So this is my first Pday in Magyarország. Its driving me a little crazy that the keys are mixed up, and the spell check is telling me that Im spelling everything wrong, so my whole email here is entirely red! Haha.
Hungary is great! I dont know where to begin... But I forgot my camera, so I will try to send my pictures tonight if I remember that to help you visualize my experiences here...
Well, I flew here last monday, the 14th of Január. I got picked up by my mission president and his assistants and they took me to the mission home, where I slept like a baby, it was so wonderful! The next day, they had us go outside and go streeting, talking to random people in some town square about the Church, all in Hungarian. It was the most terrifying hour of my life! We did find some interested people, though, and people who arent interested are sometimes willing to help us practice our Hungarian, at least, haha. And I was able to place a Book of Mormon or two!
Then, they had a "sorting hat ceremony," to place each zöldi (greenie) with his trainer. And of course I get the guy who wore his Gryffindor tie to celebrate the occasion! haha. His name is Bracken elder, and he is a pretty cool guy! Hes from Texas and is a really successful missionary, which is nice for me because we hardly have to go tracting! Haha. We are serving in a town called Érd (along with a few outlying towns nearby) which is just west of Budapest. So after the big meeting, it was time to start heading home. First, some of the other missionaries decided to have a big meal together, so we went to this nice, quaintsy restaurant, where I had my first real meal in Hungary... Mexican food! haha.
My first day, we had 4 programs (thats what they call lessons here), and English class, all in a row. I fell asleep during the last program, I was so exhausted, and I couldnt really understand anything, so it was hard to stay focused. The whole adjustment from understanding what people say to me, to suddenly not know anything was pretty scary, and I was pretty discouraged my first day.
The other days have been pretty hard too, but things are starting to get better. I still have no idea whats going on, but Im able to recognize more words when people talk. We have some really cool investigators, as well as new converts and less actives and everyone is really understanding with me not knowing anything, haha. Well, except one day, I gave the spiritual thought in our English class, and afterward, some lady just said, "You know, you speak very broken Hungarian! But that's alright, because we all speak very broken English!" Haha.
Istentiszteleten (at church) we had about 10 nonmembers at church, which means that about 1/3 of the branch were not members! Also, they almost made me the branch pianist, but luckily the mother of an American family volunteered, and they only made me do it during priesthood, which didnt go so well... Also, at church, I met a couple who said that they met my cousin Chris at a singles activity! Évi and István, I think. They said they only met for a second, but you should ask if he remembers them!
Well, things are pretty awesome. Ive had some really cool experiences! There was one lady who has had some pretty hard problems lately, and so we were able to give her a blessing! I also was able to teach one lady how to pray, and the importance of prayer. Today, we committed a man to try out the Word of Wisdom! Its really cool to see people working hard to come closer to Christ! And its also really awesome to be there to... watch my companion help them! Haha.
So, my apartment is pretty sweet. Back in the days of communism, they built tons of these tiny 10-story apartment buildings to house as many people as possible, and we live in one of those. We have a really retro looking kind of washing machine, that a neighbor said he hadnt seen since the communism days. There is also no dryer, so we've got to let the laundry dry for like 2 days/time the laundry pretty well, haha. We also have a lot of old things that would be there from having missionaries live there for years. There's a small ant infestation, too which is pretty fun. Yesterday, I found a few ants chillin' in my loaf of bread! "Well," said I, "Looks like I'll just be having a lot of toast from now on!" Haha.
Also! There is some famous tie man in Budapest somewhere, who will meet up with missionaries, they pay him a little money, he finds them a big trash bag of ties (and whatever else...), and nobody asks any questions. Well, we have 2 of those bags in the old apartment. Thats like... hundreds and hundreds of ties, haha.
Őőőőő... the weather is pretty nice. Like, its chilly but not freezing enough to wear my coat AND a hat AND gloves AND boots! haha. People always give me weird looks or ask me if Im dying because Im not constantly bundled in everything at all times. Ive heard a lot of, "Where is your hat?!" "Do you have a cold?!" "Arent you freezing?!" "Do you need more hot chocolate?" <---(thats my favorite question!)
Also, a lot of people are trying to learn English, so some of the time in our programs, we just chat with them in English, or just help them with their studies. In some lessons, we teach half English, half Hungarian, and it's great for me because then I can understand just about half the lesson! I wonder why! Haha. I feel like in the all-Hungarian programs though, they just tell jokes about me and stuff, haha.
Well, I love the people in our area! They are great! And my companion is awesome! If youve ever heard those stories about bad areas turning good, thats how Érd is. It used to be a crappy area, but Bracken elder and some of his predecessors were able to turn it around, and now it is one of the most coveted areas in the mission, haha. Elder Bracken likes to make me work hard, too. We do a loooot of biking and train riding to visit people in surrounding towns. I cant go as fast or as far as he can though, so Im sure I test his patience a little bit sometimes... haha. Yesterday when we were sprinting to catch the hourly train to an appointment, I told him that if it makes him feel better, when Im a trainer, Im going to get the slowest and laziest zöldi of all time, and he'll never be able to go anywhere, haha. But for now, Im the fat and lazy companion I guess! Haha. But I just get so tired! I'm usually ready for bed by like 5pm, haha.
Well, in conclusion, I would like to say that this will probably be a hard 2 years, and I sometimes have doubts as to whether I can ever learn this language, but Im still trying anyways, haha. If nothing else, just remember that missionary work is pretty dang awesome. Also, know that every Hungarian has either a super nice smart phone, or a reaaaally crappy Nokia phone. Everyone. McDonalds is still just as good here as it is there... and... the Church is true!
I dont know what else to say.
Young Mitchell elder.