Saturday, April 26, 2008


Today I was studying God's goodness, even in the midst of tragedy, when I got a phone call. Kathy called to tell me that Larry had passed away suddenly. Larry is like a member of our family, and I can't remember a time when I didn't know him. As far back as I can remember, the Bains, Proctors, and Hardys have been getting together to cheer on the Tarheels and "unlax" at the lake.
After I got off the phone with my family and cried for a while, I pulled out the notebook where people wrote me letters before I came to Hungary. I remember being touched by what Larry had written, but now it's even more poignant. He talked about our families and the great times we've had, and about watching all of the kids grow up and come to know the Lord, and then he said this: "God never, never, ever leaves us or betrays us. Just trust in Him and know that no challenges are too great for Him."
I'm grateful that God was teaching me in advance of this news -- it could be overwhelming to think of the unfairness that seems to be present in the world or of the grief of his family. But I am so reassured by my absolute certainty that Larry is there now, rejoicing in the presence of the Savior he had learned to trust completely, no matter what. Thank You, Lord, for being trustworthy and for giving us the hope of heaven!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I totally forgot...

to tell about why that poem resonated so strongly with me yesterday!

So this weekend was interesting -- Heather and I took Mary Grace, who was staying with us, to a small Hungarian church. Some of the Hungarian staff members go there, and one of our cleaning ladies had invited us, so we decided to check it out. The church I normally attend is bi-lingual, so hearing Hungarian at church was nothing new, but because this was a Magyar only service, I had to rely on translation -- always a humbling experience. Basically, we sat in the back and Ivan and Zoli whispered in English as the pastor spoke, and it was frustrating at times for all of us. Even so, they were very gracious and accomodating, and it was really cool to fellowship in a different way.

Also cool this weekend, but in an entirely different way, Heather and I met up with Meg, Aaron, and Timothy for an all night movie festival. The huge mall in Budapest kept their theaters going from 6 pm til 6 am, so people could watch any movies they wanted all night for about $12. I kind of struggled my way through Fool's Gold at 5 in the morning -- but it was fun! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

a little poetry

I stumbled upon this in our AP lit book and felt like it sums up my thoughts right now pretty well.... Alastair Reid, Speaking a Foreign Language

How clumsy on the tongue, these acquired idioms,
after the innuendos of our own. How far
we are from foreigners, what faith
we rest in one sentence, hoping a smile will follow
on the appropriate face, always wallowing
between what we long to say and what we can,
trusting the phrase is suitable to the occasion,
the accent passable, the smile real,
always asking the traveller's fearful question --
what is being lost in translation?
Something, to be sure. And yet, to hear
the stumbling of foreign friends, how little we care
for the wreckage of word or tense. How endearing they are,
and how our speech reaches out, like a helping hand,
or limps in sympathy. Easy to understand,
through the tangle of language, the heart behind
groping toward us, to make the translation of
syntax into love.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Boldog Szulinapot, Daddy!

Love you!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ELL pic


So tonight was our last English class, and it was truly sad to say goodbye to them all! Heather made them chocolate chip cookies, and we played Apples to Apples. They're so sweet; it's one of the things I most enjoy doing here in Hungary. Here are the faithful few who came almost every week this year.

Today was also Poem In Your Pocket Day. I had never heard of this before, but apparently a group in New York started it a few years ago as part of National Poetry Month. The idea is to carry around a poem all day and be willing to share a love of poetry with others. I gave my AP kids a challenge to recite and give out copies of a poem for extra credit. Boy, did they. Three of them recited their poems to over 100 people today. 100! That's a lot of poetry :)

I LOVE Teacher Appreciation Week.

...although I am probably eating an entire year's worth of sugar from all the goodies I'm getting!

I really do love working here. Last night we had a meeting about the senior trip, and I got so excited. I am more than ready to go to Malta (Crete didn't work out) -- but I am equally excited about hanging out with these kids and helping them say goodbye well. I just spent all of study hall talking to a girl who's worried about transitioning back to the States next year. She kept talking about how it's hard to start over in a new culture when you don't know anyone and have no idea what the future holds -- and I can totally relate to that! Anyway, I love that I work in a school where those kind of relationships are encouraged, and the kids are appreciative. and bring me CDs, like my yearbook editor just did! or the brownies I'm currently stuffing my face with.... yeah, Teacher Appreciation Week is good.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

prayer request

Some of you SE people know Libby Lemons, who worked in the school media center. I wanted to pass on a prayer request from her -- please add her grandson Brendon to your prayers! He has an extremely rare illness, and he's going into surgery tomorrow. The family is praying that he will be able to see within a month of this eye surgery. You can learn more about Brendon here -- but know that the pictures are pretty heartbreaking.

Libby told me that they know Brendon is a miracle child, and it's because of prayers -- so I know they would appreciate you taking a minute to pray for this little boy and his family.

And now for some praises! Our car is finally fixed! Let's hope it lasts longer than a couple weeks this time :) But we love our new mechanic, and he really put a lot of work into the car to keep it running for us.

And I'm thrilled that my support for next year is starting to come in, including some unexpected gifts! I'm so excited to know that people believe in what I'm doing and want to be a part of it. If you're not on my mailing list, and you'd like to help out (or know a church who might be able to), please email me at misshardy at I still have a long ways to go, but I'm very hopeful! Please keep praying that I will be able to raise all of my support in time to be here in August before school starts.

So I'm going to go enjoy the spring weather! I love tulips and sunshine :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

residence permit!

I'm not even going to mention the trauma of watching the game Saturday night....

but since last email, even more has gone wrong! What else, you ask?

Well, the ants have resurfaced, and there's a leak in our bathroom. And our car is still not fixed, and I needed it today. I had to go to the immigration office today to pick up my residence permit, so I can legally be in Hungary -- the visa I got when I came home last year expired last week!

A number of things went wrong with this -- my usual translator, a Hungarian secretary named Ildiko, is in China right now! So we had to arrange for someone else to go, and it had to be today. We finally found someone, and planned to take public transportation there. This would have been great, except today, of all days, there was a strike. No buses, metro, trains, or trams were working in all of Budapest. Hmmmmm...

I had to borrow a car -- thank you, Sara! -- just to get there. And I'm kind of nervous about driving in the city, since I'm not especially confident driving stick. I halfway hoped I could pass the driving off to Julianna, my translator today -- but she told me she has never learned to drive! So I had no choice.

Well, as a result of the strike, everyone was driving today. That meant for about 30 minutes, I never got the car out of second gear. It was constantly stop and go -- which is awful at any time, but especially in a stick shift.

BUT we made it there, and Julianna twice told me I was a good driver -- haha! fooled her! :) and then I received my permit -- good for the next five years.

This is a huge relief, because many people only receive one year and must constantly be reapplying. If mine had only been for a year, I would have had to go through the same process (and pay AGAIN) next April. But for some reason, and for the same amount of money, I got the maximum permit -- so I can live in, or visit, Hungary as often as I like until 2013.

So yay! not everything has been bad news! :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

mental breakdown in 3...2...

So in the past week, we've had an ant infestation, a washing machine die, and a car die. I haven't been especially happy over the unholy trinity, but I was coping...until today. Ivan, a Hungarian who works at the school, called a mechanic about our car today. He was speaking too quickly for me to understand much of what was being said, but unfortunately, the finger slash across the throat, followed by the sympathy pat on the head -- well, that's pretty universal. He later translated for me that fixing our car is like resurrecting the dead and we would be better served to throw our money directly into the trash. Great.

Serina has been challenging me to find opportunities for thanksgiving and joy in all circumstances. So today I prayed that the Lord would show me reason to find joy despite all of our financial woes (and the mound of dirty clothes that's piling up). Lo and behold, the Lord answered my prayer, and truly it was in an unexpected way.... I got on the internet, and there it was: my 6th grade dream come true.

I love that the Lord has a sense of humor, because it really did make me laugh.

I'm also holding out hope that Lord is pulling the ultimate April Fool's Day prank. Lisa thinks that perhaps there will be a shiny new car waiting for us at the end of the day! Yeah, we're a little delusional...

but I am giddy about the weather! It's finally gorgeous outside. I spent all day Sunday showing my student teacher around Budapest. So odd to know that just a week earlier, it was snowing, while we walked around with no jackets.

See, I can find something to be thankful for! :)