Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 30, 2016


Short email for this week, because we don't have much time!

A lot happened this week, but here's two of the important parts from it:

1.) Riding back on the train from Klára's house and a visit to the Eszári family this week, we ended up hopping onto a party car, full of kids probably 15-20 and all heading to the same place on Friday night. Everybody had a bottle of wine in their hand (presumable taken from their parents, because alcohol can't legally be purchased by people their age, and wine is not the typical, most economical way to get drunk fast on a weekend), and they were all laughing hysterically at anything and everything that happened around them. Anyways, we didn't notice until a few minutes into the ride that another man was laying down on a bench by the window near the back, where we were standing. He was a lot older, and not drunk like the other people on the train, and we asked him how he was doing. He said that he was doing good, which we followed by the question "Where are you going right now? Home?" To which he replied, "I'm not going home. I don't have a home." A long pause followed, as we nodded in understanding and waited for him to say something else. He looked at our nametags and the books we were holding in our hands, smiled, and said, "Neither did Jesus, but he didn't give up on life, either." We didn't have much time to say anything else, because the next stop was his, and he was on his way out the door. Watson had been holding a few bananas in his hand that the Eszlári family had given to us as we left their home, and he handed them to the stranger just before the doors closed and the train pulled away. The man smiled, kindly said, "thank you," and waved as the train moved on. I guess I just liked this story, because it's interesting how the people with the least in life sometimes have the most at the same time.

2.) Hungarian law says that residents of the country who live here for more than a year need to have an official, Hungarian driver's license instead of a standard international one. My one year mark in the country was this week, so I'm not driving anymore after the transfer onFebruary 10! I'm a little bit sad about that, because I really like driving here, and it helps us get way more done, but we'll just have to make it work with what we have. Better luck next time, I guess!

I think those are pretty much the main things that I wanted to share from this week! Maybe I'll have more time to tell more stories next week. Until then, hope you're all doing well and having good adventures! Love you all! :)

We were over on the Pest side for a little bit of p-day today,
since Watson wanted to buy a couple of souvenirs for his 
family before going home. It was so foggy!

Just across the river! The light pole got in the way.

Parliament building right before the sun goes down

Made some super good sandwiches for lunch the other day.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 23, 2016


Another fast week. We had lots to do here in Buda on Monday and Tuesday, and we were getting everything ready on Wednesday to hit the road again and visit Győr, since there was a zone training held there on Thursday morning. It started to snow a little bit again on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, so we had slippery roads again for a little bit before all the snow melted away again.

The missionaries from Tatabánya have been really sick lately, so they've come up to Budapest to stay close to the mission home and the doctors here in the big city. After it was deemed okay for them to return back to Tatabánya, we ended up taking them back to Győr, and they rode a train the rest of the way back.

After the zone training in Győr, we stayed and had a split with the zone leaders currently there. Elder Gonzalez just happened to be one of them, so I was lucky enough to have another day with my trainer! It was really interesting to be with him again, since I couldn't speak Hungarian to save my life when I was with him last. I hadn't really noticed the changes or the improvement that I've made with Hungarian since then, but it was easier to realize some of the progress that had been made in the time after we left Nyíregyháza. Győr's also a very nice city, and it has a lot of nice people in it. We had a good time visiting a lot of the missionaries' friends there!

We drove back to Budapest on Friday morning. Today, we headed to Szentendre to play some basketball with a family who lives in the city there. The weather was really cold today--it was about -10 degrees Celsius when we started to warm up on the basketball court outside. The cold weather didn't bother us too much, though, and ended up having a fun time of playing "21" and "Knock-out" with the Láloczky family!

I think that's just about all the news for this week! Hope everything was good for everyone at home! Same time next week! :)

I got creative with cooking this week and made this for lunch one day. 
It's sliced bell peppers filled with cream cheese and goose (it was on 
sale at the market) plated with fresh cucumbers. It was pretty good!

(Visit to Győr this week on Thursday and Friday)
The walking street in downtown Győr

Győr has a pretty square in the center of the city

Also part of the square

They say Győr is "Találkozások Városa"--the city of meetings!

Went to a gyros restaurant for lunch in Győr, and
they had ancient Roman ruins on display under 
the glass floor. I guess that's fairly common here...

Sunset by the river in Győr

Cool Jewish synagogue

Splits with Gonzalez in Győr--one year since Nyíregyháza!

Assorted pictures from while we were in Győr that turned out kind of cool:

Zone leaders in Győr showed us their favorite place, a restaurant on a boat.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 16, 2016

Hi, everyone!

Had a really good week this week! So busy, the whole time. Started off with MLC earlier in the week, when all the zone leaders came in to Budapest from all the other, smaller cities around the country.

After that, Elder Evans (one of the zone leaders from Miskolc) and I went out contacting people. We had addresses of different people to look up, and we concentrated mostly on the ones that were really far away, since missionaries without a car seldom have an opportunity to visit places like that. Probably the most memorable experience of the night was driving to Visegrad, where we were told an old member lived who no one had heard from in years. We made the drive there just as it started to rain really hard, and the windy road through the mountain pass to get there was a little bit slippery in places. We followed our car's GPS to the destination, only to find out that the address was a fake one, and we had been sent to the front door of the castle of Visegrad. Because we had driven all that way, we figured we might as well take a few pictures of the castle before heading on to the other appointments for the night.

Other than that, we've just been really busy taking care of lots of stuff this week! It's good to be busy, especially because the sun was out a few of the days this week, and that was super nice. I think that's all the major news for this week!

Hope everyone's doing well! Love you all lots! Talk more next time! :)

Race car in the mall in Budapest! Maybe Pres will let us take it for a spin....;)

Oops... lookup turns out to be a castle...

The driveway to the castle

And its front door

Pretty town of Visegrad, split by the Duna River

No one was home, so we drove away from the castle by the exit ramp.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 9, 2016


Well, I think a lot of what happened this week was already summed up in some of the pictures, but here's the rest of it!

We had a super fun split with the Székesfehérvár elders on Tuesday, and we got a lot of good contacting done in Békásmegyer and Budakeszi! It snowed a TON on Tuesday, and that was the first time I've ever really had to drive on snow and ice. It's not quite like the warm winters I'm used to back at home in Arizona, but it was fun to try something else for a change! Snow is so MESSY. It's really fun for a few hours right after it's fallen, because it's nice and white and you can play in it and all, but then it becomes black and brown from dirt and cars and it makes everything muddy and covered in sludge, and the roads get slippery and it's different.

Wednesday, we had new missionary training for the missionaries who just came into the country most recently, and we both felt like it was one of the best trainings we'd given so far.

Thursday morning, we left Buda to go to Szeged for splits with the zone leaders there. The roads were wet, icy, and slippery on the way there, and there was a lot more snow in the countryside than there was in Budapest. It was fun to be in Szeged again, though, because it's such a pretty city with lots of culture and history. Elder Wilcox and I felt like we were serving with each other again back in Érd! The split was a great one, and then we visited the Kecskemét missionaries and brought them their mail on our way back to Budapest on Fridayafternoon.

We had an awesome meeting with Virág yesterday! That was probably one of the highlights of the week so far. She's so nice, and she really wants to figure out what to do with her life to make it better. We're pretty lucky to have great people like her to be our friends here. :)

I think that's most of the news! Anyways, hope everyone has a good week! Talk to you more next time! :)

Splits on Tuesday with the elders from Székesfehérvár!
They came up to Buda for a day for splits with us,
and I went with Elder Peregoy to do some contacting
work out in Békásmegyer. Ended up snowing a ton!
That was the first time I'd ever driven on snow
and ice! Way good split, though. :)

Pictures from trying to make a fire

Went up to a place called János Hegy with some of our friends on p-day last week, because we were gonna build a little campfire up here and roast some stuff over the fire and have a fun time like that, but it turns out that Hungarian wood just didn't want to burn! Plus, shortly after I took this picture is when we started to build the fire, and it started to snow really hard and we didn't end up being able to rakni a tűz. It was fun anyways, but everyone teased me and Watson that we both must be those kind of Eagle Scouts who only have an American Eagle Scout award, not an international one because we couldn't perform under pressure to make a fire.

Békásmegyer, all snowed-up

Splits in Szeged! Had a super fun time going back with
Elder Wilcox for a day, since he's for sure one of my
best friends out here. Szeged is a really pretty city, and
they just got a new branch house there that is really outstanding.

While on splits in Szeged, a lot of snow unexpectedly came at once, and then all started to melt, meaning wet slush was all over. Wilcox and I walked around for a few hours in it and did a lot of good work without any problems, and then my feet got pretty cold because the holes in the bottom let in a lot of the water and snow. Not very fun to have wet feet when it's cold, so we took a few minutes' break and ran to a shoe store to get something waterproof that would be warmer.

Finally kicking the dust after a year and 2 months

I thought CAT just makes tractors, but it turns out 
they make shoes too, I guess. Chose some conservative
black ones so that they don't stand out too much
with a suit and tie. Saved my life in the snow.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January 2, 2016


Happy New Year's! Hope everyone was safe in America, and that it wasn't too cold! It was -13 degrees Celcius here in Budapest, so we were a little bit freezing. It was fun to spend some time with our friends here in Buda on New Year's Eve! We were over at Virág's, one of our cool friends who lives in Budaörs. We hung out a little bit, played some games, and had some good New Year's food! Then, we headed back home to Hajnóczy before it got too late, and jumped into the YSA party at Hajnóczy to visit with a few of our friends who had come up from around the country. After that was over, we walked home and went to sleep. Most of the Hungarians drink a lot and set off these things called "petárda"s--basically giant-sized firecrackers that are illegal because of their unpredictable nature and tendency to blow up before users throw them. They're VERY loud, and they sound like little grenades or bombs going off. Illegal or not, everyone was running around the streets, throwing them at buildings and into squares and stuff here by Széll Kálmán, so we listened to all the warsounds from up in our apartment.

We also had splits in Kispest on Wednesday! It got pretty interesting when we went to go contact some people in some old, 10-story communist apartments in the middle of Pest. A pretty good portion of the people there in that building were actually Asian immigrants, who spoke neither English nor Hungarian. It quickly turned into a game of sharades as we tried to describe with noises and motions that we were missionaries from America who were looking to talk to people about religion and faith. By the time we had given up, they still had no idea what we were doing and we had no more tricks up our sleeve, so we ended up just smiling and laughing with them about the whole thing.

Mátyás, the soccer trainer friend who was just baptized a few weeks ago, surprised President Szabadkai's daughter with a proposal atmidnight on Christmas Eve! They're now officially engaged, and they're planning a wedding in May! Everyone in the Szabadkai family seems pretty excited about that, and Mátyás himself was so stoked and nervous to propose to Luca. He kept us in his most inner circle of trusted confidants (naturally,), and told us about his plans before anyone else.

I think that's pretty much all the big news for this week! Hope you all had a good New Year's, and that you're all happy and having adventures! :)

Spending time at Virág's house on New Year's Eve!

Elder Wilcox and Sister Layton last week in the mission home!
Two of my best friends out here. :)

Italian visitors in church!

Nope, not a car accident. This is just how parking in Budapest is.

That's stinkin' close

Some typical apartments out in Kispest

Sunset in Pest

Doorbell-ception. When one doorbell stops working, 
just put another one right on top! Problem solved. 
The bottom bell is literally two buttons on top of each other.