Sunday, September 30, 2012

HELP! And Sunday Update

So - I just did the tally on my Thanksgiving dinner -- eek!

Let me start the story by saying that I sent out the invite about 2 weeks ago and I hadn't had any response except for my dear friend Hajni :)  I was starting to actually worry a little that we wouldn't have anyone except Hajni - oh, and Flora.  And then I thought, its okay, so we'll just have Jodi, Michelle, Hajni, Flora and me, no sweat, easy and laid back. 

So last year, when Jodi had ordered the turkey, I went to pick it up and it was much smaller than I thought I should have so I got a second turkey and had plenty left over.  This year, I told Jodi we might have like 14 or 15 people.  She ordered the bird a few weeks ago (in Hungary, they don't really do whole turkeys so you need to special order them) and told him like 15 people.  We're getting this low count for the dinner and I figure, I think we had ordered a bird that big last year, so we'll be ok, some leftovers, but generally ok.  Jodi and I went over to pick up the turkey on Friday and, thank goodness I had one of the guys from the team with us.  

This is a story in and of itself.  We go up to the poultry butcher counter in the market area and Jodi tells him we're here to pick up the turkey.  He goes back into the fridge and a minute later, he walks out with this turkey thats the size of a cow.  It was HUGE!  It was so huge that there was actually a gathering of Hungarians shopping in the market who started to just come around the counter to stare out or bird.  Jodi and I look at each other and at Adam and we just busted out laughing.  Then the butcher takes it out of its bag thing to show us and the head is still on!  Jodi and I give the "eek" look and she tells him that we don't usually see the head on and he says that he'll take care of it and puts it on the block and grabs his big old butcher knife, giving Jodi and I just enough time to give a little scream and cover our eyes.  Now there are even more Hungarians gathered around us and they're just laughing and laughing (it really was WITH us AND AT us! :)).  Then butcher take the big long cut off head and neck and he totally sticks it up the turkey butt.  That made us laugh even harder because I just thought of that good old phrase about having your head stuck up your... butt? :)  We finally got the bird all wrapped up and paid for and the butcher hands me the little receipt and I'll be dog gone if there's not turkey blood on it.  It was such a funny - yet sad - day for all of us - and the turkey....

Anyways.  I've been having these little attacks yesterday and today about the fact that we'll have like 5 people and this 25 lb turkey and its such a waste.  Finally this morning I just happened to have this peace that was like, ok, whatever happens its whats supposed to be and if its 5 people its what God had planned so its good.  I think part of my little attacks was the fact that I've always had like 10 or 12 girls before and it made me a little sad and feeling a little maybe like I'd "failed" in connecting with other girls.  I guess thats the biggest thing - I just love the connections I have here so when I felt like it was maybe the end, I started thinking that maybe I'm losing those connections.

I should add that I've connected with a few girls this week that I had emailed and invited and hadn't heard back from them so thats a little why I was in a funk about it.  That just doesn't usually happen.  But I do think it was something that I needed to center myself and remember that all of those relationships are God's relationships and so its not me that plants, waters and grows, but God.

I was just to the place where I was feeling good about that and about having a 25lb turkey with 5 people when all of a sudden, I started checking email and getting response after response from girls who I've worked with and met and talked to.  

As of 10 pm Sunday evening, my head count is 20! HELP!!!!!!!  I'm slightly paniced now, but I'm trying to center in this.  Now, I guess I can't ever be at peace, as I'm worried we're not going to have enough food!  No - I think I'm ok with knowing that God fed the thousands with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, I'll surely have enough with a 25lb turkey, and 3 pies! :)

I'm kind of excited about these new connections as I'm getting to start all over again with some high schoolers and first year university students.  I was involved with first year students all the way through their 5 years at the university and now they've all graduated -- now God seems to have given me another 5 years to connect with girls.  Please pray for these opportunities.  Some of the first year university students are Juli, Dora and Diana.  Two of the high school students are Noemi and Niki -- they're both "juniors" (they don't go by our grade names here but that their equivalency.  Its kind of exciting as they're all so so sweet!

Ok.  So the other answer to prayer is that Hajni and David came to church with me this morning and hung out with me pretty much all day.  We had a great time together and Hajni has asked me over for dinner on Wednesday night to their apartment.  Excited about that.  

Dinner is at 6:30 tomorrow evening and Michelle has the day off tomorrow so it will be nice to have a little company.  I'm actually ok with all the cooking and all.  Its not too intense as I finished the pies already today and have the turkey all seasoned up and in his bag :)  I'm a little exhausted now from the week so just pray that by the time 6:30 comes I'm not wiped.  I'm also happy that I'll have Americans here this year with me to get my back :)  Michelle and Jodi will both be here and that makes a difference.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quick Wednesday - Saturday....

Its been a quick, but long, but awesome week.  I must admit, we have wifi - even though we have to enter like 9 million numbers every time we get onto the wifi - every time!  However, we've had some pretty fun people in the group and I can't pass up fun so, every night, after we finish whatever outreach we're doing, I, being a sheep, follow these fun party people out on the town until like midnight and one every morning.  And then we get up the next morning and do it all again!  So - with the early mornings and the late nights, I've been a back blogger.  My apologies!

Today is Saturday, the last day of the week for us.  Today was our group tour day and so we did a tour of the Parliament (this was my second time, but just as interesting - although I learned this time that the Americans had Hungary's crown jewels until 1978..... Jodi said that when they give the American tour, like today, they tell us that America had taken Hungary's crown jewels after WWII sometime to protect them for the Hungarian people - but she said in the Hungarian tour, they tell the Hungarians the Americans stole them from Hungary..... I guess I've not researched it, but you look it up and tell me what the truth is :)!)  We also did a bus tour of the city, but the kooky part was that it was actually one of those busses that goes into the water so we also did a bus/boat tour on the Danube.  Too fun!

I'll quick sketch the week and tell you that Wednesday we had the university outreach in the evening and it went great.  Had a lot of kids show up and had a great time together as a group.  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I had the opportunity to go to the medical university to talk to the classes.  We basically just did conversation English and talked about how health care in American really works with insurance and all.  They were 90 minute classes which sounded scary but actually zoomed by.

I also did the Corvinus (business) University on Wednesday and Thursday.  We did about 4 English classes there each day and met a lot of first year students.  Thursday evening the took us to the new Arts Theatre where they do concerts and opera and all.  Its an absolutely beautiful building!

Friday I got to go to high school, the Vaci school is where I was last year and the year before for a few classes.  We just started going there and it was so cool to walk through the halls and see kids look at us and then yell out "FEK?" and when we said yes, their faces would literally light up.  Yay!  It was nice to be recognized and have the kids really get excited about us being there.  They were great to talk to in the English classes and they're always so grateful to have us.  Its just fun!

Friday evening was the high school outreach and they had a pretty good group of kids.  I actually met two girls afterwards who are coming to my Thanksgiving dinner on Monday.

Tomorrow is Sunday and Hajni and her boyfriend David are meeting me for church.  She's so excited to try Calvary and I can't wait to hang out with them.  We'll go for lunch afterwards and then they're going shopping with me for Thanksgiving dinner stuff.

Pray for Thanksgiving that I get a lot of the girls to come.  I've had a weak response, but its been a different year as a lot of my university girls are not in university anymore.  I've got some high school girls that I've connected with this year so its fun to have some new friends.  Pray that prep and the dinner and all goes well.  I transfer over to Jodi and Michelle's apartment tomorrow so I'll go over there in the morning before service.

English classes in the high school at Vac

Mark and Jayne - this is for you - your Vitamin Roll :)!

English classes at the medical university -- was it mean that they teamed up two Alisons?! :)  

Tour day - one of my most favorite areas in Budapest - St Stephens Basillica.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I misread my schedule this morning and I've found myself with a few hours of free time!  Completely unusual for a BHHP week (the free time not the misread part).

Monday was additional training in the morning and then we took off for different jobs.

This is the first year that we've gotten into the medical university.  FEK staff knew what I did and thought I was the most qualified to talk about medical stuff - wow - thats pushing it - but they put me with two other people and told me I would do a 45 minute presentation (yikes!) and then we would just do conversation for 45 minutes.  The class was in full a 90 minute class.  Turns out that we came in and the teacher just started us talking with the students and it turned out pretty well.  We just asked them questions about what they were studying and then we ended up all talking about healthcare in the EU and in the US (which, I suppose I didn't realize, but each country has their own way of doing healthcare even if they're in the EU... I thought they would pretty much have standardized things, but they haven't).

Tuesday we ended up back at the medical university, but with a different teacher.  It went well again, I think because the one woman they paired me with, we just seemed to work together really well with conversation and questions and all.  I'm supposed to go back to the med school again today, but unfortunately, my med school buddy is sick and they're trying to get some antibiotics for her (please pray for Lorraine that she feels better to finish the week - she sounds awful and is completely congested so she can't even breath).

An interesting question that was asked by the teach on Tuesday - and I find that most other countries think this of the US but I find it to be completely untrue.... Apparently, the British comedians mock American healthcare and say things like, I came to visit and I tripped and fell on the sidewalk and hit my head and they left me there bleeding because I didn't have any money....  I suppose what I've experienced with healthcare is that we don't let people lay there bleeding, there are ways to get healthcare - enough said.  But then when we talk to people they tell us how basically they have a queue for healthcare and if you need something you get in line.  The line moves up and when the "store" closes for that month then you just have to stand there and wait in line to maybe get in the next month.  I know its a touchy subject, but its interesting that they all want to talk about it and find out how things really are with us.  The students tell us that the Hungarian papers tell them things about American and the healthcare and Obama's healthcare and such and I think that a lot of what they're told is not quite true.

Okay - thats enough on that topic! :)

Now to the real stuff...

Monday evening we had a dorm outreach at Takay which is the dorm that I first met Flora and Hajni and Zsu in.  Its the old, beat up dorm thats like an hour from the Corvinus (business school) campus.  Brian, who had been here two years ago (by the way, Mark and Jayne, if you're keeping up, Brian says HI... :)) did a presentation on Transformation.  He works for JC Penney in the "fashion" department and they actually just hired Ron Johnson who is the guy who redid Target and Apple stores to the look they have now.  He's "transforming" JC Penney stores.  So business speaking, Brian talked about transforming a business and then he tied it into transforming your life and how his life was transformed through Christ.  It was a really good talk and it was probably the largest group of students there that I've ever experienced at Takay.  A few of the newer BHHPers had some good talks and will hopefully meet up again with some of the students.

Tuesday evening we were at Raday, a dorm right by Corvinus thats the nicest dorm in the whole group.  Its a really clean, updated dorm with tons of students and they actually have a large number of American students.  The other "international" students that come to Budapest for university have to find their own housing but the Americans get to stay in the dorms.  One of the American students told me that it was so weird because when they first started the semester all the other international students were coming to class every day with this big bag that all their belongings were in because they would just sleep in the streets or whatever while they were looking for a flat to live in.  At the Raday dorm for our talk (Mark, this is where you spoke) we usually don't have large numbers and the room we meet in is small but we just started accessing this dorm.  Since it was my night to talk, I was fine with not having a lot of faces there :)  Flora came to hear me and Hajni and her boyfriend David came as well - that made me feel special that they were all coming to hear me.

I spoke on "How To Use Goals to Succeed In Business" and I think it went really well.  I know this from what everyone told me as well as my audience's reaction....  I talked about having a goal, sharing a goal, making sure your goal serves others and being flexible to reach your goals.  I talked about business goals but then I talked about how we each have to have personal goals in order to succeed in our life and our business and how, just like with business, we have to act on our goals and the best goals are geared towards others - if we help others succeed, we succeed.  I talked about my goals and how my relationship with God helps me define the goal that I have for my life, to show Him through helping others know him through my life.  I actually ended with a little demonstration that I found quite fun.  I had pulled together a pack of PPEs (personal protective equipment) before I left home.  PPEs are what they wear in the sterile processing departments that I work in.  They wear PPEs to help them acheive their goal of personal and patient safety.  I then put on each piece of the PPEs and explained why we wear them.  When you finish putting on PPEs you look like some freak because you're totally covered with crazy stuff.  Eye gear, face gear, feet and hair.  I explained how working in it was not fun - it was hot and it was smelly after a while and you sweat and its hard to hear people when you talk.  I then related it to how sometimes getting to a good goal is hard work and may be uncomfortable or inconvenient, but the end result is the success of others and your own success.

It was actually a really fun presentation and I spent some time afterwards talking to some of the students there.  Some of the American students were really outgoing and friendly this year as well - the other year I was there, they weren't very involved or receptive with us but we had some great conversations this year.

Tonight is the weekly outreach they do at the Africafe.  There have been tons of students invited to a talk on Emotional Intelligence - they do this one once a year and its a great talk on how our emotions influence our actions and decision.  Laci usually shares his amazing testimony with this talk so please pray that there would be a lot of students there and that we'd just have some great talks and start some great relationships with these students.

Also - I did meet two girls yesterday in a university English class.  I've invited them to Thanksgiving on Monday so pray that they'll come.  Their names are Julianna and Dora.  Julianna has been wanting to come to Chicago and she was so excited to meet me.  Her aunt actually is living in Lake Forest so I had fun talking about how I live right by there and talking about Six Flags and such.  They're both really sweet girls.  Its kind of cool because this is the year that Hajni and Zsu have graduated and Andi has moved so I've been praying that I'd form some new relationships and I'm praying that this would be some of that answer to that prayer.  Both girls are freshmen which means I'd have 5 more years with them! :)

Thanks for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for our English class conversations and for the meeting tonight!  Its been a great week so far!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


What a great Sunday morning!  Seeing old friends, going to Calvary, hanging out at lunch with some girlfriends and then - shopping!  Ok, shopping for an airmattress, but it was shopping! :)

We went to the 10 a.m. service at Calvary.  Its always so familiar and nice feeling going back there.  Their services are in English and Hungarian.  The singing is usually Hungarian, but they but stuff in English too so you can hear all the Hungarians singing in their language and then we're singing in our language - its a cool thing to hear "Jesus Paid It All" with both languages in unison... Love it!  The Pastor is American so, even though he does speak Hungarian, since its a very international church, he preaches in English and has a translator do Hungarian.  He was preaching from II Cor. 10 today, talking about how we basically all need to be on the same page.  We can't have "followings" in our faith saying that we followed this guys preaching or that guy.  We follow Christ and there should be no division between people.  Its not who we are, but what we preach.  

Jodi, Michelle, Leslie and I then went to this cafe/restaurant for lunch.  Michelle just moved over about 3 weeks ago to start working with Campus in Hungary.  Leslie is from Michelle's old church in GA and this is her 5th year back.  She's been here most every year I've been here and I love her to death - she's so sweet but really down to earth and just fun.  As you can tell from the above - Michelle is pretty fun as well :)

Michelle and Leslie took off afterwards for Michelle to cut Leslie's hair and Jodi and I took off to find an air mattress.  I'm staying with her the week after so we wanted an extra bed.  We found the air mattress and then I looked at it and asked "how do we blow it up", Jodi translated and the woman responded that we could just have them fill it at the store.  Made me laugh -- so, we're going to buy the bed, bring it back for them to fill it and then walk back to Jodi's house about 10 blocks away..... The funny thing is - it would be totally in the norm for that to happen in Budpaest :)!  The woman also said we could blow it up - that made me laugh as well as - its a big air mattress - I mean, I have pretty good breath, but wow.... 

We have some training tonight and a dinner together.  I'm actually bailing on the dinner as one of my girls, Hajni, has been dying to see me and now that she's a working girl, she doesn't have days free.  She's coming to the hotel tonight and I brought a bunch of my expired work clothes for all my working girls to try on.  Figured I'd rather give them to some poor just starting girls!  I'm going to see if she and her boyfriend want to do church and lunch with me next week - they're just starting out together so I thought I'd introduce them to something new - pray that they'll come with me as I'd love for them to experience Calvary! :)

Just thought I'd put in a few views from my room - not grand - but its my Budapest view!  The hills of Buda!

Just downloaded this one off my phone from yesterday -- the sign outside the Amsterdam airport.  I thought it was kind of cool...

Oh, by the way - I slept like a rock last night!  From 10pm until 8 am. And I'm about to take a quick cat-nap before our training.... :)  Keep you updated with more later!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I'm Here!

I'm here!  If you're reading this, I hope you know where, but just in case you don't -- BUDAPEST!  I'm back and I'm SOSOSOSOSO happy to be back!

I left yesterday and flew through Amsterdam.  With a 5 hour layover, I decided to at least go out and enjoy the city a little.  I went down to the main circle area and ended up taking an hour canal cruise and then walked around the city and found a cafe.  I didn't find the infamous herring stands, but I did get some amazing fresh smoked salmon at lunch.  Delicious!!!!!

So the quick interesting things......  We went out into what they call the "eye" where the sea meets the fresh water of the canals.  The eye is the busiest port area in Europe... here's the weird thing.  The top like 500 feet of the eye is fresh water and there are fresh water fish there, but then beneath that is the undercurrent of sea water where sea water fish are.  Isn't that totally weird!

The canal house - these were all owned by wealthy merchants and until the mid 1900s I believe, the didn't have house numbers.  They were known by their gables which would have something on them that represented the family.  Also, if you look at the gables, there are these things that stick out - they're called hoisting beams.  Because the houses were so tall and narrow, they weren't able to move large things up and down (pianos, furniture, etc) so the hoisting beams were used to raise stuff outside the house up to the window.  They still move things that way today.  Cool, huh?

There was some other interesting stuff, but - the rest of my story is.  I then got back to Amsterdam airport and flew to Frankfurt where I had an hour to catch another plane to Budapest.  Needless to say, its been a long day and its getting later.

I was the last one to get in around 6 and so I got checked into the hotel and they told me to just drop my bags off and come down for dinner.  I dropped my bags off and switch shoes - and then took like 15 minutes looking for my room key..... DUH!  In other countries (this is a learning moment for some of you :)).... you have to put your room key in this thing by the door in order to turn the lights on.  Once you take your key out, all the lights go out.  Actually pretty smart - but dumb me completely forgot and so I foraged all around the room until it hit me where the key was.  On the plus side, I found about 20 key cards for various Marriott locations :)

Tomorrow morning I'm meeting Jodi (YAY) and Michelle (YAY) to go to church with them at Calvary Chapel.  We'll do lunch and then come back to the hotel by about 4 in order to start training for the week.

I'm off to bed now.  Have the window open to a cool fall night, have my sleep mask and some earplugs and took a Tylenol PM.... We'll see what happens!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

WHAT!? Back In Orlando?!

WHAT?!  Did we hear you right?  You're back in Orlando for another sales meeting?!!!!!!!

Ok - I was browsing through pictures and found this pict and had to have an excuse to use it because, you must admit - its downright adorable!  At least the right hand side of the pict :)

But, yes, I am down in Orlando again.  Two weeks and two times to Orlando for two different sales meetings.  Why?  Why I ask, do they have a sales meeting in Orlando?!  I really don't know the answer to that as its murder.  I hate the flights here and back (they're packed with happy and then cranky family going to see their beloved Mickey Mouse - they take forever to go through security and even longer to board.  They whine and they cry and they bargain and yell..... I vote for an airport dedicated solely to families going on vacation!  I think I could win a presidency running on that platform!  That and highways dedicated solely to semis -- the only roads they can go on are roads that are created specifically for them so we would no longer have to travel in the far lane going behind a semi going 45 or have to suddenly vere because a semi decided he wanted to be in your lane....... VOTE FOR ME IN 2012 AND I'LL CHANGE THE WAY WE TRAVEL!  Thats my campaign logo - run with....)

This week I had the pleasure of travelling with one of my bosses who likes to do all the booking for our "group" himself.  Meaning - don't worry about your hotel, I'll just do a group res.  Last Thursday I happened to ask, "so what hotel are we staying at?" to which a slightly panicked look came over his face, he shuffled through some papers and then uttered an explitive... The good thing of that story is, he ended up having to book us at the Ritz Carlton.  Poo.... so disappointing.... :(   NOT!  It was beautiful, but I must admit, my Courtyard beds are probably more comfortable, I didn't sleep that well.  And, because we didn't have a car and were pretty secluded there, we had to eat at the hotel all the time and you couldn't even get a side of fries without paying like $25.  I got some great decorating tips and some great shampoo and and body lotion, but I am glad to be back at the airport headed home.

We were on the sales floor pretty much all day yesterday and the show concluded at 5:30.  I had yelped a few days before and found that there was a bikram yoga place not far from the hotel where the show was at.  There was a Friday evening class that started at 6:15 so I really quick helped close up and then I took off for the yoga studio around the corner to spend a great Friday evening with my old friend, Bikram!  The classroom was SO hot - hotter than usual because think it was a little smaller and it was pretty crowded and the last space that was left was right in front of a blower blowing out hot air.  I was sweating so bad that 10 minutes into it, I was leaking so badly that my whole towel and yoga clothes were SOAKED.  It was crazy.  But it felt so good to pull through that whole class and do it completely and so well.  I had almost every pose to a T and my muscles felt so good afterwards.

Last week before I left I baked 300 plus 2 dozen cupcakes and now I'm on my way home now to do 40 more for a birthday party next week.

AND - exciting pictures to come next week as I'm working out in Seattle and will then go down to stay the weekend with my bro in beautiful, sane PORTLAND!

Oh - I have to add this - I worked downtown on Tuesday and headed down at my usual 9 a.m.  Mind you anytime, between 7 and 2 is a BEAR to travel and lately - its just been bad all the time.  The traffic is ridiculous and it will take me 2 and 3 hours to get downtown sometime.  Well, Tuesday come, I start at 9 and I figure, I'm going to be there after 11 - THERE WAS NOOOOOO TRAFFIC!  I mean - nothing!  I made it downtown to my account by 9:45!  I didn't know what to do as I had so much time to spare!  It was like everyone left the city and forgot to come back!  I had to snap this shot of 94 - I've never seen it so bare!

Ok - over and out for the first week of September!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Another Weekend Post

Not much going on this week -- got to stay home an do the "normal" office thing.... yucky.  I really am SOOOO glad that I don't have to work in an office everyday (sorry to those of you who do:(...)

So - my cupcake update.... I got two big orders -- well, one big order and one BIGGGGG order.  I'm doing 40 cupcakes for a bday party and 300 for an open house.   I started baking today as I'm going to be gone for both so I'm baking ahead and freezing them.  I think I did like 60 today - I suppose thats kind of a dent, but dents matter.  Its putting a little spur in me to actually finish up that silly website.  I'll make sure to connect a link to the website when I finally do get it going.

The only other thing that happened was that I had some friends over for dinner.  I did it really really easy as I just picked up a bunch of sushi from Hyashi - yum!  No mess making - no mess cleaning up.  My kind of dinner party!

Thats it for my exciting weekend.  More baking on Labor Day!  You really must labor on a day called "Labor" - right?