I'm Going to Europe!!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Friday, December 1, 2006

This was another really really hard day. I’ll actually tell you about this one. So, it was Friday and Fridays are supposed to be good and usually are, but this one was bad from the very beginning. I wasn’t woken up by Melissa again – she seems to just not wake me up on days when she uses the computer, which is pretty frustrating, but I’m going to just let it go since we only have like a week left with her and 2 weeks total (weird!). So then I was also still frustrated from the night before and I don’t even know what all, but I was way frustrated, like with everything. To top it off, when we got on the tram, I realized that I’d forgotten my book and so then I was just like “ahh! Kill me now!” So then Shannon let me listen to her ipod J. Music always really helps. I usually don’t like bands like Yellowcard, because they don’t have very good vocal quality, but just then it was perfect. I needed something new and I needed something slightly angry, but not actually angry. I didn’t want to stop when we got to Dancu. Anni and Nuti were working. Anni was one of our favorites in the beginning, but now she really isn’t. The kids were pretty good, but not greeeat. I started off with Petrica, and just sat with him by the TV. The TV was actually really interesting because it was Romania’s Birthday and so they had all this patriotic stuff on the TV. After that I played with Mihai for a bit with the walker. He can move slowly, but surely, if he’s really trying and if you have his legs all the way back. He use to move them from the back to the front if you stuck them in the front, but now he just does a doggy paddy kind of thing with his feet. Wow, this song I’m listening to is making me so distracted (Such Great Heights by Postal Service)! Well anyway, after that I stuck him a little ways from the toy shelf, with the intent that he would be motivated to go get the toys and be able to get himself there by himself. I knew he wouldn’t if I were in the room, because I’d be a distraction, so I went in with Costica. He was good for a little while, while I sang to him, but then he got upset and wouldn’t be comforted. That’s always the sign that he’s done with you, so I went back in the other room to find Shannon with Petrica! That made me pretty happy, because I always like to share my favorites with other people. So I decided to get out my computer, which I’d brought, and turn on some music. By the time I got it on and was able to play the music, Shannon had just picked Mihai up and was starting to play with him. Well, when I turned it on (to Garth Brooks specifically) Mihai totally started crying! It wasn’t like a “play with me!” whine or a “I can’t get the toy I want” whine, it was a distressed and troubled cry! We turned off the music and were like “woah woah woah! Hey! What’s the matter?” So, we’re not sure whether it really was the music or something else, but either way, we finally slowly eased him back into the music by playing Jon Schmidt first and we got him to stop crying and be normal again. But while he was still upset he was acting really institutionalized! You may be like, “um, he is.” But the thing is that he’s one of the amazing kids that don’t ever show it (like Mihai at Dacie 7th). But started like moving his head from side to side over and over again (which is like comparable to rocking – a behavior they turn to either to stimulate or when they’re upset) and just being finicky. Like, he wasn’t interested in what he usually would be and would alternate really sad and really happy really quickly (like Iuli). That was a little worrisome. After a little while, he was still being pretty weird and Iuli started to get upset, so I took Mihai and got him pretty happy. At around 11:30, Nuti came it and asked us to leave early because she wanted to move everything around in the living room and that’s hard to do with people in there. Before we left, we told her that our last day is going to be Dec 13th and we told her wanted to have a Christmas party on that day, with decorating and Romanian Christmas music and treats (we’re going to make the gogosi things that Corrina gave us the recipe for and sugar cookies) and she seemed pretty excited about it. We got to the hospital by like 12 and were like “well, I thiiiink we’ll be the first ones to the 6th floor!) So, I started of with Andrei, because I’ve never been with him. When I got there I changed his diaper, which he didn’t like at all and he started screaming. Just as soon as I’d calmed him down again the nurse came and took him for an injection. I could hear him scream all the way down the hall from the nurse’s room. When she brought him back his eyes were all watery and he was kind of whimpering and I just held the gauze to his head (yeah, the injection was in the HEAD – ow!) until it stopped bleeding. Finally I got him calmed down for good and just played with his arms and stuff until Shannon came in and started chilling with me. About that time the nurse brought the bottle in. He doesn’t suck right, so I had to just squirt it into his mouth manually (um, I kind of hope at least one of my kids is a dysfunctional eater so I can show my skills, because that’s one thing I’ve definitely learned techniques for!). It was really funny though, because one time I was squirting it and one time I missed and totally squirted it all over him and myself and Shannon and I just started laughing! Around 2:10, I left Andrei with Shannon and went to go see Gigi, who is quickly becoming my favorite! The first few days with him, I was totally intimidated, but now I can handle him like a pro! He’s really warmed up to me too and wants me to hold him more and more, whereas in the beginning he was pretty standoffish and would pull away. I love holding him and turning in circles, because he just laughs his head off! I want to get a picture of it. Oh, I hope he’s still there on Monday!!! Also, and this was the best, he has shoes, so I decided to take him for a walk! I’d stand behind him and hold his arms up and he’d walk in front of me. We went out into the hall and started to walk around and before I knew it, all the nurses and a few moms had congregated at the end of the hall that he was walking toward and they were like cheering him on (yes, example of how the nurses really are kind of lax on working)! He started going straight toward them and when he got there one of them swooped him up and started throwing him up above her head. He was laughing sooo hard and it was sooo cute. While this was all happening though, I was just thinking about how, yeah, it’s good that he’s not shy with strangers, but on the other hand, it kind of is. I mean, mom kids have their mom who they latch onto, and everyone else they have to get used to. But with him, all of these people collectively make up his mom and he doesn’t have any more attachment to one than to the other. Anyway, so then we went back down the other side of the hall again, then turned around and went back to the nurse again. This time we walked into the nurse’s room (usually not aloud, but they love this kid) and there was one nurse on a cell phone and she gave it to Gigi and was trying to get him to stay stuff into it. While we were doing this, Jenna walked in and she was probably like “ha, woah, Sheri’s in the nurses room with a kid who’s talking on the nurses phone!” Like, I can’t explain how unusual this is. Usually the nurses just say “nu e voie! (not aloud!)” about everything and are not affectionate with the kids and we aren’t aloud to go anywhere or do anything with them, so this was kind of weird. Well, we walked a little more, but finally he got tired and just sat down. So, I picked him up and brought him back to his crib and played with him a while more. He was really tired, so all he’d ever want to do was be held, and he was getting pretty cranky, so I tried to either rock him to sleep or get him to lie down in his crib, but he wouldn’t and finally I had to leave because I was supposed to meet Megan and Jess to take Nicu. Well, on the way up to the 6th floor from the first, I was walking up the stairs and saw this little kid by the pay phone, with the receiver in his hand, stretching as high as he could, trying to stick a phone card in the slot. I thought it was really cute and was just watching him and then when I got a little closer he turned his head around and looked at me and it was Ionut! What a cute kid! I stopped to try and help him out and found out he was trying to call his dad and was trying to get the phone card in because he knew if you stuck a phone card in you could call people. I don’t think his 4 year old brain had realized that you also need a phone number, but he wouldn’t listen to me, so I told him to stay there and that I’d go get Meg and Jess (because they hang out with him like all the time). So, I went up and got Nicu from Meg and Jess and told them to go get Ionut and I spent the rest of the time with Nicu. The moms in there are really cool and good at helping you figure stuff out, especially this one. Well, apparently this one mom (who was pregnant and had 2 kids at home) had gotten her cell phone stolen, so she was using the cell of one of the moms in my room to call the police. I also figured out the to call the police, you call 112. I had a good long convo with them all and they were all four gathered around my crib explaining stuff to me when Shannon walked in. She came in and all she could see were 4 moms gathered around Nicu’s crib and she could barely see me, so she says, in Romanian “Sheri? What’s happening here?” in a kind of comical tone and “ya alright?” and all the mom’s turned around and realized how funny it looked and we all started laughing. After the hospital, Shannon and I walked home and had a good little talk and when we were almost home I felt someone rip my water bottle out of my backpack and I turned around and was about ready to deck em, when I saw Jess holding it and laughing. It was pretty funny. I got home and started making pasta and it was juuust about done and I was getting so excited to eat it, when Melissa walks in and is like “hey, we’re going to Magic Pizza, wanna come?” I’m like, “dang it! Yes!” So I put the pasta in some Tupperware and the whole apartment went to Magic Pizza (that doesn’t happen often). We had a good time laughing and chatting and decided to call it our apartment closure activity. The 5 of us ordered 2 x-large pizzas (which are like larges or mediums in the US) with 8 slices each and 8 pieces of cheesy bread. That’s about 5 pieces each. Well, we were so hungy when they brought it that we ate the whole thing in 10 minutes flat. If the people couldn’t tell we were American before (and I’m sure they could) they could tell then! Romanians DO NOT eat like that. After dinner, we came home and I wanted to get one the internet computer, but Shannon got on first, so I used mine for a few minutes and used Melissa’s for like 10 minutes before Megan demanded to get on. By the time the 10 minutes were over I went back to mine and Shannon was on! Keep in mind I’d had computer time earlier, but it was forfeited by the Magic Pizza outing. So then I was all frustrated and she said she’d get off at 7:30 and then we found out that Jess was scheduled at 8 anyway and I was like like “aaaah!” So then I was all frustrated and Shannon got frustrated at me for being frustrated and that on top of everything else just made me feel like just exploding and I was about to just walk out on the balcony and then changed my mind and was going to go sit out in the stairwell instead, when as I’m walking out the door Jessica thrusts the phone at me and says “for you!” and I’m like, “who is it?” and she’s like, “I don’t know!” So I answered and it was my mom and I was like, “yes?” and she like, “hi, how are you?” and I’m like, “bad.” And she like, “what’s wrong?” And I’m like “nothing (even though, for the record, I know that makes no sense), why did you call?” And she’s like “because I felt like you were upset.” So I went out in the stairwell and we talked and it wasn’t like I poured my soul out to her and she gave me like incredibly wise advice or anything, but she just talked to me a little and was a mom and it helped. She had to go though, because the Relief Society Presidency was on their way over for a meeting. By the time we were done, I was still frustrated and upset, but not quite as much. I decided to just go to bed right then (it was like 8:30) and then wake up really early and use the computer. Well, first I went in and started reading, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I distracted myself a little. Then, just as I was laying down my head, Shannon started to open the door, saw that it was dark, started to close it, then changed her mind and opened it. She stood there for a second and then said “are you awake?” I raised my arm and said “yeah.” And she was like, “I just want you to know that I love you and I don’t hate you and you’re not a horrible person and I’m sorry I got frustrated.” So she came in and lay down on the bed and we had a really good conversation. We talked a lot about spiritual things and the atonement and she helped me to feel better and not like I’m eternally flawed and we worked things out again. Hallelujah for Shannon! After that I started lying down to go to sleep again, but then I realized that my mom had wanted her to give me a hug for her and so I ran back out and by this time she’d taken a shower and she was in just a towel, and so we had a good laugh about the irony of that and then she just got dressed and gave me a hug and I fiiiinally went to bed.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Um, skipping this day :-).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wow, leaving is coming upon me like a big heavy wave, knocking me backwards and flipping me over and over and getting me all disoriented and wet. I just read Holly’s blog about closure and detailing everything that’ll be happening in the next few weeks and what all we need to do and basically, the plan. I need to eat a snickers. Anyway, it all just came upon me like a huge wave and I’m realizing how bittersweet it’ll all be. I say that in the future tense, because I’m the kind of person who generally doesn’t start feeling intensely emotional until an event actually happens, or even sometimes not til after. Like, it’ll be all the changes and the closure activities that finally will make it all hit home and that’ll make me well up with tears. But I can feel a little of it now too – now that I know what all is going to happen and I can visualize it. This Sunday we’ll have a big meeting on closure and how we’re going to achieve it. We’ll talk about what our last activities are going to be with the kids and the branch. We’ll wrap presents for our kids to give them as we leave. We’ll write thank you notes, we’ll get gifts for the outreach girls and a few more things. The week after that is…the last full week. That…will…be…hard. The week after that, we’ll probably only go until Wednesday. Since half the group leaves on the 12th, their last day at the orphanage will be Friday, the 8th. When they leave, Podul will close down and we’ll only go over there to use the internet. As a side note, Shannon has Michael Buble’s “Home” playing on repeat right now and I’m pretty sure that’s affecting my feelings too. Anyway, I don’t know what else to say that’ll express my feelings, but I think you all understand at least a little bit. Everyone has had to say goodbye to something or someone. Before I move on, I just have to throw in that I actually did almost cry when I was reading the blog, at the end, when Holly said, “you know that old saying ‘last best of all the game’ you guys have been my best group by far (she’s been here 3 semesters and is going home for good). I don’t know why, but that just made me lose it. Anyway, yes, ok, so I need to move on. Starting with this morning, Dancu was really really hard. Iuliana was in possibly the worst mood I’ve ever seen her in. No matter what Shannon did she would just scream and cry. Finally, about a half hour before we were to leave, both Shannon and Iuli fell asleep. Costica was also a bit of a pill and could not be comforted either. Mihai, however, was surprisingly good and content and Petrica, well, Petrica is always good. Today he was just sitting on the couch, all slumped over and rocking and I lay face down on the couch and slid right up to him. I put my head right next to his and put my hand close to where his chin would come to when he’d rock forward. I coaxed him into not rocking anymore and got him to rest his chin on my hand. Then I just lay his head against my shoulder. He let out this big sigh and just relaxed onto me. All I can say is I love him more than I can explain. Today, Maria and Dada were working and we got fed an amazing lunch. On our way out of Dancu we saw this teeny tiny adorable little scared puppy on one of the side roads. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog that small. He was a little afraid of us, especially at first, but after trying to coax him for a few minutes and managing to get him to let us pet his face a little, he trusted us well enough so that when we decided to leave, he started trotting after us. It’s a good thing he was really slow and we were really fast, because should we have let him follow us across the street, he may have gotten run over. At the hospital, we found out as soon as we walked in, that Ionut passed away either last night or this morning (for all of those who are reading this and can’t place him or don’t know which Ionut I mean, he’s the baby with hydrocephaly). I had a feeling, yesterday, that he may and so I went in there specifically to say goodbye to him. Melissa had been with him and told me he looked particularly bad, so I went down there and just rubbed his tummy a little and gave him a little kiss and left. I’m sooo glad I need because otherwise I would have felt just horrible, like I’d passed up on a this huge opportunity – spending time with this kid when he had so few hours left to offer us. It’s good that he died though, because he was always in so much pain and was always so uncomfortable. I’ll be excited to see him when I die. And besides, this way he didn’t have 3 lonely weeks without any of us to comfort him. After I found that out, I went on the first floor with Shannon to see Gigi. I was with him the entire time and he was such a pill! He’s definitely institutionalized – it shows. He’s very moody and wary of people and seems to be actually afraid of a lot of things. Shannon and I did get him to smile a little, but he probably whimpered and cried more. Most of the time he just looked at us like, “um, yes?” At some point I noticed that he would freak out if a nurse came in and didn’t stay with him and left. There was especially this one nurse, who he seemed to really like. She’d come in and he’d start making all these noises like, “oh no you don’t, come here to me!” And she’d usually just watch him from the door or something and then leave and when she left he’d start bawling and be so mad! It made me mad too, because I was like, “geez, stop coming here if you aren’t going to play with him!” I mean, I don’t think she was trying to be a problem, but she wasn’t exactly being insightful. While Shannon was still there, a nurse came and brought a new baby in, and it was rooster baby! Shannon rocked her for a little while and then decided to go elsewhere, so I was left with the two kids. Gigi was good for a little while, but when he started getting fussy I had to put Petronella down and try and calm him down. After a while I noticed that he was sleepy and so I held him and rocked him and sang to him. By this time, though, he was to the point where if anyone (including the moms) so much as walked toward the door he’d have a fit! It was really frustrating, especially since at one point he was aaaalmost asleep when one of the went out again and he heard the door open and woke up and started screaming bloody murder! I was just like, “my goodness, is it really necessary for you guys to walk in and out so much? You can see how much trouble it is making!” Not only that, but he was heavy and I was getting tired. After a while a nurse came in to check on the kids and had me put him down. While she was in there Jenna came in and told me the doctor was coming and I had to leave. Apparently there’s a nurse who warns her when the doctor who doesn’t like us is going to come so we can leave and he won’t even have known we were there. By that time it was pretty close to when I needed to leave, so I just wandered around for a few minutes and left. I had to walk home alone because, Melissa didn’t go to the hospital, Shannon was going straight to Dacie and Jess and Megan had already left at 2 to go to Gima. After I got home, Jess, Megan and I went over to Moldova Mall and got Kebabs. I’m really glad we’re getting along lately and that Megan and I’s fight actually kind of had a good effect. After that I used the internet for a while. That’s when I started thinking about closure and then wrote in my journal a little. Shannon got on half way through this though, and I took a shower and thought a lot about all of this. Then I just kind of took it slow and read a little bit of “Peacock or a Crow.” It all kind of hit the spot. I mean, I’m still really emotional, but I think it’s healthy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This morning I got up and took and shower, used the computer and then Shannon and I got out on time. She bought a gogosi and we bought more tickets and then headed off to Dancu. Dancu was alright today. Now Mihai and Petrica are sick. I spent the first hour or so with Mihai and had quite a nice time. He’s so cute! It was great because I never ran out of ideas on what to do with him and he was always happy. I blew bubbles, blew on his face, bounced him around, laid him on me and brought him close to the toys etc. etc. etc. I spent a pretty short time with Iuliana, a goodly amount of time with Costica and some good time with Petrica, who was just a doll again. Nuti and Dada were working and unfortunately at one point Nuti blew up at Mihai. He’d done that thing where he pulls the table cloth off again and she didn’t think it was quite so funny as I did. She came in and just started railing on the poor boy. He started just sobbing and it was sooo sad. I mean, he barely ever gets yelled at and definitely not like that so his poor little spirit was so hurt. After she left I went over and gave him a hug and the water bottle to play with and he cheered right up. My two favorite parts of Dancu were these. For the first one, at one point Petrica fell off the couch and got stuck in between the chair and the couch and was just wedge in there with his sides all squished and his arms all up and I looked over at him and just started laughing and he just looked at me like, “um, I don’t know what to do or what’s happening.” It’s hard to imagine without knowing the boy, but yeah, he’s just generally really clueless and that made it classic. The other favorite was swinging Mihai in the blanket. At the hospital, I started off with Nicu. I was with him for a good couple of hours too. I fed him and then he fell asleep for a few minutes and then was awake the rest of the time. After I left him I went down with Gigi on the first floor. He’s so cute! When I got there the poor guy was crying with his head down on the mattress. I went over and wiped away his tears and picked him up and gave him a toy and he was fine. He’s really easily upset though. Like all I’d have to do was turn around and he’d start whimpering. Holly came in and told me something really interesting though! Apparently he was there here first semester here (a year ago) and he was just a newborn and this one girl fell in love with him and spent like every day with him. So, I took pictures and we’ll send them to her. That makes me sooo happy, because I can’t imagine what it would be like to see one of these kids a year from now. Especially if they were just a newborn then. So then I met up with Melissa and Jenna (Shannon met us there) and took the tram to Dacie. Before we went up the stairs to the apartment, Jenna and I took a bunch of pictures of the area, because it was all foggy and pretty. Dacie is right by the gypsy village and it looked gorgeous in the middle of this huuuge field in the fog. At one point there was even a horse drawn cart that galloped past. It came from the fog and was going at full speed with the mad yelling and snapping the whip and then disappeared into the fog again. Soooo cool. Dacie was…different. Georgiana and Mihai got fostered, Marian goes to Penilla now and we got a new girl from Mickey Mouse. I’m glad that Georgiana and Mihai got fostered, because it’s sooo good for them, but I’m sad that I won’t see them again and that I didn’t even get to record their voices! I’m also sad that Marian isn’t there until the kids get back from Penilla. The new girls is really cute though! Her name is Andrada and she’s wheelchair bound, but you can pick her up and stuff. She’s really happy and smiley and pretty and she gives the cutest little laugh when you tickle her feet. I seriously don’t think I’ve met many sweeter little kids. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out for Dacie, with half of the kids being different. After Dacie, I actually really enjoyed the tram ride home. Jenna let me listen to one of her earpieces for her ipod and I just listened to whatever songs she played. While I listened, I just watched the tram move and looked outside and thought. It was great and I realized a lot of things about Romania and how I feel about this experience. One of those things is that I’ve discovered that I really do truly love this place and it really has become a part of me. I was thinking about how I’ll be upset when I get home and I can’t explain it to anyone so that they’ll understand the way that I do and I realized that it feels like it does when there’s a certain aspect of your personality that you can’t explain to someone and it was then that I realized that Romania, the Romanian way of life, all the silly things they do that are just caused by superstition, the mentality, everything are actually a part of my personality now. I will look at things the way I always did, but also in an added, different way. No, I don’t completely think like a Romanian now, and definitely don’t agree with a lot of things that they tend to think, but I can’t help but at least see some things the way they do. And when I get home and I see things that way there won’t be anyone to discuss it with like there is here. I also realized that traveling is very therapeutic for me. When I say that, I don’t mean visiting different cities and seeing all these great sights, I mean just the actual act of walking, flying or sitting in some kind of transportation vehicle is therapeutic. I loved just watching the tram sway as it moved. I find long car trips refreshing, etc. etc. So, maybe, the reason why I need to travel, is not that I need to see all these great things (though I like that too), but because the getting there and the getting back are so good for me. Well, tonight was really beautifully foggy (it has been for a couple days now), so Shannon and I decided to go over to the Palat and photograph it in the fog. It was soooo incredible! I felt like I was in a dream or something. I mean, there’s this huge, gorgeous Palace in the fog, with the turrets disappearing in the mist, not to mention all the beautiful melancholy trees and the Orthodox church with the mood behind it and the horse statue with the beams of light shining through it. Yeah, no explaining.

Monday, November 27, 2006

This morning I got up and used the computer, got ready and went to Dancu. We were a little late, because apparently when I told Shannon it was 8, she heard 7. Dancu was pretty good. The kids were all better except for Petrica. Petrica was suuuch a sweety. I wish I could remember what he looks like in all his different views because it kills me to know I’m going to forget them all. I shouldn’t be complaining – a hundred years ago, almost no one had pictures of anyone and they definitely didn’t have pictures of people’s every move! Thank goodness I wasn’t born then! Anyway, I spent time with pretty much all the kids. At one point, Shannon was in the other room and I had Iuliana on my lap and couldn’t go anywhere. Well, Mihai was in the chair by the TV and he decided to pull the table cloth off the table next to him. He’d pull it slowly and when one of the animals that sit on it got close to him he’d throw it on the floor. He slowly pulled all of them off and then just threw the tablecloth on the floor and got a big “I’m cool” grin on his face. I thought it was funny and showed Shannon when she got back. At the end of the day, we took Petrica into Costica’s room and swung them in the blanket. It always makes me soooo happy, because they like it soooo much! Corrina was working and she gave us the recipe for her gogosi things that she made that one day! We were sooo happy! I can’t wait to make them! I’ve decided that when I have a family, we’re totally going to eat certain Romanian foods. I had a really interesting day at the orphanage. To begin with, I went to the 6th floor, just to see Shannon off basically, but when I was walking down the hall this orderly came to me and had me put my back pack down and follow her. She led me down the hall and had me pick up this really big baby from one of the cribs and then follow her again. The baby was adooorable and I’ve decided I wish I would have big kids, though they’ll probably be little. Anyway, he was asleep at first, but one time I looked down and he was just staring straight up at me and smiled. I was smitten. Anyway, so I follow this orderly out of the hall and down the stairs. As I’m going down the stairs I see Bri, Abbi and Melissa coming up. They asked me where I was going and I was like, “nu stiu! (don’t know!).” You have to understand how funny this was. See, we generally aren’t aloud of the specific rooms, let alone to a different floor with the kids and here I am holding this random baby, following this orderly and I have no idea where I’m going. Anyway, so we ended up going to the 3rd floor and she walked into a room and closed the door and told me to stay put. So I just stood there outside the door, rocking the baby, with all these people looking at me. Finally she called me in, they gave a quick check up to the baby and then we took the elevator up to the 6th floor again. It was the first time for riding in the elevator, by the way, because we aren’t aloud to. The orderly was way nice too. She was like a grandma and would lead me by the elbow and hold my hand while we walked down the hall and stuff. It was cute. She explained finally, that she had gotten surgery on her stomach and couldn’t hold the babies. Well anyway, so after that all the babies on the floor were taken, so I went with Marina and check on a bunch of floors before finally finding a kid on the 5th. He was like 15! I was just like, “um, mom or no mom, I’m pretty sure this kid has no need of me.” We had some supremely awkward moments, Marina and I, in between walking in the room and figuring out what to do, while everyone just stared at us. Finally we got out her ipod and let him listen to it for a while. Then we thought we’d try and explain phase 10 to him. Some things got lost in translation (like, the meaning of a “run”) but it still worked well enough. Apparently he didn’t like them though, because finally he was just like, “uh…gata (I’m done).” After we left him, we went to Raluca’s room on the 4th floor. What a zoo! Raluca comes from Bambi at the orphanage, so that’s why Marina was there, because she works with her in Bambi. In her room there was a craaaazy (for sure institutionalized) little girl named Daniela, an adorable little girl named Adalina, and 2 or 3 more. There were also a couple older girls. I played and talked to pretty much everyone and the two of us would just try our best to keep it all under control and keep Daniela from our backpacks. She was veeeery naughty. Oh, and for the record, not all of these kids are orphans, but even if they have moms, we sometimes try and entertain the other kids too. One good thing was that I had quite a long conversation with one of the girls in Romanian (woot!) before Daniela got so back that we decided we’d better just leave. When we left there was only like 10 more minutes left, so we just went down and waited. I walked home with Shannon, but also Jessica, who came because she was going to go with me to look at glasses. Well, so we went to this place behind Hala first, but they told me that we’d have to go to this place in Moldova mall because my prescription was too hard and they didn’t have the lenses or something. So we went over there and the lady spoke English and we spent all this time looking at all the glasses and finally deciding on a pair, only to find out that they’d have to order the lenses too and it would take 3 weeks! I leave in just a little less than 3 weeks! Aye, so frustrating. I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that this virus is gone by the time I go to Italy, because I’ll want to be able to see! Well, when we got home, I used the computer. I felt sick (had a fever, among other things) and had a lot to do, so I just stayed home from FHE. When everyone got home, I decided to go move everything back to the right place in the living room (because Megan had vacuumed under the couches). So, I go in there and try to fix it, but I had to ask Megan a few questions about where she wanted things and such. Somehow we got in an argument (I could detail why, but that would be tedious) and she started yelling at me and it was really frustrating, because I was trying really hard not to get in an argument, but it was just happening anyway. Well, so finally we calmed down and went our separate ways. I was pretty upset, but I calmed down and got on the computer. I checked my mail and still hadn’t heard back from the Campus Lane place where I really wanted to stay, so finally I decided to call them and I’m so glad I did! It worked out perfectly! I was so worried that it would be gone or that something would be wrong with it or something, but no! The spot is still available and it’s perfect! It’s this adorable little San Fransisco style townhouse, with three floors. I’m on the 2nd floor in a MASTER private bedroom, with my own bathroom. The kitchen is on the ground floor and then there’s another room in the basement. I know there’s one more room (for a total of three) and that it’s probably on the ground floor, but I don’t really know. There are 4 roommates, because there are 2 private and one shared room. There are 4 parking stalls, one for each person and it’s even close to campus at 582 N 500 E! Oh, and I can sign the contract online! All that for only $300 a month! The only problem is that I only have one picture and that’s of the outside, so I got the phone numbers of some girls who live there and I’m going to try to have a friend go take pictures and email them to me. Yeah, so after I found that out I was SOOOO excited! I was like giddy and just laughing for no reason and hugging Shannon’s knee. After that, I wasn’t even mad at Megan anymore, which was good because she wrote me a really nice note and put it on the pillow. It basically said that she was sorry and that I’d just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and she doesn’t hate me and respects me but just has a hard time showing it. Yeah, I don’t think either of us is completely at fault because we just have opposing personalities. She’s really short and firm and comes off as rude and offensive to a lot of people, which bothers me. I’m really cautious and don’t like to cause problems and so she feels like she doesn’t usually know what I want and wants me to be more firm. Anyway, Shannon was in a trunky mood and wanted to gab, so I ended up talking to her til like 12 because it just seemed right and it was fun and enjoyable and she needed it. I went to bed incredibly happy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Although Thursday was technically Thanksgiving, it didn’t feel like it at all then, and although today technically was not Thanksgiving it felt like it all the way. Before church I got ready and had some time on the computer, which I mostly used for apartment searching and blogging. Melissa and Jessica went early for choir, Megan just plain went early and because Shannon stayed up til four last night cooking for our Thanksgiving dinner, she just didn’t go to Sacrament meeting. The day was foggy and gorgeous, so along the way to church I just stopped and took pictures whenever I liked. Foggy days are quite possibly my favorite. In Sacrament meeting, Bri and the Messenger gave talks. Bri struggled a lot because she was reading it in Romanian and didn’t know how to pronounce things and was crying (I don’t think she was crying because of that, but because she was feeling the spirit maybe). There was a new guy who I’d never seen before passing the sacrament and I could tell it had to have been his first time, because he wasn’t sure what to do a lot of the time. It was really endearing actually. Also during sacrament meeting I did the worst job conducting that I have done this entire semester. The song started with a pick up note and a half, so I was off from the beginning. Usually that’s ok though, because I get off at the beginning all the time J. The problem was that the song had kind of a weird beet and so I kept trying to get back on beat, but even if I was doing it right it would sound wrong and so I’d think I was off again and I’d get off beat and then yeah, I went all over the place the whole song and was soooo confused and just like at a complete loss as to how to conduct it so I just smiled really big at all my friends who were laughing and conducted however I felt like conducting! That includes 2/4, ¾ and 4/4 times at different points throughout the incredibly slow 4 verse song. Classic. At the end of Sacrament meeting, Elder Sorensen passed his manuscript over to me. He’s apparently started writing a fantasy book and wants me to read it and tell him what I think because I’m an English major. Sunday school was taught by Sora Maria and was on like strengthening your marriage or something. So, basically the Romanian women told us how marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but that you should still do it because it’s still a good thing to do and they don’t regret it. They did add, however, that maybe it would be for us because we are going into it with the Lord and they were all converts. Either way, I have high hopes, especially since I know that I deeefinitely won’t have a fabulous marriage if I dooon’t hope and I don’t think the hope is going to hurt anything. Besides, I tend to be a dreamer. After church, Shannon and I were walking together (how we always end up together I do not know) behind the palat and this man came up to us and started spouting off a sad story in Romanian and fake crying at us (very common). We honestly didn’t have money with us because we just had church stuff, so I was like, “Nu am, uite” and showed him my purse. He still didn’t seem to believe me for some reason, so I pulled my Book of Mormon out to say “look, see, this is all I have,” when I realized, “hey, hey can have that.” So I handed it to him and was like, “there, you can have that if you’d like!” He seemed really happy and almost didn’t believe that I’d actually given it to him and I was just like, “no really, it’s yours!” Then we walked away. I figure, hey, even if he just sells it, it only has the possibility for good! When we got home from church I had called computer time, so I did a number of things on there. At one point Shannon and I looked up the lyrics to Rigoletto and sang them all (good memories). I also blogged and looked for apartments for myself and Shannon. I easily used all the time I had (never enough time) and then it was time for dinner! We all grabbed our dishes and walked over to the Villa (once again, everyone staring). Not too surprisingly, along the way we had a little gypsy girl try to get us to give some of it to her. When we got there, the missionaries were there, because they’d just finished setting up the ping pong table for us, so we invited them to stay and convinced them by telling Elder Hackett that he needed to cut the turkey for us. It took forever, it seemed, to get everything set up, partly because a lot of people needed to finish cooking things and heat things up. We took a bunch of pictures of the group and of Hackett cutting the turkey. Then, finally, we ate! Oh wow, what a fabulous experience. It was all so festive and exciting and I think it made us all a little home sick. It didn’t help that we all went around and told things we were grateful for and then later told about family holiday traditions. I got some good ideas for things I want to do with my family when I have one of my own. We all feel pretty trunky. The food was great too and I think my favorite dishes were Shannon’s candied sweet potatoes, the turkey of course, and the biscuits that Jenna made. Happy day. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the dinner didn’t start until Bri recited her hilarious Thanksgiving poem. After the dinner was over and we were all absolutely fat, we started cleaning up. I washed all the dishes and would give them to either Bri or Jessica to dry. Melissa and Megan went home early and Marina, Holly and Shannon were in another room talking, so Bri, Jessica, Abbi, Jenna and I had a great little chat in the kitchen. We talked about all kinds of things, from food and traditions to the usual, dating. Abbi has a pretty serious boyfriend who she’s absolutely in love with and will probably get engaged to. I approved because Abbi’s great and they seem like a great couple. Jessica’s missionary comes home in the summer, so though she’s open to dating, she’s not really particularly looking forward to it. Bri and Jenna pretty much want to get married, though Jenna has like never dated in her life. I’d have to say that the whole day had quite the marriage and dating theme. I mean, our lesson in Relief Society was on marriage, we had that conversation about dating and marriage in the kitchen and on the way home and we talked a lot about families and traditions and our future families during the dinner! Well, once I got home I cleaned my room and read a little of the manuscript and now am writing in my journal!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

This was what a Saturday should always be like. I woke up leisurely at 8:30 (because I’d gone to bed the night before at 9:30). I took a shower, read a little and then found out that language lessons had been cancelled. Melissa’s computer wouldn’t turn on, so we all prayed, and it turned on! Yay! Church is true! I didn’t get an email back from Campus Lane, but I got emails back from 2 other places. One was the Avenues and that one isn’t going to work out and the other was an apartment at Omni, which was probably my seconds choice and which sounds like it could totally work out! I think I’ll wait and try and see if the Campus Lane one works out (because that’s really where my heart lies) and if not, I’ll just go ahead and take the Omni one. I’m not too worried about it being taken before I act, because the girl is going on her honeymoon like, tomorrow and will be gone for like a week. Around 11 Shannon and I went off to run errands for her. She needed to go to Podul first to talk to Abbi. On the way we were both just in the best of moods! The morning had been leisurely, we’d gotten out of the apartment by exactly the time we’d wanted to, the day was gorgeous and everything was looking promising! I made the observation that it was one of those times that everything in your life looks as if it’s going right! Like, I had hopes of getting the best apartment ever, I had hopes of getting glasses and of having a great day and just having everything work out great. I knew that chances were not everything would work out the way I wanted it to, but the great thing about that moment was that nothing hadn’t worked out yet. It was all still intact and life just looked wonderful! I told that to Shannon and was like, “you know what, I could not get the apartment and I could not get my glasses, etc., but right now, I don’t know that I won’t, so I’m just going to take this moment and milk it for all it’s work, because these moments don’t usually last.” It was great. After Podul we went to Hala. While we were getting groceries we heard some kids singing and it sounded live and like it was coming from right upstairs, so we decided to go check in out. By the time we got there the concert was over, but there were kids eeeeverywhere. It was seriously such a happy moment. There we were, standing in this mall with Christmas decorations, freshly hung, all around us with hoards of laughing, screaming kids running all around us. I took some pictures. I’ve definitely learned more about true joy and true pain here than I ever have before. I’m so glad I came! Well, when we got home, Megan and Jess were already back and I took a nap for a little while and then the three of us went over to the Palat to see another one of the museums. We decided to go to the Art History one and I actually really liked it! I think I may even want to go back! I really wish that all of my homework wasn’t on the computer, because one of my favorite things to do is to take my homework and go somewhere special to work on it. And I’d love to be able to just go to that art gallery and sit there and do my homework surrounded by it all. First we looked through all of the international art. I was very impressed, because they had both a Reubens and a Vernet! I was so surprised to see the Vernet, because he is one of my favorite artists and I just totally was not expecting for him to have this random painting here in Iasi! I quite enjoyed that section and wrote down a bunch of paintings that I really liked in my notebook. At the end of the hall they had a section will copies of Greek and Roman sculpture. It was set up like this. If you’re standing there starting at it, there the Dying Gaulle in front of you, athletes on your right and left and then in continues on in a circle, with different gods making up the circle, including the Venus de Milo, and then right in the middle of the circle was the head of Zeus. Pretty cool. They also had a Romanian section. Some of it I didn’t care much for, but there were a few artists who I just looooved. I wrote them down and I hope I can find some of their stuff online or something. Lastly, they had a special exhibition, which opened yesterday, of a Romanian artist named Corneliu Baba who I just looooved. Like, he seriously has to be at least one of my favorite artists! His work is just so stark are real and INTERESTING! Like, every piece I turned to I’d just love. Well, on our way out we ran into Marina and Bri who’d just finished with the Archeology museum. Then I got home, took another nap (J) and then Shannon and I walked to Gima. It was quite the enjoyable walk actually. We talked about music and then when we’d just crossed the street at the foot of the hill we walk up to go to the hospital, we saw this gorgeous pink sunset right above this pink building and it was just so beautiful. We both tried our best to capture it with our cameras, but the lighting was just so that we couldn’t get the coloring quite right. It was either the pink building or the pink sky, but not both L. As we were there snapping shots, a cute old man walked by said something we didn’t understand, pointed up at the sky with his cane and smile and I just tried to say “da” that happiest I could! I could tell he must have been saying something about how beautiful it was and I was so glad that he appreciated it too and wasn’t just annoyed that we were taking pictures. Once we got to Iulius Mall we went looking for a heated blanket. We had great fun looking, but found no blanket. I wish I’d known how nice the mall was before! It really was just as nice as a mall at home and I can’t say that about much of anything here! You could also get so many things so easily! Like, there was a store with school supplies and one with toys and one with books and one like bed bath and beyond and everything! It was amazing to me, because before that I’d always found it sooo hard to find all these ordinary things. We’ll have to pass the tip onto the next group. We also ended up getting shaworma from the food court and sharing a soda. See, they had this adooorable little cokes in these little glass classic bottles with straws. It made us happy. Finally we went to Gima and I got stuff for the peach cobbler I’m making for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and stuff that I plan to take home with me. We took a taxi home and then couldn’t get in, so we sat on the step to wait for someone to open the door to the building. While we were sitting there we starting talking about the taxi ride and Romanian driving and the fact that it’s rude to wear a seat belt. Well, Shannon got offended at something I said, and it surprised me, because I wasn’t meaning to be offensive and I said so. Well, since Shannon and I have this whole friendship thing well enough worked out, we didn’t get in an argument, but instead had another session of psychoanalyzing Sheri. It was fascinating! Really, we have deconstructed so much about me since being here and I love it! Listen to this. We’ve decided that my personality and my mind do not go together! Let me explain. See, my mind is incredibly logical and analytical and causes me to be great at math and great at debating and such things. I am so logical and analytical that I analyze everything and just feel the need to be logical about even the tiniest of things. It’s a part of me and I hate it and love it at the same time. On the other hand, my personality is a combination of free spirited adventurism. I’m incredibly curious and enthusiastic, artistic and carefree. This is not the case with most people. Most people that are very logical and analytical are very strict and square in everything they do and they fit a certain type. They may debate all the time, but since this is their personality, people expect it of them and it doesn’t tend to be much of a problem. Most people that are very carefree and free spirited do not tend to be intensely logical. They are artsy and more concerned with emotion than logic. That is not to say they are not intelligent, no, they are just two different kinds of intelligent. They rarely get in arguments either because, well, they just don’t feel the need to argue things, or if they do it is only because one of those really analytical people forced them into it. This combination of the two makes me one conflicted person – something I’ve always known but that I’ve never known the “why” of. In everything I do I have these two sides of me pulling me opposite directions. For example, while one part of me will whole heartedly want to just spend a day doing whatever in the world comes into my mind, the other part of me has this intense desire to make a list, or a schedule, and follow it religiously. As a result, I am rarely satisfied. That also explains why I want to be a writer and yet am so much more skilled at something like math, though I have no desire to go into math. Now let me explain why that makes it so that I tend to get in arguments with people over stupid things. See, the analytical side of my mind makes me very observant and causes me to ponder a lot of things. A lot of the time, I’ll bring up something I’m pondering about and get in a discussion about it with the person I am with. If they disagree, that’s fine with me, but I’m so logical that I feel the need to debate it from a strictly logical standpoint. I am not upset, I’m just going through the motions. Usually at the beginning of these discussions, the person I’m talking with is totally fine and has no problem with anything. At some point, however, it turns into a debate. They usually don’t notice the transition, but they generally notice at some point that somehow we’ve arrived at a debate. One of the reasons that they don’t notice the debate until we’re right in the middle of it is because I’m so carefree and curious that it resembles the other side of my personality because it sounds like I’m just being curious. Well, anyway, at some point all of a sudden the fact that we’re in a debate suddenly hits them and they become disoriented. People aren’t used to having to deal with the two different kinds of people at the same time and so they don’t know what to do. If I were just the carefree kind of person, the conversation wouldn’t be offensive, because it wouldn’t be taken as serious or important or what have you. If I were just the logical kind of person, it would be expected and non threatening, but when it’s a mix of the two people don’t know what it is or how to react and yeah. Yeah, I’m sure it makes a whole lot more sense to me. But seriously, what a cool thing to figure out! Yeah, I’ve always known I was different. Anyway, so later in the night I cooked my peach cobbler for tomorrow. Shannon was in the room cooking too and she introduced me to one of her favorite bands, “Indigo Girls” who I’d heard of but never listened to and who I think I really like. While I was listening, Marina and Abbi came over to use the phone and I chatted a little with them and used the computer!

Friday, November 24, 2006

This morning I woke up early, like I have been lately, and started using the computer at 6:30 and was able to use it for a good 2 hours before I had to get ready, because I was going to Penilla again and didn’t have to be ready until 9:15. Penilla was good, but not quiiite as good as last time we went. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’m probably the only one of the group (aside from maaaybe Holly) who has figured out exactly how to get there and even know several ways. We were with the gruppa mic (little group) today, where Maria and Catalin from Dacie 3rd floor are. They were so cute! I’d say the age range was anywhere from 1 and ½ or 2 to 5. When we first got there they were in the play room with the ball pit and I kind of wasn’t sure what to do. They were already all playing, they were all kind of scared of me, aside for Maria and Catalin who were playing with Shannon anyway, and I was scared of them too, so I just reverted to my old trusted friend, tickling. It worked better than anything else I could think of would, but I still kind of looked like an idiot. Luckily the play room was almost over though, so soon we were off to a different room with desks. The teacher had all the kids sit down in a circle and taught them Christmas poems, while Shannon and I sat at her desk and wrote American children’s songs for them to learn. We decided to throw in a couple of children’s church songs too, just for good measure and because we couldn’t think of any other ones J. While we were sitting there writing the songs, we’d occasionally look over and gaze at the little circle of kids and be like, “*sigh,* they’re so cute!” This was especially satisfying because Shannon’s mom had a daycare and she used to be totally not like that and take pride in the fact that she wasn’t one of those girls and there she was going right along with it too! Well, after a while we finished with the songs and went and sat with them for a while before we all went back to the desks to paint! The kids were learning about the color orange, so they were given a piece of white paper and they were supposed to paint it all orange. I never knew there were so many ways to paint a page orange. The kid I was sitting next to had a very specific method. He would dip the paint brush in the paint and then paint in a very concentrated area, probably the size of a 50 cent piece and then, though his brush was still completely filled with paint, he’d redip it and put a tiny bit more on. He was obsessed with getting every little piece of white on the areas that were already mostly orange, but didn’t seem to much care about the huge spaces of white. He was definitely the last one done. I loved it. Child after my own heart. I think his name is David and I noticed that he and this other kid named Paul tend to still together like superglue. Paul is one of the youngest kids (maybe 2) and he’s probably the cutest one (strictly looks wise), but pretty petulant. He’s wary and moody and shy. David on the other hand is really even tempered and has kind of a quiet strength to him. So, even though Paul has the strooonger personality, he’d really be nothing without David, who basically watches over and protects him. You know you’ve been working with kids too long when you talk like that. Provo is going to be such alien land to me! People are going to be like, um what are you doing? Eh, I’m over it. Ce sa faci (what can you do)? So, anyway, while we were painting, the teacher was helping this one really little boy do his painting, but she’d occasionally help someone else too. Well, one of the times, she went to go help someone else and by the time she came back, this little kid had paint just aaaaaall over his face. It was hilarious! Painting with babies – never a good idea if you like everything to be clean! Well, after painting we got all the kids changed into basically their snow clothes, even though Shannon and I were outside in our t-shirts and were absolutely fine. I started off swinging with Maria, then after a while the other kids came out, including Catalina from Dacie 7th, and I swung with her too. I’d been hoping to see Georgiana from Dacie 7th too, because I don’t think she’ll be at Dacie from now on, but she wasn’t there because she was with her new mom. After a while we went and did a bunch of other things too (half of them involving tickling of course). My favorite playground moment was this. I’d started chasing Catalina and tickling her and in the process I’d tickle any other kid in the immediate vicinity too. So, after a while I was just running around tickling all kinds of kids. Well, at one point Catalina was running up the hill and I go to chase after her and I look back and there are probably like 7 laughing, screaming little 4 years olds chasing me. It was soooo cute! Another interesting observance I happened upon while I was there was that Andre (the more verbal of the 2 wheelchair boys) is like, the cool kid on campus. All the kids always want to play with him and he just leads them around in his little wheelchair. I don’t blame them, he’s pretty personable, and I think it’s great! I mean, how fabulous of a place is it where the kid in the wheelchair is actually cool? Later on, I was stationed at the see saw for quite some time. I don’t remember how exactly I procured the job, but somehow I came to be in charge of it. A kid would come up and I’d ask them if they wanted to get on it and they would always say yes. So, then I’d put them in the seat and strap them in and manually operate it (because, well, kids aren’t all the same size and they definitely aren’t all highly functioning enough to push the ground and get the thing going by themselves). Claudio, the down syndrome kid was in it the whole time because, well, let’s face it, down syndrome kids are usually kind of off in their own world and are generally content with most anything, and so since he was content to sit in the chair, I was content to leave him! He just sat there and chewed on his hat the whole time and I’m still not so sure he was even aware that he was going up and down. Well, after that we all went back inside and took everyone out of their jackets and hats and shoes and washed their hands and had gluing time! The teacher cut all their orange pages into strips and, the kids ripped the strips into smaller pieces and then they were supposed to glue them into a shape that resembled a flower. After that, they were shown how to draw a stem (Maria, who I was helping, chose to draw about 5 stems) and then they glued on a leaf as well. It was high art. After that, all the kids had a little bit of time to just play with toys and then it was time for lunch and we left. We had to go home before going to the hospital, because I was going to try to get my glasses prescription and I needed to print off my prescription at Podul and Shannon had a bunch of things to do at home before going to the hospital too. After we got home, I decided I just wasn’t going to go to the hospital, because I just wasn’t feeling it and I’ve decided that I think I tap out at going 4 times a week, especially since I go to Dacie on Tuesdays and Thursdays too. You know what bothers me? Part of the reason why I don’t go to the hospital is because I have so much homework to do and not really any time to do it, what with Dancu, Dacie, the orphanage, church stuff and everything else. So it bothers me that the homework I have actually really interferes with the experience and actually takes my focus off the kids. Shouldn’t it compliment it? I mean, I just feel like I can’t do both and so neither of them get my full attention. Anyway, so I stayed home and was actually incredibly productive. It’s always horrible when I stay home from something and am not productive anyway. I looked for an apartment online and made sooo much headway. I now have a list of probably 15 apartments that I’d be ok with staying in if everything works out the right way, so now I’ve just started emailing them, starting with the ones I like best, until I find one that works out. The one on the top of my list is a town home at a place called Campus Lane. It’s aaaabsolutely adorable and looks really nice. I would have a master private room (woot!) and possibly my own bathroom (don’t remember). The place even has a washer and dryer and I think it might be more than one level! On top of it, it’s pretty close to campus and is south of campus (which I wanted) at 582 N 500E. As far as I know it costs either $295 or $300 a month not counting utilities, which is way good for such a nice place. I cannot even express how happy I would be if I could get this place. I mean, the place I live and how pretty and clean it is has a huuuuge affect on how happy and optimistic I am and I’ve always wanted to live in a cute town house. Plus, I’ve had enough problems with roommates that I think I deserve to have a private room for once. And it’ll make it so much easier for me to be not stressed and be able to focus on school. Back to the original topic, another reason why the computer time was great was that I was listening to the classic Christmas music station on launch cast! Anyway, so at 7 we all went to the missionary fireside put on by the soras. I dressed up all nice in my nice pants and such because, well, I like dressing up on Friday nights, especially when I wear scrubs all week. For the missionary fireside we all made gingerbread houses. We were separated into groups of 3 or so and given supplies and left to go to work. My group was Marina, Madalina and I, with Marina being the chief architect. Our house was the boooomb. It was really pretty and orderly and creative. We made a bush out of this green glob of marshmallow and even made it look like it had Christmas lights on it! I was pretty impressed with everyone elses though too. Like, I don’t even have a favorite. And it made me so happy that Sora Lydia’s was pink! She’s so great. Oh, and as a shout out, I love Madalina too! What a sweet girl! Mmm….yay for outreach girls! The missionaries were really funny the whole night because they were all so happy and just going around taking pictures of everyone and everything. Like, at one point I looked over at Dubling and he was just standing there looking around with this HUGE grin on his face and I was like, “hey Dubling, ya happy?” and he’s like, “Uh huh!” Favorite part of the night though was with Toomie. He’s a total greeny, is from England (has a killer accent) and looooves Justin Timberlake and other rock and pop people a liiiiittle too much. So, someone was saying something to him in Romanian and he had noooo clue what they were saying and so one of the bilinguals translated for him and he just looks back at the person that had been talking to him and in a very Elder Toomie kind of a way that I really can’t explain through words he points to them, winks and just goes “da.” Like, wow, it was just such an Elder Toomie moment. And one of the other girls told me a funny story about Hackett. I guess Toomie was talking to a bunch of girls because, well, he’s just entertaining (it’s great, because I loooove to watch him, but am not attracted to him at all) and Hackett comes in and is like, “ooh, look at Elder Toomie, talking to all the girls!” Then, understandably, everyone was kind of awkward and quiet and Shannon goes, “good job Hackett, Sorensen has officially worn off on you.” And he’s like, “yeah, but not completely or else I would’ve then said ‘don’t blush!’” Ah, I love Hackett, and I love that he totally sees how awkward Sorensen is like we do. I totally plan on hanging out with him in Provo when I get home because he gets home in December too! But again, not attracted to him either! Woot! So, after a while I got a little bit of a headache and we left, all 5 of us together. By the time we’d gotten home my headache was pretty darn bad and so I just had to go straight to bed.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

You know what? Today was a good day! As Joey would say, Dancu, good; hospital, good; Dacie, good; outreach, gooood! Even this morning before I ever even left home, it was pretty good. I got up early to use the computer and I was actually pretty productive! I finally emailed Roberta! I also updated the blog a little, which made me feel a bit better. Shannon was feeling sick, so I made the decision to go to Dancu by myself. The thought scared me a bit, but I wanted to. Anni and Nuti were working and it was great! One of the reasons why I was a little worried about going without Shannon was that I almost never work with Iuliana and I was afraid she’d throw a fit and I wouldn’t know how to calm her. She was great thought! When I first got there I spent like 10 minutes with Petrica. Then, I spent quite some time with Mihai and had a ball. We crawled along the floor (since they aren’t aloud on the floor, I lay on the floor and put him on top of me and slither around, usually camping out by the toys), looked out the window, and read among other things. When I was reading to him, I couldn’t find the normal “Catelusi Veseli” book, so I had to use this one that they have that for some reason is in French. But, instead of reading the French, I would just tell him whatever I wanted to tell him and I used it as an opportunity to just pour out all my feelings for him. Roberta mentioned in her “closure” assignment to tell the kids your feelings for them, even if they don’t understand and that was the perfect opportunity for it. After Mihai, I spent some time with Iuli and it went fabulously! First, I jammed with her, singing and patting her with the beat. Then I tickled her, and then I just held her and rocked her and sang to her. While I was doing that, the workers came in for a while and just played with the kids. Anni came in first and saw Mihai leaning over the chair backwards about to slide headfirst onto the floor (his constant goal) and she just slid him down and let him be on the floor! Then she proceeded to play with him being on the floor and would practice having him pull himself up! It was sooo perfect! Then, if I was hearing correctly, I think she and nuti had a little argument about whether or not the kids should be on the floor! That may sound like a bad thing, I mean, it’s an argument, but no! It was so good! Finally, one of the workers realized that it was a bad them for them to never be aloud on the floor! I may be wrong, but I think Anni was saying that if they’re never aloud on the floor, they’ll never progress and I think Nuti was just arguing that it’s bad for their health. Well anyway, after they left I was with Iulia for a little longer and then went in with Costica for while and then back out with Petrica. While I was with Petrica, the workers came back in and put Mihai in the little wheely chair thing. You know, those things you put babies in where they can just walk with it and push themselves around. Well, it kind of worked, like he could push his legs from the front to the bag, but he wouldn’t bring his legs back up again. It was really cute though, watching both workers trying so hard to get him to do it and just having so much affection for him. I worked with him on it a little bit after they left and with Petrica a little took and then I went and had lunch! It wasn’t as bad as usual! The soup had no galuste (cornmeal ball things) and lots of potato, and the bread was fairly normal! At the hospital, I started off with Nicu on the 6th. He was crying when I came in (I can see institutionalization starting already) and I changed his diaper and then rocked him for a minute. Pretty soon the orderly came in and gave me a bottle, but right before I could give it to him, a nurse came in to inject something in his IV, which is in his foot. When she started to inject it, he started crying and screaming bloody murder, so she was like, “un pic moment” (one minute) and took him away. When she brought him back in, his feet had little shot punctures in them and the one that had the IV in it had a big lump that looked like an enlarged vein and she wanted me to keep pressure on it with a cottonball that had alcohol on it. It hurt, so he cried til it stopped bleeding and I took the cottonball away, but he calmed down real quick and almost immediately started to fall asleep. Like, in between taking off the cotton and sticking his bottle in his mouth, so I blew on his face a little to keep him away and successfully got him to finish the bottle. He, of course, promptly fell asleep right after and I handed him off to Bri! Then, I went with Marina to the 3rd floor. She was with Iliuta and I was with Daniel, who are both in the same room. I’d never been with Daniel before. He’s like 14 and has Down Syndrome. He’s incredibly skinny (you know, like the malnourished kind), he’s blind (you can tell because of his cloudy white pupils), and has scabs on his neck because of scratching himself (typical of the blind kids. He doesn’t talk and is really out of it and he likes to move his head, jerkily to one side and clench his jaw each time. He just likes mashing his teeth together and making that noise I think. He got surgery on is stomach and so I could see the tip of a very hastily sewn (Romanian stitched) wound because his shirt wasn’t fully buttoned. It’s amazing how strong of a stomach you can have when you need to have one. At first he was laying down and I’d just hold his hands or tickle his armpits (love his laugh). After he heard a bunch of nurses and orderlies come in, he sat and then stood up. When he was sitting he would get really excited and try to basically pull me in. He would grab hold of my watch and use it as an anchor to pull me in. I was pretty good about derailing it his efforts, although I did get one scratch close to the watch (he digs in with his nails). I also got a little scratched on my face, because I wanted him to feel my face and he just grabbed it and dug his nails in. After that I had him touch my face with the back of his hand. Ok, so I also have to mention an interesting scenario that I came across. Marina left after a while to go visit another kid, so Iliuta was by himself. He’s institutionalized and therefore pretty bad tempered. He has a ton of toys on his crib, but he always wants more. He came to the edge of the crib and started point at my bag and asking for more toys. I said I didn’t have any and he got upset and went over to the other side and started just whining/crying. So, I’m sitting here looking at this kid and I’m wondering what to do. On the one hand, my mind says “he’s institutionalized and is just going to get upset no matter what I do. There’s no way I can just keep giving him toys and that’s not really going to make him happy either, it’s just a quick fix. I know the only way he’ll be comforted is by giving him a toy and so I would feel silly leaving Daniel, just to probably make him more upset.” On the other hand, my mind says, “ok, institutionalization or not, this is just a poor little four year old kid who is feeling lower than low and I can tell. He’s got a burn wound and is stuck in a hospital all day and other than that is stuck in an impersonal facility without a mother. Give up all your excuses and just go try to comfort him.” What’s the answer? Well, after a while, I left them and went to the first floor. I took over for Abbi, who had been with Ionut. He didn’t look so good. He has a net around his head (like a hair net), he looked really uncomfortable, kept squirming, had reeeeally dry skin and kept spitting up. Sad child. I think he’d be so much happier in heaven and that’s really his only home, because his condition can only get worse. There were two other moms in the world. One had a child of about a year who had Hoffman’s disease. I’m not sure exactly what that is, except that it makes your muscles weak, so you can’t really move much. The other mom had the most adorable twin girls Lois (after Anthony’s grandmother in the Bible) and Sarah (Bible again). I spoke with her a lot because she spoke pretty good English and found out that her husband is a Pentecostal preacher and she’s from around Vaslui. Jenna came in and talked to us too and we held her girls and put these little animal hats on them that Jenna brought for the Dacie kids. It was adoooorable. We met Melissa at 4 and took the tram to Dacie. Along the way, the tram ran into a taxi. As in, the taxi was too far to the left on the road and so when the tramvie went by in scraped along the side of the taxi, right below our window. I’d say definitely taxi’s fault. Either way, the driver got out and was all mad and yelling and they were arguing. Then he got back in and slammed the door shut and sped off. A little while later, somehow we caught up with him or something and he got in the tramvie and started arguing with the driver again. That makes one pedestrian hit by a car, 3 car accidents, and one fist fight over road rage that I have witnessed in these 2 and a half months. Remind me again why people here don’t believe in seatbelts? Oh yeah, it’s Romania. Dacie was fabulous. I sure love those kids. We had them all try on the hats that Jenna brought. They included one moose hat, one bear hat, on princess headband thing and one green eye mask. My favorite combinations were these: Costica with the princess headband, Marian with the moose hat, Viorel with the bear hat and Mihai with the mask. Apparently Georgiana is getting fostered, like, tomorrow, which is crazy. I’m really happy for her and it was great to see her so excited about it, but it’s hard to just say goodbye just like that. I love leaving Dacie because the kids all go to the table to eat, but try as the workers may, they never eat much til after we leave. They just peak through the kitchen door at us putting on our shoes and such. Even when I don’t pay attention to them in an effort to get them to focus on their food, I still hear the occasional, overexcited “pa!” And when I look over they all ring out in an enthusiastic chorus of “pa’s” and “te iubesc’s” and “sheri’s.” It’s just precious. Jenna, Melissa, Shannon and I all happened to catch the same tram to outreach. I was the last to walk out the tram doors and just before I stepped out, Jenna asked me to look back to make sure she left nothing on her seat. I turn to do so and turn back just in time to see the doors shut in front of me! I panicked for a second and then pushed the button and luckily they reopened! We had quite a good laugh after that and I had flashbacks to the New York subway (that one’s for mom!). Outreach was fabulous too! I spent the first little while talking to Raluca and Sora Wright, who were making pumpkin pie, while Stefana did my hair in a crazy hippie braid thing. After that, Jenna and I (and sometimes other people) started talking with Elder Toomey, our cool new British elder. He’s so fun to listen to! Like, I think I could be entertained for hours by just watching him, even though I’m not attracted to him an all. Like, the way he talks is just so cool! I’ve decided I could never marry a Brit, because I’d never really be in love with him. I could never take him seriously and would just constantly be like, “hehe, coooool.” So, I was fascinated by his utter Britiosity (cool new world, thank you very much) and he got an incredible kick out of the fact that I’m from Orange County and have the last name of Money on top of it. Oh, and on top of the fact that he has a great accent and says really funny things, his name is Ashley! That, quite possibly, just completely made my day. During our conversation, Elder Sorensen would occasionally pipe in with the occasional awkward comment. You know, I really don’t mind him at all any more and I think he’s really quite entertaining in a very interesting sort of way. I never really diiiisliked him, persay, but he’s always been weird and I think I’ve learned how to fully appreciate that. At the end of outreach, we all tried on the hats (everyone loves them!) and took pictures! Yay! Um, hehe! Ok, so I think I finally reached the end of writing about this day! Now that like 2 hours have passed! Hey, it was worth it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This morning, Shannon and I actually got out on time! Actually, we got to Dancu early! Dada was working all by herself today for the first time in a long time and it was good! The kids were really low key again today. I spent a lot of time with Petrica, as usual and just sang him Christmas songs and such. I also spent time with Costica, just rubbing his back and cuddling with him. And with Mihai I just did a bunch of random things. The day went really slow. But the kids were dressed really really cute! Dada also fed us lunch….lots of lunch! We had soup, bread (normal actually, not nasty) and a whole plateful of what she called spaghetti. From what I could see it was angel hair pasta (kind of) with a reddish orange sauce and there was so much sauce and the noodles were so soft that it was just this big orange, odd tasting mush. Nice of her though. At the hospital, I stared off with Nicu and I fed him (very difficult, but I succeeded!) and then lay on the bed and took a nap with him. While I was doing so, Marina came in and switched with Shannon who’d been with Vasilica and she decided to go see Iulia. Well, a little time passed and I was still napping with Nicu (who was finally out cold) when Shannon came in the room looking highly distraught. We asked her what was wrong and she said “Iulia died” and just started crying. I slipped my arm out from under Nicu and ran over to and just held her (Marina came too). It was such a surprise and I had such mixed feelings. Iulia has been with us this entire time. I’ve spent so many hours with that girl and tried so many things to make her happy. She broken my heart over and over and I’ve put so much into her. I’ll miss her and it’s a shock, but at the same time, I can’t say that I’m actually sad. I’m actually really happy. For a moment while I was holding Shannon I thought about Iulia and George in heaven, walking and talking and looking beautiful and just being happy and I started smiling. I mean, I’ve NEVER seen Iulia smile and to think that she’s smiling now – I just can’t explain what that means to me. You know, her situation was one of the saddest that I’ve seen and I’ve actually had many times when I went it her room and just prayed that she would die. I mean, she had no joy in this life, no future and was always in pain. I want one of my kids to have “Iulia” for a middle name. Well, anyway, Shannon was really upset and decided to go home. Marina and I talked for a little bit about Iulia and then Melissa came in and we told her. We left Melissa with Nicu and Vasilica and went down to go make sure that Iulia wasn’t just moved to a different room. Shannon said that she’d gone down there and no one was in Iulia’s room and it was all nice and tidy and cleaned up. So she asked a nurse “Unde este Iulia?” and the nurse pointed to the room and was like “in there!” and she’s like, “no she isn’t.” So then the nurse asked around and one of the mom’s said that she’d died the night before. So we went down there to make sure the mom was right and that she wasn’t just in another room. I was pretty sure, but Marina wanted to check. It was kind of traumatic because Iliuta, the little boy in the room next door wanted us to give him attention and the nurse always tries to get us to play with him (not that we don’t want to, but sometimes we can’t) and so she tried to and we asked her where Iulia was and she didn’t know that she’d passed away either and that same mom just casually was like “she died. She died last night.” And I felt really bad because the nurse looked so sad about it like we were. The traumatic thing was that this whole time the nurse was changing Iliuta’s pad because, well, let me explain. He has this big huge wound (bigger than a really big grapefruit) on his stomach. I saw it for the first time today and it was the worst thing I’ve seen here so far, aside from the dead man in Bucharest. It’s pussy and has these big red globs. One of the globs looked like it had slid down to his side. It looked like a really mushy, bright red cherry. Later I found out from Megan that he’s a burn victim and the cherry that I thought had slid down is actually always there. I didn’t have my contacts in, luckily. But they had to change him because his pad was soaked and it had soaked through his church which had a big wet spot on it. Yeah, so this whole time she was changing it and he didn’t seem to be upset or hurting at all and was just being active and trying to get our attention and we were just not able to give it to him. We didn’t stay with him either because not only were we not up to it, but we wanted to try and find Holly to talk to her about it. We went down to the first floor and found Abbi instead, who told us Holly wasn’t there yet. I decided to stay in that room with her. She was with a baby named Andrei or Adrian or something and there was another baby who’d just woken up that I went over with. He was reeeeally adorable and we found out his name was Gigi, but we weren’t sure whether he was a boy or a girl. We asked the moms, knowing they’d laugh at us and they did and we found out he’s a boy. The shirt he was wearing was way too small and his tummy was hanging out, so I gave him a shirt that was his size. He was reeeeally shy and just looked at me like I was huge and scary and tentatively played with the toys I gave him. I wasn’t really quite sure what to do with him and then Abbi left, so I went and held the other baby who started crying. I wasn’t too worried about Gigi, because I could see the other mom’s loved him and gave him lots of attention. After a while a nurse took Gigi and all the moms left the baby (who we’ll call Andrei) fell asleep. So I put him down and went to go try and find Megan or Jess to see when they were leaving. I couldn’t find them, but on the way out I found Bri, Mihai, Jenna and Holly who were all just getting there. I talked to them for a while and then discretely told Holly about Iulia and she told Bri and probably the others later. It was pretty sad and after that I walked home alone. On the way home, I started jogging to get across the street before the light changed and this street dog saw me and started running at me and snarling. I immediately stopped, didn’t look at him, acted calm and kept walking, paying no attention and amazingly he didn’t bite me. I was really surprised, because he was so ferocious and he was right at my heals. The look in his eyes said he wanted to, but he didn’t. When I got home Shannon was still there and didn’t look so good, but went to Dacie shortly thereafter. After a while Megan and Jess came home too and I spent a lot of time on the computer looking for an apartment and planning italy. About the time they left to go to Outreach, Shannon and Melissa came home from Dacie. Shannon didn’t feel well and got right into bed and was tossing and turning and moaning. Sad day. I eventually switched computers and have been on here ever since.