Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Arad District

Every six weeks transfers happen.  After over a year we have learned to live with the comings and goings of the young missionaries without getting too emotional.  They come, they go, we love them. 

Sora Remsberg, Elder Nilsson, Elder Myers and Sora Schuld
At the beginning of the last transfer, Soras Remsberg and Schuld bought our Zone Leaders, Elders Nilsson and Myers (who was also our district leader) crazy ties.  They were kind enough to wear them to district meeting.

Soras Schuld, Remsberg and I were visiting teaching companions to Sora Cranaci.

Elders Nilsson and Myers painting the railing at Secret Garden.
The Secret Garden is a home where "street people" can come for shelter.  The Humanitarian Aid missionaries provided the wheelchair ramp and the Elders finished off the project.

But now Elder Nilsson and Sora Schuld have been transferred and we have two new missionaries.

Elder and Sora Wahlquist with a brand new missionary, Sora Cook who is from Utah, and Sora Remsberg from California.

Elder Harrison is our new District Leader.  He and Elder Myers are also the Zone Leaders.  Elder Harrison is from Utah and Elder Myers is from California.

We are continually amazed by the quality of the missionaries here in Romania and Moldova and are grateful for the opportunity to serve with them and to learn from them.  Transfer day is always bittersweet for us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vara este aici!

Remember back a few months when we couldn't quit talking about the severe winter here?  Well, summer has arrived with a vengeance.
And this is how I feel.

But it is going to be over 100 degrees in Parker today so I guess I'll quit complaining.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Things Romania/Moldova Missionaries Buy to Take Home

When we shared the news of our mission call to Romania with people we served with in the Denver Temple, we spoke with a couple that had a daughter who served here.  When I asked what she  brought home as gifts I was relieved to hear that her mother could only remember getting scarves. Why relieved?  Because I have a psychological condition that compels me to buy every "touristy" item that I can get my hands on when I travel.  To prove how serious this condition is, let me just say that I have some small plaster statues of "The David" packed away somewhere from a trip to Italy.  I knew scarves would not be tempting - we have lots of scarves at home. 

We have had the opportunity to travel through much of Romania and Moldova and have found that each region is unique and has much to offer.  Here are just a few examples of the temptations that have been placed before me.

Who could pass up the Russian nesting dolls from Moldova?

I know just where I will put my beautiful decorated eggs.

Most of the Elders have these sliding belt buckles.

There is a leather book binder in Cluj that loves the Mormon missionaries!

The senior couples visited the workshop where an artisan makes charming traditional Romanian ceramic figures.

You can get dolls dressed in traditional Romanian clothes.

I bought a hat that the boys wear, but I couldn't get Elder Wahlquist to put it on.

And then there are the
wood carvings
fur hats
secret boxes
T-shirts from Bran castle
embroidered tableclothes
carved walking sticks
wooden bread bowls
big wooden spoons
T-shirts from Hard Rock Cafe Bucuresti
Peles Castle puzzles
sheepskin slippers
I think you can see my problem.

But, in mission speak "I won't lie to you."  This whole blog post is just a way to tell you about my latest purchase.  Arad has a large Roma (gypsy) population and the most popular "take home" item from here is a gypsy skirt. Because not every missionary serves here, the ones who do are often asked to buy skirts for other missionaries.  There are two ways to acquire a gypsy skirt.  The first is to knock on a window of a certain house where a gypsy woman opens the window and shows you the skirts she has available.  I got mine the second way.  Soras Henry and Schuld made an appointment for us to meet two gypsy women on a street corner at 9:00 pm.  We were there on the busy corner at the appointed time with our ron (the price is usually 150 to 175 ron) and they brought a bag with a couple of skirts.  I didn't like the ones in the bag but I loved the one that she was wearing.  Oh, did I forget to say that you can never buy them new, they are always used?  So she took the skirt off and stood there in her slip while we haggled over the price. I went away happy and she just put another skirt on from the bag.

A gypsy skirt is really two skirts.  You put on one half from the back and the other half from the front. I'm now searching for just the right scarf to go with the outfit.

And just because I can, here is a picture of Elder Betteridge trying on his skirt.
Lookin' good Elder!

"The David" may have some company soon.

And I only have about 12 scarves........


Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Romanian Visiting Teaching Route

I have been a Relief Society visiting teacher for almost 50 years.  When we were students in Provo, I only had to walk around the block to get all my visits done.  In all the other cities we lived, most of the sisters I visited lived within a short drive.  But we live in Romania now and visiting teaching is more of a challenge.  The young sister missionaries and I were assigned to visit Sora Cranaci who lives almost an hour away close to the Hungarian border.  Sora Cranaci is a single sister who lives alone in a 200 year old house.

Usually she is at the gate waiting to greet us but if not we just knock on the window and she comes and lets us in.  This is a very typical group of homes.  When you drive down the streets, only the back of the houses can be seen.  The "front" of the houses are inside the gates.

Her home does not have plumbing but she does have electricity.

She raises pigs and chickens and has a dog and several cats.

Every inch of ground has something growing on it.  Her cash crop this year is garlic but she also has tomatoes, potatoes, peas, dill, lettuce, beans, radishes and squash growing for her own use.  The other crops form borders or are scattered in among the garlic.  There are also little fruit trees here and there, including in front of the house.

When she comes to Church she must ride her bike about 5 miles to the train station, take the train to Arad and then ride the tram for several miles.  She is very faithful about coming even when the weather is bad.

She has a treadle sewing machine and does embroidery work when she has thread.  She also likes to paint landscapes.  She loves to read the scriptures and other church books. 

Her home is very small with only two rooms.  This is the kitchen.  She always has a little treat for us. 

Sora Cranaci with Soras Wahlquist, Schuld and Remsberg

She always wants to share her crops with us.  Here she is digging up garlic.

Sora Cranaci and Sora Remsberg

Soras Schuld and Remsberg, Soras Cranaci and Wahlquist

Visiting Sora Cranaci is a faith building experience for me.  She carries many burdens but her testimony is strong.  We always exchange the two-cheek kisses both coming and going.