Author: Csaba Orbán
Translation: Elizabeth Jakab
„The thousand mile trip starts with one step” Lao Tzu
The other day I met someone who noticed my „beautiful accent” and asked about my background. At the beginning of our lives here I used to resent these types of questions since I wasn’t familiar with the the customs and intentions. But by now I’m used to them and I responded smilingly that I’m from Transylvania. I’m also used to the following nonsense remarks about Dracula, but this time it was different: my acquaintance asked, with a totally serious face, that isn’t this next to Pensylvania… What could I say to this? My response was, that it depends: from the point of view of geography the two places are quite far from each other, but if we look at it from the perspective of language they are much closer, since the „sylvania” part comes from Latin and means forrest…
But let’s not be judgemental, my aquaintance is not the only one who wouldn’t achieve top scores in geography. I’ve had conversations with people who believed that Washington State is the Capital of the US, and, if not, then they are really close to each other, aren’t they…
Those who haven’t visited the State of Washington are missing out on some amazing natural beauty. For those who have the eyes to notice, our Evergreen State offers miraculous landscapes both East and West of the Cascades mountain range. On the furthest Western edge of the state the waves of Pacific Ocean wash the evergreen covered shores. Navigating from the open ocean, one passes through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, passes by small islands and arrives into the inner Sound. This is where our state’s largest city, Seattle, is located. In fact it’s not one city, but rather lots of smaller cities merged into one large metropolitan area. Heading toward East, after about one hour’sf drive, we arrive to the Cascade mouintains. Amazing peaks dot both sides of the freeway. In good weather we can observe snowy peaks like Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens – the later one a still active volcano that erupted in 1980.
Descending on the Eastern slopes of the Cascades, the view changes. Smaller peaks, then rolling hills merge into the high plateau. Soon we cross the bridge on the Columbia river, which, although it’s only the 36th largest volume river on the earth, to me it seems like the king of the rivers. This is also the body of water feeding the Grand Coulee Dam. As we head toward Moses Lake there are a lot of interesting old geological witnesses of times long past, while the modern windmills producing electricity signal that there can be heavy winds in the area. The landscape flattens out to desert, but irrigated agriculture works its magic to produce fruits and wine grapes in some areas.
This fabulous state is home to a small, but vital and energetic Hungarian community that has gathered into an Association 36 years ago. The group has always had big dreams for the future and this year a concrete step has been realized through the purchase of our own property in Cle Elum. This property still needs a lot of work, dedication and investment to become a home to the Association. But we took the first step and we’ll continue the journey to achieve our hopes and dreams. This beautiful 8 acre property located on the Eastern slope of the Cascades is the realization of the dreams of local Hungarians and our non-Hungarian friends and supporters.
We’ve already formed a committee whose goal is to guide the maintenance and development of the property and their first meeting has already happened by the time you are reading this article.
If you are interested in our work or would like to help please contact us at HAAWpresident@gmail.com