Budapest enveloped us in a foggy rain cloud once we landed on Hungarian turf. The dripping windows and cloudy sky exuded the same uncertainty we felt in our hearts. What would we learn here? How would we teach here? Which hearts would we touch? Would God work through our lessons? So many questions left unanswered and drifting around aimlessly amidst our jetlagged team.
However, food of course came to our rescue. Dora, our lovely host from the Hungarian Reformed Church, took us to eat Kurdish food from a local gyro shop a couple of blocks from our hostel. Having moved into a theological dormitory, we were pleasantly surprised to find remodeled rooms with minifridges, compact bathrooms with showers & a view of a small park. We shoveled food in quickly, having only eaten pre-packaged airplane food and candies the day before. As our first meal in Budapest, the Kurdish gyro restaurant warmed our bellies with cabbage salads drizzled in yogurt & spicy paprika sauce. There were several chicken and vegetable dishes available as well, which disappeared just as quickly. We polished off our dinners with baklava in assorted flavors like dark chocolate and pistachio. I also ordered a Kinley ginger ale which puts American brands to shame. All the food disappeared within 20 minutes of us sitting down.
Once we settled into the dorms, I went with a few teachers to a nearby cafe/pub aptly named Paris, Texas. A few beers were ordered, though I personally wanted to try a cappuccino. The result? Bliss, of course. So much foam, resplendent in a final wash of milky, smooth coffee. Yum.
Exhausted though we were, the jetlag plagued us until the wee hours of the morning. On top of that, a very loud pair of Hungarian boys were attempting to rap at 3 in the morning. Not the lullaby we expected, suffice to say.
At 5am, having gotten next to zilch sleep, we went to the indoor market with Russ. Before it opened, we took the opportunity to enjoy the Liberty Bridge across the Danube, eating some of our pastries along the way.
Later, we were debriefed at the Refugee Community Center by Dora and the Hungarian team. They treated us to a delightful breakfast, chock full of Hungarian favorites. I remember delicious notes of several different cheeses, meats & even duck liver pate…the Hungarians are infamous for their hospitality.
After our morning meeting, Latzi, Melinda & Andros took us on a tour of Budapest via foot, metro & bus. It was terribly fun and exhausting for an entirely too jetlagged team. We went to the Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle & Heroes’ Square…plus some places in between that were local secrets…I think. Anyways, photographs to document our entertainment and slap-happiness throughout the afternoon. It needs to be said that a very entertaining but creepy violinist in the park attempted to kiss me. Bleh.
Cranky as we were, we retired to our rooms at around 9pm. The next day, we saw off some of the teams before embarking on our dynamic duo journey. We started the day off right by getting fresh pastries from two different bakeries. I kid you not, I had a pizza pastry first thing in the morning. Then, I had to get my phone from the airport, but then the adventure really began. Bre led me around after Andros gave her a tour of the awesome places in Pest. We went to a Hungarian college campus, Catholic cathedral, coffee shops, funky design stores like the Lollipop Factory, an Indian clothing store & a few parks (with Hungarian skateboarders). The day was replete with splendor.
We ended the night with two pub visits & dinner during. We learned about the enthusiastic and strange locals here (I’m talking to you, Andros). We also walked around a bit, since Andros got lost in between pubs. The Hungarian beef stew with cheese curd pasta was absolutely delicious & entirely too greasy.
Today, we met all the students of the summer and separated them into different levels. I am POOPED, but excited for our lessons starting tomorrow. I’m so thankful to God for my co-teacher & teammate Bre who has enough energy for both of us. ^ ^ We definitely zoomed through all the students with our short interviews. At the end of the day, we’re getting ready for some grocery shopping & swing dancing.
Please pray for us! That we would:
~stay at the foot of the Cross
~connect with our students
~bond with the Hungarian Reformed Church teachers
~keep the peace in betwee us
~love our students with the heart of Christ
“38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38 -39
Love in Christ,