Some of the highlights of my time in Nyíregyháza so far:
- Singing in the church choir on Sundays. It reminds me so much of the church choir back home at Bethel, and everyone is so kind and welcoming, and I get to speak German with a lot of them. Oh my goodness, I just love it. This will definitely get a blog post this year.
- Going to Tokaj, a picturesque town not far from where I live that is famous for its wine. I went with two of the other YAGM volunteers and a new friend we made for the annual wine festival. It was so beautiful: there is actually a hill there, it is at the confluence of two rivers (not like the Missouri and Mississippi, but still significant), and the leaves were just starting to change colors. I wish I could show you the pictures we took, but they fell in a river. It was a blast.
- Trying new food at the daily shelter for the homeless, where I help serve lunch everyday. The cooking doesn't take place there, but I still get to try new food in the lunch that is delivered, and when my coworkers occasionally cook food for the staff. Turns out I love cabbage and liver (not necessarily together).
- Playing cards with the kids at the women and family shelter where I work. After I leave the daily shelter at 1:30, I take the bus to the family shelter where I stay until 6:00. When the kids get back from school, I help some with their English homework, or play with some of the kids until I have to leave. So far I have taught them Go Fish, and we have also played Uno! They absolutely love Go Fish, and it feels good to see them get excited to spend time with me. They have christened me "Miri," and I love to have another nickname. The days are long, but the time I get to spend with the kids is definitely worth it.
Some of the scariest things I've done so far:
- I was the cantor at church one Sunday, which is not what you think. No singing was involved; it just means I was the organist. I only had the chance to practice about 1.5 hours the day before on a piano, and that morning was the first time I had ever played an organ. Mind, the service was in Hungarian, so I also had very little idea what was going on, and was grateful that I just played everything at the right time, with the help of many head nods from the pastors. Thankfully the music was pretty easy, but holy cow was it terrifying. I'm glad I did it though, because at least now the whole congregation will remember me.
Me playing a harmonium (not an organ) for a different worship than I mentioned above, at the home for women with special needs.
- I tried to go to the post office by myself. I have no idea what happened. All I know is that they didn't have the letter even though I had a note saying they did, and they told me to come back the next day. I did, but I asked someone to come with me this time. They did have the letter the next day, so maybe it was a success.
- Going to work everyday. Don't worry, Mom and Dada, I'm not actually scared of the places I work, or the people I work with. Everyone everywhere I go has been so kind and welcoming. What's scary is trying to communicate in a language I don't really know, and being afraid that I will embarrass myself. And what I'm afraid of even more than embarrassing myself, is being a burden. It is clear that my presence is not essential to the function of these institutions, and my hope everyday is that my presence does not make it more difficult for them to perform their intended functions.