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,

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pain, youth and aging...random? Igen (yes)!

I don’t even know what or how I’m going to write as I begin typing this.  It’s just that I read through my past blogs and I miss blogging!  Truth be told, I send out a monthly update letter too; tonight I started telling stories in that and I miss that too! 

So the first topic (kinda real)….pain.  I have talked to a friend here that I’m getting to know better and she’s had a rough childhood…painful childhood.  She has a lot of healing to be going on.  I have another friend that just had back surgery – he has been in a lot of pain and after surgery had instant relief.  He has healing to be going on as well but…he’s on his way.  I have a knee that my rheumatologist tells me – ‘this one ain’t going to heaven with you Carol’.  I laugh every time he says that and reply ‘At least I’m going to heaven’!  That particular knee has been fairly painful this spring so I have some healing to be going on as well.

Second topic…youth.  I serve here in Hungary with 2 families; 1 family with 4 daughters…all high school/college age.  The other family has 2 boys…2 years and 3 months.  WOW – I relive times with my nephews and nieces with these families.  Amazing…I love them all!  I think oh how much I love the little ones and then I spend time with the teenagers and I love them even more!  It just seems like they get better as they get older – I love all the ages!  At this very moment I am sitting at a table with the high school girls painting on canvas with acrylic paints.  Correction; I’m not painting, these girls are and it is awesome.  Same family, same parents, but NOT the same!  Amazing – their paintings vary just like their actual beingsJ.  I have to give credit to God here…amazing creations!

Third topic…aging.  Yes…it is true…prayerfully it happens to all of us.  Some are taken young – which breaks my heart.  For some reason – this girl that grew up in a tiny town in Oregon but lived most of her life in California (shows the aging part) is aging a bit.  It’s crazy…there are some things that kind of stink…like the hot flashes for example.  There is one thing that comes with age…experience and again, prayerfully, wisdom with that experience.  I have a ways to go but I gotta tell you, various experiences teach like no other and I really like to be a student in this case! 

All of this to say…life is rolling, life is waaaay good and God is even waaaaay better!

That’s it….have a great month of May!

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Thank you!