Saturday, March 10, 2007

My brother just coached his Midland College basketball team to the 4th straight Regional Finals. Our whole family showed up in Belton, TX the other day to cheer on the Chaps of Midland. When I say family I mean 4 grandkids, 4 kids, 2 sister in laws, and 4 grand parents, (oh yeah and 1 ex-boyfriend). He's not really family, but he defintely adds to the strange chemistry.

The team was down by one point with 13 seconds left in the Regional Semis... the ball was shot with about 2 seconds left and missed... out of no where came this 6'3" Domincan Republic kid, Hotrod, who rebounded the ball in midair... as he came down with the ball which had popped off the back rim right into his hands... in midflight and seemingly coming from the rafters, Hotrod straight up dunked the ball over every player on the court... the ball went through the net while the play clock showed no time left... there were only a couple hundred people in the arena, but it was definitely March Madness at its best baby... finally the ref signaled... and the goal was legit. My Dad became jolly red, my mom was crying and legitimatly thanking God, my sisters boyfriend was trying to act as genuinely elated as we were, one the players Mom from Minnesota was sitting by herself and caught up in the moment, my other brother got in the hugging mood, and another man just wanted our midcourt seats for the next game.

There are a few things in life I cannot help but get caught up in... and this is definitely one of them.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Day Five:

Today is my last day in Romania, so I slipped on my shorts and took a jog in the 10 C˚ weather. Not as bad as it sounds, but I bet you not one of their countrymen puts shorts on until June. Peti and Livio followed me around in their car laughing at me, swerving at me, and throwing things at me.

My whole mission today is to buy some sort of souvenir. I went into one store and a sales lady started speaking FF (foreign and fast). This time I decided to stand my ground. I was going to grind this one out, so I could at least come out with something. I used an ugly face if I no likey and smiley face thumbs up if I likey. The lady started to catch on and we went through sizes and everything. I spent 145.00 RON (Oh yeah, call me Big Spenda).

I ate dinner tonight with Adrian and Ruth, they lived in America for 3 years. Ruth cooked a somewhat American meal for me. It is custom to use the toilet scrubber after every poop and they had a nice one with a wall holder and everything.

My last night downtown at the Sky Bar was a memorable one. Everyday I would go to this Tea and Coffee Bar to email and chill with the peeps of Oradea. I would usually sit by myself long enough for someone to start a conversation with me. By the way, there are cool coffee and tea bars on every corner. Tonights conversation started by this guy named Marios who asked me to come sit with him and his friends. Long story short, our little group in the corner ended up being close in age and we got to know each other for the next 2.30 hrs. There were times during the night when I thought, is this really happening here in some strange place. It was amazing to see how strangely similar people are all over the world. I thank God for this beautiful night.

Hasta La Vista Romainia.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I woke up this morning to some Romanian V8, it is called MultiVit. Good stuff, better than V8 twisters, no joke. My ITM friend, Peti, fixes me coffee every morning. He does not think he speaks good English, so he brought his other English speaking cousin to work with him today. He and his cousin, Livio, wanted to show me the city after breakfast. Peti is absolutely crazy. He drives for fun, not just to get somewhere. I videoed him driving ITMs car in rush hour, so I could prove his video game like driving skills. Not race car driving, but bang mirrors, honk, pass people on the left side, splash people, swerve at people type driving. Peti is the guy who knows French, German, Hungarian, Romanian, and English. He knows them all better than I know English. I laughed non stop all morning.

One of the most interesting places I have seen this whole trip is called FELIX. People come from all over the world, for what they call “thermal water”. My Romanian friends are very serious when referring to this thermal water. I figured that is was their version of hotsprings like in Arkansas, but each family I met talked of the healing treatments and hospitals that use this thermal water. Huge pools, like Hurricane Harbor without slides, covered the area surround by hospitals, hotels, and old churches. I still think it was a hotspring, but I say that hesitantly.

I can’t believe that Michael W. Smith, The Gaithers, and DC Talk are so big here. When I talked about music to the Romainians, it sounds odd even coming from their mouth. It took me a minute to regain composure. I mean, coming from the same people who pirate movies and music like mad (like 10mins is how long it takes them to download Superman Returns, I watched them). I quickly let them know that I do not listen to Christian music much. Not that I do not want them to not listen to Christian music, but I want to make sure they know me. The word Music is not the adjective, it is the subject. When referring to music by Michael Dub I just don’t get inspired anymore. I pulled out my ipod and you would have thought they had seen gold. Crazy how Romania is so technologically advanced, but they do not have the market for certain products. I picked up a wifi signal pretty much everywhere.

That night I got picked up by a family who fed me the nastiest lookin, best tastin mushroom soup ever. Plus they offered me sour cream and continued to rave on how they love sour cream. That was the second family that thought so highly of something called sour… cream… They told me to put it all on top of the cabbage and chicken. Same story second verse, so I wont bore you with the obvious. My new friends Andrew and Ansi are also new parents to a 1 old year girl named Hosi (misspelled I guess) and they were interested in how I parent in America. They were impressed by my Momman blog. Just kidding. After dinner they took me back to my space at 8pm, so I went out to top the night w/ an Irish Coffee and finish my blogging. I don’t remember the rest. Oh wait, yeah I do. I walked home in rainy 36 degree weather.

After finally waking up, I walked into town to exchange some money (about 2.50 RON to every 1$), check out the city and find a venti cup of joe. I was very intimidated by the buying experience b/c in Romania they speak their own language and do not know as much English. I finally found a Romanian Caffia and stood in line behind a big hairy nosed Popuska. He must have stood there rambling for 20 min. before I could get the worlds second smallest cup of coffee. They call it Italian coffee, I call it espresso. Of course the clerk lady had no clue what I wanted, so this time I tried to communicate with my hands. I pinched my thumb and pointer finger together for small and opened them wide for tall. She must have thought I was threatening to squash her like a worm b/c I still only got a couple of centimeters of coffee. whatever.

After I figured out communicating to people was not an option and a moment of loneliness set in, I quickly reverted to taking pictures. The old bldgs are very ornate, but the new ones are very blocked and flat. There are cool old doors, streets, and statues pretty much around every corner. I know that because I got lost on my way back to ITM Romainia. No lie, this is the picture I took right after I asked someone how to get to Albuicui (street). It would help if they put street names up that ended with Drive, Street, Court, or something indicating it was not just a sign. Oh yeah, they don’t have poles w/ street signs, they are actually on the houses or bldgs.

Tibor and Adina (semi English speakers) came by and picked me for lunch back at their home. They are authentic Hungarians and cooked me a traditional Hungarian meal. We had liver soup for the first portion of the meal, next came the filled steamed cabbage rolls, and lastly gusher cake surprise with icing. Tibor works for Romanian Telecommunications and Adina is and an Editor for ITM. They have a house which I envied, but made the mistake of telling them I was envious. I told them of how my family moved from a house into an apt and what happened to us in the short amount of time we had lived there. Come to find out, Tibor was signing a contract with an apartment complex in Romania today after he took me back to ITM. They then went on to explain how they could not afford their home anymore. Ay yi yi. They were actually extremely nice people and they did not hesitate at my ignorance. I have a feeling the people of Romania have been through rougher times than we could imagine.

Well after lunch, I put on my black tie and headed to Gypsy Church. The Gypsy people have there own way of living. It is sord of take what is given and then take whatever. Chaba was my interpreter for the evening. The congregation was very traditional, but the people are charismatic. The women sit on one side with the children and the men sit on the other side. Chaba and I showed up 30 minutes early and the Church was already filling up. Gypsy music is awesome and annoying (very much Mexicanish). I had no idea what was going on until an 1 and 30min later, it was batter up. I said my thang at the pulpit and I have no idea what the interpreter said. Afterward, the interpreter told me the people were smiling and laughing at me because everyone who comes and preaches takes 1-1:30hr. Mine only took 30 minutes with an interpreter. When they sang they were charismatic, but as soon as the pastor or interpreter would say something they would all fall asleep. So, I told a couple stories, shared a few verses and bodabing/bodabomb we’re out.

Key find Day THREE: I like Romania, alot.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

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Lord, I Lift Your Name On High

Day TWO: I am not really sure what Day it is exactly. I ate a Hungarian meal last night or tonight and it was super good. I thought I would lose weight on this trip, but probably not going to happen in Hungary (ironic, get it, Hung ry). That was for you Babe.

I got up at 5:00am this morning to catch a 5 hour train ride to Oradea, Romania. Yippee. I just had the worlds smallest up of coffee. Dad and I have had some great convo about why I am actually over here, basically it is b/c he gets bored. Not really, but really. He actually wrote a worship song with every English Christian cliche' in it. Might be a best seller. I also had to show the scary faced border patrol my passport twice, but this time I had a stamp from Budapest (i’m more official). Most of the people in Oradea are proud of their new shopping mall, because they took us there first and everyone was there. It was hard to get any service at the mall though, because the cashier was making out with her boyfriend on the cash register. One of the seminary professors told me the average salary in Oradea is around 200 or 300 dollars a month. We ate at KFC for dinner. I think I just feel asleep, later.

Chasing the Sun and the frost

Day ONE: Im pretty messed up right now. We chased the sun in a plane. We started around 4:20pm and caught up to it around 12:45am. These India people got their pre ordered breakfast served to them first and it made the whole cabin smell like warm toe jam. I almost barfed. I will tell you this… it’s all about the towelettes (no im not talking about midget potties). Towelettes are steamed towels served to you before every meal. Hello America, get with the towelette program.

Frankfurt Intl. Airport is a cold dirty antique like IKEA with a bunch planes. This airport is a huge international hub, hosting every foreign alien known to man. I might as well be a mute though. No seriously, the nice thing about being American is that most other countries understand the English language better than we understand theirs, mostly b/c we are too lazy to learn other languages. There are plenty of those moments when you just look at each other, make funny noises at each other, akwardly pause, and then walk away.

I have seen many buildings older than my country. I have seen dirty magazines (not really hard to find). I have seen extremely small automobiles. I have seen German Rice on steroids. Last but not least, I have seen “the cottage” in Budapest, Hungary. I have heard about it for so long and now I have seen it. Nothing spectacular, but I like it a lot. ITM Budapest has a quaint four story Seminary/Offices/Cottage building featuring a brick paved courtyard. It reminds me of a movie with Slovokian Soldiers blowin smoke around beat up foreign policia cars or somethin. The Seminary has about 180 students attending this semester. Next door to the building are a Hungarian 4 star hotel (American 2 stars) and some other foreign embassys (major plus).

Key finds for Day ONE: My Dad is not in the mafia. Redlights are optional in Budapest (at least for that one cab driver). When you cross the Atlantic Ocean you are no longer in an airplane. You are in an airbus.

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