Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Romania // being thankful

Every year right around Thanksgiving I find myself thinking of my trip to Romania.  It is a trip that allowed me to become more thankful than I ever thought I could be.  And so I share this experience with you in hopes that during the hustle and bustle of the holidays we all slow down and be thankful with full hearts.  
Three years ago I headed off to visit my mom in Romania.  Being the amazing woman she is, she took a sabbatical from work for about six months and headed to Romania to work with the Romanian Studies Program at Veritas.  Veritas, in Latin means truth and truth it is most definitely.  This organization feeds people, takes care of the elderly and the abused, has a place for children to learn, and most of all provides the Roma people with a sense of community.

I had traveled many times before this trip; backpacked through Europe, surfed through Central America, and how could I forget the long flights across country.  But this was different.  And with a full heart I went to give all I had.  After a plane flight or two and a long train ride I found myself in Sighisoara.

For the next ten days I was immersed in a culture I never dreamed I would find so interesting.  Working with the Roma children during their after school program and letting them sit on my lap, read and tell me stories even though I didn't speak the same language made me realize that they were doing more for me than I ever imagined.  God has a sense of humor.   I was communicating better with these Roma children than I did most of America...language barrier and all.  These children just wanted to be heard by someone, they wanted to touch my face, they wanted to make me laugh, and they wanted to learn all about Jonah and the whale {one of my all time favorite bible stories}.  And yet these days spent with these children I felt my scope of life widen.  I began to see more and more how much there is to being alive than the things that tend to fill me up day to day.

I was able to go on home visits with the woman who ran the after school program at Veritas.  She would check in on the kids that were having family trouble, trouble in school, or who hadn't been to the program in a while.  Most of the houses were steps away from the building where the program took place but it almost seemed like a different world.  We were always greeted warmly and invited in.  Sometimes holding babies or small children while the mothers prepared dinner or cleaned.  Most of these homes were only one room that housed the whole family.   Some had heat, furniture, and running water but so many did not.  I always left those home visits in awe because I was completely humbled.  I was more than thankful. 
I saw a vibrant beautiful people who truly have little.  And my perspective grew and changed as I realized what a beautiful life I had been blessed with.  I remember my trip to Romania and the full heart I thought I brought there with me. 
But the truth is my heart was much fuller when I returned.  

Always remember to give thanks.


3 comments :

  1. Isn't it wonderful how much we can learn about ourselves from going somewhere where OURselves do not usually belong. Glad you had this opportunity! Beautiful pictures of LIFE.

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  2. ahhh I LOVED this post! I love the beautiful pictures, and the way you described it! Thank you for sharing such a special piece of this trip with us! loved it, love Katie

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  3. Love this post Rachel, I got chills reading it! miss you!

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