Last Saturday, I landed in the Romanian airport, struggling with 50lb bags and the crushing realization that I looked like prime mugging material. I would’ve probably robbed me, I looked that pitiful. I was glancing around desperately for a face I didn’t know at 1 a.m in a country I did not know.
Thankfully that lost, pitiful look helped my ride find me that much faster. I’m staying with the ministry of the lovely Marshall and Larissa, a South African and Dutch couple who share the same heart for Romania. Funnily enough, it was my grandfather who first introduced Marshall to Romania twenty years ago so it feels oddly full-circle that I’m here.
I was so bewildered that first night/morning. I laid on top of my upper bunk bed, a rickety metal structure reminiscent of British war-time orphanages, panicked not only by the fear it would break and I would surely kill my new British roommate but also the fear that once again, I had made a weird choice others would not have based on that steely sensation in my heart. It could go so wrong here and all for what? Passing heartburn?
It’s funny how the things you dread occurring will always occur. I thought surely my first week would be awkward and silent and embarrassingly regretful, kinda like high school. But time marches on; you just have to be present, open and willing to whatever, and voilà, this too will pass. And as our present stresses fade into the past, we once again learn to trust ourselves and our decisions.
I survived my first week after all and it has been so comfortable and enjoyable, more than I deserve. From going to church full of affectionate elderly women and giggling children, to riding through Transylvania listening to the Beatles, to planning out a whole themed VBS for kids ranging from age 2(!) to 16, to being befriended by the lovely women and beneficiaries here at the ministry house, to taking walks right by the cows on the hillside and shopping at the Romanian supermarket, I’ve really been so blessed to have been included in everything so effortlessly despite some language barriers. I’ve seen such beauty in both nature and humanity and pure reflection of God’s love, I can’t even fathom how much more I’ll see in the next eleven weeks. Thanks for joining me in this chapter of life. I’ll keep you updated!
Oh, and why Maggie Antoinette? One of my favorite facts about Marie Antoinette was that she used the Petit Trianon manor at Versailles as her own personal reenactment of quaint country life. She must have looked ridiculous to the army of landscapers, servants, and staff who lived there and worked the land, as she gallivanted through the acreage to garden and pick flowers and enjoy the “simple” life. I feel like I looked that ridiculous learning how to help out around here. There’s two greenhouses, 100 chickens, and so much to do, from harvesting the vegetables, to preparing them for winter, and everything in between. The women here are extremely patient helping me learn everything, like how to correctly skin a tomato and prepare jars for canning, and I think were a little weirded out by how excited I was to learn. Like, I got really into the tomatoes. My first week here feels like it was comprised entirely of tomatoes, as the seven or so of us harvested about 200 kilos of tomatoes and prepared them for winter. I dig sustainability y’all, as much as Marie Antoinette enjoyed her ridiculous lifestyle.