We now live in Craiova!
We knew our contract for our current apartment ran out on November 3; so about two weeks before that deadline we began looking for apartments in Craiova. We did not know how quickly we would be able to find something, but thankfully we knew we could live with Sam’s parents again until we found a place.
One Wednesday night before our normal weekly trip to Craiova I looked at apartments online and made a detailed list of different places I thought would work, their addresses, price, and distance from the city center. But when Sam began calling the owners on Thursday morning every. single. one said the apartment was not available. I’m still not exactly sure what happened or why the apartments were still on the website, but maybe something was just lost in translation. After our study we got back on the website and began searching more, hoping to look at some places before we left since we only made the two hour trip to Craiova once a week typically. Sam found a listing that looked like it might work! The pictures looked nice and the description said it was very near the center, which is just what we were looking for! It was also in our price range, so we called the owner and we were able to make an appointment to go see it.
As we made our way there we were surprised at how long it took to get there, and it was not very near the center at all. The apartment was nicely furnished, just as we saw in the pictures, but it had a very heavy smoke smell in the whole apartment, especially in the bedroom. I was sorry to be picky, but I really did not think we would be able to get the smell out and make it work.
We still had a little over a week left though, so we made plans to try again the next Thursday.
However, on Monday Sam randomly decided to look at new listings on the website. I was in the kitchen cooking or cleaning and I heard him talking on the phone. He had found a new listing near the center, but there were no pictures. The agency working for the owner sent him a video of the interior and when Sam showed it to me I could not believe it. It was near the center, reasonably priced, and extremely nice! Sam called back the agency and told them we were interested, but there was already someone else who was scheduled to look at the apartment that afternoon. Sam told them that if he did not want it that we would be there the following day to see it.
The rest of that day and Tuesday morning was back and forth. The other man did not want it, then he did. Then the owner did not want to rent to him because he could not speak Romanian. Since we cannot speak very well either we did not think there was a chance of us getting to rent it. But Sam tried and sent an email to the owner, telling her our story of why we are in Romania, explaining our Romanian speaking abilities, and asking her to let us rent from her. The next morning the agency called saying the owner agreed to rent to us, before even having met us! We began packing right away and brought a load up to Craiova that afternoon.
We feel incredibly blessed for everything to have fallen in place so nicely and we are so thankful to God for answering prayers and helping us through it all!
Here is a tour of our new home!
This is the entryway/foyer when you first walk in the door.
This is our lovely kitchen! It is a little smaller than our last kitchen, but it is all really nice and I have enjoyed cooking in it so much so far.
This table can be extended to twice the length, so when we have guests we bring it into the living room and extend it, but when it is in the kitchen it is extra counter space while I’m cooking.
Here is our living room! Since we just moved here and we are just getting started we have been having worship services and Bible studies in our apartment. The spacious living room with lots of seating has been great for that and we are really thankful.
I also have my desk in the living room, which I have really enjoyed. If we ever need this table it can be easily cleared off and moved, but it is nice not having to clean up my books and papers for every meal.
This is Sam’s desk in our bedroom. He has also enjoyed having a real desk. So far this set-up has been working really well for both of our studies.
Here is our bed! We love our “Peters” pillow and tree painting with S+J on the tree.
So far we are settling in nicely in Craiova! Now that the apartment is all unpacked and cleaned it is nice to have a comfortable place to go while we are getting used to everything. We are still taking a trip once a week back to Severin to stay with Sam’s parents and meet with the brethren there. For the first two weeks we drove there on Saturday, spent the night and worshipped with the brethren in Severin Sunday morning, then come back to Craiova for our services at 5:00. Last week we traveled to Severin on Friday and Sam’s parent’s came back with us to spend the day in Craiova and return on the train.
Right now we are encouraged and excited to be here in Craiova and we pray our work here will be pleasing and glorifying to God!
From homemade flashcards to learning websites to movies, books, dictionaries, and grammars, Sam and I have tried many different methods to learn Romanian. All at once.
All these methods were helpful. Sam could carry on a very decent conversation in Romanian, and while I was still afraid to actually speak it I could understand a lot of what I heard. Each time we had a Bible study I learned new Bible terms from my parallel Bible and I could pick up words here and there in conversation. The most helpful learning tools for me were making my own flashcards on Quizlet from a word list I got from Gabriel Wyrner’s Fluent Forever and using Duolingo and Memrize every day. It would take me about thirty minutes every day, but along with my online classes and everything else we had going on I felt like that was a decent amount. Plus I was exposed to it every time I did anything outside of our apartment.
In an attempt to get more serious about our learning Sam created a learning schedule for us. Every Wednesday he prepared a Romanian lesson on a topic such as articles, pronouns, verbs, etc, and it was helpful for both of us. We also each read a chapter in Colloquial Romanian each week and on Sunday night we did all the exercises from the chapter as our “test.”
This all worked well, and we really were learning. But it was still very hard. Sam was much farther ahead of me and could speak a lot more, but for me it was still exhausting to try to understand what I was hearing, what the verb tenses were, and what adjective form goes with what noun (and does it go before or after?). It was easy for me to get discouraged and think I would never learn the language or be able to connect with people. I would then go do my flashcards, learn a few new words, and continue with my day.
One night, as we like to do often, Sam and I made coffee and sat down to watch a TED talk. That night we chose to watch one about learning a new language from two guys who learned four languages in one year, three months per language. Their trick? Do not speak English. Even if you must look up every single word, do not speak English. This forces you to learn your normal vocabulary and become comfortable with it.
When the video ended I looked over at Sam and asked, “Nu Engleza?” (No English?). “Da,” he replied, “numai Romaneste” (yes, only Romanian). We proceeded to talk about our plan and determine what the rules and parameters would be (and we used Google Translate to speak in Romanian to make our plans) and decided that this was what we needed to learn Romanian. We could only speak in English in our bedroom on our bed, or if we are in a situation where we cannot go to our bed and we have something important to say. We have not stuck to this rule 100%, but so far we have been pretty close!
Although we have not been doing this experiment for very long we are already seeing the benefits. I am more comfortable with speaking Romanian when before I was much more hesitant to try to pronounce the words. We have found that some words and phrases are so natural for us to say that we use them even when we’re talking in English. It is still easy to get discouraged, but we are definitely learning a lot and staying encouraged most of the time.
Learning a new language is hard, but it is also very exciting!