Thursday Dec 30
The day started out shopping after a bit of sleeping in. I went to bed earlier than past nights, but the sleep was needed because I was woken up in the middle of the night by some sort of whining creature, most likely a mouse. He had found his way between the wall and roof and was crying, perhaps because he was cold and stuck. A few times I heard him walking and sliding down the sloped roof. I’m not really sure what happened to him but he stopped making sounds after a while. Perhaps he gave up, or worse, perhaps he got inside the warm house. Either way, I was up for almost an hour dreading meeting my new friend. I never did see him, but there still are a few nights left.
In the morning we met Rebecca, Kiki and Dita to go shopping in town. As always, TM offered very little options for souvenirs, but the shopping was still enjoyable. Then we went back to the LOC houses for lunch and some hang out time. We played board games, chatted, watched a movie, took a walk to the local store and even skyped some people. I was able to give the kids the gifts some of their sponsors sent with me and it was great to see them open them (pictures and videos will follow for those that sent gifts). Sergiu even got to Skype Taryn to thank her personally for the gift, which was fun to observe. The time went by really fast and it was great to just hang out with the kids with no schedule at all. We followed it all with a nice dinner at The Atlantic with Jenny and then back to the house. I stayed up too late to work on the computer and write this blog, dreading a visit from my new pet creature living in the walls.
Today was by far the longest and most emotional. The day started with the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. We went sledding at a place near the zoo with a ramp built for tubing…which meant amazing speeds. It was so much fun. I’m pretty sure I have not been sledding in almost 20 years, so it was great. The time with the kids was wonderful as well. After sledding, we had lunch at TipTop with the three youngest boys: Levi, Sergiu and Fanel. They were hilarious and seem to enjoy the special attention. We went back to the houses for some hang out time which quickly transitioned into our new years party. The kids had a cooking contest and then just hung out after dinner. During this time, I was able to have some really good chats with some of the girls and my father had some great times with the guys. The stories I was reminded of and the current struggles I was told about were hard to hear. It reminds me so much that even though by world’s standards these kids with their backgrounds of neglect and abuse have very little chance at success, God is fully capable of healing them and allowing them to live successful adult lives. I learned so many specific ways to pray for the kids. The party had some issues as some kids had attitude issues and did not want to participate. After all was said and done, only a few ventured out to the Center for music and fireworks. Only two girls came, Kati and Marga, both girls I had very little conversation time with the past years. We had some short but good chats on the van rides, which was great. Once in the center, somehow I ended up with Bela on my arm keeping me warm, and Levi by my side quietly enjoying the show. It was extremely cold, but a great experience to see a “traditional” (I assume) new years celebration. As I finish this blog at 1:40am Romanian time, I am still not tired (perhaps too much caffeine in preparation)