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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Go China - No China?

I'm headed to Beijing for a little over two weeks.  Work and helping a friend out who needs to go to a conference.  We were supposed to take off at 12:30 but its now almost 2 and were still sitting on the runway.  Something tells me this is going to be one long day:) I'm trying to think happy thoughts and asking God to keep me sane - and I'm thinking of other places that I'd rather be.  Somehow I know Ill make it:). And so I'm letting everyone know that you'll be indulging in photos and descriptions of duck feet and IKEA and heatless nights for the next two weeks.  Something to look forward to!

Ah -we might be taking off:)


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Romania To Hungary - Back It Up!

I've been back for a few days now but I realized I never circled back to my 6 hour Romanian drive! It was part adventure/ part speed racer / part tour of the countryside/ part really annoying.

As mentioned, Romania doesn't have a real highway system so this was literally the road the whole way - two lanes, some fast, some slow drivers, growing through little villages.  Quite interesting.  And a mental and physical challenge with my pukey little stick shift.  Well, it wasn't a little car, but it had the energy level of a 90 year old (forgive me if you're 90:).
You'd get behind a truck or a car going super slow and you'd try to pass it - first you have to try to see around it on the two lane road that was dipping up and down and curving.  When you finally did think you saw a chance you'd put your blinker on and pull out and then TRY to speed up.  Through little choking coughs and frantic shifting and literally standing on the floor with the accelerator pedal... Maybe just maybe you'd get past the offending vehicle in enough time to miss the oncoming speeding car.  Nerve racking - but kind of speed racer exciting! :)


And then there were the random farm animals that meandered onto the roads.


And then - like the roads couldn't worst, we went from two lanes to a 5 miles detour on a one lane gravel road.  I guess technically there wasn't even a lane - it was just a random road.  No chance to pass the tanker in front of me going 5 km an hour.....


Here's another interesting little thing that I noticed.
Romania is Orthodox so all of the churches have this look to it - kind of domey and crossy.  I know I made those words up, but I think you can get the idea looking at the pictures.



And then you cross into Hungary and the churches are Catholic and have that churchy look about them.


So here's the border.  Again, because Romania is not part of the EU pact that allows open commute between borders, you go through the border patrol going in and going out.

 And if you're not from Romania, they make you pull over to this lot and they hold onto your passport and does who knows what with it while they make you wait for 15 minutes and then saunter over to give you back you passport with a heavily accented "you can go".

And then pulling out, on the other side, this is the line of trucks as they have to go in a separate lane going in than cars.  Its FOREVER!  We passed it coming in as well but it was raining and it was night so we were just trying to figure out which lanes we were actually supposed to be in for cars with non EU passports.

 And this was the best part of coming back to Hungary!  Paprika sausages! Oh my word I wish I could bring them home for all of you so - so sad!

I miss paprika sausage..... 
I miss strudel.....
I miss the Danube....
I miss Corvinus....
I miss trams....
I miss all my Hungarian friends...
Sigh



Monday, October 6, 2014

No Puylka But Great Time!

Just a quick update that Hungarian Thanksgiving is over for the year and it was GREAT!  

We actually didn't get a whole turkey this year - we got to the butcher and he said the turkey was apparently too large or something?  And unfortunately Jodi never leaves a number so he couldn't call.  So - we ended up doing hand motions for bird parts - legs and white meat parts :)  But we did get a bunch of parts and it made it quite enough to feed everyone plus more.  Just didn't get to show them a nice big bird.

Today I'm meeting up with a bunch of friends and trying to cram in last minute shopping for things I need to get for people.  And then we leave at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning - ugh... :)





Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 7 - Great Day! Final Day!


 Its the 7th and last day of classes.  I haven't even been here ALL week and my brain is fried.  But I love it!  You seriously do so many English classes that you get to the end of the day and you can't even remember how to speak English.  We had six classes today that were great!  Two of them were not great English so we really had to pull it out of them.  The others were advanced enough that conversations were pretty great.


We start with introductions, all of us tell where we're from and a little about ourselves.
We the usually move on to a game.  This year I wasn't crazy about the game, but doing the game with Brittni today made more sense because she explained it really well.  Its this game where you chose an X or a Y and then you have teams and theres scoring and all.  Long and short the game topic is supposed to be on decision making and how it takes trust and communication to make good decisions and when things done't go according as planned, you reactions are important too.  Its like a life lesson game and its a way for us to have a conversation topic - but honestly I usually just spend the time getting to know things about the students like where they're from and what they like to do in their free time.



I love that the classes are taught British English so sometimes their phrasing is different or they don't understand how we're asking something.  This is the perfect example of the impractical "English" they learn!  "All right, mate?" :)


And here was my team today - Brittni is full time with Cru from Texas (she's the one NOT in the Texas shirt), Issy is full time Cru and is FROM Budapest (she's the one IN the Texas shirt), Kelly lives in Budapest and is full time with Cru but she's from the US but has lived in Hungary for about 27 years.  She's Jodi's mom, the friend that I'm staying with.

This is decision making in action during the game - there were three group of two and at this part the whole team had to come together to make a decision about whether they were putting X or Y.

And here's a small group - we break up into these smaller groups and just do conversational English.  Vicki - the girl with the reddish hair - is a non-stop talker.  She's hilarious.  She kept on saying "I'm sorry I'm talking so much - oh - I have one more thing to tell you!"  I loved it - made me laugh....

And this was the school we were at - my first time.  Its in Budafolk which is kind of in the hills on the outskirts of the city.  Its where the Fisherman's Bastillion and Castle Hill area are.

And as we were going to the dorm event - couldn't help but laugh over some great "Hungarian Broadway" musicals going on!


Leslie and I broke off from the group and we ended up going over and checking into our apartment with our luggage.  I opted not to spend the night there tonight and just came back to Jodis as I didn't feel like going all the way back across the river even though the beds are very cozy and it would be nice to be by myself and brain-unwind.  Leslie and I plan on shopping and getting the turkey tomorrow and its more this area by Jodi so - works out better.

And then we headed over to the high school outreach - the topic tonight...
SEX.
Seriously :)  They had a panel discussion and the talk was focussed on love and relationship = happiness?  My newlywed friends Flora and Atti were not the panel and then a few other who were dating and married.  It was all in Hungarian but apparently very good - and they did present the gospel through the whole thing.  I know that the students thought it was great and had a lot of questions for a lot of individual afterwards regarding relationships - which is great, because from what I've witnessed, parents don't really talk about their teens about those sorts of things in Hungary.  Whatever they do is their decision and so they don't really get guidance - and the truth is, I can see they really want it.  And thats why its great that FEK is there - among many other reasons! :)




Brittni who was on our English team today, is super charged and she just gets all the girls up there dancing after the whole program is done and most of the group has moved into the other room for snacks.  They were all up there dancing for about 30 minutes - hilarious.  They were even doing "Achy Breaky" dancing - I haven't heard that in literally ions!





Thanks for praying for a great week - we're done with all the FEK outreach.  Just pray that the others have a great time touring Budapest and relaxing and that the final night dinner goes well with the staff.  
And pray that Leslie and I don't freak out prepping for Thanksgiving and that we actually enjoy putting things together!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 6 - In Vac - Day In Pictures

I was up before 6 today and just got back home at 10pm.  So - todays blog is basically pictures.  It was a great day connecting with students and sharing in a lot of different ways!  

A group of our English students at Vac.  Its about an hour outside of Budapest and its right on the Danube.

A few of our English classes.



A view from one of our English classrooms - the beautiful Danube...


We all liked this poster that some of the girls in one of the English classes created :)



The Hungarian flag flying outside of our great Hungarian school!  Great teachers and great students!  Very friendly and just lovely!

Our English "Team" for the day.

Went downtown Vac to meet students for pizza... just some sights...





This is the pizza place we went to - its like in a cave - pretty cool, but it did smell a bit musty and moldy...


And the back to Budapest for a free evening where I took Cory and Abby around the town - they're from Chicago too so I wanted to make sure my home town fellow BHHPers had a great time seeing the city!   We started with Parliament!

Then I had to show them the shoes on the Danube... a memorial to the Jews who were killed there during the war.

Backlit by Parliament...

And then up by the Freedom Statue - in the pouring rain - but still worth seeing it.
Thanks still for praying!
Big high school outreach tomorrow night so a lot of the students we've met during the week may show up to just see us or to attend the event.  Please pray!