Saturday, September 28, 2013

WHERE: A Napközi

This space serves as the main playroom throughout the day in the family day care center.  All the books on that shelf are in Hungarian or German, yet the children patiently sit in my lap as I stutter through them.

Welcome to my office.  I’ve only been here two weeks and have already secured two windows and a leadership role supervising 8 to 10 people daily.  The people all have at least 1-2 years of experience and do a few things well on their own such as communicating with each other, being creative, and using all of the resources in this office.  Other tasks require my guidance and help like tying shoes, using tissues, and eating soup.

Looking from the backyard onto my office building,
that fence in front provokes some conflict as the children
argue who gets to open the gate before play time.
I have been spending most of my days in the napközi, a family day care center for children ages 1-5 in Piliscsaba.  Here they call it Kindergarten, but it’s most similar to day care in the USA.  On any given day we can have 5-10 children ranging from little ones that can barely walk to taller ones that talk and talk.  I am joined by the main teachers who help guide the children throughout the day through snack time, crafts, music, playtime, and most importantly- naptime. 
Backyard bliss.

I enjoy playing on the floor with the children and navigating Hungarian children’s books… very slowly.  I also very much enjoy playing in the garden out back in the mornings.  The scenery is beautiful and refreshing, and allows the little ones to exert a lot of energy before lunch and nap time.  I have found that I’m best at playing cat and dog because, fortunately the sounds that those creatures make are bilingual.  

Sometimes though it is difficult to not be able to communicate with words with my little ones.  It saddens me to not be able to comfort an upset child through words or reasoning, but sometimes me talking to them in English confuses them enough that the tears stop anyways.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not that much of a help because I can’t convince Zsofi to come put her shoes on because I don’t have the words to do so.  And, all little Eszter wanted was her stuffed animal from under the table but I couldn’t pick out the words from her teary mumbles to figure it out. 

Because of this, I love meal time.  Though this may come as a surprise to my mother, I actually am fluent in washing and drying dishes and sweeping and mopping,.  My hands can be hard at work during meal times and I am thankful for the opportunity to feel like I am actually contributing.  Sometimes I battle with the thought that  I have a degree from Tulane University in Business Management and my most important tasks for the day include cleaning up the kitchen after lunch and getting shoes on seven little people.  And then I remember how difficult it actually is to convince seven little ones who don’t speak your language to sit down and put their shoes on.  And then I am also reminded of how happy I am at the end of every day.

I could not be happier washing dishings, mopping floors, and tying shoes.  As my good friend Mari said, “It’s good to be reminded that you are not above washing dishes.”  And, I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  I really actually think that at this moment I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do be doing.  And right now that’s cleaning the kitchen and playing cat and dog.

Back during orientation we discussed the difference between choosing to serve and actually being a servant.  I can now better understand the reality that I did not choose to serve in Hungary this year, but rather that I was called to be a servant among this community for the next year.  And for that I am grateful, and completely content.  I can’t explain how amazingly peaceful that feeling is.  Props to the Holy Spirit for doing it’s thing.

More Later!

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