I thought it was time for another update. Plus, God has been blessing our socks off today, and I love sharing those stories. It seems unreal that we have already been here two weeks; days have become sort of mashed together. Much of my (Rachel's) time during these weeks has been spent discovering stores, comparing prices for some needed household items. With no car we're getting around as many locals do (though a much smaller percentage than in years past), via the buses and tram lines; or simply walking. Our house is located in Alsovaros, a 'section' of Szeged that is directly south-west of downtown, so we can easily walk just ten minutes or so into the downtown historical section, or hop on our nearest bus, the #74. And while these trips are fun, after daily excursions of walking, waiting for buses, lugging new treasures home…. I got pretty exhausted. We did take a taxi home once when we had loaded up two shopping carts on our first big outing. But most trips don't accomplish that much.
One of my most looked-forward to aspects of living in Europe again was the slower pace of life. But I had forgotten the flip side of that. For instance we had many plumbing problems when we moved in, and while the man who tends the property called a plumber on our 2nd day here, it took 5 more days before everything was actually fixed. That was strange for us to wait so long. But the kids got to have fun doing dishes assembly-line style in the bathroom sink for those days. And then so many times, things are arriving or getting done way ahead of schedule, just blessing us all the more as we had prepared to wait longer. A new mattress for us and for Joshi's bed were needed, and after much of that aforementioned price shopping, we bought them….and were told they'd arrive in two to three weeks. Praying it would be closer to two weeks than three, we got so blessed when they arrived today, after only four days, not even one week!
It also took Anna only thirteen days after arriving here to be on the back of a horse. This was much longer than she liked, but really, rather sooner than we had expected. There is a stables remarkably close to our house, well, maybe not all that remarkable when you consider our God. Norbert's aunt is a part-time nanny for children who live almost next door to these stables, so she's very familiar with it and met up with Anna and Norbert last Monday and took them out there. They can take our good ol' #74 bus just a few stops up to the end of the line, and then just walk a few minutes around a corner and ta-da, horses. Anna rode on Elza, and adored her (when has she ever not adored a horse?) and is looking forward to going back this coming Wednesday. There are some changes to adjust to, as our Cowgirl gets used to riding English, but the key factor - the horse - is still the same.
Norbert has been able to work full time almost since our first full day here. His new work schedule is another thing for our family to adjust to as his hours are now afternoon through evening, usually around 2-11pm or so. We get the mornings and through lunchtime for our family time, plus weekends with lunch as our big family meal. Lunch is the big meal over here anyway, so that's one more way we can fit in to our new surroundings. And it has been a blessing to be able to run errands during the day, especially to official offices that would be closed come evenings when an ordinary 9-5 job would release you.
All in all, we're going slowly; giving our family time to adjust. I've finally been able to slow down some in these last couple days. It felt like I was on a 'getting settled, make a new home, nesting' sort of high or something, and we joke that I crashed from it and was just so exhausted by midweek last week. And then the last several days God has given me all sorts of sweet blessings, my favorite meal for lunch, some of my favorite baked yumminess still in at the bakery even though it was late afternoon (they tend to sell out earlier in the day), contact with some dear friends as I finally had the time to sit and figure out how to text for free from my new iPad (birthday gift just before we left the States!), a video call with my parents and just a long talk with them via Skype, talking to my sweet sister for a few minutes on Skype until her internet connection died, but also being able to text her in London from my cell phone, finding a store that sells scrapbooking paper and then that mattress that arrived today. There is a debate over whose bed is nicer; Joshua really loves his new mattress too.
So yes, we have our hard moments, our moments of missing dear friends, of getting annoyed with the tiny sizes of everything here (one liter bottles of milk do not go very far in this family of 3 teenagers!). But over and over God is blessing us, giving us little hugs and reminders that He has come before us, that He has planned and prepared the way for us, and there is such a peace and comfort in knowing that. I mentioned many of my little 'hugs', and Anna's big one, but there have been many others for all the kids. It has blessed my heart immeasurably to see my kids getting blessed, even by something as simple as cheese crackers. And sometimes they see it, and appreciate it, and sometimes it just gets taken for granted until we point out how unusual that was, or how special that it was there just for them. Praying you can see and feel those little hugs from God in your life this week too.
- Anna's school books have gone missing. At least, no one remembers where they got packed in all the craziness of our last week in CO. It was assumed they were in a suitcase, we now know that was not the case. We are praying they are in a box of things from her room that is coming in our crate being shipped. If not we would need to re-order them. She is so sad to not have her school workbooks. But thankfully there are some assignments she can still do, so she is not that sad.
- Joshua has no pants. Yes, it is that funny. He thought he had packed some, but now that it is getting colder, he has realized he only has shorts with him. So we have begun to shop for that as well, only Joshua is particular about his clothes. It's not a huge spiritual issue, but I know God cares about my kids - so we're praying we can find the jeans out there that Joshi likes, for a reasonable price, so he won't freeze until our crate arrives. Plus, little old ladies are tisking us now, and really worrying about our boy going around in shorts (it hasn't been THAT cold until this weekend, really). And he has sweatshirts, so stop worrying Grandmas W & F.
- For our brains and our tongues as we grapple with the Hungarian language, especially for the three kids. We decided to wait for any serious language lessons until we arrived and they can be immersed, which really does make it easier. And they don't have the memories or the past grasp of the language that we adults have.
- The final costs of shipping the crate of our stuff, getting our house ready for the renters, our last couple months in the States, and then the actual trip to Hungary with many added fees were all several thousand dollars more expensive than we anticipated. We'd really appreciate prayer for recovering financially from the unplanned expenses.