Sunday, June 1, 2008

May 30, 2008 (Friday)

I love Fridays, because they mean I get to rest for a day. Not that I don’t love the kids, but I need the weekend to recover myself. At the orphanage Constantine was a happy boy today. I did some neck exercises to get him to loosen up his neck, and he loved them. He kept smiling and cooing. His whole body is so mangled and his muscles are so tense, but when he smiles its adorable. His smile is so sweet, soft and gentle. He’s a sweetie.

I didn’t get to see Andrei today. He’s my little ball of energy. The workers are usually so worn out after working with him. This week for some reason all the kids seem to be napping when we come to play with them. They don’t seem to have a scheduled nap time everyday. It fluctuates. I wish they had a little more organization with everything. We never seem to know when to play with them so they won’t be asleep.

I took Alex outside today. He has cerebral palsy, and he is about nine years old. I got him out of his chair and we swang on the swing for a while. Then I took him out to go see a cat the other kids were playing with and he freaked out. He does not like cats apparently, and according to Elisa he is afraid of slugs as well. Alex is a little character. It’s crazy that he can understand everything going on around him, but his body just won’t allow him to express himself. How frustrating must it be to be completely alert, but to be trapped in a body where you can’t control any of your motor skills.

While I was outside with Alex swinging on the swing I was chatting with Florine – a friend and colleague of Sera – he’s about my age, maybe a little older. Anyways, we were just making small chat and Sera came outside and jokingly/not jokingly said to Florine “are you flirting with her.” It was so awkward. Florine new Sera meant business, and he quickly shook his head “no.” Then Sera was like “it makes me sad that he is trying to take my friend, my girlfriend.” Once again I reminded him that I wasn’t his girlfriend. I think he is gradually starting to give up. I think Sera is a nice guy, and I’d like to be his friend…but I hate it when guys are controlling, and unfortunately that is the culture here.

Good news! I got my camera exchanged for a new one. Between the orphanage and hospital Sera took me to Media Galaxy. Don’t worry parents I did not go alone with him – Whitney Scott went with me. He was my only chance of getting it returned. Apparently if you want to get anything done in Romania you have to be quite cold and harsh with people to get what you want. When we walked into the store I had to keep myself from laughing because Sera walked in with complete authority and control – like Whitney Scott said “he acted like he was the king.” He went in and told them in Romanian there was a problem and that I wanted a new one. Then he had me show it to them. He had the sternest face on. He didn’t smile, laugh, nothing. It worked. They didn’t even put up a fuss about exchanging it. However, we did have to go to another Media Galaxy because they didn’t have another one of those cameras in stock. In the car Sera still had a stern face, and I made fun of him. I told him to relax and to breathe in and out. Finally he was laughing. Then he showed me his driver’s license and I showed him mine and he put them together and was like “we look nice together.” I just shrugged… Boys. Nope – but it was really nice of Sera to help me out. It would have been a pain to take a taxi everywhere. Plus, he helped me communicate with them because he speaks the language. When MacKenzie and I went the other day they were total jerks about it. I think it was just because we were Americans and we didn’t speak the language – of course they took advantage.

Sera really is a good person though. The three of us had an interesting conversation. When we got in the car I asked him about how men in Romania don’t respect women. He agreed and said it was very wrong. He said they didn’t understand God. Sera would seriously be an amazing church member. He is planning on coming to our barbeque at church tomorrow. Maybe the missionaries can corner him.

At the hospital I made Alex read a book out loud that I brought in Romanian. It was a pop up educational book about Egypt. The last couple of times I have visited it has been all fun. I need to help keep his brain working even though he is in the hospital. He wasn’t real excited about reading, but it was good for him. The poor kid struggled though. He is eleven years old, and he still had to sound out every word very slowly. Then half the words he said sounded like they were pronounced wrong. Plus I’m sure I wasn’t real helpful. I don’t have the accent or perfect understanding of the way every letter sounds. When I corrected him I was probably saying it wrong too…nice…

After I read I ran upstairs to help the girls on the other floors. Sadly I am starting to get used to screaming kids when I put them down because I have to go. I have to keep reminding myself that even though they are screaming when I put them down at least I kept them smiling, happy and feeling loved for a few minutes. I sure hope they will remember they were loved by someone - even if I am a complete stranger. However, it’s so weird how in love I am with every child at the orphanage and every child at the hospital. It’s immediate.

I talked to my mom after the hospital! I was so excited…I chatted with her about all the thoughts I have and the kids I adore. I told her about how I want to get Andrei adopted, but that his parents won’t let him be adopted. It makes me so sad. I’m determined to do everything I can to see what I can do about him. Maybe I could write them a letter…I don’t know. All I know is that I’m going to do a lot of praying to see if there is anyway to get him adopted into a good family in the states. My mom reminded me that if it’s the Lord’s will there will be a way. I believe that - but the Lord’s way is never very easy. There always seems to be opposition when something good is about to happen.

For our Friday night our apartment decided to go wander and find a place to eat. We heard there was a good Irish restaurant somewhere close by, but after asking several people if they knew where it was we couldn’t find it. Needless to say we quickly gave up. I think we were calling it the wrong name or pronouncing it wrong. Ha.

We ended up finding a little steak house called Mamma Mia’s Steak House. I took a picture in front of the restaurant because my mom’s name is in it. We had such a good time eating and relaxing. Food is really cheap here and the atmosphere was amazing. It was the perfect temperature. We sat outside and ate and just chatted. In Europe when you go out to eat you always plan for the outing to be a couple of hours. It is not a fast process. They don’t bring your check to you right after you’re done like they do in America. You have to hunt them down and ask for it. We had the nicest server help us. After we looked at the menu for a while he came over and realized that we couldn’t read what anything was on the menu. There was page after page of dishes– we had no idea what anything was…another joy of not understanding the language. In the middle of dinner MacKenzie started going off on some speech about roommate bonding. Mary seemed like she was in on it – Annie and I were just confused. Then Kenz pulled out a couple of friendship rings. We thought she was going to get down on one knee and propose. We all started laughing and tried them on. Then we went picture happy taking pictures of our hands. We are such girls.

Kenz and I went picture happy with her camera on the walk home. They were handing out roses on the side of the road to get us to vote for someone running for office – obviously we can’t vote here, but we had fun with the roses. We put them in our mouths, took pictures and goofed around. I bet everyone around us thought we were drunk.

When we got home Kenz and I had a dance party. We totally got it on video tape…some pretty sweet moves. Annie and Mary wouldn’t join at all. We didn’t even get one dance move out of them. Oh well…

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