Saying “these last few days have been busy” would be an understatement. Since Thursday, I’ve been to Budapest twice, rode a glass elevator up to the 14th floor of a bank overlooking the Danube River, ate pizza for three meals, sang “Amazing Grace” over the loud speaker at the middle school with a few girls, and have felt the most “alive” in awhile.
I could go on for awhile about the last five days, so here are some details of the three events mentioned in the title of this blog…
On Thursday, I had to privilege to join some of the kids I accompany at The Castle (an organization where children – who do not have parents or can’t be with their families for safety concerns – are given homes at a castle in town or in houses around the community of Pilis) going to the circus in Budapest!
I wasn’t quite sure what the day would entail besides meeting them at the train station at noon, seeing some of the kids perform, and coming home by train around 6.
I joined a group of ten kiddos and a few adults at the train station, and we made our way to the circus together hand-in-hand.
Excitingly, we sat four rows up from the performance area in the circular showroom. First, we watched a group of about 20 people with disabilities performance a Hungarian song in sign language. We enjoyed music from famous Hungarian performers. A group of individuals with and without wheelchairs danced their way around the arena. Then, a group of kids from The Castle (that I didn’t come with) sang and danced in front of the crowd of easily 400+ people. A 16-year old, who would later sit behind me and befriend me, sang a solo, “Stone Cold” by Demi Lovato.
There was an intermission, and then a Christmas story was told through the acts of professional circus performers. I saw a magician, a dog and tiger trainer, a tightrope walker, a unicyclist, a group of men who did more flips and tricks than I can count, and hundreds of smiles of kids that would go back to this magical place everyday if they could.
I asked my new friend behind me during an intermission, “Do you like the circus?”. He said, “I like the circus for the humans performing, not the animals. I know when I see the animals that they are really in pain.” That reaction really stuck me…
After the last performance, the group of us boarded the van to take us to the train station, ran as fast as we could up the steps at the train station, and were on our way home with not even three minutes to spare.
Saturday afternoon, I met my friend Eszter outside of the Penny Market to walk to our friend Ditta’s house for a program organized by the church. On our way, a sweet little kitten crossed the road to greet us, and we greeted it with some cuddles and compliments. We attempted to name it, But we couldn’t decide between Barátságos (“friendly” in Hungarian) and Purrfect.
We arrived at Ditta’s to a warm welcome, and we began our project with some boiled and spiced wine. Our project consisted of decorating 100 white mugs to sell as a fundraiser for the church during Advent. We gathered around the magazine covered table and let our imaginations run wild. After a few hours, our group of eight decorators, a few cheerleaders, and a few bakers finished.
Ditta, Eszter and I played a few Hungarian games in Ditta’s room, and Edit (Ditta’s sweet mother) ordered pizza for the crowd in her house. Seriously, I’ve never seen pizza so big before!
It was an afternoon full of creativity, friendship, and learning each other’s languages!
Yesterday, I went with people associated with The Castle to Budapest again. This time, there were 45 of us who traveled by coach bus!
My pal I get to see every Thursday wanted me to sit with her at the front of the bus, so I took my place and was ready for an action-packed day. Our first stop in Budapest was at a bank that is associated with The Castle somehow. We rode glass elevators on the side of the building to the 14th floor to get a tour of that level (and receive some chocolate!). Riding the elevator was such an awesome experience! My smile was just as big as the kids as we went up, and up, and up. The kids were squealing with excitement as the people on the ground slowly started looking like little toy people.
After our tour of the bank, we headed to the ice arena to watch the Vasas team win after double overtime and a shootout! I sat next to Roli, the 16-year old who sang the solo at the circus’ brother, and a little fourth grader who wanted to show me his English skills. On my right, I had a new dear friend who helped me immensely by translating some things to me and having friendly conversation. On my left, I had an excited little guy trying to record every minute of the first period of the hockey game and asking if I can translate whatever English words he could think of (I couldn’t, haha).
Guess what we were eating? You guessed it. Pizza.