The Mikulás is coming. I think he's due on Wednesday. The Mikulás, in case you're not up to date with these things, is known in English as St Nicholas, and he actually comes on St Nicholas's day (Dec 6th) rather than on Christmas Eve. Anyway, the Mikulás comes and leaves sweets and fruit in your shoes. So, you can end up eating somewhat smelly apples after his visit.
Anyway, yesterday I was watching the news and they were doing some piece about Mos Nicolae (the Romanian name for the Mikulás), and were showing people shopping in Bucharest (Romanian media never bothers to leave Bucharest unless someone gets murdered) for toys and stuff. I asked Erika whether Mos Nicolae, unlike the Mikulás, leaves toys, and she explained that no, he leaves sweets and fruit like his Hungarian equivalent, but that these days both of these Nicholases have started leaving toys, spurred on by the advertising industry and a compliant media (she didn't actually say all that, I just inferred it). Ours, however, still sticks to finomsagok (sweets) and gyümölcs (fruit). In fact he even sent an advanced party this weekend, in the shape of my father-in-law who left behind various exotic fruits previously unseen in our household - a pomegranate, a pineapple, a coconut and a mango. It was all very tropical and un-Decemberish.
(He - the Mikulás, not my father-in-law - also popped up in town to deliver a pair of victories for Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc over Steaua Bucharest in the ice hockey. I went on Saturday and saw an excellently exciting match - 3-0 up, we were pulled back to 3-3 before a last minute winner sent the rink, and the town, into paroxysms of ecstacy)
So, anyway, I have been tagged by Ada to provide a list of things that I hope that the Mikulás will bring us. Obviously the whole world peace, freedom for the Palestinians, health and happiness for everyone I know, ending of dictatorship everywhere it rears its head, stuff etc etc goes without saying, and anyway, I suspect they won't fit in my (or anyone else's) shoes. I will probably be hearing news of a very interesting job possibility on or around Dec 6th, which I hope goes my way, and that can be one thing. Aside from that, I kind of feel I have everything I want. A shortish winter maybe. I'm really a tad stumped. Seems a little bit churlish to wish for material things. So you know, health and happiness in 2007 will have to do.