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It’s September Already?!

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Wow!  It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been here a month!  It feels like it’s just been a week or two.

Most of the past two weeks still revolved around immigration (the BAH) and trying to get my work permit.  It has proved to be quite the “Catch-22” (as my boss says).  The immigration office will not give me my work permit until they have a signed work contract and my school will not let me sign the contract until I hand them my work permit.  Please be praying for this issue to be resolved within the next few days.

Other than this last bit most of my processing has been quite smooth, though not without several stories.  Near the beginning of processing the BAH informed me that I absolutely must have certain stamps in order to go in the back room and hand in my paperwork, so I headed off that day to buy the stamps.  The next day they let me in to turn in my paperwork (because I had the stamps which are very expensive – 18,000 HUF) and then the stamps were promptly returned to me because I was a special case that didn’t require them.  Later that afternoon I went to the Posta to try and return the stamps only to be told that it was not possible.

Refusing to give up, a few days later I went back to the Posta to try and return the stamps once again.  Before hand I had translated several phrases (I do not need these.  May I return them?  May I have my money back) and written them down on a paper so that if I butchered pronunciation I could simply slide my paper across.  I tried both and the woman helping yelled something in Hungarian and the next thing I knew there was another customer next to me asking what she could translate for me.  After she told the clerk exactly what I needed the clerk handed me an address and told the woman exactly where I needed to go.  Thankfully the woman who translated for me offered to take me most of the way and then write down directions to get the rest of the way.  I was so thankful for the  help and it was so nice to just get to talk to her as we were going from tram to metro and eventually bus.   She left me half way through the metro ride with directions for the rest of the way.  However, as is fairly common in Hungary, the bus I was supposed to take quit running the day before, so I simply kept showing my address to bus drivers until one of them took pity on me and told me she would tell me when to get off.

Eventually I did end up at the right office (I was so excited!).  When I got there I immediately showed the security guard my translated phrases and he ushered me to a window (I’m pretty sure I jumped about 50 people in line).  However, since I don’t have my work permit yet, and two other numbers that I’m not quite sure what they are, I was not able to get a refund.  So, now I’m trying sell my stamps off to another immigrant who will actually need them at the BAH (the head of CEO didn’t like my idea to just set up a stamp stand at the BAH).

On the school front I finally have the classes I will be teaching and a tentative schedule for when the classes will take place.  I will be teaching Advanced General English, Intermediate General English, and Intermediate Economics in English (please be praying that I get a full grasp of economics in time).  The two general English classes begin the second full week of September and thankfully the Economics class does not begin until October (so I have time to study!).

I have also been able to meet several Hungarian girls my age who I am really looking forward to getting to know.  I’m also planning on having a girls-night-in at my flat one Friday night later in September.

PRAYER NOTE:

ANSWERED:

– I know my classes!  and I’m getting very excited to start teaching

NEW:

– that I’ll be able to figure out the best way to lesson plan (especially for my two 3 hour classes)

– that I’ll be able to sit in on the first level Hungarian class

– the the “Catch-22” would be resolved quickly (I would really love to be able to sign my contract soon)

– focus and boldness

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Settling In

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The last two weeks have been pretty busy with meeting people, trying to make my flat a bit homier, and continuing on with trying to get processed into Hungary.  (I promise I’m going to try and keep this blog updated on a more regular basis).  

As far as settling in goes, I think I’m making pretty good progress.  I’ve been to the grocery store several times now picking up odds and ends (today I was SO excited to find baking powder, “Sütőpor”, it comes in little packets like most spices here).  I’m slowly learning my way around on the public transport, getting a bit lost occasionally definitely has helped me figure out the system and the easiest way to read my little map =)  

Last Tuesday I was able to go to a small group that meets a few blocks from my house and I’m very excited to start getting involved in it.  The group, at least during the summer, is full of high school graduates who are searching.  I’m hoping and praying to be able to develop relationships with people in the group.  The leaders of the group have also started a Serve the City branch within Budapest as an outreach which I’m also very excited to get involved with.

Later on last week I was also able to go to Vác for the day to help out with an English softball camp that was going on last week.  I only went out for one day because my foot/ankle is still troubling me a bit, but it was so nice to go and help out.  A youth group from the U.S. was there to teach the kids softball in the morning and English in the afternoon.  I ended up helping to prepare dinner for all the teens that evening.  It was very nice to be able to get to know 2 of the families who are living in Vác.  

Last Saturday the youth group all headed to Budapest for souvenirs and sightseeing.  I hung out with them all day and it was such an encouragement to me to be able to be around American-English speakers for an entire day =)  That was also the first that I had actually gone to the touristy places within Budapest – so now when people visit I’ll know where to take them =)  Now I just need to figure out how to get pictures up without a way to get them onto my computer, haha.   

Immigration processing has proved to be a bit of a frustration.  Many of the offices are only open until noon and they send you to several different buildings before you finally arrive at the right one.  As of yesterday I think I’m about halfway done with the paperwork required for a residency permit.  

 

PRAYER NOTE

– that I’ll be able to find out what classes I’ll actually be teaching as soon as possible

– for support to continue to come in

– openness and boldness

– continuing for my foot, it still has days where it throbs a bit and starts to swell

– for my brain to start grasping Hungarian more quickly 

 

I’m Here!!!

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I got to Budapest in the early afternoon on Tuesday, hit the ground running and haven’t really slowed down yet.

I left Monday early evening, met up with a missionary family who lives just outside of Budapest, and flew with them from D.C. to London and then on to Budapest.

Tuesday is still a bit of a blur – amplified with both jet-lag and the surreal-ness of actually being here.  But I do remember that I was able to meet a missionary family who lives about 20 minutes from me on public transportation.

Yesterday was mainly focused on finding me a flat – and we did!  This morning we even signed the papers on it and I’m spending the night in it tonight.  The flat is in a very central location, and also it’s furnished which is a huge blessing.

Yesterday afternoon I was also able to meet the head of my department at Corvinus face to face.  It was very good to meet her, I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.  Last night I was then able to meet a couple from southern Hungary.  It’s been very nice to meet English speaking Christians throughout the various parts of Hungary.

Today was also mainly dedicated to the flat:  signing papers, getting my first suitcases there, meeting with the owners agent, etc.

I was very excited this evening because I was already able to meet one of my neighbors.  She lives with her Swedish boyfriend next door and they speak in English to each other so her English was nearly perfect.  I’m hoping I will be able to get to know her – she even offered to help me in the grocery store if I still need it after they get back from their holiday in 10 days.   =)

Right now I’m mooching wifi (pronouced weefee =) ) from the McDonalds right near my flat – I know McDonalds…   But, it felt familiar and a small water was the cheapest here than any of the other places with free wifi.  It’s actually the nicest McDonald’s I’ve ever been in, complete with a cellar lounge area with cushy seats and dimmed lighting.

 

PRAYER NOTE

ANSWERED: So from the last list I’ve found a flat AND last Friday the orthopedic doctor proclaimed my foot almost completely healed (he even looked back at his old notes/x-rays because the current x-ray made it look like my foot had never been broken.  My foot is still a bit sore with all the walking, but the light pressure from an ACE bandage helps immensely

NEW:

-For my learning of the Hungarian language (it seems so much more difficult than German) and while many speak a bit of English I really want to be able to converse with them in Hungarian

-For God to really be preparing me to teach, etc.

-For me to really be open with people I meet

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So the last few weeks have been crazy busy with lots of unexpected events.

First of all, the training in Charlottesville was quite informative despite the fact that I got an aggressive 24-hour bug my first day there.  It was great getting to meet and talk with multiple people who have spent time out on the foreign mission field.  We were also able to meet with several seasoned teachers and discuss valuable teaching techniques, which will be extremely helpful since neither Megan (a girl going to Croatia to teach) and I have had much if any classroom experience.

As soon as I returned from Charlottesville I spent a wonderful whirlwind weekend with several of my dear friends – interspersed with frantically trying to finish packing my apartment before my parents came that Monday to bring me to Maryland.

Soon after my parents showed up at my apartment one of the biggest surprises of the last few weeks occured – I was jumping out of the (parked) moving van and tripped, breaking my foot and severely spraining my ankle.  My mom and roommate rushed me to the ER where I was wheeled around for x-rays.  For a time they thought that I might need surgery, but thankfully I was released 3 hours after arrival with a boot and crutches.  The crutches only lasted a week, but I will still be wearing the boot for 2 weeks after my arrival in Budapest.  (So prayer in the area of my foot healing swiftly would be much appreciated)

While at my parents house I have been busy with doctors appointments (getting notes saying that I have no contagious diseases) and packing my whole “life” into 3 suitcases (plus a carry-on).  I did have one weekend break from packing and all though when I drove down to Chesapeake, VA to visit the camp (Triple R Ranch – send your kids/grandkids!!!) that I had worked at the past 3 summers.  It was wonderful to see all my dear friends again before I leave.

This week I’m planning on double checking all my suitcases and organizing the rest of my belongings into boxes in my parents basement before I fly out next Monday.

PRAYER NOTE:       – for a flat to open up for me in Budapest

– my foot (I have a follow up appointment scheduled 3 days before I leave)

– for my future classes

– for God to continue to be preparing my mind, heart, and body

 

Getting Closer

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This week is going to be filled with a lot of preparations to get me ready to go to Budapest.

Last Friday was my last day at work, I’m going to miss everyone there so much – they all touched my life in more ways than they know.  This last weekend I was busy priming our apartment for maintenance to come in and paint it as soon as we’re all moved out (if anyone has any suggestions for how to get paint speckles off I’d be more than happy to try them =) ).

Later on this week I will be headed to Charlottesville for pre-site training.  I’m going to be meeting the girl who will be teaching in Croatia, Megan, while I’m in Budapest, along with the board members of CEO, and various missionaries who either are or have been on the field.  I’m looking forward to this time of getting both people and logistics better.

Lately I have just been completely overwhelmed by the prayers and support coming from places I never would have considered.  I just wanted to thank you all for your continued prayers as I get ready to depart and to let you know that they are indeed felt and deeply appreciated!  Köszönöm! (I’m pretty sure that’s “thank you”)

Step-by-step

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It’s hard to believe that there’s just over a month left until I leave for Hungary!  I think the closeness of it really hit me this weekend when I got my last work schedule for The Drowsy Poet.

Already there have been several large changes from the original plan:  I’m going alone now; and the original job that I was hired for fell through which allowed crazy doors to open and now I’m going to be teaching English at a University in Budapest.

I am learning to really not have expectations on the journey and to be beyond flexible.  As a wise person once told me, “It’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just different”.

I am so incredibly blessed by this opportunity and the fact that I will have the schedule of a professor will hopefully open even more doors for opportunities to work with youth within the city.

Also, I am so incredibly thankful for and blessed by all my friends and family who have shown me such support as I head out on this journey.

I’m going to try and use this blog to keep you all update (and to keep your inboxes as clutter free as possible), so I’m going to try and be faithful in the updates =)

Jó napot!   Viszlát!

(I’m also a bit daunted by the Hungarian language – so far I may speak more than a Hungarian infant =P )