How does an ant eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Big problems are composed of smaller, albeit interconnected, problems. Solving the smaller problems will have an implication on the larger problems.

16 November 2008


So I just had to add this! As I was rummaging through some of my Romania stuff for that last post, I came across this email that we sent to some friends while we were there, that knew all of us girls...this may be one of those "you have to be there" type of stories, but I couldn't stop laughing while I was reading it...good times!

Picture this if you will...8 American girls riding along on a top quality Rapid Romanian train. As most girls tend to do, we were all sitting around in the comfort of our second class cabin when we pulled up to the next stop. We sat there for a few moments admiring the breath taking landscape just outside our windows...Anne suddenly recognized the trees to the right. She pondered for a moment then quizzically inquired...Is this Brasov? Kathryn was taken back by her question and quickly responded..."We couldn't be! We are an hour early!" As she drew back the brown stained curtain, fear fell over her face. There in front of her face was the large rectangular sign...BRASOV. Panic rolled in the cabin like the fog on a cold Romanian stormy night. The girls in cabin 1 frantically began to gather their belongings as Kathryn dashed down the smoke filled hallway to warn the others of the recent discovery. She held her hand high and declared, "Uite Brasov!" Panic now engulfed both cabins. When Kathryn returned to her room she was informed that there were only 3 minutes remaining until the train continued on its journey. Turning on her heels she rushed back to inform the girls of their fast approaching deadline. Anne was the first off the train quickly followed by her colleague Kathryn. Sherrie handed her valuables over and heroically returned back to rescue the damsels in distress. As Kathryn and Anne protected what little had been removed from the train, they gazed in awe as they realized the slight movement of the train. Anne yelled out, "Sherrie the train is moving! GET OFF!" Sherrie jumped with her natural dancers grace (which we know she doesn't always display). Becca hurriedly got off the train as well. From the other door they realized that something had jumped off the train. Was it a bird, a plane? No, it was Jackie, carrying 4 pieces of luggage! Shortly after her, Lora selflessly flung herself from the moving Rapid, careful to not break her recently bought nativity set. From our front row seats, we saw that Martha was next in line. Armed with two pieces of luggage and five sacks in each hand Martha boldly braced herself for leap of faith she was about to embark on. Without hesitation Martha portrayed her courage and took a leap. As she flew through the air, all eyes were locked on Martha. Her legs fluttered through the air, one leg, then the other, and became one with the concrete. But luckily for Martha, her white (now splashed with a touch of mud) coat received the brunt of the impact. As bursts of laughter filled the train station (even the street kids got a good laugh) we soon realized one was missing. As the train rolled on we realized Alissa was still captive on the moving locomotive. Some called out in fear, others couldn't watch. But then, we heard the screeching screams as metal met metal. The train quickly came to a halt. Out of the dust, Alissa sheepishly walked off to join her now relieved colleagues. She relayed her heroic tale of being held captive on the train. She tried to escape, but the conductor would not allow her to sacrifice her body. He did allow the train to stop so she could walk off in comfort. We were all together again! SUCCESS!

how TIME can FLY!

I can't believe it's been 5 years since I was living in Romania, working with my beautiful orphan kids! Time sure does fly and oh how I miss those good times had in Iasi! I just have to reminisce a bit, but I must warn you, this may end in a lengthy post, mostly of pictures. I was going to steal Jackie's idea and do a week of posts, but I think I've decided against it. I'll try to keep it short though :)

The FOOD!!
* Mici (when it doesn't make your stomach upset) * Pastries * Placinta cu branza * RED ORANGE JUICE!!! * Bread from the best bread store in the world * Joes * Bonellis * Viva snacks * Primola chocolate* Ciorba * Pui seasoning * Mario's cooking - especially her apple pastry and zacusca *
Can you see why I took the stairs and tried to walk anywhere I went!?! And I still packed away pounds during those 4 months! Eek!

*My orphans from the children's hospital, orphanage, and streets are some of my best memories of Romania and taught me some great life lessons! Grateful I've been able to visit a few of them on a couple return trips to Iasi. *

Esmerelda and Larisa - the orphanage favorites, as well as mine! Esme lives in Switzerland now with a foster family and has been having surgeries...she's doing awesome from what I hear...I hope they let her stay there!!
My little Larisa again...I miss her SO much!!
Little Maria - I loved when she'd let me hold her and even more when she'd fall asleep while I was holding her!
Alex, oh Alex...smartest boy ever! Has cerebral palsy, but is still SO smart. He talks with his eyes because he can't speak...and what beautiful eyes he has!!
Florine at the spital
Carrie's little Nicolae. He was a gypsy boy in the hospital. His parents lived too far away and could not spend the months on end there with him, so we'd visit him a lot.
Beautiful girl in the hospital
MIHAI...this little guy is so funny!!! He's in a foster family now :)
A few of us with the doctors and orphanage director
This little guy was my favorite though during my time in Romania. This is little Ciprian (whom was nameless when I first found him...he was one of the abandoned babies in the children's hospital). He shared a room with another abandoned baby, so Anne and I kind of adopted them as "ours." We'd spend the night there from time to time and would visit everyday. Man how I love this little guy! Not too long before I came home, a social worker came and got him and took him to his family. He was an illegit baby and the social worker had convinced the husband that God would punish him if he did not raise this baby and love the baby as his own. I was able to go out to their village and visit them, as well as provide some money for Christmas.

*There were ten of us that made up the Fall semester 2003 group...and what a fantastic group we were! I love every one of these girls so much and miss seeing them! I had great roommates. We were split into two groups of five girls. Targu Cucu apartment always had some good times!* Cooking dinner * Highs and Lows of the day * Nertz - holy cow did we have a good, crazy time playing this game!! * Our Targu Cucu Jungle :) ha ha * Running from Leviu * Sunday walks down Stefan cel Mare *


* Marionella, our facilitator, what an AMAZING woman!! She honestly is my hero. * Little Texas * Greetings on the telephone...and in person (the 3-kiss greeting) * Hot showers * Botanical Gardens * The countryside * Mario's family and their village * Visitors that stand in the doorway for hours * Boys that ask, "Do you speak English" as we walk by speaking English when we answer, "No we don't" in English * Grandmas with purple hair * Pastry Friday * The new orphanage * Magic Pizza * Moms at the spital - and the fish bowl rooms * Rice and Broccoli from the Ginger Ale * Iasi Days * The branch in Iasi * Street kids * Taxi drivers * The weekend weddings * Grocery shopping - always a good time with people following the American girls around staring * Elvis the dog * Cute old people sitting in the park * Hala Centrala * Gypsy kids * Random Romania - so many random things around Ro, I don't remember a lot of them, but every email I sent home I had a couple :)


Things I will NeVeR come to miss!!
* Brown Water - after the water would get shut off, it'd come back on the rest the day brown or yellow - blak! * The smell in the stairwell of the scala apt building * Manholes (yup, I sure did fall in one) * Orphanage workers that would force feed the kids * The mold in our house * Not having heat in a communist cement bloc house in winter * Leviu - creepy guy that would pop up EVERYWHERE we were! *

Ahhh good times had by all,what a wonderful semester that was full of loads of memories and amazing experiences...along with hardships that were character building!

15 November 2008

In Loving Memory, my cousin Brad

Bradley Birkinshaw, 31, quietly passed away from Wolfram Syndrome on Wednesday November 12 at his home in Riverton, Utah. He is the son of Robert and Lonnie Birkinshaw, born 18 November, 1977 in Idaho Falls Idaho. He was discovered to have a rare disease at age 10 that presented many challenges. He accepted his opportunities bravely and made it a point to accomplish his goals in spite of potential road blocks. He is an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Cottonwood High. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Family History Mission where he met his eternal companion Ruby Finneke. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple four years later. He received his certificate of graduation from the Salt Lake Community College as a computer technician. He worked for many years as a teacher's assistant at the Jordan Valley School, caring for the disabled and autistic students. He is an example of faith, patience, and love to everyone he meets. He is survived by his wife Ruby, parents, sisters, Jennie (Jason) Towery, Park City; Rebecca (Capt Robert) Allen, Tucson, AZ, Julia (Ken) Childs, St. George, UT and his twin brothers Daniel and Andrew, Taylorsville, UT. He also has 2 nieces and 2 nephews. He is preceded in death by his twin brother Robert, his sister Sarah and paternal grandparents.

08 November 2008

Autumn in JERSEY...ahhhh!

For fall break (kind of...a bit before) I went with a good friend from my program at school to New York. However, we stayed at a beautiful hotel in Jersey majority of the time due to a little business that she was doing. So besides NY, we also spent a bit of time in Jersey...mostly shopping! Anyway, just wanted to post some of the most beautiful pictures from our drive that we would take every morning...GORGEOUS!!!

New York, New York!!!

I finally did it! I took my first trip to the Big Apple!! I can't believe with all the traveling I've done that I hadn't ever really been...I mean, you can't really count the 20 hour layovers where you go out in the city and see one thing, eat and then head back to the airport. This was a real trip...a whole week in NYC!

Scarlett has been to NY a number of times, but was so nice to go do all the touristy things again with me...she was a great tour guide actually! We walked around everywhere and saw majority of the touristy things you can see!
On our boat ride out to Staten Island, we met a few other people whom we ended up hanging out with the rest of the day and night. The three of them live there, but originally are from all over. We had a great time with them though!

We also did a lot of shopping and of course, being two students of Public Health went out the the UN headquarters. I was really bummed because the tours were only going to one of the rooms (the rest were closed) we opted out of the tour...guess I'll have to go back! Or better yet, work there!! Funny thing, every person that walked by with a UN badge, Scarlett and I would sigh and express how envious we were/are! We spent a good two hours in the UN bookstore! haha Wow...nerdy! I loved it though!

Besides all the rest of the touristy things to do, we also went to Wicked, which is always great! I was so excited to see this on Broadway in NY, but I think I liked the LA cast better! We also ate the most incredible food!!! We made it a goal to eat different ethnic cuisines each night. So we thoroughly enjoyed food from South Africa (all I have to say about that is MALVA PUDDING!!!!), Turkey, Morocco, Italy, Cuba, and Romania (Jewish)...and I ate seafood! I know, I'm coming a long way!

Other than that, we just had a good time walking around enjoying ourselves. We would take a bus in from Jersey (minus the last two days that we stayed in Manhattan), which was ever so convenient! There was a bus stop across the street from our hotel, so it worked out perfect! However, Sundays the buses don't run as late, which we realized later on in the evening that Sunday we were we jumped on the subway and got to the station as quickly as possibly just to find we had missed the last bus back to Jersey by 3 minutes!!! :( So we spent the next 3 hours riding trains and getting ripped off by taxi drivers trying to get back to South Orange!

I also got to see a few friends while we were there. We went to dinner in Brooklyn with my friend Mariah from high school that lives out there...and I also ran into Sara, whom I dance with, she was there visiting too! ha ha Overall we had a great time and Scarlett was so much fun to travel with!