Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving - Monday, November 28, 2011

Hello family!

So I just had one of those unfortunate computer vs. human struggles, where I tried and tried to convince different computers that they wanted to upload my various photos.  However, after crashes, firewalls, and just plain machine stubbornness, I declared defeat and have decided you will have to wait for pictures next week.  Sorry :(

Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving!  (Okay, so I know that it was last Thursday, but we are celebrating it today here in the Hungarian mission!  I can literally smell the turkey right now (I am emailing from inside of the mission home today) and I am so excited!!!!  I love Thanksgiving!)  I hope you all had excellent Thanksgivings last Thursday and enjoyed that time with family and friends!

Anyways, this last week was great, despite the lack of American holidays!

We had our first snow here in Hungary!  ... yay!?!  I was tabling with Sister De Leon and the elders when we saw the flakes fall from the sky.  I did a little first snow dance.  And then remembered that snow is cold and wet... and I much prefer looking at it to being IN it haha :)  But that is okay!  We only received a light sprinkling and it has been very pretty!  And, honestly, most of it melted after a day.  Since we are in the city, I don't think we are ever going to get super heavy snow.  Interesting fact, though:  They don't shovel or plow the streets and sidewalks here in Budapest!  So I really don't want heavy snow!  Winter is a different experience in a skirt :P

I also went to a Catholic mass here.  Some of our investigators invited us, and, as they have come to pretty much everything that we have invited them to, we called our mission president and asked for permission.  He said we could go, so we went with our investigators one night to their mass.  I have been to mass before, but it was a different experience in Hungarian!  Well, basically, I didn't understand it haha :P  But it was fun to sing the songs (our investigators were very impressed with Sister De Leon's and my ability to pick up on the songs quickly).  Another fun note about these investigators (you have probably heard me mention them before-- Bela and Illona?) is that..... they have agreed to be baptized!!!  They both love everything they have read (Bela is the one who read the entire Book of Mormon; Illona loves the Liahonas) and feel that this is the right choice for them!  They are such a good example to me because they really listen to everything we teach them attentively and respectfully and truly take it to heart.

Some not so great news from this past week-- I totally got food poisoning!  We went to this little gyros restaurant, which had this little wall you could write messages.  I wrote this funny little note about coming all the way from Connecticut to try the gyros... and then it made me throw up that night!  Yuck.  And now it is false advertising on their wall!  Haha.  But after an uncomfortable night and day (where basically I just went wherever Sister De Leon told me to (we had meetings, programs, and tracting to do) but was very out of it), I was fine again.  So all is well :)

Some funny incidents from this past week:  I was asked out on dates!  TWICE!  (For those of you who don't know, as missionaries, we have a more strict set of rules that we follow on our missions than normal members.  One rule is that we don't date or do anything like that for the entirety of our missions.)  One man was super funny, actually.  He spoke English and told us that he wanted to become like the character Hitch from the movie (a consultant who teaches men how to talk to girls) haha.  When I told him that I couldn't go out with him, he incredulously said, "But Hungarian men are attractive!  Exhibit A: me! (referring to himself)"  It was actually kind of neat, though, because both times we were able to give the men Books of Mormons and talk about our beliefs and have some good conversations.  I really believe that when we focus on God and serving each other, our relationships will be better.  I believe that knowing God's love for us will help us love each other.  I'm so grateful for the example of my parents in loving and honoring each other.

Anyways, I am going to go play in our mission Turkey Bowl right now (wish me luck!) so I have to cut this email short.  This week was great, though, full of programs, love, and LOTS of Christmas music!!!

I wish you all a fantastic week!!  Love you all!!!

McKenna aka Sister Kramer

P.S. An American family came to church on Sunday and the mom was roommates with Robin Nielson in college!  The world really is so small sometimes haha :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

BIG EMAIL - Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello family and friends!!!

How are you?  How was your day?  I hope all is well with you :)

I want you to know that all is well with me too :)  Just so you all know, neither De Leon Nővér or I are leaving this transfer!  We got a phone call about 8 AM this morning telling us that we are both staying in Kispest!!!  In fact, our entire district is staying!!  Yay!!!!  We were so happy when we heard this that we literally jumped and danced around our apartment haha.  I feel very lucky to stay with De Leon Nővér for another transfer.  She is a great missionary and a great friend!

Now, what did I do this past week?  Hmmm... good question!

Last Monday, De Leon Nővér and I "played" with some of the elders in our district.  Together, we went to the Kinai Piac (the Chinese market).  It is similar to the shopping part of China Town in New York City, but instead of being housed in little stores along the street, it was held in a sort of shanty town.  The little shops were all held in little storage units.  We went and bought district scarves haha (see pictures of us dorkily matching each other).  I have been very lucky to be working with the group of missionaries (my district) that I have been.  We are all hard workers who also like to have fun :)

After that, we went to Orsi's house for family home evening.  We read this book called "You are Special" by Max Lucado.  Through a cute story, it teaches how special we are to our Creator and how really, His opinion is the one that counts!  It was great!

We had an interesting program this week... in English!!!  We taught an Australian who has been living in Hungary for the last 15 years.  That was a fun experience for De Leon and I both because we could explain ourselves just like we wanted to :)  Although, it was interesting, that even though we had the ability to say whatever we wanted, most of it was just as simple as we would say it in Hungarian.

Fun story: Some of you know that, around the time of my mission call, two Hungarian girls friended me on Facebook.  One of them was a member, the other her best friend, and they found me through a mutual friend.  We sent a few messages to each other (they were very sweet; one of them informed me that I would be entering the MTC on her birthday and she thought that was a great birthday present!)  Anyways, I didn't really hear anything else from them... until last week!!!  We were talking to a less-active girl on the phone and De Leon Nővér asked about some penpal she had had that was supposed to come to Hungary.  THAT caught my attention and I asked to talk to the girl.  Turns out she was one of the girls I had become friends with on Facebook MONTHS ago!  I had never met her, though, since she hasn't been coming to church or meeting with us!  However, we were finally able to set up an appointment with her for this past week during that phone call.  When we met, we were both excited.  She gave me a hug and puszi right when she met me :)  Our program with her was great!  She told us that she has been feeling like something has been missing in her life and wants to bring the church back into her life.  Yay!!!  She told me she thought it was so strange that out of all the cities and areas in Hungary, I had been assigned to HER area for my greenie area.  I really believe that I was supposed to come to Kispest.  I know that De Leon Nővér and I both have experiences and personalities that are really helping our investigators come unto Christ.  I am so grateful for the Lord's love for us personally.  I know if we will let Him into our lives, He will bless and help us :)

We also had stake conference this past weekend.  That was SO NEAT!!!  I couldn't believe how many members were there!  We filled the stake house :)  I know it was an amazing experience to see the hundreds of members, especially when a lot of branches here in Hungary are very small.

We had amazing speakers at the conference, including an area authority from Portugal.  He told a great story: When he was little, bikes were a rarity in his neighborhood.  In fact, there was only ONE bike in the entire neighborhood and it was from a junkyard.  But, the boy who owned it ran a successful business renting it out for candy and toys.  The speaker rode the bike as often as he could and begged his parents for a bike.  After three years of asking and disappointments, he received a bike for Christmas!  The speaker told us that he had no idea what his parents did to afford that bike, but that he loved his bike.  He thought it was so great and brought it everywhere (he ate with it, slept with it, etc. haha).  However, the other boy in the neighborhood who owned a bike had a birthday in January.  What do you think he received? A NEW BIKE!  And it was a racing bicycle!  All of a sudden, the speaker's bike didn't seem special anymore and he resented that his parents couldn't buy him a better bike.  He told us that we need to be careful about comparing our lives to others.  We should be thankful for what we do have.  Do we appreciate the beautiful things in our lives?  Do we appreciate our own families and those we love?

Anyways, I am out of time for this week :)  I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!!!!!  I will not have a normal Thanksgiving this week; next Monday, however, we will have a Super P-Day, with Thanksgiving dinner at the Baughman's.  So, remember the story, and be thankful for the gifts you have-- your family, your home, your health, etc.  Take the time to tell those you love thank you!

I love you all!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

Monday, November 14, 2011

Almost done with my first transfer!! - Monday, November 14, 2011

Hello everyone!!

I have been in Hungary for more than a month now!!!  (Okay, so I've been here for a month and 3 days... but STILL!)  I cannot believe how fast time is flying!  I am almost at the end of my first transfer in the country!!!  I have been on my mission for 3 1/2 months.  I have passed my 100 day mark!  That means I am more than 1/6 done with my mission :(  De Leon Nővér told me that it just goes faster and faster!  I believe it!  There is always so much to do every day, new places to go, new people to talk to, improvements to be made!  That is okay, though!  I plan on making every second count :D

My companion and I don't know if we will be staying together next transfer (I will let you know as soon as I do on Monday) because, starting next transfer, exactly half of the sister missionaries in Hungary (there are 16 sister missionaries total) will have been here only 2 transfers or under.  It will be super interesting to see what happens!  I hope that I stay with De Leon Nővér-- I love her!  She has been such a great trainer, giving me opportunities to grow!  And we are such good friends!  We are always laughing at something or the other.  Last night, after planning, I was literally crying on the floor because of laughing so hard at something funny that had happened.  I love our attitude of working hard and having fun while doing it!  BUT.  I know that whatever happens will be for the best :)  (If she does actually get transferred, though, someone might want to email me my own words, though, haha)

This past Monday, De Leon Nővér and I walked across quite a few of the bridges in Budapest (for those of you who don't know, Budapest is split into two sides, Buda and Pest, by the Danube River).  It was super pretty, with the city lights all around us, reflecting off the water.  We both just loved the fact that we LIVE here in this beautiful city!  I am so grateful to be here :)

We were able to go to a missionary concert this past week, put on by a couple of musically talented missionaries (including my MTC companion, Sister Christensen) and members.  It was SO GOOD.  They played a fun jazzy classical, with spiritual hymns and thoughts interspersed.  There was a clarinet player who was SO GOOD (I played clarinet for 8 years, so I was super impressed by his skills) and De Leon Nővér took a picture with him afterwards haha.  (That is my explanation for this random picture of us with a Hungarian man.)  Music is so great though!  And Hungary has a super rich history of classical composers (example: Franz Liszt (or Liszt Ferenc, as he is called here in Hungary)-- you should check them out!  Or do something this week to add a little "culture"!

This past week was actually kind of weird, though.  De Leon had some version of the stomach flu and the mission nurse ordered her to sleep it off.  So, we only did the basics necessary, in regards to teaching programs, and De Leon slept and slept and slept.  And I studied and studied and studied haha.  I started and finished multiple BOOKS.  I cleaned.  I cooked.  At one point, I found myself doing lunges around my apartment in circles.  (For those who don't want to work on their missions, they are crazy!  It is boring to be home all day!)  BUT.  I learned a lot!

I read the new Relief Society book, Daughters of Our Kingdom.  It was a really interesting read about the history of this women's society and I really enjoyed the design of the book.

women reading in a garden

I found a favorite quote in there by Julie B. Beck, "When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves."  This is SO TRUE, of missionary work and of life in general.  I do not think success is measured by how big of a house we have, what type of car we drive, or how many baptisms we have.  I think it is determined by our motivations, how hard we try, and, ultimately, our relationships with our families, friends, and God.  What do you think?

This quote was followed later in the chapter by a reminder from President Gordon B. Hinckley (a past prophet of the church): "I have been quoted as saying, 'Do the best you can.'  But I want to emphasize that it be the very best.  We are too prone to be satisfied with mediocre performance.  We are capable of doing so much better."  This was a good reminder for me.  I want to give my ALL-- my very best-- to this mission!  Why would I want to live with regrets?  So I challenge all of you to choose one of your goals this week and just GO FOR IT!!  Life is so much more fulfilling when we try :)

This reminds me of a poem I read with my English class this last week:

Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl, 
One was an optimistic soul; 
But the other took the gloomy view, 
"I shall drown," he cried, "and so will you." 

So with a last despairing cry, 
He closed his eyes and said, "Good-bye." 
But the other frog, with a merry grin 
Said, "I can't get out, but I won't give in! 

I'll swim around till my strength is spent. 
For having tried, I'll die content." 
Bravely he swam until it would seem 
His struggles began to churn the cream. 

On the top of the butter at last he stopped 
And out of the bowl he happily hopped. 
What is the moral?  It's easily found. 
If you can't get out -- keep swimming around!

I think attitude is so important in all we do.  My mom always told us, "Fun is an attitude, not an activity."  I did not really like that quote when I was younger because I was convinced that it was the other way around.  As I've grown, though, I have realized attitude really IS everything.  Through our attitudes of love and optimism, we can have success, peace, and happiness.  And it is OUR choice how we react, how we love, what we love.  So go and make some positive attitude choices this week!  Your week will be better, I know it :)

Anyways, sorry to just talk about a lot of random stuff in this email, but, like I said, not a lot happened this week, due to illnesses!  So I had a lot of time to think :P

I hope you are all well and healthy!

I love you all!
Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hello! - Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hello All!

Sorry I am writing a day later than usual!!  I had what is affectionately known as Greenie Training yesterday (new missionary training) and, unbeknownst to me, it was an all day event where we did official paperwork, did a little sightseeing, and had training from our leaders.  So, we got permission to email home today instead!

Before I write about Hungary, I want to give a couple of shout outs to some people:
First, happy birthday to my little sister, N'Krysta!!!!  She turned 17 years old yesterday :D  Woot woot!!!!!  She is kind of a rock star in terms of how cool she is :D  I hope this year is the best of her life so far!
Also, congratulations to my friend, Nicole Grosso!  I heard she got called to the London England mission!!  That is so exciting :D  I am so happy for her!!

'Kay, now back to me :P  Jkjkjk.  But I am going to focus on a just a few main things this email:

Super P-Day:
I know you all have been waiting and waiting for these stories!  Well, here they are!  On super P-day last week, our zone leaders and us drove in a car (which in and of itself was an adventure, since I have been travelling on public transportation every day since I got here) in an awesome "road trip" to an old castle named Visegrád and then to the third biggest cathedral in Europe (and biggest in Hungary), named Esztergom.  It was so cool!  It is at times like these that I really realize that I am living in EUROPE!!!  There is SO MUCH history here!  If you are a history buff, I highly encourage you to look up Hungarian history and these places online-- you will get a much better comprehensive history.  But, here a couple of cool things that I learned.  Visegrád used to be the capital or something of Hungary when it was in its military peak.  During the medieval ages, Hungary ruled Europe and at one point, had 40,000 mounted troops and 10,000 foot soldiers under some crazy cool military leader located out of this castle.  (BTW, that army is bigger than my entire hometown!!!)  Esztergom is GIANT (see pictures) and has been rebuilt a couple of times.  There is one super old part of the cathedral, though, where, when the Turks were invading, a priest wanted to save part of the building and broke it into thousands of pieces and then buried them.  Years later, after he died, another priest who he told the story to, dug up the pieces and rebuilt the room.
Basically, on Super P-Day, we just got to see a lot of really cool places in Hungary!  It was a lot of fun!

I know I talked up the ballet last time!  It was really good!  We had one investigator who wanted to come with us.  It turned out to be him and SIX sister missionaries haha!  It was funny!  But we all really enjoyed the ballet (although maybe it was a little different telling of the Nutcracker than usual?  I am not sure!  If someone wants to send a synopsis, that would probably be helpful!  I haven't seen the Nutcracker since I was under 10 years old!)

We had Zone Conference this last week!!  It was so great!  Our mission president trained about the Great Apostasy using a really interesting book called The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration by Tad R. Callister.  We talked about the evidences of a Great Apostasy.  And then we had training by our APs and Zone Leaders.  I really enjoyed our Zone Leaders' training, as they talked about the importance of us as missionaries serving with our whole heart to help our investigators build their relationship with God.  I really think it is so important to put your whole heart into believing and then working on that belief, whether as an investigator, missionary, or member.  Go big or go home!  (That is my companion's and mine motto.)

Finally, (and best of all!) Orsi was baptized on Sunday!!!!  Woot woot!!!!!  It was great!  The entire Sunday was an interesting experience for me, though!  Guess what happened?! .........  I ended up playing the piano in church!!!  (I thought I dodged a bullet with the children's meeting, but little did I know.... :P)  I will usually plunk out prelude music before church starts until the pianist comes, but this past Sunday, he DIDN'T SHOW UP!  So, I ended up playing!  I was SO NERVOUS.  I have never played for people before!  And it was especially hard for me because I hadn't practiced any of the songs and I had to find them in the English hymn book from the Hungarian names (basically, I just sight read them, figured out what song it was, remembered the English title, then looked it up).  I was shaking pretty badly the first song!  It went pretty well, though.... until the last song :P  But everyone was just grateful to have someone play and so it worked out fine!  I also had some very philosophical thoughts while sitting up there about the importance of preparation!  If we do not prepare and put in the work ourselves, no matter how hard we pray, God can't really help us if there is no foundation for Him to work from.  But, like I said, my ward all thought I was super brave and clever for doing that last minute, and they all thanked me :)  It was funny, though, because I ALSO had to bear my testimony on Sunday as a new missionary.  And THEN they asked me last minute to play for the baptism too!  (Which I said the opening prayer for AND sang in a musical number)  My companion joked that they should find something else for me to do haha :P  The important thing, though, is that Orsi was baptized!  Funny moment:  She accidentally inhaled some water when she was immersed and came up and started to cough.  We were all a little concerned, but then one little girl, who had been very quiet, asked, "Orsi, jó volt?"  (Orsi, was it good?)  Orsi nodded and smiled :)  So that was cute!  And she skipped around the rest of the day, so happy!!  And that is why this gospel is so great.  The scriptures say that by His fruits, ye may know God.  This gospel brings JOY to people's lives!  It brought joy to Orsi and her family.  It has brought joy to my family and me!  This is one way that I know the gospel is true :)

I have felt very humbled by love this past week.  I have felt overwhelming love for the members.  I really feel like they are like family to me (one woman we visit calls us her daughters and makes us food every time we go over!)  And I have felt humbled by their love for me.  For instance, on Sunday, when everyone in the ward gave me encouraging smiles, words, and hugs after I botched the piano.  Or, last night, we went to a family night with two of our investigators to a member's house.  While there, I played with a 10 year old girl named Luca (who gave me stickers!).  De Leon told me after that she saw the family members and each of our investigators just plain old look at me with love in their eyes at some point during that night.  This was really touching for both of us.  I know that I was called to Hungary for specific reasons.  I think one of them is to help our specific investigators right now.  I often struggle to say things in this language to them.  They often struggle to express themselves in the gospel.  But, together, through the love of God and His help, we are all learning and growing.

Anyways, sorry this email was less detailed than others in the past (although, I am sure some of you were thankful for the shorter length haha).  I didn't have as much time as usual to write.

Just know that I love you!  I love this work!

Kramer Nővér

A group of missionaries at that delicious buffet I wrote about last week
At the Buda Halloween party put on by senior sisters
Same party.  A senior couple (Bagazzis) dancing on the dance floor.  It was super funny haha.
Our Fiatal Est Halloween party.  Mummy game!

Examples of monster cupcakes
The best monster we drew, I think!
The old castle we went to on Super Pday
Super P-day on way to old castle.

Pictures of the castle.
Skipping rocks on the Duna

 Esztergom.  We are against the pillars!  Look and you will see tiny us!

The really old part of Esztergom

Slovakia is the country across the river.  This is me pretending to leave mission boundaries (but really, not even being close, don't worry!)

Zone conference!  (I accidentally matched with one of the other sister missionaries haha)

Our group at the ballet!  (Now Gallion Nővér and I accidentally matched)

 Orsi's family, sisters who taught her.
Back with my MTC sisters!!!  (from Greenie training day, with Budapest in the background)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Adventures in Kispest - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hello all!

Sorry that it has been so long since I last emailed!!!  There was a national holiday yesterday (November 1) and so we had a super P-Day, which means we had the whole day off, yesterday instead of our normal P-day on Monday!  But all of the stores were closed due to it being a national holiday, so we have our emailing time today!  This week is kind of strange because our P-day activites are spread out like that.  De Leon Nővér and I had a dinner appointment last night so we didn't use our whole P-day, but it ended up working out perfectly because we got special permission to split our P-Day.  So, this Saturday night, we are going to.... (duh duh dum)..... The Nutcracker, put on by the Russian Ballet (!!).  It is going to be AWESOME!!!  (And for those of you worrying, our mission president encourages us to take part in cultural events and gave us permission to see this!)  I am so excited!  It is going to be great!

Anyways, to tell you about this past week:  (let me apologize in advance-- probably because I am not used to emailing on Wednesday nights, I forgot my journal, my planner, and my camera at home.  So this email might be a little jumbled and without pictures :(  But do not fear!  I will be emailing again on Monday (my normal Pday) and will make up for the lack of pictures and whatever amusing stories I forget today :D )

So, let's go back to TWO Pdays ago and the adventures we went on then: It rained, so our options were limited.  But that is okay!  We went with a bunch of missionaries to a nice big Hungarian buffet.  It was sooo good!  They had lots of options, which were fun to try.  And they grilled meat right in front of us... mmmmm.  De Leon Nővér and I tried literally every single dessert there (we shared, so don't judge... too much :P).  Pictures to follow!  The rest of the day was pretty chill, as we wandered around a Hungarian mall.  It was not that different from America (although they had WAY more fabulous shoe stores!).  We decided to make sure every Pday after that involved a cultural activity or something, though (I do not want to spend my time in Hungary wandering around malls!)

This last week was a little interesting because both De Leon Nővér and I were sick.  But the work still moves forward!  We taught a lot of programs this last week :)

We taught Orsi about the Law of Tithing and some other commandments this last week.  I have the most fun planning for her lessons because I try and make them super fun and creative, as she is a nine year old with a short attention span!  For tithing, I drew her a little worksheet where we could practice making tenths of groups of smiley faces, hearts, and flowers.  We then filled out a real tithing slip with her that she gave to the Bishop this last Sunday!  She was so proud :)  We also taught about obeying the laws of the country.  You wouldn't think it was all that exciting, right?  Wrong.  Totally played Red Light-Green Light with her and her little sister for a good 10 or 15 minutes.  It was great haha :)  This week, we went to her apartment with Gérgö (the teenage member who is going to baptize her) and ran through her whole baptism program (which is happening this weekend).  It was so fun because we all got to pretend to be different people and talk like Charlie Brown's teacher (wah-wah-wah).  Afterwards, we put together a puzzle about baptism.  Seriously, I think I am about 5 years old in reality because these lessons are the greatest!  I always have so much fun :D

A really really interesting thing happened last Friday.... I went on my very first companion exchange!  This is where missionaries switch companions for a program or a day.  De Leon Nővér switched with my ősi, Hudspeth Nővér (who has only been here 6 weeks longer than I), which means there were two of us little greenies running around Kispest for a day!  Bah!  It was really fun, though!  The crazy thing is that I was the stronger speaker and knew the area better, so I led us around!  I have just barely been here for three weeks today!  But my companion trusted me!  So, we went through our normal schedule and taught a program.  And it went really really well!  We taught a cute little old néni from our ward about the importance of goals and having a good attitude when we work towards those goals.  I know that I had some help from God in understanding and talking, but I have also put in a lot of work studying!  We also went tabling and were able to hand out Books of Mormons and talk to people about our message.  Hudspeth Nővér accidentally gave one to a homeless person and tried set up an appointment with her haha.  It didn't really work because the lady said she didn't have an address or an apartment.  And then asked us for money :P  After that, though, we travelled back to Buda to meet up with our comps.  So we survived!  Stronger for it, I think!

De Leon Nővér and I are also teaching this cute little couple named Béla and Illona, who are super Catholic, but were given Books of Mormon and were intrigued by the subtitle "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."  Béla has read more than 300 pages in the last couple of weeks!  Hooha!  They are just really cute, too, and, when they heard I loved to cook, brought in an old worn Hungarian cookbook for me and De Leon Nővér and insisted that we use it!  We still haven't made anything, though, because we don't know very much cooking vocabulary!  haha.  But I will let you all know how our experimentation goes!

Speaking of food, though, I have had a lot of delicious Hungarian meals since I got here!  I just barely tried stuffed cabbage last night (cabbage stuffed with rice and meat-- really good actually!), a squash soup, lots of pastries filled with this cottage cheese type thing, and lots of crepes filled with that same cheese stuff and jam at members' homes.  YUM.  I need to watch out, though-- as much as I would appreciate the extra warmth a little extra "padding" would bring during the cold winter months, I want to stay healthy!  It has been an adventure cooking here, as they do not have all of the same options I am used to working with!  I am learning to adjust though and am still able to make healthy and delicious food on my own :D

We had some fun Halloween parties last week (again, pictures to come on Monday!).  It is kind of funny, actually, that we went to two Halloween parties here because 1) I am a missionary, so what the heck am I doing partying?  (Don't worry- I am just kidding!  We bring investigators to these events and it is great for them to hear spiritual thoughts and meet members their own age.) and 2) They don't even celebrate Halloween here!  So, both the parties were put on by missionaries haha (irony?).  The senior sisters at the mission home threw a GIANT Halloween party for the youth (they went all out).  It went from 7pm-4am (!!!) because the last metro left at 10pm or something and they wanted the party to go later than at.  De Leon Nővér and I, obviously, did not stay that late.  But we went with an investigator for a little bit and it was a lot of fun!  It is so important for the youth here to have somewhere to go because a lot of them are the only members in their families!  It is really neat to see how they are all friends with each other, though, and build each other up!  Then, for our Fiatal Est this past week, we threw our own Halloween party!  It turned out great!  We used a lot of the decorations from the other Halloween party (we are all about being thrifty :P) (and, actually, sidenote story: we went to pick the decorations up from the mission home and the mission president ended up driving us back to Kispest (he and his wife didn't think it as good of an idea as we did to lug decorations around on public transportation :P) and it was really neat to chat with him.  Turns out he grew up on the east coast, in Massachussetts, and then his family lived in the area for a long time.  AND it turns out he was a stake president in the Buffalo New York Stake during the 90s.  So, I asked him if he knew Cheryl and Matt (my aunt and uncle who lived there at the same time) and he said the name sounds familiar.  Just a coincidence story, but I thought I would share!)  Anyways, our party was great!  We played a mummy game (wrapped each other up in toilet paper), played ping pong, took funny pictures, had a "pumpkin carving contest" (aka we drew pumpkins on the whiteboard), played the monster drawing game (three people draw three different sections of a monster without knowing what the other sections look like- turns out really funny) and decorated monster cupcakes.  Everyone was OBSESSED with the frosting I made-- I found out that they don't really have frosting here?  They all called it the creme stuff haha and thought it was so delicious!

A funny story about Fiatal Est- we had two teams for an activity and invited everyone to make up names.  Gérgö wrote his name on the board and none of the missionaries knew what it meant.... except for ME!  Bahaha.  It was called the Flying Squirrels or something, but I was the only one to know the word for squirrel, as it was the very FIRST phrase I learned in Hungarian hahahaha :)  (A boy I knew taught it to me the DAY I opened my mission call!)  So now everyone thinks I am a lot more clever than I actually am, but it was so funny when I, the greenie, was the only one who understood :P

With the language, I have a lot more sympathy for people learning English!  Our grammar rules make no sense!  At least Hungarian is pretty logical!  My favorite word finds of this week (I have developed a new and strange love of just reading the dictionary haha) are ezermester (directly translated, it means thousand master.  Or, in other words, handyman! (master of a thousand little things)) and sárkányrepülő (directly translated- dragon-flier.  Any guesses to the English word we use?  Hang-glider!).  So, I am still enjoying the language, even though sometimes it is frustrating!  For the most part, though, I just stay excited about what I can say instead of getting down about what I cannot say!

I think I will save my stories and pictures about Super PDay for the next email (that way, you will get a whole weeks worth of stories in that email... also, we took about a kabillion pictures!), so look forward to that!

I have really been loving reading through old conference talks.  If you have a favorite, feel free to recommend it to me!  I really loved Uchtdorf's talk on patience from April 2010.  Go check it out!

I really appreciate everyone who has emailed and written me!!  Please continue doing so :)  Feel free to send pictures!  I would LOVE to see what you all dressed up as for Halloween!!!

I love you all!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna