Hello, lovely people!
How have you all been? I hope life has been treating you more than well. Budapest continues to bloom open, revealing the hidden gems that make this city glittering. This week, I visited a folk festival in Budapest during the work week. It was fun to jump around while the pied piper of Hungary played his flutes like Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock. Craziness, but still unbelievably fun.
I can’t believe we’ve been here over two weeks, slowly wedging our way into the lives of the people living here. This week, I taught several one on one lessons, getting closer to my students gradually. I love teaching creatively through all sorts of contexts, like American mainstream song lyrics or even utilizing fashion magazines to boost vocabulary. To help my advanced students with close readings, I edited a Wall Street Journal current events article to have them fill-in-the-blank. It’s been lovely developing relationships with them and seeing their faces light up after answering a question right or cracking up after one of my cheesy jokes. It’s no joke, I care for each one of them. I don’t know how, but this once overwhelming job has become more and more like what God really wants for me.
To start off the weekend with excitement, our teammates in the Bicske refugee camp came to visit us at the community center. One of Bre’s friends was also on a winemaker’s tour throughout Europe, so he also dropped by for the evening. We celebrated all of their safe journeys and the reunion with a trip to one of my favorite restaurants, a fish n’ chip place called Halkakas, or something equally difficult to safe. Only a minute’s walk from the center, we enjoyed a beautiful evening meal in the quaint little restaurant with great company. I had a fish burger with tsatsiki sauce, with chips (or fries, as we say in the States) on the side. The burger was piled with a savory tomato sauce, their specialty roumelade and tons of spicy, salty, lip-smacking pickles. The bread was a mix between focaccia and sour dough, absolutely delectable. Afterwards, we stopped by Good Bar Good Burger for a light dessert followed by a delicious bottle of Rose. The night left us with full stomachs and full hearts, buzzing with good conversation and excellent moods. We couldn’t wait for the weekend to reveal Budapest to us.
This weekend also left a particularly strong impression in my heart, because one of our darling students, J, invited us to her family’s adorable gyro restaurant in a neighboring suburb of Budapest. Having worked diligently at the center from around 9am until 6 or 7pm every night, we welcomed even a warm meal filled with good conversation. For breakfast and dinner, Bre and I usually pick something up at the local Spar, given the horrible experience we had at Tesco that first week. Anyways, out of the goodness of J’s heart, she invited us for a hearty meal at her dad’s place.
The trip out was a bit of a trek with a combination of metros and trams, but what a treat that lay in store for us. J’s dad, so glad to see the teachers who taught his daughters, decided to charge us nothing but smiles and conversation for his delicious food. That’s right, he charged us only the promise of friendship for one of the best meals I’ve eaten at Budapest. He loaded me a dish with pita bread, chicken gyro, a light salad and freshly fried potato wedges. Everything was drenched in my favorite tangy yoghurt sauce and spicy paprika dressing. Even afterwards, he provided us with complimentary ice cream for all five of us. This family put American hospitality to shame with their warmth and willingness to share. Even afterwards, J walked us to the bus station and waited with us for the bus to the mall. Their sweetness meant so much to a pack of clueless foreigners in Budapest. Simply lovely.
Saturday drew to a close after a quick window shopping at a transit mall. Before we all parted ways, I remembered the delicious honey coffee known as a “Melange” I had at a small cafe near our dorm. We strolled over to our utca (street) for a small treat at the Paris, Texas coffee shop. On the way, we picked up double portions of gelato at Charlotte’s, our favorite little patisserie. I believe I tried strawberry and lemon that night. After devouring our gelato, the girls sipped the delicious coffee drinks to the smooth lullabies of a nearby jazz club’s saxophone. After a day of walking and suffocating heat, we all flopped to our respective housing units to just relax.
If Saturday was movement and crazy amounts of walking, Sunday left us blessed and restful (despite the decent amount of walking we did around the city). First of all…drum roll please…I think I found my home church here! I went to a bilingual service at Golgota, a church who uses an old movie theater as a venue. The prayer and Word centered preaching as well as the beautiful (and English translated!) worship left me so content. I felt so joyful and eager to learn more about God. I didn’t realize how hungry I was to hear good, Biblical teaching from someone. To top off the awesome morning, we had bakery goods before going AND the teachers from Fot were already in the theater when we got there. Not only that, the New York Cafe, which we’ve heard is one of Budapest’s oldest and most expensive restaurants, was right next door. Amazing, isn’t it?
Afterwards, we popped back into GBGB for brunch burgers and french toast for some. I got a mini jalepeno burger with chips. Yummmm. So flavorful and perfectly portioned. Then, after separating from the Fot ladies, we wandered around Budapest before we found the Wamp design festival we were looking for. With souvenirs and beautiful city sites, we got a few refreshments and went back to the center. Some quick goodbyes, and the week begins anew.
Thank you for all those who read thus far! I’m missing home terribly, but Budapest is slowly warming up to my awkward attempts at thriving. I’m falling in love with teaching lesson by lesson, student by student. I think I’m in this profession for the long haul, perhaps under the UN Refugee Agency. ^ ^
To part, just some prayers and a beautiful verse, shall we? I love you all dearly.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13 KJV
Please pray that I:
~Continue to grow in love for God and His people
~Have the courage to keep following Him
~Rely on God for comfort and strength, always
~Work compassionately with everyone, especially my co-leader
~Keep honest and surefooted in God’s mission
Love in Christ,