Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Well, to say that this was a trip about travelling would be a lie. I went with 5 other girls from my church by car. Ah yes. The total gas price was horrendous. Anyways, I chose to put this on my blog because out of all the experiences that I have been through, this one changed me the most.
The conference itself started May 19th and lasted till the 23rd. From 7 to 10 o' clock I was doing one of three activities: learning about God, worshipping, and eating. I must say that I was really well fed during this trip, both spiritually and carnally. It was amazing how refreshed I felt when I came back to Debrecen. The theme of the conference was servanthood. They spoke of how being a leader means primarily being a servant of God. By the end of the conference, all I desired in my heart, was to glorify God in everything I did. This is still my goal, but it is much harder when I'm not delving in the word 24/7.
I also got to experience some great fellowship with the women in my church. They were all so friendly to me, even though there was an age gap of about 10 years. They shared with me much of their wisdom and life experiences. More than anything else, it was encouraging.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
So the next thing that we did was go to the thermal baths which was nice because everyone was thoroughly moistened after the downpour. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the baths in Gyula but to be honest, they looked like the Hajdúszobúszlo baths only with a less bluish tinge. However that is not to say that they weren't still of a brownish hue.
Our large group enjoyed migrating from one bath to the next, starting in the coldest and ending in the hottest. It was funny because all the girls stayed on one side of the pool while the boys caused rucus on the other side, acting like 13 year olds. The funniest moment was when we all sat next to this old man who had clearly been enjoying that particular pool for at least an hour. He was making a thermal water fountain with his hands over and over again. We all admired this feat and tried to imitate his technique to no avail. The man was a pro.
After being in the thermal baths for two hours, when our legs felt leaden and our fingers were like dried cranberries, we decided it was time to go. The rain ceased long enough for us to make it to the restaurant and then proceeded to come back. Once at the restaurant, we sat at two tables. Our table was the quiet one and the other table throughout the entire dinner played a memorization game involving a rather large list of random animals. Our tactic in participating was to yell out "bear" at random times. After about 30 minutes of doing this, we lost interest and expanded our category to the most unique animals we could think of like "quetzal" and "anteater." This succeeded in entertaining us for the rest of the night.
As for the restaurant itself, I have seen better ones. This was definitely one aimed at people like us. I scanned the menu for the weirdest combination of ingredients. After the 10th "porkchops with vegetables" option, I was beginning to lose hope, when suddenly, my eyes fell upon what could only be called touristy. Oh yes, I ordered a Gyula pizza. With the Gyuli sausage and a typical Hungarian touch of egg, how could I resist? Nagyon finom volt!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
So I dont know if you can see but Gyula is that small yellow dot in the bottom right corner of Hungary. By bus, it took about two and a half hours but in the end, it was worth it. Gyula is known for its kolbász, 100 year-old pastry shop, called the "One Hundred Years Cukrászda," thermal baths, and for its castle. I experienced 3 out of 4 of these so I am content.
I was invited by Marketa, my Czech friend in my Hungarian class to accompany her with Holly. Holly and I decided to go with them but we didnt quite know what to expect. When we arrived at the bus station, there were 18 other Erasmus (something like Rotary only with colleges) students from all over the world. It was so much fun even though we didn't know anyone.
The first place we went to was the castle which we learned was over 1000 years old!
This is the hook they hung people on! There was also a wheel they used to break the bones by twisting but some things are best not caught on camera.
Yes, the Gyuli were quite violent with their medieval technology. Believe it or not, posing for the picture with my head in that wooden block was quite painful and several onlookers were quite worried about the crushing rate of the block on my neck.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Well, the winter holiday was definitely interesting but I had fun as well. I will first tell you about Christmas Eve, which is when Hungarians generally do all the things that make Christmas in Hungary unique.
It was a great day... The day before I spent the whole day Christmas shopping for Alex, Teag, my host mom, and Nóri, my host sister. For my host mom, I bought two elf candles since she loves candles and a bottle of Gucci perfume. She almost cried when she opened it.
Yesterdays festivities started with tree decorating. We played some modern Hungarian Christmas music and put szaloncukor, Hungarian Christmas chocolates wrapped in colorful foil wrappers on paperclips to hang on the tree. Then we hung ornaments in such an excess that when we were done, I wasn't sure whether the tree was more red or green.
An hour or so later, we put sparklers in the tree and lit two of them with the lights off. When they finished, the lights came on and we kissed each other and said, "Boldog Karácsonyt!" Then we opened gifts.
Afterwards, we had dinner. Erika cooked a salmon, fried chicken filled with plum sauce, mashed potatoes, and potato salad. Everything was delicious. Then, for dessert, she made a log cake with dark chocolate icing and little mushrooms sticking up all over it. Inside were swirls of chocolate icing and chocolate cake.
To end the nice day, Erika, Nóri, and I went on a walk. No one was out so all was peaceful. There was about a centimeter of sonow on everything so it made it feel even more magical. The lake was frozen over so Erika and I walk on it. We went to the Klinikák (where Nóri and Csaba were born) and back. It was great.
A day before Christmas Eve, my uncle took me to Budapest for a day with his family and I was able to try the traditional Hungarian fish soup (Halászlé) It was so good and it didn't really taste like fish. After going to the restaurant, we went to Parliament and to a place called Bethlehem Ház were people dressed up and told the Christmas story. They sang Christmas songs in Hungarian and it was fascinating. I really feel close to my uncle and I will be sad to say goodbye to his family. He came the day after Christmas to our house and we had another Christmas celebration. His whole family sang Christmas carols while the sparklers were lit. Afterwards, since my host sister participated in a Domino competition a month ago, my uncle made a new competition between my sister and him. It was really cute and my uncle ended up winning (until his tower toppled)