Well here is the beginning of what will be probably a few blogs about my most recent adventure on the other side of the globe! I am going to start with the end of my trip, because that is the part I have my own photos and am not depending on getting my photos from anybody else! This was the part of my trip that was a walk down memory lane...back to Romania it was!
As many of you know, I did a semester abroad in Romania 5 years ago (I can't believe it's been so long ago). Romania feels like home away from home because of the experiences I had there during my 4 months I was living there. I have been so blessed with the opportunity to go back to visit as many times as I have...this was my third time going back to Romania and fourth time in Romania overall! The Romanians think I'm nuts for continuing to come back...but how could I not when I have such fabulous friends there, not to mention the cutest little orphans ever that mean so much to me!! So I don't make this a novel, I'm going to try to stick to my top 10 favorite things about this section of my trip.
1- Getting to see my orphan "babies"! This had to be one of the best and most emotional parts of my trip. My semester back in 2003 there was working in a children's hospital and an orphanage. I grew to love these little kids SOOOOO much and it was so wonderful to see their bright smiling faces again! There were many still there, but many have been fostered out and a few that have passed away. It was very bittersweet going back and seeing everyone...some look great and are doing well, others not so hot. The best part though, of course, was seeing my little Larisa! She was 2 when I was there before, now she's 7 and so big and can talk! It was wonderful to see her!
2- Getting to see Mario. Mario was the facilitator while I did my semester. She is one of my heros! The woman is AMAZING!!! She has been through a lot and stands strong on two feet. I wish I could be more like her. I went to her house though and chatted for awhile with her and just spent time with her. She has such a positive outlook on everything...she's the perfect person to talk to with any struggle cause she can put such a positive spin on it! LOVE HER!!
3- Getting to stay for a few days with Ioana in Cluj and seeing all the folk dancers! 2004 Clog America was hosted by a Romanian folk dance group and then Clog America hosted them in Utah in 2005. Tiff and I spent a lot of time with them when they were in Utah and my parents hosted 4 of them. So I finally made it back to visit them. It was AWESOME! They threw me a big party the night after I got there, with traditional Romanian-styled BBQ with lots of mici! I was able to do a lot with a few of them...we went to the mountains and went shopping and just hung out and had a good time catching up!
4- ROMANIA in general...makes me so happy to be there...I love riding the train, meeting new people, learning more about the country, culture and people, and more than anything seeing the countryside!!
5- The hospital! I spent a day back at the children's hospital I worked at before, which was wonderful. The kids were all different, but had the same feeling and I loved every minute of it! It looked so nice in there, they've been redoing the entire thing, floor by floor and it's look great, but still smells the same!
6- Going to church...this was awesome because I got to see some really good friends that I became acquainted with during my time there. Above all, it was SO wonderful to see the Stoica family! I was very sad I was unable to spend more time with them, but it was SO wonderful to see them, even if it was just for a bit. They are a fantastic family and such great examples to me!! I was also able to see a couple others, which was great! And on my walk there, I saw the boys that used to play outside the villa, one of which used to tell me I was his girlfriend. They are all grown up now, into their teenage years...crazy what 5 years does to people!!!
7- Spending time with Costy, his gf Elizabeth, and his wonderful family. Costy's mom moved out to the countryside up the street from his Grandmother, where it is SO beautiful!! It takes you back about 150 years with the horse doing all the labor work, water coming from the wells, oodles of flea bites, and fresh country air! I LOVED it out there and loved just relaxing with everyone, especially costy's sister...she's such a great person and I love her to death! I also go to enjoy his mom's AMAZING cooking!!! WOW!! I have missed the good traditional cooking his mom is SO good at!
8-Iasi! This was my city and I just LOVE walking around! I spent Sunday afternoon off on my own...just wanted some time to myself. I spent the previous 3 weeks constantly with my dance group and wanted some alone time! So after I went to church, I walked around the city...bought some yummy food that I had been craving and some delightful goodies to take home and just wandered past my old apartment and all the other places we loved going to...my fun little trip down memory lane! I even saw the old dog that used to follow us...we named him Elvis and he's still alive and kicking it right their in Targu Cucu neighborhood! Oh how I missed my girls though on this day. I had AMAZING roommates and a wonderful group of girls during my semester here and I wish so much that I could have all of together for a day in Iasi again! The good times! Playing nertz, cooking, the mold, shopping, internet runs, crying, laughing, sharing the culture and amazing experience with them...I wanted them to be there remembering it all again with me!
9- People are amazing...doesn't matter where you are, but I love Romanians! They are so great! I met a few girls on the train and even though my Romanian has gotten really shakey (not that it was stable before) but I love still going between bad english and bad romanian if that means getting to know new people! I met a few girls on my dreadful 9 hour train ride from Cluj to Iasi and it was SO fun! Also, my taxi driver that took me to the train station...he used to be a street kid back in Ceauscescu days...people have SO many cool stories to tell once you get them to open up!
10- I love sundays in Romania. I love being able to walk down to a shut off Stefan cel Mare and walk past church after church (mostly Romanian Orthodox) and hear the chanting and watch mass...I love it! I love all the different things that are there that aren't back at home!
Overall, I had a fantastic time in Romania...some of the emotions from 5 years ago came back with certain places or people I visited, but it was perfect! I love my friends there and am so happy I get to go back to visit from time to time!
Sorry...this still ended up being a novel! :)
20 August 2008
16 August 2008
So I have finally arrived back home, unfortunately! I have been waking up every morning at 4am...got to love jet lag! It's never any fun coming home from a month in Europe, back to reality. However, my trip was FANTASTIC and a great outlet from all the changes in life that occurred before I left. I don't feel entirely refreshed and rejuvenated, but the time away with close friends and meeting other great people definitely helped! I will be posting pictures and more about the trip shortly! I tried to do it as I went, but any keyboard I came across when I actually had some time, was AWFUL! Just ask my Dad...none of my emails made sense cause all the keys were out of place...got to love French keyboards! Anyway, stay tuned!