"ÁFA számla kérek szépen."
That's what I was supposed to say, hand them my special card, and it would have all been taken care of.
Over the next few days, we are having roughly 27 students over to our house for various functions, all of which involve food. We spent 14,000 forint (roughly $75) on purchasing food for those things today. (Oh America, how I miss how cheap you are!)
*Funny side note* Several weeks ago, Kevin was drinking something, and he said, "This tastes like America." And when asked what he meant by that, his response was, "Cheap." Ha ha. (He meant that in a good way.) But it's so true. The US Department of State puts out numbers every year on the cost of living in countries around the world in comparison to the United States, and they listed Hungary's cost of living to be one and a half times more expensive. And you're in the "high" tax bracket here if you make more than $25,000 or so. Sheesh! It doesn't make sense how things are so much more expensive here and yet people here make WAY less money. Something is not right.
Anyway, that money didn't cover all of the food we have to buy, but that was all we were allowed to spend and be reimbursed, something we have never done here before. We are part of an association here in Hungary that we pays dues to every year in order to receive a certain status in the country to obtain visas and residency permits. This is important. The lawyer for the association told us that money needs to be moving in and out more, so they told us that we could have 14,000 forint to spend on anything ministry related and be reimbursed out of the 40,000 forint we have paid in dues thus far. Does that make sense? We asked if we could use the money to buy food for these things with students this week, and they gave us the okay.
Now comes the part of trying to be reimbursed. It requires some paperwork to be filed on their end with a special receipt I have to turn into the association, blah blah blah. I was given instructions and did what I was told (in Hungarian, by the way) with the cashier at the grocery store tonight. And then she told me that I had to go see the customer service desk. Awesome. Didn't go like it was supposed to.
I went to the customer service desk and once again told her what I was supposed to tell her, again in Hungarian. She understood (huge praise as my Hungarian is quite broken, to say the least!) and proceeded to do the paperwork. And then she rattled off a whole bunch of stuff about giving me a code and about going to the cashier and then I didn't understand much after that. I was too focused on the thought that I followed the directions and that it didn't go the way it was supposed to and now I'm totally confused and I missed everything she said, not that I would have understood it all anyway, etc. And I sheepishly asked her to repeat what she said because I didn't understand it all...but I didn't understand much more of it the second time she said it either. I just told her okay and figured that I somehow wasn't going to do something right and wouldn't get to be reimbursed, which was a bonus as we hadn't planned on being reimbursed before anyway.
And then the nicest gentleman came up to me and said in perfect English, "Do you need some help with Hungarian translation?" I thanked him and told him that I would greatly appreciate it. And then the customer service woman and that man talked for a minute, and he explained it all to me. I learned that I had understood the majority of what she had said, but the main part I hadn't understood was that this code was to be used in the future and given to the cashier if I plan on doing these ÁFA számla things again so that I wouldn't have to go through all of this paperwork again.
Both the woman and I thanked the man for his help, and I think I thanked the Lord a dozen times in that span of five minutes. It's these little things that don't go as planned that can bring such unwanted stress to my day. It's not knowing the language well enough that complicates it even more. (Had I spoken enough Hungarian, I would have recognized the future verb tense and understood it, thus eliminating much of my stress.) But it's in the Lord's provision that these concerns are taken care of, be it through our dear Hungarian friends who come to our rescue all of the time or a complete stranger who offers his help...or a million other ways.
I am so grateful for the Lord taking care of us in these little details, not because they matter as far as eternity is concerned but because it shows just how much He cares for us. And if He can take care of these miniscule details that don't matter, then He certainly can take care of the big ones that really do matter. :)
Oh, AND I need to learn more Hungarian.