August 10, 2008 (Sunday)
The Lord’s Hand in my Life: Writing a goodbye letter to Andrei (my little three-year-old monkey) expressing how much I love him and how much he is loved by the Lord.
I was exhausted when I woke up this morning. We all got to bed really really late, and I felt the effects. I literally had to pull myself out of bed.
During sacrament I should have been listening more intently, but I was tired and I couldn’t focus because I was worried about saying goodbye to my kids the next day – especially Andrei. So I wrote a letter to Andrei during sacrament meeting. I decided to put the letter in an envelope in the photo album I bought him so someday he will be able to read it. Then I gave it to the Elders and had them translate it in Romanian. This is what it said:
I wanted to write you a letter to express how much I have grown to love and care about you over the short time I have been here. The first day I walked into the orphanage you instantly ran to me, and you have been by my side ever since. You have been the light of my life everyday and for that I thank you. Your three year old brown eyes, smile and flirtatious wink instantly stole my heart, and I will always remember you and the impact you’ve had on my life.
Andrei, I want you to know that you are loved dearly by a loving Father in Heaven and that He is aware of any trial, pain or heartache you will experience in your life. Andrei, you are an intelligent, loving, serving and carling little boy – never forget that! You have so much potential to accomplish great things! Take advantage of the opportunity to do good, and the Lord will bless you.
Saying goodbye to you Andrei is one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do, but I’m trusting the Lord will take care of you in my absence. You will always be in my prayers and reside in my heart. I love you like you were my own son! Someday I will be able to tell you again face-to-face!
With Love, Whitney Alexander
P.S. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.
I felt peaceful after I wrote the letter. I think I needed to write it in order to feel closure about the entire situation – even if he won’t know what it says until later. Later in life when Andrei wonders if anyone ever cared about him I want him to know that someone did very very much. He will always know that someone loved him.
During sacrament I made a bit of a fool of myself and Sora Stoica started laughing so hard she was practically crying. There was a young girl sitting next to her that I had never seen before and even though she was blonde I just assumed she was Romanian, so I looked over and to be nice asked “Cum te cheama?” (What’s your name?) I soon found out she was American and she had come to Romania five years ago and worked in the same program. Sora Stoica thought it was the funniest thing that I talked to her in Romanian and she was an English speaker. Leave it to me to do something like that.
Because it was the last Sunday we said our goodbyes. I hate goodbyes so much. We printed out a group picture we had taken with the Branch and gave them each a cd full of pictures that we had taken from the last couple of months. I think they enjoyed them. Then we ate banana cake.
After church I went to the girls’ apartment and did the video because I had time. We decided to put together a video for each girl where we each say our favorite characteristic and memory about them. That way we will each have a video – it will be a great keepsake. I had a lot of fun doing mine. I can’t wait for them to watch the recording I did on each of them. Especially Elyse – she is in for a treat!
On the way to Sora Geneviva’s in the evening we ran into this English guy who had stopped us on the street earlier on the way home from church. He was probably in his early 30s and very buff. He was from Great Britain and heard us speaking English and decided to find out why we were in Romania. We told him we were doing volunteer work here, and he thought that was neat. Then we told him we were going to London in about a week and he gave us all kinds of suggestions of things to do. He gave us his phone number and card and told us we should meet up with him and he’d show us around. He was really nice, but I don’t know why he’d care to help us out around the town. Hmmmm…
After a quick chat we made our way to Sora Geneviva’s house. She had asked us at church to come to dinner at her house, but we told her we already had plans. So we said we would come to say goodbye, but that we didn’t need dinner. She said she would only fix us a “little something to eat.” We should have known that wouldn’t be true. Luckily we decided not to eat before we went over just in case…because we have discovered several times over that Romanians feel it is essential to feed you if you’re a guest. Boy was I glad we didn’t eat when we arrived! She made us a “little something” which consisted of a bowl of soup, eggs, bread, French fries, deep fried salami, cheese, herbal tea and crepes. Haha…love Romanians.
In between courses we all had fun playing with Ionut (Sora Geneviva’s 23 year old son who has disabilities). He is such a character! I played the card game War with him for a while, but then switched with Mindy after I got bored. She took one for the team.
After dinner some of us girls tried to sneak in and do the dishes while the other girls distracted her. We only got two dishes done when she came charging into the kitchen knocking us all out of the way. The girls who had been trying to distract her were following behind her trying to keep her out of the kitchen – it didn’t work. She was so set on us not doing the dishes she grabbed the dish Kenz was washing out of her hands and it broke in the process. Then she quickly shooed us all out. We were all laughing pretty hard. Then she made us dance in a circle for a while. We had to wedge ourselves out the door – she didn’t want us to leave. We had so much fun though! It was a blast! I’m just grateful we didn’t eat before we went.
At home I put Andrei’s gift together and the missionaries dropped off the translated version of the letter. I’m really nervous about tomorrow, but I’m really excited to give him his gifts. I talked to my mom for a bit and that was nice. She helped calm me down about saying goodbye to Andrei. She said she would keep me in her prayers. I just hope that my last moments with him will be good, and that I will feel comfort when I leave him, because I’ve been freaking out tonight about saying goodbye.