Today I leave Romania to move back to America. It's a little crazy, a little sad, a little overwhelming, a little exciting. And a whole lot of change will be coming my way.
Just wanted to share a few of the things I will and won't miss about Romania as I'm heading off. This is a totally separate idea from what I will miss about ministry here, which is totally separate and other from Romanian culture. But since this is my host country and people, I will share on this first.
What I Will Not Miss About Romania:
~Staring. People here stare. It's just an accepted part of life. It is not rude to stare at someone, not even after they realize you're staring at them. It doesn't bother me as much as it used to, but man, I still sometimes get really annoyed by it.
~Hard water. The water is drinkable but very very mineraly and hard. My scalp is a dandruff fest, and my hair gets dry and brittle.
~Street dogs. I really love dogs. I really don't love nasty ugly smelly street dogs. I am thankful I have had only 2 issues with dogs in my time here, but I will not be sad to be rid of street dogs.
~Garbage. It's totally acceptable to throw trash... anywhere. Unwrap a piece of gum? Throw the wrapper on the ground. Finish a bottle of soda? Throw the bottle on the ground. It's gotten a bit better in my time here, but the amount of garbage (particularly in my neighborhood) on the ground is gross.
~Bureaucracy and corruption. The amount of papers for even the simplest of transactions is absurd. And the amount of corruption and bribery that goes on in almost every sector of the economy and government is frustrating and saddening. I will not miss the 15 steps/papers/stamps/fees I needed to get my visa each year nor the endless stories I hear from friends who regularly meet with barriers, lines, and mountains of red tape.
What I Will Miss About Romania:
~Hospitality. Romanians are incredibly hospitable. Friends warmly welcome you into their home, give you their bed and the best food they have. They take care of you, feed you until you think you might burst, then give you some more, and just are so... hospitable.
~Selflessness. I think partly because Romanians are raised to understand that life is often hard and isn't often fair, and because many grow up in small apartments with lots of people, they just have learned to not be selfish with their possessions and space and time. Which is in stark contrast to the culture in which I was raised, which seeks comfort, independence, and "my" good above almost everything else. Both of my roommates while here (and many other Romanian friends) have taught me so much about selflessness, putting other's needs and preferences first, and just being flexible when things don't go as planned.
~Fresh produce. The fruit in the summer is incredible. Strawberries, cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, plums, peaches. It's so fresh and wonderful. And while I do appreciate in America that I can get most any fruit or vegetable anytime of the year, I really almost prefer being able to get REALLY GOOD produce during it's season and then not much the rest of the year.
~Simpler life. When I was first here I couldn't stand the slower pace of life. I felt like I needed to BE and DO and ACCOMPLISH more than the system of life here allowed. But wow, I love it now. Fewer options, fewer choices, fewer activities, fewer stores, fewer demands, fewer distractions- it all makes for a much less cluttered mind, heart, home, and life.
~Spring and fall. I love the spring and fall here! They make the bitter cold of winter and the brutal heat of summer worth it. The beautiful flowers and sunny clear warm days of spring are lovely. And the wonderful true fall is also enjoyable.
~Quirky quirky quirks. This place is so wonderfully quirky, I just love it. Always a new adventure or fun find. From the very fact that people keep chickens in the city to men wearing capris to tuna on pizza, there is just much that is different from my culture and keeps me amused and on my toes.
There are of course plenty of other things I'll miss and not miss, but these are just a few of the big ones. Off I go, and while I can only take 25 kilos back in my suitcases, I will certainly take away much more than that in my heart. La revedere Romania! Hope to see you again someday!