My first night in Romania was very overwhelming for me. I had just traveled for nearly two days, and I was exhausted, far away from home, and in a completely new and different place. I am not completely through the transition stage yet, having only been here for two weeks, but I already feel much more comfortable here and much less overwhelmed most of the time.
On a walk one evening
As I wrote in my last post, when Sam and I arrived to Severin we stayed with his parents in their apartment. It was wonderful to get to be with them; they were very welcoming and hospitable and we really enjoyed our time with them.
Walking home from the store with Mom
One of the things I really like about living in Romania is the fact that everyone walks everywhere. We live within reasonable walking distance of any type of store or service we would need. Walking to the market or to the building for services is one of my favorite things. The day after we arrived Sam and I walked to the Police Department to report that I was in the country and to get things started on getting my long-term visa. We also went shopping at the piața (like a huge farmer’s market), and got coffee. Romanians drink espresso almost exclusively, so that is all that was available at this coffee shop. I enjoy drinking coffee black, but a straight espresso was a little too strong for me! I drank about half of the tiny cup, and Sam finished it off for me. Perhaps I will get more used to drinking espresso as I live here.
Drinking espresso together
On Sunday we all walked together to services where we joined four other members to worship God together. Again we sang in Romanian, and although I could not understand all the words I was singing, I recognized the tune and enough of the words that I could think about what I was singing about. However, it is quite challenging to focus both on reading and singing unfamiliar words and on the meaning of what I am singing at the same time! Sam and I brought home a songbook and I hope to learn the songs we sing most often so I will be able to focus more on what the words mean when I sing them. Sorin, a member of the church in Severin and the translator for Sam and his dad preached a lesson first; then Sam preached an excellent lesson on grace. On the way home I told Sam that I wanted to memorize the books of the New Testament in Romanian so I could at least follow along in my Bible when Sorin or someone else is preaching in Romanian. I do have most of them memorized now, and it is much easier to follow along if I can catch the book, chapter, and verse when they are talking so quickly!
Our first Sunday together in Romania
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning we met at the building with a few other local preachers from the area to study Acts. Not only were the studies encouraging and beneficial, but it was good for me to hear both the English and Romanian translations of what everyone said to help me in understanding more Romanian. We will continue to have these studies every Wednesday morning.
On Thursday Sam, Sorin, and I traveled to Craiova, which is a large city about two hours away from Severin that does not, to our limited knowledge, have a faithful church. Sam and Sorin handed out hundreds of fliers inviting people to come to a study in the Gospel of Luke in a library in Craiova. Unfortunately no one came to the study, but we pray impact was made on someone. Even though no one came, Sorin and Sam had prepared to lead the study, so the three of us still studied Luke 4-5 together for an hour.
Wednesday afternoon Sam and I had gone to look at a couple apartments, and that night Sam’s parents also came with us to look at one of them again. We decided to rent the apartment we saw first and on Friday we signed the contract and began moving in! We made a couple trips back and forth between our new apartment and Mom and Dad’s apartment and to a storage unit to get all our things here, then we made a trip to the store for cleaning supplies so we could start scrubbing everything! We worked all day on Friday, but we ended up going back to Mom and Dad’s apartment to stay that night.
Saturday morning we were reenergized and ready to spend the day cleaning and unpacking! We also made a huge list of things we needed and went on a fun shopping trip to the mall. We got a coffee pot, crock-pot, pillows for the bed, a trashcan, and many more things in between. We had to leave the great majority of our wedding gifts back at my parent’s house in Mississippi, but several people blessed us with monetary gifts to take to Romania to set up our home here. It was fun to shop together and choose things to set up in our apartment.
I had good motivation to get everything unpacked and cleaned because we had company over Sunday afternoon for lunch! I got up early Sunday morning to cook a lot of food and do some more cleaning. This Sunday we had many visitors at services, including Eugen, Jantina, and their family, who came over to our apartment for lunch. Visiting with Eugen and Jantina and playing with their three kids was wonderful. After they left I told Sam that after having the apartment so full of people and joyful little kids it really felt more like a home. We are so excited to have our own place and we have been blessed to find an apartment that is very suitable for entertaining. We look forward to having many more people in our home!
Sam with Eva or Eliza (I’m not sure which one) and Jamil
Sam and I enjoy running together and we run almost every morning. For the past several days we have met our friend Adelina at a nearby track to run together. She is training to pass a physical exam in order to go to school to be a police officer. She told us she wanted to run every day. Some days others come, such as Adelina’s friend Andrei, Sorin, or Dad. Running has been a good way to get to know people better, in addition to it being a healthy and fun activity for me and Sam to do together.
Andei, Adelina, me, Sam, and Sorin at the track
Overall, the transition to Romania so far has been smooth, with just a few bumps. So far the hardest thing has been leaving my family, but I also have family here, and I have been able to communicate with my family a good bit. The most overwhelming thing to me in Romania is the language. While I know enough common words to basically understand most of what people say, it is extremely difficult for me to speak. I am still working on learning though, and just being here and hearing people speak has already helped me learn more, and I know people are so willing to help me.
I really do love it here. I love being with Sam and being near Mom and Dad. I love the simplicity of life here. I love the people here. I love this opportunity I have to meet more people in God’s family and encourage and be encouraged by them. I pray I will help others as I live here, but I know they are helping me so much already. This opportunity truly is a blessing!
~ Julie Peters