Whistle While You Work . . . Or maybe just hum.

Good morning, from lovely Toalmas!

 Today is work day #2. Just to recap the results of yesterday’s projects, the boys finished up their gravel-spreading (assisted by Hungarian Richie and Elliot from Michigan) . . .

. . . And the girls moved from cleaning inside to cleaning outside. The trees are quite messy and make for slippery conditions on walkways . . . And on top of railings, evidently (nice work, Nicole).

As you can imagine, a 100+ year old castle requires almost constant maintenance – especially one filled with students. Looking around, there’s always evidence of work in progress or more projects that need done.

Our jobs today are:

  • Cleaning out a dorm – this involves lots of sweeping, scrubbing, mopping, as well as some caulking, hammering, and other maintenance.
  • Labeling envelopes for a huge mailing the Bible Institute is sending out.
  • LAUNDRY! (It’s staggering – and odorously potent – how much dirty laundry 14 people accumulate in 5 days.)

Here’s a few shots of this morning’s work getting underway.


While we have no problem having fun while working, some of our favorite moments have been our evening “debrief” sessions. We talk about the day, last night Mr. Ross gave his testimony, and we look ahead to the next day’s schedule. But instead of everyone heading to bed (despite being exhausted. Oh, so very exhausted) no one seems to want to leave. We keep sitting around, passing a bag of hard, Hungarian cookies (that aren’t even that tasty, but are the only consumable object available), and chatting and laughing and recounting the days of yore (aka: middle school, from which everyone seems to have at least 1 super awkward story.)


Today, in between loads of laundry, Richard is going to offer his experience of Hungary so far (and is clearly still mourning the loss of his airport pizza):

Have you ever been looking forward to something for so long, and when it finally gets there it feels unreal? Well, welcome to Hungary Senior Trip 2016. We all started out saying our goodbyes and moved onto a van ride that involved more falsetto singing of “Hey Soul Sister” than you could ever wish for (or want), and which eventually got us to the airport. 

Not having eaten lunch, Keegan and I decided to partake in the finest of Airport pizzas and ordered ourself some Italian cuisine. Little did we know when the lady rang us up and told us 7 minutes for our pizza, that JFK must have no working clocks. After 30 minutes of waiting, and panicked looks from our classmates as I stared this pizza lady down, we finally got our pizza just in time to board our plane with a large untouched pepperoni pizza in hand, and the laughter of airport stewards and stewardesses following behind. To my surprise my ticket had a completely different row from everyone else, and worse, it was then that the realization that I would be completely separated from those I knew for 7 hours finally set in’ crammed between those who spoke perfect Dutch, yet were lacking in their English skills, to the point of me having to try and use hand motions to explain why I needed to get up to go to the bathroom, because apparently “PLEASE EXCUSE ME I REALLY GOTTA GO” must be easy to understand in Dutch.  At this point I largely accepted the fact that if I pulled this pizza out in the middle of a pressure locked plane, that you can’t open the windows to, I would either be mauled for a slice by those around me, or stared at for 7 hours while I tried to eat something. I decided to stuff the pizza under the chair, and do my darnedest to forget about it. Needless to say, I never got to eat the pizza that nearly cost me my flight to Hungary.

So far in Hungary, we’ve gone from schools to youth centers to buffets and even to Budapest. A couple highlights would have to be the terrifying tale of the four ghost horseman that Ross decided to tell us when Keegan and I were nestled up in our twin beds. (This involved Keegan and I not sleeping for quite a bit.) Other highlights are the breathtaking view of the city from Castle Hill, laying rocks down for two parking areas (my body still hurts), and having morning and evening conversations with the class, which (to even our own surprise) are some of our favorite parts of trip. The meetings are always filled with laughter, compliments, and genuine interest in what we are doing, and these have been unforgettable for me. This trip seems to be flying by, especially when I realize I have less than 3 days left at this place. Also, if you’re in Hungary, bring your own ice, or else you’ll be stuck sipping drinks that are consistently room temperature. 


For those who are concerned, Richard finally did get some pizza – Hungarian pizza – for dinner last night. And now we’re now headed back to the basement to retrieve our clean laundry. Horray for clean clothes!


halfway done!


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