April 6, 2014

The entry of a high school in our neighborhood -- Hogwarts?

This week proved to be a busy one with a few different activities.  We visited people from two different organizations:  1) the Family Castle Foundation, with 1,200 volunteers who help women through pregnancy, birth and then the breastfeeding process  -- especially those having feeding issues – premature births, no milk, adoption, -- and 2) a neonatologist at one of the city’s hospitals who was lamenting the lack of support for the hospitals here.  His doctors get good training, but they do not have the medical equipment, etc. and so many of the doctors leave to other countries.  For example, in his department, the incubators and ventilators need to be replaced, the equipment to test hearing on newborns is 5 years old, and the sterilizer for the hearing equipment is 28 years old and he holds his breath each time it is used hoping it continues to operate.  

Count your blessings that you live where you do, and that (in spite of problems) the medical care is wonderful.   (On that note, let me just say that one of our senior sisters broke her arm and needed surgery a couple of weeks ago.   They provided nothing at the hospital.  Her husband had to go home and bring her a gown, toilet paper, food, eating utensils, toothbrush, etc.  However, once they did bring her a piece of bread – on the bare hand of a nurse!)

Good news!  We just received approval on our first four projects, so will be completing those (ordering and buying a variety of equipment and supplies) and making presentations in the coming days.

We were assigned this week to do in-depth inspections of 4 missionary apartments.   Because we had to look in fridges, ovens, cupboards we discovered that elders keep no food.   They live on cereal and perhaps peanut butter or mac and cheese (if parents have sent them.)  We were advised to take them a treat if they passed inspection.  Instead of a treat, we took a potato casserole, and now one companionship wants to be taught how to cook.  Another one wants their apartment checked weekly! Mission preparation:  teach your children how to make simple meals and to be a bit creative.

Hungarian elections are today.  We’ll see if there are any changes coming up.  Some of the organizations we have met with are worried about what a change in leadership might mean for them.  We are grateful we have not had radio or TV to listen to, but will be glad to have the posters, flyers and info in the mailbox be over (then our only mail will be the internet bill!).

Hungarians have a thing for red hair. . .dye. . .in a plethora of colors.  In two months we have now seen a handful of those with a natural looking red hair color.  Sorry, can't take pictures of people's hair.

Warm weather is here.  The skirts are getting shorter, the tights are going away, the ice cream and gelato kiosks are appearing on the sidewalks (there was even a McDonald’s gelato kiosk in front of the ‘fancy’ McDonalds), and the tables and chairs are coming out to the sidewalks.  Never mind if the sidewalk is narrow, move over pedestrians.  These two platforms appeared this week in front of places we frequently pass. 

Bicycles and skateboards are more plentiful in the warmer weather.  More sidewalk entertainment is out, like this guy playing a Hungarian version of a sitar, we think. 

Posta – the mail bag.   The post man just went inside.  Doesn’t look to be very full.  Perhaps the internet is used more than snail mail. 

Our ‘homeless cart’ – oops, shopping cart – is very similar to the Posta one.   It is very common and oh, so useful when we are riding public transportation!

Saturday was a low-key P-Day.  We went walking through and around Margit Szegit (Margaret’s Island).  During the Middle Ages, the island was a hunting reserve called the Island of the Rabbits.  In the 13th Century King Bela founded a nunnery on the island and vowed he would raise his daughter Margaret as a nun if Hungary survived the Mongol invasion. 

We were a bit early in the season to see in action the swimming pools, the water park, the musical water fountain, the open restaurants and the open air theater and cinema –although this tower is the front of that structure.  It looked like they were doing work on it; maybe getting it ready.

We did take a stroll through the island (only about 1.5 miles long and 1/3 of a mile wide) on the meandering walkways and enjoyed the sights and the peacefulness away from the bustle of the city.

We saw the ruins of the Franciscan Priory of the 13th Century and the Dominican Nunnery, 1241-42.

This Medieval Chapel of St. Michael has in its tower the oldest bell in Hungary – from the 15th Century.

We see quite a few of trees like these.  These are not nests, but mistletoe which is a parasite – sadly killing the trees.

These were interesting, old trees. They are white (even though the picture doesn't show it well) and very large.

The most pleasant sight was seeing families together in the park – on bicycles, riding together on the ‘bringo’ carts or playing games and picnicking. 

With the time difference, we watched just one session of General Conference yesterday, and the rest, including Priesthood and the General Women’s Meeting, we watched today.  Once again we are so grateful for our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, and their love and care for each of us.  We are grateful for living prophets and apostles and for the timely messages and testimonies given for us.

Tomorrow we have an appointment with our mission president to discuss a ‘transfer.’  Stay tuned. . .


  1. Interesting, as always. The white trees look like sycamore (London plane) trees that shed their bark every few years, leaving the trunks white for a while. They do very well in cities because they shed any accumulation of pollution. They line the streets of London where the buses and cars bathe them in exhaust.

  2. I didn't think you would be being transferred. We have our first dinner of "four" this coming week.

  3. Looks like a great time of year to see a lot of new things. I assumed you'd be in Budapest your whole mission....can't wait to hear if you get transferred. Thanks for sharing.