Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mom, work and Merry Christmas!

Ahhh...back in Budapest for Christmas and New Years!  My Mom and Dad did make it over here to Europe...Mom is doing well!  She had surgery on December 6th and when they checked the nodes etc...the cancer had not spread!  So that was very good news:).  She is healing well from the surgery and by the time she returns in January she will meet again with doctors and probably do round(s) of radiation.  At this point; it does not look like chemo will be needed but that is up to the doctors etc.  Thank you for your prayers and asking how she is...see the picture to the side...good times with Mom in Krakow!

Bob/Co/Michael/Mom and Dad all came up to Krakow for 2 days.  They took the train, slept and ate in my 'loft' and we had a great time.  We went to the Christmas Market in Old Town Krakow that is just absolutely beautiful.  The whole Old Town Square is awesome just in itself...and then add the decorations, all the wonderful food smells cooking (my favorite being Oscypek...fried cheese with cranberry sauce on top), the various booths selling their wares, going through the old 'clothier' hall with such good stuff being sold AND to top it off a hansome cab ride to the restaurant for dinner! Amazing...loved the 'clip clop' sound of the horses going down the streets...oh - just sensory overload that night!  We also took a tour of the city the next day with the gal I met on my first day.  It was great to see her (Joanna) and make some plans to get together again to go to a concert in an old cathedral - repeat the sensory overload!

So - besides asking about my Mom...people have asked about my job.  I absolutely love living in the lofts above the coffee shop.  It is so convenient to run downstairs to not only do some work things but to have a latte!  Anyway...work has been a bit slow for me since Poland requires anybody getting close to a kitchen or a coffee machine to pass a 'sanitary testing'.  It is not a written test so I hope I will do okay!  Its a process...you go to the sanitary office 3 days in a row to leave 'samples'.  Then they tell you to come back at a certain time to meet with a doctor.  My first day I could meet with a doctor is December 30th....I will be out of town still so I will go when I return; probably on January 6th.  In the meantime I have been getting to know the employees and I love them!  Mostly university students and they are just amazing.  So good, helpful and willing to talk English:).  Admittedly, I did a little bit of accounting work as well, along with laundry for the shop:).  On Sundays the kitchen is not officially open so I have been learning the process of clean up, making basic coffees, what counter can have what items on it (ie no dirty dishes allowed on the counters where food is cut up/made).

All in all, January will be a more normal work month I think.  I start Polish language lessons on January 9th...one month intensive classes starting at 9:30 a.m. three times a week.  I'm exxcited for that; to learn to read, pronounce etc.  It is bound to help!  The school is about a 5 minute walk from my loft which is very convenient.  Along with that I will be doing my shift work in the coffee shopp so I will learn lots there as well.  Also doing community outreach for the coffee shop - what does that look like?  Music, art, cooking, games, English, history, -  we can be creative with our special events at the shop!  We have business people in the buildings right around us as well as a University across the way so hopefully we can draw some folks in to Sweet Surrender:).

Robby arrives Christmas Eve and then our family will be complete in Budapest.  The rest of my family - my two sisters in Boise - have their families together as well.  David is home from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and Jess is back from her first semester in college....Keith and Phyllis are blessed.  Garrett  also came home from his first semester in college....Nate, Tanner and Kaylynn Marie are all on their Chrsitmas break now so Susan and Ken have a house full as well!

I trust your families are gathering at some point this Christmas season...may you enjoy your time and celebrate well!  What an amazing and blessed season - enjoy!  Life is good and I think it is appropriate to say; God is waaaayyy better:).

Sunday, December 15, 2013

ONE man....

The impact ONE person can have on other's lives has come 'alive' for me this week.  Lets just take a look at some folks relevant to my little world anyway.  Nelson Mandela, Oskar Schindler, Adolf Hitler and let me not forget; Jesus Christ.  Can anybody argue that these people have had amazing impact on others; much less our very own lives?

As I read the news and see the clips of so many people going to Africa to honor Mr. Mandela; it moves me to realize this ONE man lived 95 years and made such a huge difference.  It may have been a 'world' away for me but I do remember apartheid in the news and one of my favorite books is 'The Power of One'.  Life is real, it hurts and yet Mr. Mandela made it better for many.

I went through the Schindler Factory Museum this past Monday.  Mr. Schindler was a German spy and member of the Nazi party; generally speaking, not such a good man right?  And yet he came to Poland to work, took on a factory and earned a lot of money.  At some point; his heart was touched by the way people were treated so he used his German rank and his personal money to 'buy' people's lives.  Many people lived through that time period because of ONE man.

Adolf Hitler; yesterday (Saturday) I went with some friends to tour the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps.  I have been fascinated by Hitler since a child; reading a book (The Hiding Place) of Corrie Ten Boom and her Dutch family hiding Jewish families.  For that they were sent to prison and all but Corrie were killed.  Also doing a report on Hitler in middle school; that made me wonder how, who, when, and why? Fifteen years ago my brother and I went through Auschwitz on our own; we took much time to read, view, hurt and ponder.   It was overwhelming and humbling. Information overload going with a guide yesterday but oh so hurtful,  overwhelming and humbling again. As we saw the huge piles of  personal items that were taken from the prisoners such as combs, shoes, suitcases, glasses, prosthetics; oh my gosh the list goes on;  that hurt.  As we walked through the gas chambers and saw the ovens of the crematorium; it hurt.  We stood on the platform by the railway that millions were on and determined 'fit' or 'unfit'.  That hurt.  We must never forget what ONE man was able to do; so much hurt and harm.

And last but in no way the least; Jesus Christ.  The fact that I am experiencing all these historical people during this Christmas season...it is ironic.  This time or season of year is because of ONE man; being born to die really and yet that is not the end of the story!  He lives on and is impacting lives to this very day.  I have not been to Bethlehem where he was born or Golgotha where he was killed or even the empty grave where he laid for 3 days (yet) but I am sure that would be overwhelming and humbling as well.

I have great respect for each of these 4 men really; each one has touched my life in some way over my 49 years and specifically this past week.  But the ONE that continues to live and touch my life is Jesus and for that I am very thankful.  He is the ONE out of all I know that is worth having as an example.  I want to be more like Him!  Life is good, but God is waaaayyyy better.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sounds...

Sounds from my apartment...
1.  Work being done upstairs...starts early and ends late :).  The awesome part of this is the building used to be a flour mill so the walls are brick, the wood is old and it is all very amazing!  Going down the stairs (I live on the 3rd floor) I can see the different equipment that used to be in the mill.  Right by the main entrance there are curly chutes...like it would be curly staircases but they used to send the bags of flour down these wooden chutes...makes me want to send a bag of something down them now to see it go from top to bottom! (See picture to the side).
2.  At first I thought it was a plane (which I love) but it is the tram going over the bridge.  My building is near the Vistula River so when the tram goes over the bridge - I can hear it!  I love that.  I'm on that tram sometimes too...that would be #20 anyway:).  Takes me right into downtown and the beautiful Christmas market.
3.  Sirens...I have not gotten the pattern here.  I'm used to police sirens being one sound, ambulance/fire another sound etc.  I don't think it is that way here; but I enjoy the 'European' sound that goes high/low/high/low....that is my favorite.  Not that I want to hear them really...makes me stop and pause/pray each time...actually you know what it makes me think of almost every time?  The scene from when Princess Diana died.  That makes me sad....I'm a huge British Royal fan.  I'm going to have to give credit to that to my very first trip overseas.  Summer between my Junior/Senior year in high school...must have been 1981....the year Prince Charles/Princess Diana were married.  Ahhhh....it was amazing:).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

From Krakow

So much!
It has been a while...Thanksgiving was awesome - on the Mediterranean!  I even was able to have some turkey...not like my Momma's but it was fairly tasty and appreciated!
Some funnies...
Well my first day in Poland, Bob and I were going to have dinner at my 'new' apartment.  So be it - and since I'm not a fantastic chef or anything I thought pasta with some sauce mixed with kielbasa would be excellent!  Throw a bit of a salad in there and viola...not bad right?  Well...we went to the store to get some items for the apartment and I picked up some pasta etc.  I forgot the pasta sauce so I went to the little store around the corner.  It's called 'Fresh Market' and it is pretty much your little convenience store; has a whole bunch of stuff in a small space but very convenient.  I found the pasta and some sauces next to it so I picked out one that looked good...not being able to read any labels.  Came home - started fixing it all and got ready to put the kielbaza in with the sauce...and there were some big old 'lumps' in the sauce!  Apparently, I had actually bought some soup with potatoes and veggies in it!  Ha:).  Just so you know - pasta with Polish soup and kielbasa is pretty tasty!  Don't take my word for it - check with Bob...he ate it and was happy too!
Actually - now that I think about it - maybe Bob wasn't real happy with the dinner - he took me out to a very cool restaurant the next night!  Ahhh well....so it goes.  Best of both worlds I guess.

My apartment is furnished and one of the furnishings is a washing machine - which is awesome right?  Yes!....so...come to find out it is a washing machine AND dryer all in the same unit.  Not a stackable or anything...you just put your clothes in and a couple hours later they are clean AND dry.  Amazing don't you think?  I don't know how that technology works but it does.
Now...having said that - again, the washer has all the instructions in Polish and the writing/options on the actual machine are all in Polish.  So...I needed to do some wash and I do beleive I washed the clothes about 3 times before the dryer part was set right so the clothes would dry as well.  What a crack up....so today I am attempting another load of washing/drying.  We shall see how this goes!  I'm praying my hot water bill will stay as low as possible but washing the same clothes 3 times before they dry may not be the most economical way to do that.

My Momma...I talked of her turkey earlier but now I must ask for prayers for her.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 days after I left the country...it looks like she will have surgery once they have the results of the MRI back (Friday or Monday) and then she and Dad are scheduled to fly to Hungary on the 16th.  The doctors say she will be able to travel etc - treatment will come after she returns.  They were having a houseful of family for Thanksgiving so that put a little different outlook on the whole deal.  My dear sister Susan went over early and 'ran the house' (as I'm sure only Sue could do) and from all reports it went very well.  I think it is awesome Mom and Dad were surrounded by kids and grandkids at such a time...!!  Mom and Dad certainly have a peace about it all so I'm trusting it will go well.  I do hope they can come over to Europe for the holidays but worried that Mom will over-do it.

Today I started getting acquainted with people in the coffee shop.  Since they have a full kitchen and serve soups, salads, etc - I have to get certified by the Polish sanitary board which will take a few more days so I am doing what I can but it's pretty limited.  I can't even make coffee yet!  Tomorrow night is a conversational English 'class' at the coffee shop hosted by YWAM so I think I'll go check that out and see what happens there.

Oh one last story --- when I went to go get my SIM card for my phone the PLAY (one of the options for cell phone service here that was recommended to me) representative did not speak English.  So I walked across to the PLUS store (another service) and the lady in there said she would come with me and help.  She knew English.  Well....that was awesome!  She had just started at PLUS but before that she was a tour guide around Krakow.  So guess what Bob and I got to do the next day?...go for a tour!  A great start to get acquainted with the city AND to connect with a Polish person from the start!  She is awesome, young, engaged to be married in May and it was great to start to get to know her.  I plan on keeping that connection for sure!  My parents will enjoy a tour like that once they are here for a couple days...you drive around in this over-sized golf cart.  It has heat and they provide cozy blankets and everything...very nice.  So....if you ever want to call me in Poland...my number is +48 739 206 964 and I can get a tour for us as well!  (dialing from a cell phone in the US...most phones - hold the 'zero' down until the + appears) or from a landline...use 011 then add the 48 739...etc etc.
Okay - this has gone on long enough...too long probably...hope you are all well and enjoying the holidays.  Such a great time of year.  Life is good...God is much, much better and I am glad to have you along for this experience of my life!
Much love,
Carol