Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Month of Memories

One characteristic that I often respect in others is their ability to make memories - to create special moments with friends and family and then to cherish them.  My problem is, I always seem to have misplaced my camera somewhere and have to rely on the memory making of others!  Such was the case at several special events we've had lately, and now that I've borrowed the pictures from friends, I thought I would share them with you.

As the co-sponsor of the Senior Class at ICSB, this year I was responsible for encouraging (guiding, prodding, and sometimes forcing) the students to plan a huge fundraising auction.  It's our last big fundraiser before the kids plan their senior trip, and since we had almost half of our money still to raise, I felt a lot of pressure for this event to be a success.  I found myself extremely stressed out the weeks leading up to the big night - it seems that the Lord still has a lot to teach me about how I am never in control :) 

We also served a taco salad dinner - this pic is of me at Tesco with all the tortilla chips!  Yummmm!

The morning of the big day it snowed over 10 inches, and since we don't even have a shovel at our house, I had to use a plastic sled to scrape a path out of the driveway.  (I actually got stuck in the driveway and my roommate and some high school girls had to push me out!)  I took this pic later in the day, but you get the idea!

Anyways, the auction happened, the kids worked hard, people came, and people spent their money for a good cause!  And now we are going to be able to go somewhere warm and sunny in just a few short months! 

Here are some pics from the event.  We had an Olympic theme - costumes and decorations, and sold fun items like Peanut Butter, Cake Mixes, Bath and Body Works, Lucky Charms, and much, much, more!

Another highlight of this past month was our Spiritual Emphasis Week here at school.  Each year we take one week to be especially intentional about encouraging our students to walk closer with the Lord.  We shorten academic classes and lunches, and add a chapel hour to each day.  We also have small groups and enrichment times on campus during a few evenings.  This year the high school focused on tangible ways they could grow closer to the Lord.  It was exciting to watch how He worked in their lives and I can't wait to see some of the things He taught them play out in their everyday lives. 

On a lighter note - here are some more fun things I've been up to lately...

Last month meatballs were on sale at IKEA for 100 HUF (around $0.50 for 10 meatballs and some mashed potatoes).  This is all that was left by the time I got out my camera.
We had a surprise birthday party in Algebra 1 for one of my students.

In Geometry we ordered pizza, cut it into different shapes, and found the area.  Not to worry - we ate some pizza, too!

This weekend was the High School Valentine's Banquet.  We had dinner at a hotel right on the Danube - so much fun!  Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Monday, January 04, 2010

An Overdue Update

So much has happened since I last added an entry to this blog, and I as I begin, I'm a little hesitant about what I should include.  For the sweet few of you who actually read these - hope you enjoy my ramblings.

For the last couple of months I've been homesick.  Living thousands of miles away from family, it comes and goes on a regular basis, but lately I've just wanted to sit on the couch in my parents' living room, drink some coffee, and hug my mom.  It's a long way and a good bit of money, so I decided I was just going to tough it out here in Hungary.  Then, in November, my tax refund (enough for a trans-Atlantic flight) arrived.  I prayed about the decision, talked to some people I respect, and ended up buying a ticket home for the week of Christmas!  Yay!

I was supposed to leave on Saturday....

As you probably know, it snowed a great deal on the east coast that weekend and things didn't go as I had planned.  My flights were cancelled and/or delayed for 24 hours.  I spent 5 1/2 hours on hold with Delta and listened to "Frosty the Snowman" more times than I'd like to recall.  I spent 6 hours in the Budapest airport on Sunday chatting with a professional basketball player who had been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  I ran through the airport in Paris and still missed my flight to Atlanta (along with at least 30 other people).  I stood in line for 2.5 hours and met a lovely missionary from the Mercy Ships who was trying to get to Albequerque to see her family and a saxophonist from the music conservatory in Paris.  I spent the night in a hotel in Paris (much less exciting than it sounds).  And then on Monday I made it home to Kings Mountain.  Ahhh....

My time in the US had been shortened to only 3 and a half days - definitely not the way I would have done things.  I missed seeing some of my closest friends and that was a huge disappointment.  (Sorry I didn't get to give you a good-bye hug, B!)  But I did have a wonderful time with my family.  Even with all the rushing and hurrying around to see people, I had a blast.  I am so thankful for the time I had, and I'm sure the Lord is teaching me quite a few lessons about Who is in control in the process.

Here are a few pics my mom took while I was at home.  I got them from her facebook page, so they're sort of tiny :)

My cousins Laura and Challen and me on Christmas day.

My cousin's son putting the nativity to sleep.

My wonderful grandparents.  Love you Nani and Papa!

After my whirlwind trip in America, I ventured back to Hungary to meet my friend Laura.  She was my roommate for two years here in Hungary and came back for a Christmas visit.  It was wonderful to see her and we had so much fun together. 

We went to the Christmas market...

had dinner with friends...

and enjoyed being tourists in Budapest.

School begins tomorrow - it's going to be a whirlwind of a semester!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Kitchen Adventures at Christmastime

I love making goodies during the holidays - coconut bonbons, peanut butter balls, fudge, orange balls, peppermint bark.....yum! When I lived in the US I made them all, but now that I live overseas I seem to be able to tackle only one tasty treat a year.

So, this year I chose orange coconut balls - and here's my story. Coconut orange balls call for chopped nuts, but I don't have a nut chopper. At the grocery I found walnuts, but no chopper. Not to worry: I discovered a nut grinder on the kitchen aisle. Here's a picture of my new nut grinder. It's a beauty. You put the nuts in the top and turn the handle.......

And here's a nice little picture of the inside. Tada.Next comes Nilla Wafers. They don't sell those here, but they do sell similar types of cookies. I crushed them in the nut grinder to make sure I got my money's worth out of that contraption.

The recipe also calls for condensed orange juice. For the first batch I used regular OJ, but the finished product didn't turn out very orangey. They don't sell condensed juice here, so on try #2 I boiled the OJ a little so that some of the water would evaporate. It wasn't completely successful, but better.
And here's the finished product - a gift for my student teacher. Disclaimer: After buying the nut grinder I discovered ground nuts at the grocery store. Woops!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where did I put my electric rollers?

I got a haircut today, and I must say, it is delightful. (Or at least I think it will be once I get to style it for myself.) I took a few pics to share with you because the "do" I got today reminds me of being in high school again.

The hairstylists here in Hungary have redefined blow-drying for me. To them, it is an art like I have never seen. I think it takes them twice as long to style my hair than it does to shampoo and cut it, but boy does it look sleek and shiny when I leave.

Today was a little different, though. The girl who cut my hair asked if I wanted "blow-dry, curly, or straight". When I said I didn't care, she said, "Ok, a little curly." I wasn't too sure what that meant, so I thought I'd let you know.

It means....

She got two round metal brushes and used them like hot rollers, taking pieces of my hair and rolling it around them until my hair cooled in curls. For a while I had so much metal in my head I thought I was going to pick up a radio signal.
The result? Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. And I thought this look was only cool in the 10th grade. I took a few pics in the bathroom so you could see :) I'm not great at self-portraits, so be gracious.


Last year for Thanksgiving I visited Krakow, Poland with some friends. I loved the city, the architecture, and especially their Christmas market. Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp used by the Nazis during WWII, is only an hour or so from Krakow, and that's where we spent our Thanksgiving day. We feasted on potato pancakes for lunch, but mostly I just remember a monumental feeling of sadness and loss. I can't say that I wasn't thankful for God's blessings in my life after that experience, but I can say that I was ready for a turkey and all the fixin's this time around!

My roommate Kim and I were invited to join several other families for a Thanksgiving celebration and we had a blast. We played games, shared memories of previous holidays, and ate a whole lot of good food.

My friend Deb bought the turkey - 16 kilos - at a little store in her neighborhood, and it was so big it barely fit in the oven. (I think it actually did break some glass on the way in!) We had green bean casserole, cheesy mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cranberries, rolls, cider, salads, and more pies than you can shake a turkey leg at!

The picture below is of me displaying our dish full of leftovers. I'm looking forward to partaking of that real soon :) Please note the size of the turkey leg.

Here's the turkey itself and Kim acting very impressed at its size. You'll notice there were 15 of us and we only at about 1/3 of that bird! Turkey sandwiches here we come!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmastime is Hungary, anyways...

The commercialization of Christmas is in full force here in Hungary. I went to the mall this weekend and my favorite Christmas tree is now decorated. It's about two stories tall, but the fake snow is only on the bottom 3 feet or so - only at eye level. Apparently at the mall, snow falls from the ground up. Go figure.

This weekend my roommate Kim and I attended a delightful perfomance of Narnia (the musical) put on by a group of homeschool kids in our community. Beforehand we went Christmas decoration window-shopping. I took some pictures at Kika that I thought I would share with you.

This glitzy thing is probably an angel - we weren't totally sure.

Here is Kim with angel wings...isn't she cute!

I tried on some reindeer antlers, but the pair I picked up was broken, so my antlers are a little floppy.

On a more interesting note, there were trees hung from the ceiling throughout the store. I'm going to have to do a little more research on that one...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Partied Out

I think I am partied out. Tonight I sat in my green chair, surfed the Internet, chatted with my wonderful friend Bethany, read a book, and relaxed. This is the life! As much as I enjoy organized fun, I think I've hit my threshold for a while!

It all began with my friend Becca's birthday dinner. We ate at a Greek place in town and watched Nicholas Nickelby (a Dickens movie) afterwards. It's more depressing than celebratory, but that's ok. There are some redeeming aspects for sure.

The next night I helped with a fall party for kids in the school community. My friend Becky was in charge, so I came and manned the cupcake walk. As you can see from the picture below, I decided to dress as a bed-head. It sounded like a great idea - put on your pajamas at 4pm and wear them for the rest of the day.

My only mistake was adding the facial mask. Those things can get a little itchy after three hours! I also went to a teacher party afterwards but by that time I was no longer white-faced. These pores can only take so much exfoliating.My roommate Kim turned 30 on Monday, so Hannah (another roommate) and I threw her a surprise party that night. We did a pretty good job fooling her and I think I might have seen tears well up in her eyes whe she opened the door.
The pic above is of Kim blowing out her candles. Hannah made lemon pies and I made brownies. We put the candles in the brownies. Lesson learned? Candles will melt into the chocolate if you put them in the brownies before they cool.

We also gave Kim gifts - 30 of something. She got 30 chocolate bars, 30 paper clips, 30 chocolate chips, 30 gummies, 30 toilet paper pieces, etc. I discovered yesterday that she is storing all her chocolate in her desk at school, so I think I'm going to begin helping her get rid of it all. Tuesday night we went to see Phantom of the Opera - in Hungarian! Note the impressive pose below. The show was awesome - great music, amazing set, and thankfully, subtitles. We had seats on the first row of the balcony which was a great view.

Last night, the youth group at my church came over for pancakes & praise and worship. I went to McCafe for a caramel latte.

Needless to say, I'm hoping the celebrating is over for at least a week. I can't take much more of this!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Holiday Goodies

I love baking holiday treats - yummy smells in the kitchen and great friends to enjoy them with. Since tonight I'm attending a few fall parties, I decided I would try a new idea I found on the Internet.

We can't buy Candy Corn here in Hungary, so I made my own! My roommate Kim "accidentally" stuck her hand on one a few minutes ago. That meant she had to eat it, and apparently they are pretty tasty!