I left Hungary in mid-June to visit my family in the USA for a few weeks. It was also a great opportunity for me to see my doctor and dentist, renew prescriptions, have my eyes checked, get a flu shot, and deal with some (non-life threatening) medical issues. If you know anything about healthcare in the US, you know that it can be very complicated to navigate the system. I was covered by insurance for some things in Ohio where I visited my brother. Other things required a trip to New Mexico, where I am from. My visit was extended to include all of July and August. Gradually everything got sorted out, and I planned to return to Hungary in early September. Then I tripped and fell.
There are a great many end-of-the-school-year celebrations in Hungary. In recent weeks I have attended all sorts of final music and dance performances and parties. The most recent was a family picnic at Gyóni Evangélikus Egyházközség in Dabas. Children and parents played tether ball, badminton, and catch, jumped on the trampoline, and swung on the swings.
Is Hungary more theatrical than other countries? I don’t know, but there is a strong focus on all the arts here. I have seen many more plays in Hungary in recent months than in years before I arrived.
I never cease to wonder at the creativity and persistence of teachers. A couple of weeks ago one class at Táncsics Mihály Gimnázium in Dabas learned their new vocabulary by spending time in the kitchen.
New Year’s Eve in Hungary is called Szilveszter because December 31st is the Name Day for people with that name. Last Szilveszter, just before the stroke of Midnight, the champagne corks were ready to pop. Suddenly the Hungarian National Anthem was being played on TV. Everyone stopped what they were doing. Children were summoned to stand tall and sing. There was a moment of solemnity before we went back to the festivities.
Recently, I wrote about the “English Corner” at the Lutheran Church in Dabas-Gyon, an hour south of Budapest. It has been a wonderful way for that congregation to reach out to its community. I help with English learning on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday every week, and often on the weekends.
I enjoy all the English teaching and conversations, but I have been a pastor for a long time, and after a few months in Hungary I realised that I was missing the deeper conversations about faith and life. I have also missed the focused study and preparation it takes to lead a Bible study or to preach. Lately there have been more opportunities to do both these things.
You may have heard of Young Adults in Global Mission. It’s an important program of the ELCA with volunteers serving in many parts of the world for one year. Many of the volunteers work with Non-Governmental Organizations and Lutheran partner churches, including here in Hungary. Often, they help teach English.
My name is Anne Morawski and I currently serve as an Associate in Global Mission for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I am here in Hungary as a volunteer, working with Pastor Eszter Balog in Dabas-Gyon and doing “projects as assigned” with Bishop Tamas Fabiny in Budapest. This blog is one of those projects.