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 inwandering 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 Charlieteacher (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,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 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, 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 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