Friday, April 25, 2008

A short update

An ATM card arrived that worked!!!! I now have access to money...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

post script

I didn't mean to cause fear or misunderstanding regarding my opening comment on not blogging anymore. It was just what I was thinking at the time and should have perhaps been edited. Please forgive said comment. Thanks.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A long update

I have to admit that I’m thinking of not blogging anymore. It’s sort of hard to keep up with it. And I feel like people want to know what’s going on, and nothing really exciting is happening. Day to day, life looks pretty much the same. I wake up, I walk to the center, I go to chapel with the rest of the community, I have a language lesson, I go to lunch, I hang out with kids, I go home, I eat dinner, I read, I study Romanian, I sleep.
I’ve been here almost 6 weeks and also have to admit that the monotony of my schedule is getting to me. I want to do more, feel like I’m capable of more. And when I admit this, I hear a little voice ask me: are you capable of less? Can you handle not doing much of anything, of feeling powerless, of humbling yourself? It is humbling for me to be asked to do less, rather than more. It is a feeling of powerlessness to just sit and watch and wait.
Continuing on this theme of powerlessness, I still am not able to use my ATM card. That’s right. I last posted with great hope that the card I’d received would work. It did not. It seems that the pin number I requested was not given to me. In fact, my bank has still not issued a pin to me that will allow me to use the card. You can rest assured that I’ve raised a bit of heck, lodged an informal complaint, and am writing a formal one. It’s truly unbelievable…up until a week ago I’d been what I thought was incredibly patient and accommodating. And then when the pin number was not expedited along with the card, and further, wasn’t delivered! Well, as my sister Jo said, my Dutch-ness came out. (Another card is now on its way and I’m assured that the pin I requested will work this time).
Joel asked me the other day what I thought God was trying to tell me through this whole ATM fiasco. I was taken a bit off-guard as I hadn’t considered that God might be saying something to me (being the super-spiritual woman I am). I’ve thought about it since then and realize how directly related it is to the feeling of powerlessness that is so humbling to me. I hate having to ask others if I can borrow money to pay my rent or buy food. It makes me feel so reliant, so dependent on others. I feel so powerless. Like I can’t take of myself when I know I’m fully capable of doing such a thing.
So I sit here and wonder if I’m capable of anything less than simple dependence? No matter how powerless I feel, how incapable it leaves me. Will I allow myself to be stripped of my power, my independence, in order to be found in a spot of simple dependence not only God, but also on others? Will I allow my worth to stem not from what I am capable of doing (including taking care of myself), but from the value of community and humility, whose true essence can come only from a God who loves us more than we know?
I hope so, because it sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? It sounds like rest and hope and love. It sounds like reasons for celebrating and praising. It sounds like a future.
And, other than this, I’m continuing to learn Romanian and it’s going pretty well. My living situation is also fine…Irina’s a sweetheart. So easy-going. Although, most nights I fall asleep to the gentle rumble of her snoring and that can be distracting.
A few funny things I’ve seen or experienced: While walking to the center one morning I saw a man in purple camouflage. That’s right, purple. He was totally decked out like he was going to battle, so I’m pretty certain he was in the army or something. But I had to marvel at the color purple (not the movie). Maybe he’s going to battle on Venus or Jupiter, isn’t one of them a purple planet? Or to fight the flying purple people eaters.
Also, a couple weeks ago I showed up at the center without socks. Ana asked me: did you get funny looks on your way here today? I said that I did get a few looks. She said: it is not yet the time for no socks. Who knew that there was a time for socks and a time for not wearing socks? Even Solomon in all His wisdom failed to elucidate on the time for wearing socks.
And to end, I’d like to talk about my favorite parts of each day. So, while most days I may struggle with monotony and incapability, I, of course, have moments in each that I love. Like when this little, little guy, I mean he is a tiny kid, started pushing me on the tire swing and was catching air while he was doing it. We were both laughing. He also wears these glasses that are so dorky but so, so cute that you want to pinch his cheeks and tell him how cute he is. (Except he doesn’t have much of a cheek to pinch because he’s so little, and, anyway, it would probably freak him out if I did pinch him, but pinching cheeks is a trick of affection I learned from my Grandpa and every time I do it to a kid, I think of him pinching my cheek and telling me he loved me).
Also, I love when kids take out the music instruments. They can’t play a chord or note to save their lives, but they have the biggest grins when they are playing. Usually the instruments are the mandolin, a recorder, and a small drum. Sometimes the recorder gives me a headache because of the high pitch of the notes played, but when it’s first pulled out I almost always laugh because inevitably it’s this kid who for certain could be the Pied Piper and it just makes me giggle. Anyway, this little motley crew sits in a row, playing their instruments, smiling, and I have to believe that it’s a beautiful noise just for the simple joy that is given and taken.
One day, I was walking down the hall and caught the eye of this kid who has the most gorgeous brown eyes that sparkle with mischief and are lined with thick brown lashes. I sort of looked at him out the corner of my eye with a bit of a smirk as if to say: I know you’re up to something but I still think you’re such a doll. He laughed at me, I laughed at him, and I hold that moment, hoping that even though it was only a moment, so small, that such a moment can hold the capability of the incapable, of the dependent that humbly rely on the power and love of God.

Hiking...3 weeks ago

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Several weeks ago I went hiking with some others from the drop-in center and a couple Englishmen who visit a couple times each year to do work around the center. Thought I’d post those pictures. It was an interesting day. We left at 6am because we had to take a couple busses, a ferry, and another couple of busses in order to arrive at the ‘mountain.’ The ‘mountain’ looked more like the Crafton Hills to me, but it was still a good little hike. An interesting side-note was that on one of the bus rides I sat next to a woman who had a live chicken in her bag. Even more interesting is that I didn’t notice this until Robin pointed it out.
Anyway, we had to walk through a village and hike a bit before we came to the actual trailhead. At which point I came to realize that we were hiking in what appeared to be pastureland. Truly, one could not take a step without landing in poop. At first I tried to avoid it, but it was unavoidable. Without going into too much discussion about the poop, suffice it to say that they were small bits, I think from goats or sheep, which somehow made it better.
So, we hiked and upon arriving at the top we ate lunch. Actually, on the way to the top we stopped often to have little snacks, mostly shared by Magda who is the woman with the dark hair in the picture with me and the brilliant blue sky as our backdrop. At the top we ate and then, no joke, people spread out and took naps. It was the strangest thing I’d ever seen. First of all, as I said, the ground was covered in poop, and secondly, how could anyone sleep? But sleep they did and the Englishman even snored. Josh spread out, as you can see in the picture, as if he was getting a sun tan. Except every part of his body was covered (it was cold and so the warmth of the sun was a welcome hiking companion). Eventually I figured that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. So, I laid down. And then I thought: ordinarily I wouldn’t lie down on poop. My next thought was: nothing is ordinary anymore, just like a new normal, this is a new ordinary. Nevertheless, given my unimpressive record of being able to fall asleep in unusual circumstances, (I’ve never been able to do it, a Death Cab for Cutie show being the one exception much to my shame and horror), I did not fall asleep. Eventually, everyone woke up and we headed down the mountain. Literally. It was decided not to use the trail, but to scale the mountainside (can you scale something if you’re going down?) My legs were shaking as we did this…it felt like I was doing squats all the way down.
And then, we headed home, the way we came, via a few busses, a ferry, a few more busses, but no more chicken toting women. It really was a lovely day…so pretty to experience Romanian countryside, get to know people a little better, and discover that no poop had stuck to my shoes.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Could this day get any better?

I know it's been a long time since last posting but I needed to announce that my ATM card arrived this morning and I am quite happy. Now it just needs to be activated and (finger's crossed!) it will work without a hitch at an bancomart.
Additionally, had a good day of language class. A small light went on in my brain. It's a good day.
I'm hoping to post more later this weekend or early next week. Maybe with some photos.

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