my grandpa Frank’s sister). Irene married and therefore changed her last name to Ormai. Therefore, officially makes Laci and Gabi my second cousins.
As for my family in Debrecen, I stayed with Imre (Sr.), Imre (Jr.), and Csabi. Csabi and Imre (Jr.) are the sons of Imre( Sr.) Imre (Sr.) is the son of Ethel. This is very important as Ethel Lendvay was the sister to my gradpa Frank Lendvay. Therefore that would make Imre (Sr.) my father’s first cousin and Imre (Jr.) and Csabi my second cousins.
I hope you all followed that. What makes this even more confusing is when I start adding the rest of my family into the equation considering there is a Frank and Steve in nearly every generation of Lendvay’s throughout history. When I first discussed where I fit in to Csabi and Imre, they both told me that they had met my grandpa only a few years ago. I knew right then and there that discussions would need to be had. They were referring to my Dad’s cousin in Milton, Ontario who had visited Hungary a decade or two ago. I have a new appreciation for those trying to discover their genealogy. I could only imagine trying to do this with a family who has divorce, adoption and any other circumstances to confuse matters.
Highlights over the weekend included seeing a very famous Kalvinist church, a few universities, relaxing in a thermal bath, the famous bridge in Hortobagy (which no one seems to know why it’s famous but it is) and last but not least going to a Loki football game. Of course I’m in Europe so I’m referring to soccer. The home team won three nothing so that made the experience that much better and a great excuse to sing, “ Ole, ole, ole, ole…oraaaaaaaaaaaaay Looooooooooki!!!!” But in all reality, the greatest moments were simply just hanging out and getting the chance to meet that I not only have a family in Debrecen but an amazing family that I hope will get the chance to come visit their relatives in Canada. If Imre (Sr.), Csabi, Olga, Judit, Tommy boy, Nikolett, Imre (Jr.), Zsuzsi, Nore, Re’ke are reading this…thank you and I hope to see you soon!