VIEWS: 7 PAGES: 32 POSTED ON: 8/21/2010
Romania 2008 Weblog (copied and pasted in chronological order from original Xanga posts. Sorry for the bad grammar and punctuation.) Feb. 28-29 Thursday and Friday Trouble started right away (i TOLD you i hated airports!) My suitcases were too heavy because i loaded them with all the clothing donations from Dollar General (via Orpha's daughter). It would have cost $100 to let them through, so i had to call Dad, turn the van around, and repack. It all turned out okay, but at the time i was SO frustrated to tears. and i paid the porter to move my bags about 5 yards (into the WRONG LINE!) only to have to drag them out again, repack, and carrying them back in myself. So yeah... some airport employee got paid for nothing I finally got on my flight, and it was very pleasant. I think i like Air France. The food was great, the language was fun, even the grumpy steward (whom i have dubbed the Flaming French Flight Attendant) was amusing. (Side note to anyone who watches Gilmore Girls... he spoke like Michel and had the same attitude. only he was tall, thin, blonde, and a bit limp in the wrist) Each seat had a television and remote control so you could choose your in-flight movie, music, play games, or watch the flight progress. I had some pics of passing over Ireland and arriving in Paris... but i later formatted my memory card and lost ALL photos of the journey Not that i saw much. it was cloudy at Charles De Gaulle, and i spent most of the time on a wild goose chase thru the under- construction airport. The guy back in Dulles told me the WRONG gate for my connecting flight and i ended up doing a LOT of walking, trolley riding, and asking WHERE AM I GOING?!?! I finally got to my gate, and sat around for a while, learning how to use my camera (which ended up doing NO GOOD!) and suffering from a stomachache, nausea, a sinus headache that morphed into a full- blown migraine, and severe disappointment in my first trip to "Paris". But i made it to Budapest!!! it was a TERRIBLE trip in everyway, except i ended up in the right place, at the right time, so i was very thankful for that. And it was the first of many reminders that i came to SERVE in ROMANIA... not have fun in France. I met the wyoming team and we loaded the buses for Romania. Did a lot of sleeping, singing, joking, and stupid-tired babbling on the way, and finally made it to Beius. I am staying in a little "apartment" between Peter and Ana's house and the kitchen/medical clinic. I have my own room and a HOT SHOWER! The other room was occupied by Abby (17) and Elsha (17) from WY, but now that they've left i've got the place all to myself. quiet... and a little lonely. Mar. 1, Saturday We introduced ourselves over breakfast. There are about 18 people. Each morning started with devoitions lead by Jeanne, Kent's wife. Our "theme" was the doxology, and we started devo's every morning by singing the traditional doxology, and a beautiful contemporary version, led on guitar by Kent. Someone has donated a gorgeous Taylor guitar to REMM, which Kent claimed, having his own guitar lost with the rest of his family's luggage... it arrived a few days later. We toured the coffeehouse, and orphanage, and played with the girls at Casa Iosif. they are SO CUTE!!! The little Romanian that i know has helped so much in communicating. I still don't understand a lot, but you can tell they appreciate my efforts! We sang songs with them, and a few "performed" for us.. i have video somewhere... While the dentists made appointments with the foster kids, we prepared goody bags for the upcoming school programs. We filled bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, stickers, and "how to brush your teeth" papers. We had about 150 to take into the villages/schools. The dental hygenists showed a power point (complete with video of monkey "kirby" who knows how to take care of his teeth!), demonstrated brushing with a big set of teeth, and handed out the bags. Saturday night we had a birthday party for Pamela, who turned 7. She has a new interest in soccer, so she got soccer presents, and a soccer-field cake. However, she's still into SpiderMan! (just last night she talked on and on about all the spiderman stuff she wants - like "chiloti cu SpiderMan!"... Spidey Underpants!) She served us all cake, and then we played with balloons and her new toys. I have video of this, too. the day ended with one of those fantastic romanian dinners a la Buna, and music. Mar. 2 - Sunday We went to church in Tinca this morning. On the way, we picked up Catrina. We saw a man laying in the road who looked hurt - Peter said he was drunk. It was sad not to be able to help him, to watch him try so hard to get up, but just collapse to the ground. It was unnerving that he was crawling on the railroad tracks... there's no way he could get up if a train came. At the church in the Gypsy village we shared lively songs with the congregation at Pastor George's church. Morgan (17, Wyoming) plays the bagpipes, and burst our eardrums with a beautiful rendition of amazing grace. The pipes were a big hit in all the churches... "never had THOSE before!" after the service, we went upstairs to see the fellowship room where they hold bible classes, and feed the kids everyday. its a nice facility (indoor bathroom!!!!) with a kitchen, tables, chairs, clean walls and floors. George thanked us for coming, showed appreciation for the well, and we had coffee and light refreshments. Their next prayer is for a baptismal. then we drove to see the well. it rained the day bfore, and there was LOTS of mud.. but i got to see the well and take video of the crystal clear water from it. Very cool. After lunch, we unpacked, settled in, and then went to another church service in Tarcaita (Tark-eye-eetsa). Its very helpful to hear so much of the language and songs. I'm picking it up faster now. Mar. 3 Monday for the first time, REMM sent a group into the local technical school (Beius' own Vo-Tech!) We were shown around the school and spoke a little bit with some students. mostly it was just establishing a presence there and building good relations. We visited the computer lab (where everyone was playing games and Instant messaging... the teachers insisited that's not what they do all day ) we got to visit the art studio, which was AMAZING. very good work. i was soooo aching to go back to school and take art classes again! i spent the rest of the afternoon and evening sick in bed, sleeping and fighting off a terrible stomachache and nausea... i blamed it on the cabbage rolls we had for dinner the night before. i was half- joking, but later in the week when we had them again, i got sick again. so no more cabbage rolls for me! Mar.4 Tuesday We went to the local elementary school ("catrina's school") for VBS, dental presentations, songs, and talking. We did the "wordless book" presentation (pages with colors: yellow- God's holiness, black-sin, red-jesus' blood, white-cleansing, green-spiritual growth, blue-heaven) then we made the beaded bracelets with all the colors. I sang some songs (a romanian one, with the help of Ninu, our translator) and we moved on to other classes. While the rest of the group moved on to do VBS, i was recruited by Catrina to stay behind with the dental presentation and sing songs. I'd sung 'Beautiful Scandalous Night" in Tinca, and she just LOVED it, so she asked me to sing it in every class Catrina told everyone sometiems she talks to me on Yahoo messnager, so then everyone wanted my SN, so i gave it to them... now i have a bunch of little romanian friends who chat with me online, and they can teach me Romanian and i can teach them english. fun fun. after one class, one girl asked me to write my name in her notebook so she could remember me... suddenly EVERYONE wanted my name, and i ended up signing autographs for ten minutes! haha! and then one wanted kisses (kissing on the cheek is customary here), and suddenly i was giving out kisses... hahaha. the kids from Catrina's class remembered us from last year. they are so cool, and have a great teacher! they sang us a lot of songs ("old mac-doh-nahld had a faaarm") just love those kids. that afternoon we went to the storage rooms of Casa Iosif and sorted clothes! it was easier this time- no specifics, just sort them by men, women and children, and we leave it up to pastor George to pass them out to families as needed. It's okay that i had to leave most of the clothing donations behind. They have TONS of clothes... they can't keep up with them. then we went down and played with the girls some more, and Tim gave them harmonicas. somehow Nati always ends up on top of me... haha. instead of barking this time, she just blew the harmonica in my face. The caretakers' latest goal is to teach the girls to behave like little ladies, and NOT jump and climb all over their visitors. it's a slow process... they are so cute, who can resist? That night we went to the coffeehouse for music. Kent and I played guitar, and we sang some stuff. good times. Mar. 5 Wednesday Last year on the way to Tinca we stopped at a construction site that looked like a pile of dirt... we went there again today, and now stands the Nursing Home and Rehabilitation center in Ripa. its a very nice place - simple compared to the assisted living mansions they have in the States, but incredibly well-maintained for a Romanian facility. Peter said its the nicest home he's seen in Romania, and hopes it will set a high standard for taking care of the elderly. We were supposed to be on a schedule, but they just wouldn't let us leave! they wanted to show off their building, and rightly so. it was very nice. we had refreshments afterward (no one here takes NO for an answer...!) The mayor of Tinca (the whole town, not just the gypsy village) accompanied us to several more facilities. There is an "orphanage" for disabled kids. they actually have 8 different houses each with staff and caretakers, and then a central building where they go for treatment and physical therapy. It was very nice to see such a helpful facility for these kids. We also went to another facility for disabled teens and adults. They have all kinds of rooms for physical therapy, music, art therapy, all kinds of stuff. it was really nice. we finally got to the gypsy village, where we dropped off the food and clothes from Agape, and went upstairs where they were feeding the children lunch. I later realized, looking at my pictures, that they were covered with dirt from head to toe... but whenever i'm with them, i never even notice. we set up the power point and taught them about dental hygiene, then handed out the toothbrush bags. Elsha did the wordless book presentation with Melinda translating, and we made the bracelets. in between i sang some songs and they sang back (a lot of people know Aceasta e Ziua Domnului - This is the Day that the Lord has Made) so i'm learning it in romanian, and even when i sing it in english they sing along.) Then Tim handed out harmonicas, and we hung out for a while, then headed home. We were very pleased that the mayor stayed with us the whole time. Peter let her know she could leave whenever she was ready, but she stuck around, and we're very glad for that. Mar. 6 Thursday We went to the school for VBS again, then went thru the market on the way home. We talked, somehow got into british accents, and probably the funniest part of the day was when NINU corrected MY english. HA! its funny though, as my romanian gets better my english gets worse... i can never get the right words out anymore! we did various projects this afternoon. i went to the bridge and finally cleaned up the mess from SATURDAY'S birthday party! time is so non-existant here! i had a lot of balloons to pop. we hung around town a bit, and played cards at the bridge. Mar. 7 Friday Finally my turn to go on an Agape Run! Gianni drove us (he's so funny!), and Melinda came along to translate. our first stop was at the home of Gisela (friend of Gianni's wife Monica) and her son, "johnny" (so as not to be confused with Gianni) Johnny had some complications at birth, and his brain didn't get enough oxygen, leaving him with some disabilities and unable to use his legs. He was sleeping when we arrived, and was tired and confused at all the strangers in his room. but as he woke up he smiled and "talked" a bit. before we left we all gathered around and prayed for Gisela and her family. Next we went to see Roland, another disabled boy. He was also sleeping, but didn't wake up. It looked like a very tiny child, no more than 6, under the covers, but his mother said he was 28. He was sick today, with the flu or something. His father was an alcoholic, and left for Spain. his sister is 17 and in school, and "normal" except for some anxiety episodes. We prayed with them, too. The next family was large - 17 children, who slowly were trickling home from school. It was actually NICE today, sunny and warm, and we played some soccer with the kids. its interesting how the larger families seem so happy and healthy, with both parents, whereas the ones with only a few seems so broken. The last stop was in Chiscau, near the Bear Cave. This family had 13 kids, and they make little bear souvenirs to sell outside the cave. they showed us their clay bears, and i think were going to give them to us, but we paid for them, and now have souvenirs from the site we saw last year . They had a very nice little fountain/pond in their yard, which they proudly turned on for us. Nice family. we enjoyed the scenic ride back home- snowcapped mountains, sunny sky, hilarious conversations with Gianni and Melinda. good day. that night we picked up the girls at Iosif's and went out for pizza. They are very well behaved for all the excitement of dining with a bunch of Americanii. After dinner we hung out at the Bridge. we go to the Bridge a lot... its a nice place. good pastries. Mar 8 Saturday We were supposed to go to the mountians today, maybe for some skiing, but it was raining and cold, and the report from the mountains was YUCKY. So they took a group to the Bear Cave (Pestera Ursilor) and the rest of us went to the warehouse to finish the bunkbeds our construction crew is making for the girls. They finished up the rails, ladders, and mattress slats, and we sanded everything for a couple hours. they look really nice. rain rain rain rain, all it did for two weeks was RAIN (excpet friday when it was lovely!) we moped around for a while, and were playing card games at the bridge, while i charged my iPod. not knowhing Ana was downloading LOST onto iTunes. so when i came to retrieve it, Mihai (16, Stei, RO. this kid speaks PERFECT english.. .no accent at all) wanted to listen to some Relient K. that's when i realized my 5500 songs had been replaced with the 87 from Ana's iTunes library. i was in shock and awe and disbelief. so i went home, let out some steam, and played Tumnus (my guitar) for a while. and eventually i got over it. Another slap over the head from the Man Upstairs as a reminder of WHY i am here. Back to the bridge tonight to play some more music. Mar 9 Sunday. We went to Gianni's church in Carpinet, which is really really really small. We picked up Mihai in Stei (Shtay) and had him and Melinda to translate. Tim preached, and i played some music. i sang Agnus Dei in Romanian, to the surprise of a few, and it was REALLY cool to hear the locals singing along. Morgan played bagpipes again (really not an indoor instrument.. but enjoyable anyway... if you cover your ears!) and we had a good time. The other half of the team had gone to another church, and came back to Carpinet to meet us, then we went home. we had free time all afternoon, as Wyoming packed up. we played 31 and Spoons at the Bridge, then wandered around town with Mihai for a bit. Of course, it was RAINING again, so it was kind of a dismal boring day, as was most of the last two weeks. The memories and experience are wonderful, but there is a lot of boredom in between that i can't tell you about. but i'm learning to keep busy, and prepare things for the next day when i have down time. I've been sketching some, too. Sunday night we went to another church, in Beiusele (Bay-OOSH- ell-lay) Small, remote village with an aging congregation, but good anyway. i took a break from singing/playing and enjoyed the service, prayer, and listening to Kent sing. At home in the dining room, i saw what appeared to be Ana giving massages... no, she was doing lice checks. apparently some of us had it. she suspected i might, but i'm hoping it was just my hair gel that was dried and flaking, and dandruff. So we all took lice showers tonight and spent hours with fine-tooth combs Mar 10, Monday. Wyoming left this morning. Ever since... NO RAIN! hahaha. i feel bad for them that it rained all the time they were here, but i'm SO GLAD that its warming up! They left me their extra lice shampoo. after they left, we stripped the sheets, and washed EVERYTHING in hot water. i cleaned up our "apartment" a bit, as well as the dining room, etc. Went to the Bridge, and spent a few hours downloading my pictures on Peters laptop, and updating some, as have read for the past few days. Then i got sick again. i laid down after lunch, played guitar a bit... threw up yesterday's cabbage rolls... had some hot "cleansing yoga tea", then walked to the orphanage. i met Mihai on the way, and they put him to work hauling wood. Anca and I went upstairs to gather craft supplies, and when the girls came home we played soccer and tag. They had some friends over from school, and when Geta saw me she grabbed my hand, pointed at me, and bragged "Vorbeste engleza! Vorbeste engleza!" (she speaks english!) so i poked back at her and said "Vorbeste romaneste! vorbeste romaneste!" (she speaks romanian!) She giggled at that... she's so cute. Delia is a great athlete, and ALL of them are better than i am! and they know it! "football" is SOOOO much more popular in Europe. They are born with soccer skills. we played inside for a bit with balloons and stuffed monkeys (maimuta; my-MOOT-sa), washed up for dinner, and i ate with the girls. i think it was Pama who brought over a tiny little chair for me, and carefully placed a foam "cushion" on it. i sat at the head of the table, Geta on my left, pama on my right. Pama scooted closer to me on the corner, but was ordered to move back. She insisted that if she moved back, she was too close to the heat stove, and was too hot.. (in reality, being closer to ME was closer to the stove... but of course she didn't see it that way!) all thru dinner they stared and giggled at me. how intimidating little girls can be! hahaha. after dinner, i showed them how to make beaded bracelets, and Anca and I picked out letter beads for all their names. It went rather well, until they realized it was quite funny to throw beads all over the floor and "accidently" spill the cups full of beads. oh well. so we finally finished, they gave their bracelets to "Mommy Anca", then got ready for bed. I had to leave then, so i could walk home with Anca (alone in the dark.. no good!). Geta wanted a goodnight kiss. of course i obliged. needless to say, i slept well this night! i was so exhausted! in a good way... Mar 11, Tuesday I spent all morning at the Bridge, typing up a report for Peter, a 2007 survey of the REMM ministry for one of their donors. after lunch, i wandered around town (i do that a lot... boredom is not hard to find here!) every day though, i force myself into a store or two to look around, and overcome my fear of not understandng romanian. but all i have to do is say "nu vorbesc romaneste" and they understand. ironically, i end up speaking to them in romanian anyway, telling them that i'm from america and speak english! I went back to the Bridge to finish up the report, and was going to leave for another evening at Casa Iosif, but got the news that the girls were sick. Bug going around. so i stayed and talked to my mommy on Yahoo Messanger, a bit with dad, and a few words with Gavin. very nice went home really tired, and was in bed by 8:30 Mar 12, Wednesday Lots of clouds, but STILL NO RAIN! yay! another breakfast of corn flakes and milk - SOOOOO good, believe it or not... i miss cereal! Dia, Dora, and Nati stayed home from school today, still down with the bug. so i went to Iosif's to entertain them. we played with balloons, puzzles, and a big pile of dress-up clothes... the hula skirt ended up on my head, and i must say i look rather stunning with long green hair. Nati was a fairy and walks much better in over-size high heels that i do! then i went upstairs to sort clothes. SO MANY CLOTHES. for the girls, for the other 28 foster kids, for Agape... i organized the shoes, some hats, scarves and mittens... they really could start their own little thrift shop. went back downstairs, watched Scooby Doo with the girls, played a bit, starting watching Return of Jafar (Aladdin), then they ate lunch. Melinda and I sat watching the cartoon for a while... without the kids... oh to be young again! So then i came back home for lunch, and headed out again for the Bridge to organize my pics, write my emails, and update xanga, which is where i sit RIGHT NOW. i can't believe i'm caught up! i think i'm supposed to go back to the orphanage now... i should probably go find out! Oklahoma comes in late tomorrow night. maybe i can hitch a ride on the van to budapest, and spend some time in oradea??? computer shopping??? who knows. Romania knows no schedules! pics are up on photobucket, video and more pics to come. Mar 13 Thursday I started captioning my photobucket pictures. wandered around Beius for a while... after lunch i chatted with melinda a bit while we waited for Ana to come. Then we took down the Valentine's decor at the bridge, and i dug thru the box of Easter stuff, and designed some spring decorations... it took a few hours. i didn't really like what i had to work with, but it turned out okay. I'm trying to get away from Michaels, and here i am making bows and wrestling with floral tape. fun stuff. pretty low-key day. i woke up about midnight to my door opening, and light coming on and shrieks of "GASP! there's someone IN there, i saw it move!" ... "is it a guy or a girl?" ... "I don't know!"... "umm... okay, lets get out of here!" Oklahoma has arrived i guess someone forgot to mention that i had already established my dwelling here. Mar 14 -Friday so anyway we met this morning over breakfast, discussed devotions/schedules etc. we went to Nicolae Popviciu ("catrina's school") again this morning, where i suddenly become a rockstar with her class. I'm finally learning names, mostly of the girls who run up and hug me every time i come. they are so sweet. we went to a few classes, sang songs, talked with the kids, and with one class we did the bead bracelets. then we took the scenic route home, ate lunch, and here i sit updating you all. peter says a computer in Romania is going to be MORE expensive, so i guess i'll just schmooze off everyone else until i get home, then maybe i'll buy one for NEXT TIME! ohhh, next time. i can't believe i've been here for 2 weeks already. feels like i just got here. and i hate that i only have 2 weeks left. i'm going to be so distraught having to leave. ugh. that's all for now. tonight we go to the orphanage, maybe play in the park with the local kids, and tomorrow we are having games with all the orphans and foster kids. should be fun. oooooookay... that's all for now! ceau! March 15 - Saturday We rented the gymnasium of a local school, and held "Olympic Games" for all the foster kids. They are all very happy to see each other again. It was great to meet the kids i've been hearing about and seeing on the Casa Iosif project, but never got to see in person. they are so cute! we started by just playing a bunch of games while people came in. Soccor, basketball, frisbee, tag, "volleyball" with beach balls. lots of fun. then we did some creative relay/foot races. we did a backwards bunny hop, and everyone was nearing the finish line, and little Geta was about 2 yards from the beginning, stuck, but jumping with all joy, and not going anywhere. that girl is just ADORABLE! then we divided up into smaller groups and went around to different "stations" to play some games. my group dissolved and ran amuck, but everyone was having tons of fun, so i just went around playing basketball while kicking a soccor ball, then spiking a volleyball, and throwing plastic rings... all sorts of fun stuff.. and working on my Romanian. One of the foster girls, Mia Sorina became attached to me.. literally! she latched onto my arms, and wouldn't let go! poor Nati came over and looked at me with these big, betrayed eyes. I try to play with them all, but they ALL want SO MUCH to be special to someone. I met Ica, who carried around a Shrek doll, and liked playing "monkey" with me. Maria and Oana played "volleyball" with me. Little Catalin and Robi ran around to their hearts' content. THEY NEED FAMILIES!!! the urgency for the opening of international adoption is becoming SO clear to me. i can talk about it all i want, but until i see these kids who just CRAVE love and attention, it just doesn't sink in. they are SO CUTE. my camera batteries died that morning, so i have to steal pictures from the other team. they also have a lot of video. so precious. how anyone could abandon them, i don't know. it breaks my heart to see them without families, and it's just all the more heartbreaking to think of what may happen to them in REMM doesn't get more support. It's bad enough they don't have permanent families, but they are in GOOD hands. If they lose the care of REMM, i don't even want to think about what will happen to them. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray, and consider how you can help. at the end of the games, each child was called up to a podium, given a gold medal and a gift bag, and a poloroid for the frames they made in between games. then we went to the Bridge for a pizza party. Mia insisted i sit with her, and between waiting for drinks and pizza, she caressed my arm, and watched over little Catalin. she tried on my sunglasses, and was very proud to look so cool! we hung out for a while, Daria sang some songs in english (i'll try to get a video to you!), we played in the yard a bit, then everyone went home exhausted. after a brief nap, we plotted practical jokes against the boys (THEY started it!) and hung out at the bridge. We stayed late, playing spoons with Andreea, Stephanie, Serban, Alex, and some guy i don't know... it got a little violent, and we broke one of the glass easter globes i had decorated... so we learned to play Egyptian Rat Screw (aka Mexican Rat Face) which i still don't understand, and had a great time beating each other up. the walk home was COLD but BEAUTIFUL!! finally a clear night, moon and stars! i froze my tail off getting pictures of the stars, but they look great! March 16 - Sunday We went to Stei for church this morning. a very nice one. small, but nice. The girls came with us, and were very well behaved. They sang a couple songs.. OH MY GOODNESS are they ever adorable!!! Then we came home and they ate lunch with us. here i sit at ye olde Bridge, talking to some of Catrina's students on IM and updating ya'll, trying to get some more pics up. *THANK YOU, Tim for leaving me your memory card! i am using it!* Thank You everyone for your prayers, and please continue to pray for REMM, for Romania, and for all the kids. And for me. I wouldn't say that i have any "answers" or "direction" right now, but i have definitely been learning A LOT. God is speaking. HAPPY PALM SUNDAY!!! i have to go now to church again, about an hour away... going to be a long night. ceau! to finish up Sunday: we went to a larger church in Tulca. It was very nice. they had a brass ensemble, drummer, piano, and very nice people. cabbage rolls for dinner! i ate the inside only... thus far i'm feeling okay!!! then we went to the Bridge, i hung out with Melinda for a while, and stephanie and andreea. Alex (16, Beius) came by with his dog, a BEAUTIFUL Siberian husky, named Leia. (to which all the americans reply, "like star wars?!?") i played with her in the park for a long time. she's so cute... i think i like huskies because they kind of look like cats.. with the pointy ears and whatnot.. haha, i don't know. anyway, she loved biting me, and jumping on me, and knocking me on the ground and sitting on my head. GREAT FUN. dinner time. more about TODAY.. tomorrow! Thursday, March 20, 2008 Happy Good Friday Eve! WOW its been a while. i've been busy... doing... stuff. it's been a rough week, and i don't have my notes with me, so i can't update right now... i can't keep track of ANYTHING i did without writing it down! i've caught a bad cold, though, so if u could pray for my health, that'd be great! it snowed yesterday! and today. just some flurries, nothing on the ground, but its terrible how nice and warm it was getting, then all of a sudden BITTER COLD and snow! oh well. c'est la vie. one week until my last night in Beius . honestly what i dread most? is a million people saying "HEEEY, how was your trip? what did you do? tell me all about it!!!". i just... canNOT sum this up in words... i'll give them my website and say "here, look it up". it's indescribable. goodbye for now. maybe i'll have time for some serious blogging tomorrow. maybe. no one really knows. cu dragoste si maimuta, JESS Mar 17 - Monday This morning we visited the elementary school in Remetea, Melinda's hometown. Several of the foster kids also live in that area. I saw Mia Sorina again, and she was so happy to see me. We acted out the skit of the wise man and foolish man building their houses on rock and sand. the "houses" were actually a pyramid of 6 people. My part was the WIND. i just had to blow around in circles and knock over the sand house. woohoo! except i tripped, and ended up IN the house! haha. That morning i taught Okla the song and motions to "the wise man built his house upon the rock", and we taught it to the kids. We also taught them "Deep and Wide". They sang Ode to Joy for us, and we sang it back to them in English. We had some question and answer time, they like to talk about "football" (soccer). We played "heads up seven up" with them, which is funny, i remember playing it in elementary school! We had a lot of fun. one of the students who lives near the school has ostriches. so he took us to his house, and we got to see some of them. they are so funny looking.. Then we went to visit Calin, a boy from Casa Iosif who is being fostered by Melinda's aunt. He couldn't make it to the Olympics on saturday, so we took him a medal and a gift bag. He had broken a bone, i think his shoulder or collarbone, or something, while playing a game, and his whole torso was wrapped in a cast. He seemed happy to have visitors, though and some new gadgets to play with. On the way back to the bus, we saw Claudiu, another foster child, and gave him his gift bag, too. after lunch, some went on an Agape run, while some cleaned at Iosif's, and Elliot, John, and I chopped wood. well... i hauled it in the wheelbarrow. not strong enough to chop (yet!). It started raining really hard, but we kept working. when the wood was stacked high, and the girls came home from school, we played with them for a bit, then went home for dinner. It was Andreea's birthday, so we had a little party in the back of the bridge. Plans continued for the "chicken in the boys' bedroom" fiasco... but fell through once again. Mar 18 - Tuesday We pioneered REMM into the public schools of Tinca. The mayor accompanied us again, and she and all the teachers were very proud of what they accomplished. They were very proud of their integrated classrooms, teaching Romanians, Hungarians, and Gypsies alike. The school as a whole had a strong Orthodox background. They sang some songs for us, and we talked with them a bit. after class, a few of the team went to see the Rehabilitation centers and orphanages that we had seen the week before. the rest of us went to this beautiful Orthodox church and got to look around inside and take pictures. ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!! I'll be posting pics on PhotoBucket. we got to speak with the priest a bit, then go back into the courtyards and see an OLD original church from.. a really long time ago! The sun came out and it was a beautiful day! Then we went into the gypsy village in Tinca, and did VBS with the kids. We did the Wise Man and Foolish Man skit and song, and a few worship songs. Then we took polaroids of each of the kids, and they made a foam frame to put their pictures in. they were SO HAPPY to see themselves develop! Then they went upstairs to have their hot lunch, and we went home for a LATE lunch (3pm!) It was too late then to do an afternoon Agape run... so i don't remember what we did. probably hung around the bridge and/or casa iosif, and once again plotted the Chicken Scandal, but it fell through... again.. Mar 19 - Wednesday We went to another school in Beius, again a first-time connection, so it was mostly talking and the kids performing for us. One student was a well-known folk singer, and i don't remember her name, nor have i ever heard of her... but she sang for us, and that was cool. not so much teaching from us. There seems to be more work needed in this place, from a spiritual and social standpoint (our work with gypsies was not much appreciated here), but they were very attentive, and welcomed us back again. so hopefully we've built a bridge. when we left the school, it was snowing! After lunch, we finally had the agape run, but to leave room for the 'newbies' to experience it, i stayed back again. hauled wood at Iosif's with Josh and Zac, and eventually broke the axe flurries fell now and then, and it was very cold today. We played with the girls when they got home, then met up with Ninu (Ursu, the dog, tried to eat him... but i rescued him.. since when am I the one who ISN'T afraid of enormous dogs?!?) we went to a youth/high school service at a Pentecostal church. it was fun.. singing, good message.. good stuff. i myself was experiencing some emotional and spiritual distress. everyone left the church without me, and as i walked home alone in the dark, i began to boil in my misery. so i walked around, mostly by the river, for maybe an hour, releasing some steam and stress. went to bed without dinner. no Rooster Fiasco. Mar. 20 -Thursday i slept in, skipping breakfast. i needed some "fasting and prayer" this morning. I read the bible and prayed a lot, and don't know that i got any "answers", but got a lot of good stuff to chew on. i needed the morning off anyway... i have a bad cold, maybe another sinus infection? blech. It's market day! i went around to some stores, but couldn't really understand the sales clerks.. when they started looking at me with suspicion and followed me around, i just left. forget them. hung around all day at the Bridge, the clinic, market, whatever. Peter and Ana have been traveling a lot to Oradea for meetings, so they've been doing important things, while we have been having some more down time. We went to Casa Iosif to present the girls with Easter dresses and new outfits from Okla's church in Tulsa. They were so cute, trying everything on.. including frilly dresses with pants and sneakers... so cute! Geta accompanied us home to eat with Elliot and our team. such big brown eyes you have never seen!!! Then we went to the Bridge for a game night. we had invited a bunch of people from the church last night, and we finally gathered a group in the back to play spoons. Then we headed upstairs with about 25 people, and played Mafia... which got me SO CONFUSED so i played checkers with Ani, and observed the insanity of the Mafia game. Everyone was really rowdy, and poor Ninu was trying to keep things organized in both Romanian and english... everyone yelling and telling jokes... it was so funny! and finally... *drum roll please*.... The Rooster Prank came into fruition. Andreea, Stephanie, Christina, Alex and I followed Serban to his chicken coop, where he obtained a rooster, and we put it in the boys' room. first in the window, then Serban moved it to the bed. hahaha. so we went back to the coffeehouse, where the guys were watching basketball on internet/tv. Zack and John left, and we followed behind to see the reaction. we could hear the rooster squawking when we got home, but the boys were in the diningroom. Elliot said "did you find anything in your room?" and Zak's like "yeah... there's a chicken up there..." John didn't even go up yet. He was so mellow about it, but it was so funny. so we went upstairs to retrieve the rooster, which put up a good fight. and its all on video. haha. ... rooster.. then we went BACK to the bridge to play games, and just sit around and chat. i think i finally went to sleep at 1:30 am. Mar. 21 - Friday Okla. has left the building. I slept in, popped some DayQuil, cleaned up the room a bit, then Andreea and I went to Iosif's to play with the girls, who were home from school (maybe for Good Friday?) we colored, played games, dressed up spiderman in a tutu and did the can-can... yeah, fun stuff! ate lunch, came to the bridge, and here i sit. and here i go! thanks for checking in! friday the 21st... yes. i remember it now! haha. andrea and i went to Casa Iosif and played with the girls, we wandered around town a bit, hung out at the bridge, i played my guitar some, took a nap, then started teaching Andrea to play the guitar. its a bit hard with no chord charts.. but fun anyway. then we ate Romanian sausage for dinner, which was great going down, but for the rest of the night we kept burping sausage and it wasn't so great. hahaha. we went to Ninuuuuuuuuuu's salon so Andrea could get her eyebrows down, i looked at hair, (yeah.. i looked at hair...) then we went back to the bridge, talked with Ninu about his car that got wrecked because he ran over a dog... and then went home and waited for Kenosha to arrive. Mar 22 - Saturday The team from Andrea's school in Kenosha Wisconsin has arrived. there are about 20 -25 kids, and they are really nice. Lots of personality, lots of fun. They brought electric drums, keyboard, guitars, viola, a whole BAND, and we've been playing some really good music in the churches and coffeehouse. I cleaned up the upstairs of the bridge from the mess we made at game night, so it looked nice for the "tour". I called home with the phone card Okla left, so that was nice. It was raining and cold, so we had to give up plans to have an easter egg hunt at the orphanage. the other team was "orientation-ing" so i had all day to walk around... i met Christina outside the bridge, and her friend Ionut. Christina and i took a nice stroll thru Beius and took silly pictures of each other. the sun came out and it got warm. when i got back to the clinic, a bunch of us played soccer with some local kids. it was really fun. I ended up getting smacked super hard in the thigh with the ball... but i got over it. still a little tender! Then it started to rain again, so we went inside and had dinner. they loaded up all the instruments in the vans, and managed to set up at the bridge. Pretty high-tech stuff! it was nice, i sang a few songs (well.. "croaked" a few songs.. still have a head cold!) and talked with Ani, Alex and Christina. still raining. Ani and i walked home, and then i went to bed. Mar 23 -Sunday Paste Fericit!!! happy easter! well, for the americans and hungarians anyway! Romania mostly celebrates with the orthodox, which is later in April. We came down to breakfast to find beautifully painted eggs on the table. Ninu came over and taught us some easter traditions... including what i call "egg wars". each person gets an egg. one says "Hristos ai inviat" (Jesus has Risen!) and the other says "in adevar inviat" (risen indeed!), and then you hit the eggs together. whoever has the egg that cracks has to give it up to the "winner". My egg stood undefeated for a few rounds, then was slaughtered by andrea's. fun stuff. We had the pleasure of spending Easter morning in Tinca. Kenosha brought their instruments, and did worship. They did a 'Human Video" (a dance/pantomime) about Jesus' crucifixion, Skip preached a good message, and it was a really great service. Lots of tears, smiles... good fellowship. then we went upstairs for goood pastries, soda and chocolate bunnies we got home and had a great easter dinner of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Kenosha had team meetings/unpacking/relaxing, whatever, so i went to the bridge (as usual!) where i met Ninu, and we talked about the baptists and pentecostals. hahaha. it's very hard to explain "non-denominational" here. he read the newspaper, and translated a review about horseradish... yeah. horseradish. i got a driving tour of Beius (they are building a theater!) then went to re- dress for church. some went to a baptist church, the rest of us went to the Pentecostal church. Romanian Pents. are different from American... i LOVED the music, they had an amazing choir (even though it was a small church). the first preacher was good, the second one was very... loud... and scary.. and i didn't know what he was saying, so i was terrified. literally shaking. i wasn't sitting near Andrea or Ninu, so i couldn't ask what was going on... they assured me later it was nothing bad, its just the way he preaches. i still don't believe it. I think he condemned me to Sheol... j/k We went home then for dinner, and got a message "there's a ton of kids in the bridge! grab your instruments and go!" so we went and played some more.. a little more simple. most of the kids had come from the church service. it was packed. loud. fun... but NOISY in my head because of my cold. We talked about dumb stuff some more... bla bla bla... i called home before i went to bed and got to talk to everyone. they should have told you "hi!" for me! Mar 24 - Monday Back to work! we split into two groups for VBS - one to high school, my group to Popoviciu. We went to Katrina's class first, and since i'm not really part of the group's presentation, i sat with the class and they taught me some romanian animals while they set up. haha. Kenosha brought PUPPETS!!! so funny. we did some songs and stuff, they played Gavin's favorite Audio Adreanline song - Big House! so now i know the motions! we visited another class for a short time, then did a presentation in the 6th grade french class... they learned english during todays lesson more songs, puppets, question and answer, etc etc. then we went to the bridge, played Texas Hold 'Em with some kids who were skipping school (apparently they do that a lot here!) talked, had fun, then christina walked me to a bookstore, and i found a small dictionary, James and the Giant Peach, and The Little Prince, in Romanian. i'm really excited! i had to leave for lunch, but i'll be going back to look some more. i luv books! now the other teams are doing Agape, and i have nothing to do until 5:00 when we go to the Hungarian church in Remetea. and that's the nightly news from Romania. Noapte Buna! finishing monday-Mar 24 we went to the hungarian church in Remetea. saw Mia and Catalin, and her ("sisters"?) Naomi and Iohana, and Claudiu and Calin. Melinda's been sick, so she couldn't make it. Since the Hungarians celebrated Easter this weekend, they played some easter hymns on their brass instruments. it was really nice to hear them - it just wasn't easter without the hymns! ummm... my notes are at home and i have the memory of a peanut... so i'll get back to you later... today we went to Oradea... i can tell you that! i can't believe tomorrow is my last day. i..... ugh. just... ugh. it just started snowing again. we had a blizzard in Oradea, and it was fine here, when i was walking down the street, and all of a sudden a ton of snow fell from the sky... the weather has been SO WEIRD. not to mention all the daffodils blooming in the middle of it. i'm pretty sure i have a sinus infection again.. same kind of symptoms. a lot of hacky coughing and nasal congestion. blah. <----- this is about what i feel right now. i'm having lots of fun, i'm really happy, but in two days i'll be leaving, and i... ugh. just... ugh. 3/24 -Monday it must have been a loooong monday, it's taken me 3 posts to finish it! after church in Remetea we had dinner then went to the Bridge for the nightly music and games and goood pastries. As the coffeehouse gets crowded, we usually move upstairs and play games. Mafia and spoons are always a favorite, and it took two hours to teach everyone how to play "do you like your neighbor?", and i STILL didn't get it (though somehow i ended up admitting sometimes i don't wear underwear.. it's true! i shower naked!) so i confiscated Ninu's laptop and spilled some frustrations to my mama on Yahoo. then we had to close up the bridge, and go home, but i wasn't tired and i needed some time away from the group. So Serban drove the scenic route home to the clinic, but then we ended up just walking around town anyway. Beius is a lot bigger than you first think. The Crisul Negru is a lot prettier than Yoe's Mill Run, you meet some interesting town drunkards on the street at 2 am, the dogs howl at the moon, and the smoke rises from the chimneys of the little houses, filling the crisp night air with a woodsey haze that makes you want to pitch a tent and sing Kum Ba Yah. I crawled into bed at 5 am, and only got a few hours of sleep, but a lot of stress was lifted, a lot of anger burned off, and a lot of peace of mind. 3/25 - Tuesday We went to Nicolae Popoviciu School again this morning, and first visited Catrina's class. i have to admit, its quite flattering to walk in the room and have 20 kids' faces light up and they yell "jay-see- ca!!!!" and bombard me with hugs and kisses and ask me to sit at THEIR desk. I'd been asked not to participate in Kenosha's performances, so i sat with a girl (i think it was Anita...) and watched the puppet show with them. it was hilarious. i became a student. i sang their songs with them (Read your Bible, pray everyday... pray everday... pray everyday...), and when the group left, they invited me to stay. so i did. i sat thru geometry class and learned about parallels and perpendiculars. i loved geometry in high school. The kids presented me with breads and cakes, and easter eggs, and more hugs and kisses, and during the break we took pictures and practiced our gymnastics (i'm not as flexible as i used to be ) They asked me to come back tomorrow, but i told them we were going to Oradea. "Naahh" they said "you don't need to go to Oradea, you need to come HERE!" but i had to say my goodbyes, and catch up with the next class. we walked back to the Bridge and hung out til lunch, then i caught up on the sleep i missed last night. My sinus infection had returned and i was all stuffed up and sore-throated... that's all i remember about Tuesday.. i'm sure we went to the Bridge that night (we always do!)... 3/26 - Wednesday Oradea! a road trip with that includes Charles, Tim and Ninu is bound to be a blast. we played truth or dare on the way, and i ended up digesting a gum wrapper. i'm so glad i'm not a goat.. i couldn't live on eating paper all the time . we went to McDonald's in Oradea, where i had my first cheeseburger in a month... sooo tasty. i was also delighted to find beer on the beverage menu.. no, i didn't order it, i just took a picture. the romanians didn't understand why i was so intrigued. "you just don't find beer in American McDonalds..." Ninu's watch was off, and we ended up leaving late. we had to rush down the street and thru some really cool souvenir shops. i got some cool stuff, but i def. need to go back to Oradea next time and see the city. nice stuff. our van was on the other side of town, so we called 2 taxis to take us to the christian school chapel. it was a really nice place. they sang, did their thing, we talked with some of the students, then headed back out into the SNOW, and went to Emanuel Baptist University. We'd double booked ourselves, so we were supposed to present at the university, but missed the time while at the school... so we ate lunch in the Univ. cafeteria, taught Cheeto some Romanian pick-up lines (though i'm not sure why "i'm a ninja" would impress the ladies... ) and finally headed back home. i slept. i woke up near the clinic to Tim yelling about the hosiery that had been stuffed in his mouth. endless entertainment. We had a birthday party in the back of the bridge for Gabi (Pama's little sister). we ate cake and played with the girls, then went outside (it stopped snowing!) to play soccer, tag, and Red Rover!!! it was so much fun. the girls had some trouble with "red rover, red rover, send Delia on over", so it came out more like "Rub rova, red robot, Delia!" it ended with a pile-up tackle. night at the bridge again! music, and games. we tried a "jam session" which worked now and then, but some people just can't improvise. i tried playing Egyptian Rat Screw again.. only to lose within 45 seconds... haha. then eventually the team got the hang of "jamming", and i was able to join in on tambourine and some improv vocals. it was a lot of fun. The Rooster Saga was meant to continue with Kenosha, but the plans fell thru. i downloaded a couple thousand songs from Serban's computer, so now i have a lot of Romanian music for my iPod. and the Macarena.. which isn't romanian, but it ended up on there anyway 3/27 - Thursday *le sigh* the bittersweet Last Day. We checked out the market one last time, and hung around the bridge. the group went to the Bear Cave, and i stayed in town to walk around and say goodbye to Beius. Talked with my new friends, visited the bookstore (finally got a bible!) and the minimarket, and packed up my suitcases. after lunch the guys went to play soccer with Dani and Alex at Casa Iosif, and we hung around and talked until the girls got home from school. then we played soccer and football with them, tag, duck duck goose, red rover (which again ended in a pile up... with me in it!) Then we walked them down the street to the pizza parlor, and the whole team, the girls, the social workers, Peter and Ana, and Pastor George from Tinca had pizza. i can't believe how well-behaved they are in public. little ladies we walked back to Iosif's and played a little more. Sam taught the girls to beat-box, and it was hilarious. i have video (which is having trouble loading... i'll get it up eventually!) then we had to say our goodbyes, even ME, who had stayed thru all the other team's goodbyes... the girls kept asking if i was going to cry.. "probably...after i leave!" i managed to make it out the gate, but the walk home was accompanied with some waterworks. how do you tell these precious children that you really do love them, that you wish you could take care of them forever, that you've enjoyed your time with them.. but now you have to leave? everyone always leaves them.... no one ever stays. it's so unfair... last night at the Bridge. we played our last game of spoons (which never actually happened... ) and chatted with our friends, exchanged e-mails and looked at pictures... *le sigh* waterworks round #2. Then we finally continued the Rooster Tradition, where the fowl ended up "fowling-up" the desk (i wonder who ever cleaned that up...?) and once again catching the bird proved more entertaining than the victim discovering it. Sam made the mistake of letting on that he was afraid of the rooster, so of course we chased him around the clinic, cornered him in a bedroom and laughed hysterically as he leaped over the beds, eyes big as saucers. hahahaha... i decided that i could sleep on the bus. i could sleep in Budapest... i could sleep on the plane...i could sleep at home... so while i only had 7 hours left in Beius, why would i sleep through it??? So i got the grand tour of Beius by night (it really is bigger than you think!!!) got attacked by dogs (almost), fell in the river (well, one of us did!) trespassed on private property (maybe), climbed a hill, howled at the moon, disturbed the dead, and finally came to the realization that this would someday be my hometown, so why be sad about leaving? Nonetheless waterworks round #3 came as the sun was about to rise, followed shortly thereafter by round #4 of sobbing in the shower. 3/28- Friday staying up all night proved to be a very wise decision, though, because as soon as i got in the van at 6am, i fell soundly asleep, and woke up "2 minutes later" at the Hungarian border (a 3-hour drive). after getting my passport stamped, i went back to sleep, and "2 minutes later" (another 3 hours) i woke up at our hotel outside Budapest. the most miserable 6-hour drive of the trip had passed in 4 minutes. the hotel was really cool, but i had to wait for the rest of the group to arrive (they had my reservation). so i fell asleep in the lobby and "2 minutes later" they showed up and gave me a room. the rooms were small, with two twin beds, and a tiny loft "upstairs" that fit one double bed... and ONLY a bed. i got to sleep in the loft, which was really cool. the bathrooms were primitive, but provided sufficient entertainment when Andrea told the girls that the bidet was a foot washer... and they believed her.. i don't know if they tried it out, but their naivety was priceless all the same. We then drove into Budapest, got to see St. Stephens Basilica (GORGEOUS), cross the royal chain bridge, climb the hill, see the cool buildings, eat spiral cinnamon bread (*drool*), do some souvenir shopping, take pictures, etc etc.. yeah. it was Budapest. we went back into the "city" for dinner and shopping at the market stands in the square (the large open area where we watched the violinist last year.. it was now crowded with vendors of clothing, souvenirs, jewellry, and food.. it was really cool!) the Americans wanted french fries and soda (i'm no longer one of them... i'm an American-Romanian-Wanna-Be)they went to Burger King, and i went shopping. i eventually got bacon-wrapped turkey-on-a-stick and potatoes from a street vendor. so very tasty.. Everyone always talks about going home. and usually when you are on a trip with foreign foods, customs, schedules, away from home, yeah, you want to go home. no matter how much fun you had, there's just that time when you feel like "it's time to go home now". i never felt like that. never. my entire life had been left behind, and i never missed it. in the "bad" times i really wanted to talk to my Dad and get some guidance, i wanted to share with my friends and family what i was experiencing... but i never "missed" them. i had no desire to go home and rest. no desire to sleep in my own bed. no desire to eat American food. i wasn't tired of bread and soup. even after a month. we went back to the hotel, and Kenosha had a small baptism ceremony in the swimming pool. a few students and leaders were baptized/rededicated. i baptized myself in the shower dead to dirt, raised in cleanliness. 3/29 - Saturday got up at 4 am to leave the hotel by 5. we grabbed a sack breakfast, and headed for the airport. The first group left at 7:30, the majority at 8:30, and i sat (and slept for "2minutes!") at the check-in for a few hours because my flight didn't leave until noon. when my time came, though, i got checked in, went thru security, was asked questions about where i was, what i had in my suitcase, etc etc, but everything went VERY SMOOTHLY. i had 2 hours at the gate, so i shopped (duty free!) and slept and waited for the plane. flight went well. watched August Rush, Enchanted, Ugly Betty, and My Name is Earl. the flight staff was pleasant and FUNNY... near the end of the flight, for our last snack, they announced they had run out of orange juice and coffee. "we sincerely apologize for this situation, but its not like we can go out and get some right now..." hahaha. passport control and customs had a little wait, but going thru was easy as pie. both officers looked at my passport and said "where in the world is Yoe, Pennsylvania?!?!?!" yeah... i know... i get that a lot... my baggage arrived safely. my dad was there to pick me up. we drove back to Yoe. i had a hard time saying "i'm going home". it really doesn't feel like home. its like... a pleasant visit to my old life. i still have a job! i have to admit part of me was disappointed, but its a good thing. i'm still full-time at Michaels, so now i can make money faster, save faster, and get back to Beius faster!!! i'm so excited for my future. i don't know WHEN or HOW, but i'm pretty sure i'm going to end up in Beius. To go 5,000 miles away and feel like your home?!?! that has to mean something! i've been begging God for direction all month, and i'm still not sure if i'm taking the direct flight or the scenic route, but there's a huge arrow pointing EAST. its pretty cool. i'm pretty blown away by it. life is good.
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