I have now been here thirteen days.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Home.

I set up my new room in the attic.  It’s lovely with a slanted ceiling, which I always wanted as a child.  There is a beautiful deep red rug, a desk, closet, bed, and dresser.  The window looks out at a scene that is both country and city.  (Does anyone remember that TV show “Country Mouse and City Mouse”??  Such a catchy theme song!) Big homes and modern cars, but also dirt roads, a neighbour with horse and buggy, and a rooster that crows throughout the day.  (Did you know it’s just myth that roosters only crow in the morning.)  I also hear dogs regularly.  Street dogs line the roads, hiding under cars to stay out of the heat, and running around at night.  They are like soldiers, staying watch over the subway entrances, and walking proudly through the streets as if to proudly say “Yes, you may pass through my territory today.”  Apparently they are so familiar with the city, they even know how to use the bus system. Perhaps I should ask them to show me around…(not like I get lost often)

Food.

I went grocery shopping.  I’m a hungry girl, and having to cook for myself each day is a challenge that I have been awaiting.  This past year I have been in a preparation mode…unsure of what I was preparing for. (The Proverbs 31 woman was my inspiration, and still is.  She is some kinda woman!)  Cooking was one of the things that I felt I wanted to learn and practice, and so I did.  And now, I am SO happy I did!  I bought a bunch of familiar things, cheese, eggs, flour, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic (enough to last me a lifetime – the BIG bunches were a lot prettier than the individual cloves so I went BIG), spinach, bread, pasta (of course) and fruit and veggies.  So far, I have made a couple pasta dishes, roasted vegetables, some salads, crepes, roti, and with the help of my housemate and friend, Monique, a roasted chicken!!  I don’t like to touch meat – it’s all squisy and slimy – , so I’m almost vegetarian right now. However, when I go out for dinner I usually order something with some chicken.  I love chicken!  Monique is leaving soon, so if I want to eat more meat at home, I will need to overcome this fear…or continue in my vegetarian ways.  Either way, I am enjoying the challenge of cooking everyday.  I’m amazed at my mom, and how she creates delicious, well rounded, and creative meals each day for my family!  It really is a talent, and something to which I aspire.

Watermelon.

Watermelon gets it’s own paragraph because it is more than a fruit here.  It is a way of life.  Our temperatures here have been in the 40’s, and even 50 on occasion.  The news announces it as only being about 35 degrees, but it is in fact much hotter, and VERY humid.  Thus, the watermelon.  In Canada, we typically slice it is perfect little triangular slices and we each have one, or two.  Perhaps three.  My father however, has always been a huge lover of watermelon, and can ingest an entire melon in one sitting.  And that is precisely how the Romanians do it.  Say goodbye to the triangle and hello to a BIG bowl full of massive chunks of deep pink goodness.  The Romanian word for watermelon is “Pepene” (pe pen ay) and just saying it brings joy to people’s faces here in the summer.

Parks.

Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is known for it’s beautiful parks.  I am so happy to be in a place where I can take a ten minute subway trip to a lush green park with a lake, paddle boats, numerous walking and bike paths, statues, flowers and fountains to marvel at and enjoy.  I love finding places to escape the city and be surrounded by nature.  Within the first four days here, I visited “Herastrau Park” twice.  You can rent a bike for a dollar and tour around the lake, buy ice cream and walk past the swans and men fishing, sit at an outdoor cafe while a local band plays live music, and so much more. Parks are great backdrops to beautiful conversations, like the one I had with Monique on our first visit.  On our second visit, we rented bikes and ventured out towards the lake.  The bike was so comfortable, I wanted to keep it and take it home!  I’m looking forward to more visits in the future.

Children.

I came here to Romania to assist Jenn Iacob, missionary to the Gypsy children and families in Bucharest, with the Outreach Centre she runs.  The centre focuses on giving the children a safe place to learn and grow mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Basic needs are met such as a healthy meal and snack, a place to nap, and a kindergarten level education which most of them lack.  There are so many issues to be tackled, and it can be overwhelming.  However, Jenn does an amazing job taking it one step at a time,  teaching the children about brushing their teeth, sneezing into their elbow to avoid spreading germs, and other practical steps to a better lifestyle.  She also works closely with the moms, building her relationship with them through encouragement, teaching, and simply being there to listen.  I have so much to learn from her, and I am excited to see how God can use me to bless the community.  I also look forward to learning from the children I work with, and their parents who have already been so welcoming and kind.  Just today, one of the girls who attends the program spent outdoor recess with me, helping me to learn more Romanian.  She was so sweet, and so helpful!  It is a reminder that no matter our age, culture, or lifestyle there is always something to learn, and something we have to offer.

Thinking.

I am one day away from my two week point, and it already feels like I’ve been here for months.  But it is a great feeling.  During my time in school, I would often mentally zoom through the year, fast forwarding to summer…a time I could relax, enjoy life, and be stress free.  I had this mentality for many years until I realized that each day was something to be cherished.  I am here in Romania for six months.  Some hear that and say “whoa, so long!” while others remark “oh, time will fly by!”  Both are true.  Six months is long, but it will also fly by, as most things do when looking in retrospect.  The important thing is that I remember to stay present in each moment.  It’s easy to pick something in the future to look forward to as a way to help us get through the days in-between.  And it is great to be excited about things in the future!  I know I am!  I have a lot to look forward to, but I am reminded  to pause, look around, and take in everything I can where I am right now.

And right now, I am craving some mint-chocolate chip tea, courtesy of Pam Walker.  She’s got this great tea business (The TeaTin) with the BEST tea I’ve ever had.

p.s.

prayer.  a conversation with our creator and loving God – the one who knows us best, and cares for our needs more than we can imagine. prayer is nothing fancy, but rather an approach of us to Him.  A cry of despair, a plea for hope, a wish for something desired. An afternoon chat, a mish-mash of tears and confused questions. An “are you there God…” followed by some silence.  A long list of thank yous and “you are awesomes.”

When one student asks the teacher for an extension, he may choose to say yes or no.  But when the entire class comes to the teacher, together in agreement, asking in complete honesty for an extension, the teacher takes notice.

I’m inviting you come together as I approach our Heavenly Father, and pray about the group of children I have the privilege to see on a daily basis here.  I desire to see hope arise in their community, that they may know God’s amazing love for them!   God is good and I know great things are coming!!

“Lord, show your love to us as we put our hope in you.”

Psalm 33:22 (NCV)


Advertisements