Romania Week 2

Sorry it's been awhile! I have had one crazy week and a half. It's hard to keep up on things because there is always so much going on. I have been to the hospital a couple of times, which was an amazing experience. The little girls that I played with were so sweet. One of the other girls went back a couple of days later and both of the girls that we had been with were gone. That really shocked me because I just assumed that they would be there for me to play with again. I'm not exactly sure where they went, but I'm assuming it was to an orphanage. I was kind of heartbroken but I understand that it's part of the process and that it's something I'm going to have to deal with. The second time I went I also worked with a little boy who looked about a month or two old. He was all bundled up in about 3 different sets of clothes. His name was Andrei and he was a very good little baby. He didn't cry once. Jocelyn and I were with him in his room and there was also two other mothers with their children and a girl who looked about our age on the other bed. She left and came back in and kind of gave us a weird look. We were worried that she might actually be the mom so we put the baby down and Jocelyn asked the moms if Andrei was her son. They looked at us and laughed and told us that he didn't have a mom. When the girl came in the moms told her what we asked because they all started laughing and looking at us. It was a little awkward because we didn't really know what they were saying but we knew they were talking about us. Better safe than sorry though, right? So every time we go into the rooms we change the diapers of the little ones with the diapers that we bring for them. We usually just hold them and play with them. I brought some toys with me and I love giving them away because the little kids love them. It is so much fun to see their faces light up over the littlest thing. Thanks Jeremy and Madison for helping me pack the toys! The ones at the hospital love the pin wheels! We haven't been able to get into the orphanage yet. There is a whole system that we have to go through to get approved to work in the orphanage. I had to turn in a resume and money to get it through. We were hoping that we would be able to get in this week, but so far we aren't. It's really frustrating to come here expecting to do something and then not being able to do it. We have had so much time to explore and do homework, which is great, but I can't wait to start a schedule and start working with the children.
Since we weren't able to get into the orphanage last week we decided to take a little trip to Brasov. Brasov is in the mountains of Transylvania and to get there we had to take a 9 hour train ride! We wanted to take a night train but they didn't have any going to Brasov so we settled for a day one. The train ride was pretty cool. It was my first adventure on a train for that long and I was so excited to see what it would be like. We took a taxi to the train station and then loaded onto the train. The train ride was so much fun and the countryside was beautiful! Romania is so pretty and I already have such a love for this foreign place. It's definitely where I am supposed to be. We arrived in Brasov around 8 and got into the hostel that night (my first time). It was different, but we had one room for all of us so I felt like I was getting eased into the whole sharing a room thing. We were busy for 2 full days touring old Brasov and the three castles that we visited. Some old man on the street told us in French that he thought we were very pretty. It was kind of sweet and made us all laugh. We got some great ice cream in the square and found our own way around the city. It's very empowering to figure out where you want to go and then to get there. The funniest thing was that Brasov had a Hollywood sign on the mountain, except of course it said Brasov. Definitely a tourist city. The second day in Brasov we went on a tour of three different castles. There were eight BYU girls, 2 Romanians (a brother and sister named Vasille and Elena) and two French girls both named Claire. Vasille and Elena were very helpful the whole trip. We climbed onto this bus/taxi and headed to the first castle. The ride was a bit bumpy (okay a lot bumpy) and I definitely saw my life flash before my eyes. But I'm still alive! It was it's own little adventure. Vasille and Elena spoke both Romanian and English and so translated whatever the driver said. It was really cool to get to know them and what there lives were like. We stopped for lunch and all 12 of us sat down together and ate great food and had great conversation. The castles were beautiful and all of them sat on hills overlooking a valley. It was a lot greener in the mountains too because of all the evergreens. So pretty! The first one was Peles, which belonged to the first king of Romania, the second one was Bran castle (also known as Dracula's castle), and the third one was Rasnov, it was more like a fortress. If you want to see pictures go to thefrees.com (thanks dad!). We made it back to the hostel a little later then planned, but our train didn't leave until 11pm so we had time to kill. In that time Vasille and Elena taught us how to make mamaliga (corn mush—surprisingly very good) and really really good scrambled eggs. It was a true Romanian dinner with true Romanians. The train back to Iasi was a night train and so we slept most of the way. When we got to Iasi all of us were still sleeping and the conductor guy had to come and tell us to get off. We were all in a hurry to get our stuff and get off and hoping that the train wouldn't start moving again. Overall the trip was awesome. I think it was good for me too because it made Iasi seem a little more like home.
I can't believe I have only been in Iasi for two weeks now. It feels like so much longer than that….and yet time is flying at the same time. It's weird how that works. The branch here is so great! I love every single activity (and there are a lot) and every single person. The branch president is absolutely amazing and the people are so warm and welcoming. Again, it's weird that I have only known them for 2 weeks, I feel so close to them. I received my calling last week to be a Sunday school teacher! Kind of overwhelming and definitely humbling. It's Sunday school for the adults and that kind of scared me too. To make it even better I am teaching marriage and family relations ☺. Haha, I definitely don't have any experience, but I have great parents as examples! I got set apart on Saturday night and it was truly a special experience. The missionaries and the branch president were there and having their hands on my head and feeling the power of the priesthood was very comforting. Blessings are great and I'm thankful it's the same anywhere you go. I taught for the first time yesterday and I think it went pretty well. I had a missionary translate for me. Let me tell ya, it's a lot easier to teach in your own language. I felt like I was repeating myself and I'm not sure if I got through to them. There was also only one person in the class who was married, which made it a little weird. But hey, for those of us who aren't married it's good to know what we should be striving for right? I'm just glad it's over and at least now I know what to expect next time. The members were great though, they participated a lot and I was so thankful for that.
So good news! We just found out that we got into the orphanage and that we are going to see it tomorrow! I am very excited! I can't wait to see what it will be like and to see the children. We still have to decide where we want to be placed which might be hard, but I'll go wherever the Lord wants me to be. Working with any of the kids will be a blessing. I better get some rest….big day tomorrow!

I love you all.
Xoxox
Cu drag,
Jess