Thursday, July 30, 2009

There are two things that I truly look forward to doing once I am west of the Atlantic.

The first is driving a car. It has been well over two months since I sat in the driver's seat of a vehicle. That seems so strange to me, but when I think about the driving tactics of most Romanians, I get the urge to yell "shot gun!" and run to the passenger's side of the car. Anyone who thinks that Americans need driving lessons should learn how to drive in Romania. I'm almost certain that we could hold a nationwide NASCAR race featuring every licensed driver. A person must not have any fear of death in order to merge into traffic here.

The second thing that I anticipate is honest-to-goodness people watching. It's hard to enjoy this leisurely activity if you're wondering what people are talking about. Maybe they're discussing the weather . . . or a futbol game . . . or a kidnapping on the news . . . or the plot to kidnap that girl who's listening to our conversation. See what I mean? Speculation can only go so far.

Once back home, Taylor and I will need to head to our favorite people watching spot for dinner. The food is amazing, and how often do you get to listen to truckers talk about what highway they were on during 9/11?! Not often, therefore I'm game.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Do you ever put something off for so long that you begin to dread it for no apparent reason? Something that is unworthy of putting us ill at ease seems to take on the awful, shadowy form of the unknown simply because you've waiting so long to get around to doing it. That's how I feel about camp this week. It's an English camp, for Pete's sake! I already speak English, and to top it off, I will be taking care of the only people that can't even speak intelligibly! Why am I dreading this?!

I think it's because we are so off schedule, and my brain must be reverting back to survival mode . . . If she's waiting so long to go, there must be some danger in it! Maybe whatever is at that camp will try to harm her! I should make her worry so that she can prolong the trip even more! Yes, that was Kendall's Brain speaking (but Kendall's fingers still type no matter who is speaking). Maybe my body will force itself to become sick, like those men who became paralyzed shortly after their numbers were called in the draft.

Or maybe I'm just a dofuss who overreacts to things. We'll soon find out, for we're leaving tonight at 8 o'clock to drive to the camp.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In the Heat of Timisoara

All day today my mom and I have been taking care of my dad; he's suffered from heat exhaustion all day long (and came dangerously close to a heat stroke). He probably should have been hospitalized, but none of us trust the hospitals in Romania. It's been a struggle all day praying that his skin will cool down, but most of the day he's just been in a lot of pain that we can't help in any way. Thankfully, my mom's mom was a nurse (they say all of that medical expertise just got passed on to her).... :)

We had planned on leaving for an English camp tomorrow morning, but that's not going to happen. We'll be staying in our apartment giving my dad fluids until he is able to fully recover. A huge wrench in our plan, but maybe God knew better than to allow us to arrive on time. My parents were going to be presenting a seminar on using business English and teaching the DISC profile test . . . all we can do is remain thankful that the other folks working the camp are incredibly flexible.

This post doesn't hold any great musing on deep topics, but I can admit to being incredibly thankful for all of the prayers spoken on behalf of my father. It's been a long day, but please continue to pray.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I don't know why I didn't actually publish this in the summer....

A place that simply lacks beauty. For some reason, I imaged that a God who thought up the wide smile of the sun-flower would make it impossible for a part of His creation to lose beauty. Now, I'm no seasoned aesthete, but post-communist Timisoara is pretty lacking in the aesthetics.

Even as I type this, I realize that from my limited, finite mind, there is roughly one billion holes in my logic. Yes, man can destroy the Earth, and he can neglect it and refuse to nurture the creation, but that does not take away from the worth of his children. Because we are bearing the image of the ultimate Creator, this place is not completely barren of beauty. So, my quips about being allergic to a place with no beauty is moot. Yes, these buildings need a good sand-blasting and white washing, but the majesty of each person's Creator shines through these dingy streets.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Olfactory Senses Were Assualted by Communism

While I was in the shower today, a cool breeze was coming through the punched-out window. Usually whenever I hear the phrase "cool breeze," I think of a tropical island, a comfortable hammock, or a shady spot to read a good book. The same could not be possible for the breeze I encountered, for with this breeze came the scent of Romania.

Some people have extremely fine tuned olfactory senses. Wine connoisseurs are somehow able to find earthly, nutty, or berry flavors in their drink, so I should be able to figure out the scent I've grown so accustomed to. Would you like to know what Romania smells like? I'll tell you the recipe: lots and lots of cigarette smoke, grits (the Romanians call it mamaliga) and roughly 42 years of Communist oppression. The grime that builds up when people don't care about beauty, the anger, confusion and addiction brought about by a government unworthy of your trust, and a classic form of Romanian sustenance.

That is the odor that pervades my life in Romania. But every now and then some fresh air comes wafting in; let us pray the fresh air isn't just a breeze, but the constant rush of a Mighty Wind.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Speaking Their Language

After a grueling week of day camp at The Potter's House, the most rewarding thing seemed to be when any of the adults finally started speaking a given child's language. That doesn't mean I now understand Romanian, or that my new Irish and Northern Irish friends picked it up in two days, but at certain times, you could tell that we understood the child, and they understood us.

Yesterday my mom roped me into teaching some of the kids the Hustle; I never thought the things I learned at a high school dance would come in handy. After lunch, I eased my way to the open cement slab and started dancing to "Oh, Ancient of Days" with my mom and the other ladies working the camp. They quickly caught on and some of the kids did, too. It was fun, but I didn't really think it stuck, so we moved on to the next idea to keep the kids occupied for at least one more hour.

But when we walked into the Potter's House this morning, a little girl named Loredonna (pronounced Laura-Donna) ran up to me asking me in choppy fragments of English if we would dance soon. We quickly nodded our heads, and in the back of my mind I was rather surprised she thought to ask about it. After breakfast had ended, we found the CD that had the appropriate song, and soon we were hustling like nobody's business. I was speaking her language. She couldn't help but have an extremely proud smile on her face as I continued to give her two thumbs-up and say "Bravo!" in a pitiful attempt at an Eastern European accent.

She was such a natural when it came to dancing that she wanted to teach me a dance, as well. We were able to share the experience of being teacher and student. I couldn't help but think that Mr. Harle would be proud of my feminist pedagogy. We each messed up, but we both encouraged the other that our dance-moves were worth not pooping out on.

She was the hardest child I had to part ways with. I know I won't soon forget the moves to her dance, and I hope that every time either of us hears the classic tune about the Ancient of Days, that our instant urge will be to Hustle. I know my first thought will to be to take three steps to the right.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tired Feet

"When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. 'Do you understand what I have done for you?' he asked them. 'You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.'" John 13:12-14

Not until I moved to Romania have I realized the huge deal washing feet can be. I've had my feet washed by several people over the years . . . folks in San Diego, the Seniors at Bryan, my wonderful boyfriend, and others than wanted to make sure I knew that those who lead need to serve.

Every morning, I have to muster up the strength to go through the hassle of getting ready, for I know that wherever we go, I'll be tired and sweaty whenever we get there. It takes practically half a day to get anything, and by the time we're done, my feet simply ache. Especially while my parents and I were in Rome, the evening brought tired, dirty feet (and a beautiful twilight!). But the next morning, I would have plenty of strength to walk through the city again.

In the first century world, the sojourner's tired feet would be the first thing to discourage a person from making a long trip. But my King stands ready at the end of my journey, waiting with towel in hand, for us to come and rest before him. That makes the pain in my feet a much smaller issue than my fallen spirit would naturally make it seem.