Tuesday, November 26, 2013

European Observations

It is difficult to imagine that I am actually over here for a while!  I still feel like I'm on vacation - I'm sure that will change with time but I am enjoying it here for sure!  Here are some 'reminders' that I have been going over as I go about my daily life here in Europe.

1.  Signs for restrooms?....Very American - look for 'WC' or 'Toilet' here.  By the way - I knew that WC stood for water closet but always thought it was old fashioned.  Not so much - the bathroom in many houses are literally that - the toilet is in its own room or closet - generally separate from the sink, shower etc.
2.  Metric everything!  I remember starting to learn this system in school, back in the day, remind me why America never converted?  Yes...I have new bookmarks and apps on my devices so I can convert.
3.  Dollars - another app I downloaded to convert.  Euro is popular of course...but Hungary uses their own currency (Forint), Poland uses their own currency (Zloty) and I'm still struggling with it a bit.
4.  Public transportation - really is amazing over here.  Kiev was amazing with its metro system and trams/buses etc.  Budapest is a smaller city but has a good system as well.  I will see Krakow's next week - apparently they don't have a metro but trams and buses run all over the city/greater Krakow.  I will learn!
5.  Road signs and round abouts - riding around with Bob a bit and it does take some adjusting!  Driving myself is probably not on my agenda here but reading/following signs and understanding where I am is definitely on my agenda so it is a learning curve.

Thanksgiving is coming - Bob, Colleen, Josh and I are headed to Turkey to celebrate there (appropriate don't you think?).  I am looking forward to that and I must say that I have much to be thankful for - not just this time of year but always.  Some points in my life it is much more obvious to me of the things to be thankful for and this is one of those points!  The changes and decisions and 'steps of faith' that have taken place in me and all around me over the past year have been awesome.  People that have encouraged and supported me in oh so many ways have been amazing.  So THANK YOU to each one!  My heart is full with thankfulness - life is good and God is waaayyy better :).

Much love.
Carol

Friday, November 22, 2013

What a great first day!...Budapest, Hungary

I left Sacramento on 12:05 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20th (that is 3:05 a.m. on the 21st  in Budapest).  Then I arrived Budapest at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 21st....which is 4:00 a.m. on Thursday in Sacramento.  So....not bad!  I flew to LA and then from LA to Paris...where I missed my connection but was able to get on the next flight out to Budapest which worked out great.  I was on an Airbus380 from LA to Paris and they have two levels - I was on the top level!  I love airplanes and that was just amazing to be up there!  A Boeing 747 only has first class in their top level but the Airbus has all classes up there...it was great to be on the upper level:).  Easy flights...a couple movies, some sleep, some food and lots of water.  Good times.
I went to bed early - slept most of the night...I did wake up about 3:00 a.m. for about 1 1/2 hours but was able to go back to sleep.  Then we (Bob, Colleen and some friends from Kiev) went to a hot springs for several hours today.  The Turks occupied this area for a long time so they built these hot springs in beautiful buildings with inside and outside pools/saunas/steam rooms.  Ohhhhh...it was amazing!  Very relaxing - just the ticket after a long trip.    We took a tram and the metro to the hot springs so I got to see some really pretty places of Budapest....on the Danube River - beautiful architecture etc....can't wait to see it in the spring all in bloom!
Tonight was a performance of Beauty and the Beast at Josh's school (International Christian School of Budapest)...done by the Jr. High and it was quite well done!
So here I sit drinking tea and having some home made cookies...ready for another good night's sleep and hopefully I will be mostly over the jetlag.  We shall see.
Oh...I forgot - I was eating a yummy fudgesicle on the plane and my crown popped off.  I COULD NOT believe it.  The very first day I was gone...was not able to get into a dentist today so I look really scary right now....yikes!  I think superglue is in my life tomorrow - if it works, I'm good with it.
Life is good (even minus a tooth) and certainly God is better (He probably has all his teeth:)!!!.
Much love,
Carol

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cross Cultural Orientation

Good stuff!  Had great leaders, met some amazing people and feel very close to ready to be going to Poland for 6 months!  Oklahoma City was a nice place to visit...pretty flat but I think I like it...the people sure are nice.
So here I am in the OKC airport ready to fly back to Sacramento for a crazy busy 1 1/2 days and then off to start my new job/chapter/adventure!  One thing I do know after this weekend...I have a LOT to learn.  Culture, language, getting around Krakow, working and living with new people...oh I am sooo excited!  I'm sure there will be days that I will look at my pictures of friends, family, and ache for familiar surroundings etc but that is a given.  Who doesn't have a bad day now and then - right?
Life is good...God is waaayyy better.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:6 NLT)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Giving

I must say that early in my life my Grandmother (Gram) and my parents  were amazing role models to follow for giving.  These amazing people in my life gave, gave and gave some more!

My Gram invited all her grandkids when they were 8 years old to her summer cabin in the 'UP' (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) for the entire summer!  We learned to fish, row boats, shoot a BB gun, and most importantly, to me anyway, we learned to water ski!  What an amazing summer...so many memories with cousins, Aunts, Uncles and most of all my Gram.  What an awesome role model.

My parents gave when they had nothing!  We learned it was important to get creative in our giving - it doesn't have to be in cash...it can be providing wood for those that needed it for their fireplaces to keep them warm in the winter or my personal favorite (feel the sarcasm here)weeding and taking care of the church grounds each week.  Maybe its taking a plate of cookies to somebody that is lonely and staying to chat for a while.  Whatever - giving was key to our 'being' all growing up.  My parents still give so much - they would tell you that it comes back to them ten/hundred/thousand fold...and I believe them.  It is a miracle.

Anyway - I'm talking of this because giving was such a central part of my growing up and I sooooo want to be a giver as well!  In the past several weeks however; people have been giving to me and that is quite a  humbling experience.  I'm still not reeeaaaal sure how to respond to each one but oh the fullness that it brings to my heart that people support and believe what is going on in my life is a good thing!  People coming to a get together on my last day of work - what an amazing shower of giving of their time and friendship!  Thank you all!

Certainly I have asked for monetary support; and I'm thankful for those that have and are giving - to ask was humbling but the fact that people respond is probably more humbling....thank you!

So as I sit here in my parents house enjoying a cozy fire and listening to my parents talking and planning about their houseful of family at Thanksgiving and their trip to Budapest and Krakow at Christmas; I am thankful.  They gave when I was growing up and that certainly has not stopped today!  I won't be here with them to celebrate Thanksgiving but am VERY thankful for them as role models to me in giving.

Thank you to you my friends and family that read this (all the way through...pretty long for me) and are sooooo encouraging to me.  I've had a few tears in the past week as I 'leave' my life as I know it but am ready to start this new chapter soon.  Thanks to my Gram, Mom and Dad for 'giving' and setting an example for this granddaughter/daughter.  Much love to all of you.