Monday, January 30, 2012

Grandchildren 22 and 23

Here is grandchild 22, Joe and Heather's Tatum, born the day before we got home.

Today we got grandchild 23, Rob and Jen's Sarah.

Here's the happy family giving Sarah a fond welcome.

The camera battery died so we didn't get Tatum's welcome.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where is heaven?

Where is heaven? Grandpa says it is swimming with the grandkids in January in Florida in 70ºF weather (21ºC for Hungarians).

For grandma it's feeding the horses with the grandchildren.

Or maybe it's enjoying the waves and the birds at the beach with the family.

For sure, it's being at the baptism of a grandchild, in this case Victoria.

The finish line

We're home again. Here we are with President Baughman and his wife the night before they sent us off.

After uneventful flights from Budapest to Amsterdam to Atlanta to Gainesville, we crossed the finish line

Our flight arrived 30 minutes early in Gainesville, so these were our greeters.

Most of the rest arrived after we got the luggage. Do we look overdressed for Florida?

But of course, being true Thompsons, everyone made it for our favorite BBQ feast at Sonny's.

At 9:15, President Graham released us...

and at 9:20 gave us exciting new callings. We are now the advisers to all the Spanish speaking units in the stake doing the same things we did in Hungary but in Spanish. We are also in charge of the Youth Book of Mormon three day Quest activity this summer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Have I done any good?

Remember the Sunday School song "Have I done any good in the world today?" That's one of the first things we think about as we plan our day--even on the last days of our mission. Tomorrow we head for home, but today we have 18 more birthday flowers to deliver to the women of the branch since it is cheaper to deliver them now while we are still in Sopron than during the year after we get home to Florida.

We hope the new snow doesn't slow us down too much. After all, I still need to pack my bags.

P.S. We started at 11 and were done by 6. Everyone was home and loved the roses. Counting our trial run yesterday, we delivered 22 "future birthday" roses and kisses to every woman of any age in the branch who has been to church at least once since we have been here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Final tribute

Here is the Sopron branch at our farewell party.

In a thank you card signed by everyone it says:

"We can't say how we can ever thank you for your selfless help. We thank you for your acceptance of us and for all the good and useful things you showed us by your example. Many thanks for inviting us into your home here and for the big friendship you showed us."

Of course there were tears in the eyes when we read this. Most exciting, the party was planned in secret without any missionary input. Love flowed everywhere. The food and entertainment were great and they cleaned up the mess themselves.

Convenience stores

At various times of the day you hear the electronic tones telling you that the mobile convenience store is in front of your house. This one is selling frozen foods. Others are mobile bakeries, ice cream shops, or vegetable and fruit stands. They stop and wait for people to come out of the house to make their buys.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sweet success

We can now go home with the feeling of sweet success since they are earnestly putting in the long promised "lift" so our older members and those with disabilities can more easily get to the 3rd and 4th floor where we have church. We have petitioned for this nearly every week for 18 months. The members knew for sure that it was an impossible dream.

Can you see the small dark squares on each level of the building? Those are the guide holes telling the builders where the doors will be for entering our building after the elevator is built.

The white square at the floor level on the inside shows where the guide holes come through at each landing on the stairs. Since it is the middle of winter and starting to snow, they glued a Styrofoam cover over the hole to keep the weather out.

Looking out through the window you can see the base of the elevator.

They are putting another elevator at the other end of the building they are remodeling. The scaffolding goes to the top on one wall of the shaft that they are constructing. The owner says there will be beautiful atriums surrounding each elevator.

We hoped it would be done before we left. The members say they'll call it the "Thompson Memorial Lift."

Triumphing over evil

On the way out to an appointment, we had to show our new elder Szabo the monument commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 because of the famous Sopron Picnic where hundreds of east Germans broke through the border fence to freedom in Austria. Even though elder Szabo is Hungarian from a nearby town, he had never heard of it. That's elder Szabo in the white shirt. Note the sunlight starting to break through the darkness.

In Hungary, they let you climb these things. The dark grey stone left of elder Olson in the middle is a piece of the Berlin Wall, like the 40 pounds we carried home after we lived here in Pecs in 1990. Elder Wright is on the right.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New missionary from Hungary

On Wednesday we did our last big project before coming home. Elder Szabo from nearby Pápa was supposed to leave on his mission to Washington DC North the beginning of January but his visa didn't come through. So they decided to have him start his mission in Sopron until his visa arrives. He'll be 3 months in Provo learning English. We picked him up in Pápa, took him to the mission office in Budapest so he could be welcomed into the mission, oriented and set apart. Here he is in Sopron ready to get to work. He'll be a great missionary.

Last English class

Today was our last English class before coming home to Florida next week. Of course I forget to take a picture until after Judit had left. Here you can see faithful Zsolt "German" and Tibor. We also had a first timer Tomas who took the picture. Bence, Otto, Richard, and Zsolt "Red" couldn't be there because of work. Tibor brought delicious creme cakes for the party.

We'll miss everyone, but they've promised to save up to come to Florida.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

House blessing

Ever since we've arrived in Hungary we have been impressed by the traditional short and sweet Hungarian House Blessing.

We've searched and searched for an English version, looking even for just the pattern so Caroly could embroider it to hang on our wall at home. But in Sopron everything is in German and Hungarian. Finally in Budapest we found this embroidered English version. This is one time the English version is wordier than the Hungarian.

The last visitors

We just sent off to Budapest our last visitors, Kim's good friend and landlady Jill from Australia and her son Anthony from London. We did our usual things that you've seen in the blog, i.e. watching a sunset at Lake Balaton, exploring Sümeg castle, visiting where the iron curtain first fell, walking the streets of Sopron, and of course eating lots of good food. Here they are eating langos, our favorite street besides Hungarian ice cream.

The weather was cold but clear. From our favorite lookout tower, you can see not only on the right the Tarody castle that a man build for forty years as his family home from building rubble starting in the 1950s but the snow capped Alps in the distance on the left.

Now we have to get packed to come home.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year II

For our second New Year's Eve in Sopron we had a game night at the branch and at 11:30 went a block away to the downtown to join the local celebration. At midnight they sang the national anthem then started the fireworks. Here's a sampling.