Sunday, October 20, 2013

WHERE: A couch and some place new

My brother Miki is featured this blog post!  It was super windy
on top of the mountain and we snuggled for warmth
while admiring the view!
I’m sorry for the couple of weeks that have passed without a blog post!!  Between the kindergarten, tutoring at the Tanoda, dance class, taekwondo, hiking, and teaching Sunday School; I’ve been busy.  And I feel comfortable and more settled in…less likely to slip away to my room by myself to write alone.  I’ve been hanging out with my family a lot horseback riding in the Pilis hills, visiting all four grandparents for a weekend, and chilling watching Hungarian animated films on the couch.

Speaking of family and couches, take a look at these gems.  These people right here are very near and dear to my heart.  They’re my family back in New Orleans. And aren’t they just adorable!  Almost every single night after dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, they head to the living room to turn on Comedy Central to watch The Colbert Report and the John Daily show.  My mom almost never makes it to The Daily Show.  Sometimes, just sometimes Dad makes it all the way through.  They fall asleep on the couch and snooze until one or the other wakes up to head to bed. 

Angela and I after Thanksgiving dinner 2012.
Mom and Dad basically every night.
My parents instilled in me a great love of sleeping on the couch.  And I think my sister would agree.  There’s just something about snoozing on the couch when you have nothing better to do or no need to be anywhere else.  I can’t explain it, I just love sleeping on the couch and feeling completely comfortable in my own home.  It feels like quite an accomplishment then to sleep on the couch here, to snooze during the movie Saturday night, and to hang out in sweatpants and a t-shirt on Sundays after church.  I’m two months into my YAGM year, and I feel confident and comfortable in my host community.

It’s been pretty normal in the kindergarten, filled with lots of playing and crafting and eating.  Though, one day we ventured out of our comfortable cottage and off the grounds we normally play on in the morning.  Across the railroad tracks and up a gravel road we walked, hand in hand to the edge of the forest.  Ahead there was clearly a path leading into the foliage.  The path was only wide enough for one person so the little ones hesitantly let go of our hands to explore further.

A view of the Pilis hills.  I feel like I'm in North Carolina!
I felt like I was back at Lutheridge walking up Wilderness Trail to breakfast.  The dampness of the previous rain was still evident and gave a refreshing chill to the air, but the sun fought through the canopy above and warmed the goosebumps off my arms.  I expected to hear birds chirping, but instead I began to hear a different type of chirping.

Little Hungarian voices filled the path with rounds and rounds of mi ez?  Mi ez is the Hungarian equivalent to the English “what is this?”  Upon squatting to see what the little finger was pointing at, I replied “gomba.”  It was a little white mushroom, and fortunately I knew the vocabulary for that one.  The next mi ez finger was pointed at a metallic blue beetle perched on a leaf.  I had to let the other teacher say that one,  they don’t teach you the word for beetle in Hungarian 101.

For the continuation of our hike , a mi ez followed with almost every footstep.  The teachers began to laugh and jokingly roll their eyes at every question, but they patiently answered.  Upon being in a new environment, the children were filled with curiosity and a sense of exploration to learn new things and become familiar with their surroundings.

I know I began this post commenting on how great it is to be comfortable and to feel familiar with a place.  Comforts of home and familiar surroundings bring a certain type of peace and contentment. But, the children reminded me of the benefits of venturing out of what is familiar and into situations that invoke curiosity and questioning.  Among our schedules and monotonous routines we sometimes can forget about all that there is to explore and discover.  It’s easy for this to happen at home, and I’ve learned it’s easy even in a foreign country. 

It takes energy and a mindful purpose to venture out of what is routine and comfortable. The children remind me that the new knowledge and experience gained in unfamiliar places and uncomfortable situations is almost magical, and so worth it.  So, I’m thankful for the couch that I feel comfortable enough to sleep on, so that I can rest and be restored to have the energy to ask “Mi ez? ” and throw myself into more new and maybe uncomfortable settings. 

More later

And good said, "It was God!"

The past two weeks my responsibilities have extended to teaching Sunday school at our congregation with the grade-school children.  At first I was nervous to be responsible for such a task, not confident in my ability to communicate simple sentences, much less teach the Gospel.  But I have come to look forward to Sunday mornings and very much enjoy my time with the young adults.

Last week we read the creation story, and as we learned the numbers 1-7 we also learned the simple vocabulary of what was created on each day.  Regardless of how the earth was actually created, or how long it actually took, I believe God had everything to do with it.  And the incredible Hungarian accents reminded me of something else I truly believe.

Check out this super amateur video we made!

Aren’t the kids precious!!?? And they speak English quite well!  Sometimes their pronunciation of  “God” and “good” sound the same, and sometimes they forget how the “oo” sounds.

Instead of saying, “God said, ‘It was good’”.  They would sometimes say, “Good said, ‘It was God!” This mistake could not have made a greater theological point. 

The overwhelming interpretation of “God said it was good” is that God was pleased with his perfect creation.  He was so well pleased that on the seventh day he rested to enjoy in the magnificence of his creation.  But as we all know, a little later down the road a man and a woman named Adam and Eve tainted the image of “good”  Even though Adam and Eve meant no harm to God, sin entered the world and all that was good was infected with the urge to do wrong.  Though we constantly seek to do good, sinful nature seems to occur.  Lutherans especially recognize this predicament, that we are simultaneously saint and sinner.  And rather than being caught in the dilemma of being 100% sinner, we rejoice in being 100% saint through the grace of Jesus Christ.

This Romans verse takes a couple of readings to make sense of the dilemma, but it’s worth a read.

Romans 7:19-25
"I want to do what is good, but I don’t.  I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.  I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.  
But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.  This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am!  Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God!  The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."

All that is bad is the sin living inside of us, and all that is good is God living through us.  All that is good is God!  Thanks be to God for those Hungarian accents!

More later