Monday, September 18, 2017

Dreams, cool weather and reality --- all together?

Dreams, cool weather and reality…do or can they all go together?  In my world they do…and they all met head on this past month and week! 

Each person has dreams…and one of my dreams that I really thought was probably not going to happen very soon was to go to Israel.  I have a Hungarian friend that absolutely loves Israel.  He works in a kibbutz there usually each summer and he is crazy about the place.  I enjoy listening to his passion for the country and the people of the country…it’s good.  So when my sister and her husband said they were meeting their son (my nephew David) in Israel and asked if I would like to join them; I couldn’t believe it!  Not sure how it all worked out but I found my self on a plane to TelAviv last Thursday and returning on Sunday.  Dreams come true!  We saw many amazing sites; walking tour of the Old City, hiked Masada (where King Herod built a palace and the path up was no easy feat by the way…took me way longer than most but thank God I made it up and back), saw Ein Gedi Reserve (where David hid from Saul), floated in the Dead Sea (elevation -430 meters or -1410 feet, lowest place on earth), stood on the Mount of Olives and walked the road Jesus rode the donkey on Palm Sunday down to the Garden of Gethsemane, touched the Western Wall and other humbling experiences.  Life is good…and this past week once again affirmed that God is waaaay betterJ.
So where does cool weather come in? Budapest has it – and it is wonderful!  The plane yesterday landed in windy conditions after a big thunderstorm the night before…I was doing my happy dance getting off the plane!  I could breathe, walk without sweating and didn’t even wear my visor!  As opposed to Israel…seriously folks – that was HOT.  Judean desert at 5:30 in the morning (when we arrived to the base of Masada) it was 90 degrees, by 10:30 (when we arrived to the Dead Sea) it was 104.  Can you say drink gallons of water?  So I appreciate the cool weather in BudapestJ
And what about reality?  Welllllll….this is always a fun one and I’m still processing some of it but it hit me hard in Israel.  See…I was expecting to fall in love with Israel.  It was the homeland of Jesus…all the scripture verses would come to life for me and I would fall in love – right?  I’ve gone to several countries and generally I do fall in love…I love traveling and seeing the beauty and cultures – all so great.  Ummmm; not exactly this time around.  The city of Jerusalem is beautiful – it is law to build all the buildings out of the white stone that is called ‘Jerusalem stone’ and quarried in the area.  But the area is hot, dry, arid, a few plants and trees and even some flowers around but very desolate in my mind.  So it is not beautiful to me…and I didn’t fall in love.  And that reality hit me hard while I was hiking, swimming, seeing sites and talking about my trip with others.  Those Israelites that wandered in the desert for 40 years and whined and complained to Moses and God?...I’m thinking that would be me!  That is the harsh reality I came home with – I love Jesus but I don’t love his homeland!  So I’m thankful that His grace is available and that allows me to re-confirm that life is good and God is waay better (but not His earthly homeland). 

So dreams do and are coming true, cool weather is awesome and reality is just that – sometimes it’s rough and tough but sometimes easy peasyJ.  Thanks for reading…have a great month!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Aloha, Serbia and landlords

Aloha!  We had English Camp earlier this month and the theme was Hawaii – it was incredible!  The ‘older’ Hungarian kids did A LOT of the work and the organizer who I work with has a million ideasJ!  It was fun – we had Hawaii Five-O mysteries performed each day, a big board game that took us from island to island each day, uklele and hula lessons and Friday night was our luau!  Yes, yes there was a lot of English in there too – even some Hawaiian pidgin that was really fun.  Lots of group time, people sharing their lives and hearts, game time – you name it, it was simply incredible (to be repetitive).

Then there was the trip to Serbia that was great too because a team of people are there and we made a lot of contacts and are getting to know how we can fill some gaps for the refugee work.  But I’ll tell you what – that was a rough week for me personally.  I am pretty sure I did nothing right – lost my phone, locked keys in the car, had personal bank issues, I don’t know what all but I came home just ready to lay in the fetal position for a while.  I did…pretty much a whole week. Except…

It was hot here in Budapest and my landlord wanted me to go shopping with her to the building supply store.  Well – look back at my last blog about the building supply store and ouch!  Do I really have to do that?!  We weren’t going for air conditioning – no, no – screens for the windows and sun blocking shades of course!  But we went – it was cultural.  First of all she drove there.  Ok – we made it, I was thankful.  We walked in and the people all knew my landlady like she was Norm on ‘Cheers’.  It was classic.  So we got more than we needed and ended up having to go back with some returns the next day (I drove)!  That is where she was key – they really should not have taken that stuff back…but they did, because she talked fast and furious.  Even she was relieved when we walked out.  Now understand – we communicate but barely.  That’s a good story in itself but people are the same worldwide.  Context is amazing – we understood each other most of the time due to the context of the situations throughout those two days.  She is a trooper and I have memories for a lifetimeJ.

Many days I feel like every day could be a blog but then I go to write and just a few snipits are transferred to paper/internet.  So be it – I have come out of the fetal position this week and through it all know that life is good, thankfully God is waaaay better and appreciate your time in reading this! 

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Foreigner in a foreign land?


You know – some days are just so perfect.  Get up – good coffee, good weather, clean clothes to put on, good meeting, quick (key word) trip to the vet, friendly post office lady helping me pay office bills, helpful custodian at school helping me find a life-size Jenga game, and last but certainly not least…. Kürtőskalács Friday!  Man I love this stuff…it is a Hungarian funnel cake and it is awesome.  Oh and it has been hot and humid and it poured down rain a bit ago so it cooled off  – yaaaaay! 
·      It is amazing – there are maybe more amazing places but it is amazing.
  • ·      Learning a new language…ever so slowly for me
  • ·      Learning new currencies…keeps the brain in the ‘math zone’
  • ·      Adjusting to a new culture—very broad term but lots of history and learning!
  • ·      Getting to drive – I just got to drive 2 hours to Vienna the other day…VIENNA!
  • ·      Not having to drive – amazing public transportation
  • ·      Food – such good Hungarian food
  • ·      Shopping and figuring out what things are and what they are used in and for
  • ·      Getting to cross borders easily! Another country in 2-3 hours?...ok!

May sound like not so much but let me tell you….it is a.maz.ing

And…likewise - I have some scars from days that don’t go so well living in HungaryJ.  For example – my day that I went to OBI (like Home Depot) to buy some new light bulbs so I took the old bulbs in old boxes – and that was a disaster.  I stopped at the customer service desk – understood them to say go and shop for the new ones and then went I got up to the checkout she wanted to scan the old ones and the new ones!  In fact she did – and then I tried to explain – all with pantomime because of language barrier and she was not happy.  I did understand some words she was saying and…well – not good.  So I paid for the new ones and in the meantime she had called somebody that spoke English – so I waited for him to arrive.  Meanwhile I think the people behind me felt bad for me….I kept apologizing to them because I was holding up the line…they were very gracious.  Maybe they weren’t too happy for the delay but gracious.  The English-speaking guy came, I said I just brought the old ones as samples and he was very jovial and I was on my way.  But guess what?  It shook me up – it made me remember that ‘ I am a foreigner in a foreign land’. 
·      It is difficult – there are more difficult places but it is difficult.
  • ·      Language – so much lost in translation (or lack thereof)
  • ·      Currency – what…20,000 Forint is HOW much? (about $72)
  • ·      Culture—very broad term – a stretch for my mind, body and soul
  • ·      Driving and all the legalities and paperwork that goes with that
  • ·      Not driving – public transportation and getting oh so lost
  • ·      Food – yikes…where is my peanut butter, graham crackers and Lucky Charms?!
  • ·      Shopping – ugh…how long will I spend in this silly store figuring things out? Cini-Minis?, keksz? – what?!
  • ·      Borders – ID and all the process and paperwork that goes with that



So I can honestly say that life is good and God is waaaay better but I wanted to share with you some of my amazing day experiences along with not so amazing.  Please know this - I enjoy the people, the work, the beauty – life in general.  Oh, and about being a ‘foreigner in a foreign land’ (Moses said this)-  This was the answer that I enjoy very much – may we all heed these words as we are all foreigners at one point or another...  “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.  The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Lev. 19:33-34.

All my best,
Carol

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