27 December, 2011

Getting Settled!

We have almost hit the 2 week mark in our flat and thought we might reward the curious with some photos! These are just some "before" photos that were on the ad from the real estate agent. I'm waiting to post "after" photos until I feel a little more settled in. We have most of our large pieces of furniture in place except for a dining room table and chairs. We may wait to buy them and see if we can find a deal at the annual garage sale hosted by the International Christian School of Budapest out in Diosd. There is nothing yet hung on the walls, but there is a rug in the living room! I am taking full advantage of Pinterest to come up with frugal ways to creatively decorate the walls.

Toilet paper may be involved ;)

Anyway, you will have to wait until there is a little more color and it feels more homey to see pictures. I have to say, I am really loving the way things are turning out. Our landlord has been wonderfully helpful and understanding.

The floorplan. If you want to know what things are, I recommend Google Translate ;)
Our private front porch.
Standing in the Dining Room looking through the front hall and out to the private front porch.
The bathroom door is on the left.
Standing in the living room looking at the dining room and through to the front hall
Bedroom doors are on the left side.
Standing in the dining room looking into the living room.
Our bedroom

Our kitchen
Thank you so much to everyone that sent me birthday wishes! It was so encouraging to read all your thoughts and prayers for us. My birthday was so wonderful and all of you played such a huge part in that. Ben served me blueberry pancakes in bed (we didn't have any syrup, but they were so good they didn't need it!) and then we took the tram to one of the Christmas markets.

The tram we took to the market.
We love the trams!!!
Ben bought me a necklace and earrings for my birthday. We also bought 4 earthenware mugs. They are so beautiful and colorful it makes me happy just to drink out of them! My last gift was a beautiful copper-colored journal for me to chronicle my thoughts and feelings about this 2-year adventure.

One of the stalls at the Christmas market.
It was fun to run into not one, but two sets of friends while out and about! I find my head quickly snapping around when I hear someone speaking English here. I'm always eager to see if we know them and that day we knew them both! The first were fellow team-members who teach at ICSB and the other was our team-leader and his family. I received warm birthday wishes from all of them!

The afternoon was spent on Skype or on the phone with various family members. The evening was spent at a wonderful dinner with my sweet husband.

A week and a half ago we got the pleasure of attending the last meeting of one of the Alpha Courses in Budapest. Ben was able to play cajon and egg-shakers while our team-mate John Wilson played guitar and led worship. While there we met a number of Hungarians including one photographer! In our making conversation we mentioned that we did not have much with which to decorate our tree. I had brought some antique snowflakes that were made by my great-grandmother and some Christmas lights. One couple there that night heard that and God laid it on their hearts to give us some new ornaments they had bought for their tree this year. Ben and I were incredibly moved by the gesture and are pleased to have them adorning our tree. It's times like that when we cannot help but feel the love of God personified in the Body. This young couple simultaneously welcomed us and cheered our hearts!

One of our beautiful new ornaments from our friends.
A snowflake made by my great-grandmother.
 Christmas Day itself was spent at our team-leader's (Steve) house. We partook of a 35- pound turkey that LITERALLY took up the ENTIRE oven! I don't know how poor Martha (Steve's wife) got the turkey into the oven, but she did say she was terrified she was going to drop it on the oven door and break the oven. Ovens in Europe are smaller than the US and the turkey sat on the bottom of the oven with a piece of tinfoil on the top to protect it from the heating element. It turned out tasty though!

The 35-pound Tom
I made the Naylor family Christmas tea-ring the day before and we enjoyed that as an afternoon snack before the big dinner. Ben was incredibly patient and didn't even sneak a piece (even though I know he really wanted to ;).

Tea Ring is basically a ring of cinnamon rolls.
Thank you all for following our blog and keeping us in your prayers. I love to share our adventures with you and hope you enjoy them!

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year!

04 December, 2011

Our First Day

We have arrived!

Our plane landed a little early last night, just after 5PM GMT+1 (that means 10AM CST), we breezed through customs and got ALL 9 bags we checked just fine.  One of them had been opened and inspected but we're pretty sure nothing was taken.  Megan had typed up an inventory of everything that went into each bag and we have a hard copy of that.  It's really nice since they're currently sitting in a big pile here at our team leader's house and if we want something, we just have to consult the list and we know exactly which suitcase or footlocker to crack in to!  Last night we were troopers and stayed up until 10:30 even though we really hadn't slept since Thursday night.  This morning we forced ourselves out of bed at 8 to go to church with our team leader and his family.

This morning was the second week of advent which is a traditional ceremony that a lot of churches perform to celebrate the Christmas holiday season.  My favorite part of advent is getting to sing the Christmas hymns!  I love hymns in general for two reasons: the words are incredibly rich and I like to sing the bass harmony.  One thing about the hymns we usually wait 11 months to sing is that in my opinion, they are by far the most worshipful.  Thinking about the miracle that is every child inspires us, but that a little over 2,000 years ago God Himself was one of those babies is just incomprehensible.  Faith is what bridges the gap.  29 nations are represented at International Baptist Church of Budapest and I saw many of them with eyes closed, singing those hymns and worshiping the same God.

The sun went down at 3:53 this afternoon.  Yeah, I know.  Budapest makes up for it, though, because at night the entire city is a work of art.  After a team welcome/farewell party out in √Črd (suburb of Budapest) we rode along to drop off some team members back in the city.  The bridges, the buildings, the statues on the hills, the castle, ALL of them are lit and combine to make Budapest absolutely gorgeous.  Back to explain that party (if my sentence left you confused) Megan and I and another girl who arrived back in August were officially welcomed by the UWM team here in Hungary.  Our good friends from A&M who have been here the last two years are heading back to Texas on Saturday, so it was a farewell party for them too.

We just wanted to say thank you.  Being here after preparing this last year is a dream come true.  I'm doing my best here to tell you how WONDERFUL it is to have finally arrived.  Our heads are still spinning, we're still a little jet-lagged and it hasn't really sunk in yet that we're here for 24 months.  If you're supporting us in any way, thank you for sending us here.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here's a couple prayer requests if you're interested.  If not, thanks for reading and have a great day :D

-  Megan's sick and dealing with back pain, this morning an eye infection was added to the list.
-  We're staying with our team leader and his family and will transition to a place called Eden House soon for a couple weeks.  During that time, we'll be searching for a flat once we've figured out what part of town we want to live in.  We're ready to have a home that we can truly make our own.
-  Keeping our mouths shut.  Kind of a weird thing to ask for, but it's really important.  There's so much going on and so much that we just don't understand it would be really easy to speak in ignorance.  I've already caught myself a couple times and have been able to silence my opinions, but there have also been a couple times that I've made a comment I regretted.  I do that a lot.  At least, more times than I'd like to.

Okay, I'll stop rambling.  Go Broncos, Go Packers