As I approach the end of my time here in Nyirtelek and Görögszállás, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the things I love—the things that make this experience so incredible. I know that my words can only give you an idea of the things I hold so dear to my heart, but I want to tell you what makes me so happy here:
I have so much love for the kids at the Children’s House; they brighten my day, every day. Getting smiles from little girls who are missing all four front teeth makes me smile so big! It’s so sweet and adorably unfortunate that every kid seems to lose all four front teeth at the same time, but it’s just a fact of life.
The other day I started tickling Kevin because he flops around like a little fish whenever anybody tickles him. Bobby and Denis, who were sitting right next me, both looked at me with expressions that asked ‘why aren’t you tickling me, too?’ Of course, I started tickling both of them, too, and all four of us had a great time laughing together. I have never seen kids asked to be tickled, but I think it is super fun!
I love it when, out of nowhere, kids come sit on my lap. We usually end up looking at books or playing with the toy telephone, but overall, we talk to each other. I struggle with understanding Hungarian when an adult speaks to me, so it is always interesting when little kids are rambling on, but we can normally figure out what toys to play with next.
I get an absolute kick out of when kids grab my hand and tell me something as ‘matter of fact-ly’ as they can possibly manage and then lead me away to play with them. I hardly ever understand the stories that are so ‘matter of fact-ly’ told to me, but my normal response of smiling and nodding is sufficient enough to let the kids know that I really care about what they are saying, ha!
Playing in the sandbox is one of my favorite pastimes. I can’t help but smile when the kids use their best manners to ask one another to pass the purple shovel (because the purple shovel is obviously better than the green one) or pass the buckets so they can be packed full of sand and then emptied to build a castle or a tower with a blade of grass flag sticking out of the top. My favorite part of the sandbox is when the kids flip the buckets over and beat on the bottom of the buckets with their shovels to loosen the sand from the sides. The reason I love this so much is that, without fail, the shovel is still full of sand when the kids start waving them through the air to hit the bucket, so there is sand flying EVERYWHERE! I am always really dirty after playing in the sandbox, but it is a good thing.
The relationship I have with teeter-tottering with kids is one of the love-hate variety…I love it because the kids have so much fun but I hate it because it is so painful! My legs kill me afterward!
Art time is always an adventure but I think it is super cute when kids point at my drawing of what is supposed to be a dog and tell me that the bunny I drew is beautiful…
The thing I love the most about the Children’s House is getting BIG hugs from little arms. Zoltan, who is easily my favorite boy in the whole world (sorry Dad), not only smiles at me all the time but he will literally climb up on my lap just to give me a giant hug. The little guy is about 13 months old, and he has crawled across the floor, over chairs, and over the side of the sandbox just to get to me, pull himself up onto my lap so he is standing on my legs, and then wrap his little arms around my neck. His hugs make my day. I love that kid so much!
Not only are the kids at the Children’s House amazing, but the fabulous women I work with there are so fun! We laugh all the time and even if we are having a bad day because the kids are acting up, we can still find something to laugh about so we can keep on going—it really is a great group to work with.
Now that I have shared what I love about the Children’s House, I will share a couple things that I love about spring and summertime in Hungary:
Flowers. There are beautiful wild flowers and poppies growing everywhere; there are fruit trees blooming all over the place; and every house has a gorgeous garden with rose bushes, tulips, and other flowers that I have never seen before. The air smells fantastic and it is absolutely beautiful wherever I turn!
In addition to incredible flowers, every yard has fruit trees and berry patches. I have been blessed with freshly picked strawberries and cherries for the past week or so and they are seriously delicious!
I love ice cream. Need I say more?
I have climbed Tokaj Mountain 2 times in the past 6 days. It was hot and tiring, but it is completely worth it. The scenery is breathtaking from the top of the mountain—I love seeing the towns, the fields, Tisza River winding through the countryside, and the Carpathian Mountains in the distance. Tokaj is a very beautiful place.
This last thing is more for my aunt Karen than anything else: here in Hungary shorts are simply called ‘short pants.’ Now, when I first heard this I cracked a smile because I thought the person saying it was just kidding about ‘short pants,’ but he wasn’t. Shorts are really called ‘short pants.’ The reason ‘short pants’ makes me think of my fabulous aunt Karen is that when she was home visiting from North Carolina one summer, she could not, for the life of her, remember the name for capris and just ending up calling them ‘short pants’ in her cute Southern accent. We laughed super hard at her ‘short pants’ and now I am reminded of her and her adorable Southern accent whenever I hear someone talking about ‘short pants.’
This is a fabulous place and a fabulous experience. I am so happy to be here!