1996 has disappeared even faster than did 1995. Is it a sign of aging that the years go faster? Maybe I shouldn't admit to it!
April brought the culmination of many months of planning and organizing: the big wedding. The sewing on the dress was finished with plenty of time to spare (one week!), and even the butterflies were laid to rest before the big event (about 1 1/2 minutes). But it went off very well. The Church service was beautiful, and the reception was fun for everyone (almost - the twinkling and flashing lights apparently affect some people adversely). The memorable line: Jason's sister was heard to ask "Did you ever expect Jason to be married in a Church like this?", and the response was "What is the operative phrase in the question: Jason, married, in a Church, or like this". The worst part of weddings, we've decided, is the photographer. This pictures are more expensive, less well composed, imperfectly reproduced, and much slower in coming, than anyone would imagine. I still haven't received my final prints. The best part of weddings is the coming together of family and friends. It was really exciting to see so many out-of-towners here for the occasion.
Krisztina and Jason bought a house in Merrillville Indiana, about 45 minutes from their work. They are wonderful housekeepers. The house they bought in Indiana would have been 2-3 times more expensive in a comparable neighborhood in the Chicago area, and the commute would not have been significantly shorter. Krisztina is still working on her PhD at the University of Chicago in cell biology and molecular genetics. Jason is aquatic director for South Side YMCA working will multi-million dollar budgets, and has put the "Y" in a much better financial position than ever before. Good job!
Gyula (Jay) is no longer a teen, but not quite an adult yet: a difficult year, especially if your peers are older. Oh well, this too will pass (in April). He is still at the University of Illinois Chicago Campus, working on a biology degree with possible minor in psychology. Pharmacy has been temporarily shelved. He is still, however, working as a pharmacy technician - about two years now. He is very personable and charismatic, and deals with customers very well. After his lease on his apartment expired he moved home temporarily. He has been here for the semester, and I like it very well. He is extremely helpful around the house and with his little brother, who in this way is not an only child. Besides, he's fun.
Zsolt went through another harrowing and soul searching decision this year. He had a wonderful experience at Marmion - friends, 4.0 average, involvement -the whole works. However he was accepted to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy - the school Krisztina went to. This school is for the academically able (the top 0.5% in the state), and provides opportunities in both education and outside industrial exposure that no other school can offer. In addition, it provides a peer group on much the same level, for stimulation and cooperation. It, too, is a residential school. Unlike Marmion, it is co-ed. The decision to attend was difficult and - as any decision - laden with regrets and joys. Zsolt is doing quite well at IMSA, and is learning to make it his home. The work is intense and challenging. Time management skills are emphasized, since the demands are enormous. The amount of learning taking place, on the other hand, should compensate. Besides, he's on the swim team and he can make a name for himself as an athlete.
Tas (10) is in fifth grade. He has grown up considerably in the last year. He is very independent, can cook and take care of himself - almost to the point at which it could become easy to neglect him. Fortunately he doesn't drive yet, so he still needs a parent (or brother). He is in his fifth year on the swim-team. This entails many trips to the "Y" for practices and meets. It is worth it. The swimmers are the better students and are not hanging out on the street corners. He is incredibly competitive. If a swimmer is ahead of him and Tas notices, he will stop breathing and just swim all-out to out-touch the other swimmer. Without competition he is only average; with it he is powerful. Piano lessons, trombone, and recorder are a bit much - the practicing gets a little neglected, but his musical development progresses nonetheless. Academically, he is fine - there is always room for improvement, but he is on the right track. The most important thing he has learned is what "sells" for each of his three teachers - a skill very useful in later years.
Gyuszi (Julius) is beginning to dream of retirement. School and its demands are beginning to take toll, and he wistfully longs for freedom from all the game- playing and politicking. He has one dream coming true this year - we are buying a van-camper 4-wheel drive: a vehicle small enough to go anywhere, powerful enough to climb mountains, and fully self-contained as a living space. It is our intention to drive to Alaska in summer '97, but of course we will have to try out its paces prior to that time.
Erika (me) is hard at work on a conversion - programs which translate the data from one computer software system to another. This is a lot of fun, but is very high pressure, and takes a lot of time. Naturally, the first phase goes "live" in the middle of December - my otherwise busiest month. Christmas preparations have had to stay on a back-burner. I am actually surprised that this letter is not being written in January.
Have a happy, peaceful, and productive New Year!