Surrendering to Joy

Wow. Just wow. This week ended spectacularly. First of all, lindy hop finally kicked off in Budapest – enough said. I’ll updated Swing of Things soon this week, but basically, I learned a couple new routines from Marcell at Lokal Swing Bar this week. With some Charleston moves under my belt and a refined sugar push, I feel like the cool vintage kid on the block.

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After a week of begrudging grammar classes for my students, we ended Friday with casual conversation classes and homemade mocha coffee by the lovely Rita. After forcing my students to learn English grammar conjugation and tense rules some adults don’t even know, I finally got to just talk with them. Bre and I connected with a bubbly, electric soul –H. H loves cooking and talks almost completely with hand gestures exaggerating even the slightest word. By the end of our short lesson, she invited us over for a weekend meal to break fast with her. Heartily, we agreed to her overjoyed exclamations.

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Friday, Sam came over to enjoy the short weekend break with us. To start things off, we had a delicious meal at our friends’ gyro restaurant once more. He never lets us pay, and the food always leaves us more than satisfied. I had two chicken gyro plates with fresh pita, baba ganoush and a ridiculous pile of vegetables layered with paprika and yogurt sauce. Ridiculously delicious. With much laughter and conversation, we parted in good company and took the train back home. Sam, Bre and I changed before immediately knocking out in the center.

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Saturday left us with aching bellies from laughing too hard and eating too much – the best feeling. I seriously thank God for giving me such an amazing day full of joy. In the morning, we met up with our Mongolian student O, & M&A from Portugal for some lighthearted window shopping at AsiaCenter, the resident substitute for Chinatown. Let’s just say, sensory overload–everywhere you looked, there were neon dresses flashing next to disco lights or the newest techno toy…so overwhelming. However, Sam and I found the best Milka chocolates there – a bar of Oreo and a cookie chocolate bar. The cookie bar was devoured before we left the premises, it was that perfect.

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Afterwards, we stampeded over to West End for the oft-mentioned Boba Tea place. Seriously, I swear it’s the only place that exists in Budapest. Anyways, after several escalators, inquiries to sales associates and side trips into interesting stores, we high-tailed it to the food court to try our first bobas in ages. I had Taro boba with lots of fresh aloe vera. Yummmm. Image

Once we finished bonding over browsing too expensive clothing items, we left West End with a few choice finds and souvenirs for some instate friends. Once parting ways, the “Complete Meal” trio (Bre+Sherry+Sam = Cheese+Wine+Sammich, get it?) stopped by our favorite Indian clothing store. Finding everything far too expensive or ill-fitting, we speed-walked to our favorite eatery, “Leves.” or “The Soup Bar.” We each got a huge helping of potato pesto soup topped with freshly shredded cheese, croutons & sour cream. On the side, we each got a mozzarella sandwich with tomatoes and pesto. After a morning surviving on chocolate and boba, this was most excellent. I watched The Wedding Date with the girls which led into a long, detailed conversation about the pros and cons of dating attractive men. A quick nap left us all satisfied with our relative single statuses. Then, we had our breaking fast party with H in the evening.

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After a short walk by the Central Market, we took the 49 tram into Buda and found H waiting for us with her adorable children in her beautiful flat. She indulged us with cinnamon and chicken stock rice, clay-oven roasted chicken with potatoes and paprika, alongside a fresh cucumber salad. Afterwards, she treated us to a beauty regimen conversation chock full of secrets I will take to my grave and delicious Arabic black tea. I loved learning so much about our new friend and her delightful liveliness.

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Afterwards, we walked back home across the Liberty Bridge, brimming with light and promise. A short viewing of Inception later left me exhausted and sleep talking like Barney Stinson. Long story short, I expect to be suited and for my friends to do the same. Le sigh.

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Today, we went to Calvary Chapel’s Golgota morning service once more. Apparently, the 7pm service is more youth driven, so we’ll be stopping there next week. Anyways, we ran a bit late thanks to a delicious cinnamon roll breakfast break at Bite. The cappuccino helped us run into service without collapsing. Worship left us pumped to serve God, as did the message on John 7. Again, the pastor emphasized setting aside time to listen and worship God each day. Even when others gossip about you or grumble about your actions, we must continue to press on. The only opinion that matters at the end of our days is the Lord’s, after all. I hope He can look at my life, with all its pockmarks and scars, and be able to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I know I’m a far ways off right now, but I hope in time I’ll be refined into a humble woman of God.

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Afterwards, we got to check off my one locale on the Budapest bucket list – the Shoes on the Danube Holocaust Memorial. It was all that I wanted it to be – touching, elegant and poignant…however, a rude girl freaked out us photographing the site. I didn’t really understand her reasoning, as the memorial was put there for people to visit and remember the way they wanted to. We came to the conclusion she just wanted to slight some “dumb” Americans. Among all the other tourists posing, she chose us to confront. Hmm, suspicious. However, since we were technically there for a “project,” she got a respectful earful from a group of Christian ladies. Seriously, no manners whatsoever. I did think the memorial was perfectly done otherwise.

Sending off Sam, Bre and I headed to J’s home for a garden banquet. With way too much delicious food heavy on carbs and meat, we possessed bulging stomachs almost immediately. We were served a Hungarian lasagna-shepherd’s pie anomaly as an appetizer, alongside homemade cheeses…possibly of the goat variety. Delicious but heavy. In between chocolates and soda, G would excuse himself to stoke the outside fire and stir the lamb stew. The stew, an Arabic sort of goulash, lovingly stoked lamb with the smell of firewood and paprika. The potatoes were buttery and the perfect texture to match the softened meat. With sides of a spinach spread, fresh bread, cucumber salad & Arabic coleslaw, the meal was only perfected by the additions of tsatsiki and paprika assorted sauces. In between food, I braided J & J’s hair in crazy designs. Suffice to say, the evening left us feeling warm and loved.

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After a quick train ride and walk from Ferenck ter to ease our aching bellies, Bre and I drew our epic weekend to a close. All I can say…Thank you, Lord, for such a beautiful weekend filled with lovely people, delectable food & magnificent views. Through the slight lows and highs this week, you called your daughters out into greatness. We are so unworthy but so thankful. You are Lord, and You are worthy of our praise.

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Some prayer requests before I leave you all!

Please pray:

~for my health – some semi-worrisome symptoms, please pray that it’s just travel stress.

~that Bre and I would savor these last 2 weeks in Budapest

~that we could minister to H by visiting her at her house; she’s Muslim

~that we grow in love for the Lord

~for all the refugees and their families at the center.

~for my perspective on singleness. My mind is stuck on a lovely person on the past, but I want to just let God work for now.

Thanks for sticking around this long to listen to me ramble, guys.

Love in Christ,

Sherry

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