Sunday, September 30, 2012


When we arrived in Romania almost 18 months ago, we went to a senior missionary couple conference in the beautiful city of Sibiu.  One of the activities was a trip into the nearby hills to the little village of Loman.  As we drove the country roads we were fascinated by the farmland and especially by the haystacks.  Both of us lived on farms as children and these weren't like any haystacks we had ever seen before.

These are the first Romanian haystacks we saw.

Later we watched two men cut grass with a scythe and then load it on this wagon.  We could never get a picture of the grass being laid on the sticks that make the stacks this shape.
 We have now seen hundreds of haystacks, some skinny and some fat, but all have the same basic shape with a pole sticking out the top.  
By the end of the winter most of the stacks were gone.  But through the summer we watched as the farmers built them up again. 
Maybe they always make me smile because they remind me of Cousin It.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Romania or Hungary?

Well,  sometimes it's hard to know for sure.
When we moved to Arad we noticed that on this side of the country most of the city signs are in both Romanian and Hungarian.  At some time in the past this part of Romania belonged to Hungary and many of our YSA speak both languages.
Reconciliation Park 
This monument honors 13 Hungarian generals who were executed in 1849 during the Revolutionary War with Romania.  In 1919 it was taken away and wasn't returned until 85 years later.
The "Arch of Triumph" was raised in 2004 to honor the Romanian heroes of the Revoluntary War with Hungary.
Between the two monuments there are three flags - Romanian, Hungarian and the European Union.
But as far as I'm concerned this may be the best thing about living near Hungary,  Bread dough is wrapped around these wooden rollers and then cooked over charcoal while constantly rotating.  When they are removed from the fire, the kurtoskalacs is taken off the roller and a variety of toppings are available. Our favorite is cinnamon and sugar.  Add a cup of hot chocolate and there is nothing better!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

"Vis de Copil" (A Child's Dream)

When we came to Arad, we were introduced to Kate Cloke by our Humanitarian Aid Missionaries, Elder and Sora Wolsey.  With her husband and other family members Kate runs a facility for street children and poor people.  It is referred to as The Secret Garden because of where it is located and all the greenery that covers the gates and walls.
This young man was just arriving for the day and wanted to be a part of the picture.
The Wolseys are here with Kate, her granddaughter, and Philip, her son-in-law who does most of the cooking.  They presented him with a huge pot for cooking rice.  About 20 people eat here every evening.
Whenever we visit, someone wants to have their picture taken.
This young man likes to help with whatever project is going on.
At the beginning of every transfer there is a Zone meeting with all the districts coming together for a report of the zone council (all the zone leaders plus the APs) which is held in the mission home the day after transfers. Elder Wahlquist and I decided to plan one last service project for the missionaries and YSA before we left to go home on October 15.  With President and Sora Hill's permission we planned to work at the Secret Garden organizing and sorting donated clothes and fixing a meal for the people who come there every day.
So after the zone meeting, the missionaries got into their working clothes.
They arrived ready to get started,
Elder Myers was the team leader in the kitchen and chose 4 people to assist with the meal preparation.  He was cooking for 40 people.
Elders Lund and Speth were choppers.
Soras Heim (top) and Hosking were stirrers.
*Romanian style chili*
Elder Schroedter represented the missionaries in taste testing.
Eni, a YSA, gave it the Romanian stamp of approval.
Eni was also our official photographer.
There was a discussion about how spicey the chili should be.  So one pot was spicer than the other and that was the pot the missionaries ate from.  We all went home with our sinuses clear.
Sora Cook was the team leader in the attic with the remaining 8 missionaries.
There were boxes and boxes and boxes of donated clothes that needed to be sorted and organized.  It looked overwhelming but the missionaries got right to work. 

The question was, "where do we start?"
Girl?  Boy?  What size?  Hmmmnnnn.
(Elder Taylor and Sora Smith)
Elder McBride was distracted by a snappy vest. 
Sora Cook did a great job keeping them on task.
Elder Wahlquist came up to make sure everyone was hydrated.
Eventually, it was time to clean up.  Elders Wahlquist and Lund made quite a team at the sink.
Elder Tefft helped with the mopping.
Elder Lund putting the finishing touches on the clean kitchen.
The Arad Zone is the best zone in the world!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Romanian Weddings

I have been trying to get a picture of a traditional Romanian wedding for our entire mission.  We have never been able to get the camera out in time for a good shot.  Sunday during Relief Society I could hear the musical instruments that always play during the wedding procession.  I immediately grabbed my camera and ran to the balcony door with the Romanian sisters cheering me on.  Because there is a balcony just off the RS room I was able to get a pretty good look.

The Romanian government requires a civil ceremony before a religious wedding can be performed.  So after the civil service, the wedding party travels in cars with their horns honking the entire way to the brides home.  Then there is a procession of the bride and groom followed by family and well wishers accompanied by a traditional band into the yard.  The tradition is for well wishers to gather at the bride's gate.  Then there are some other traditions like a dowry dance and placing of flowers on the bride and groom.  They then come out of the yard and the procession follows the bridal party to their car.  Then, with horns honking, they go to the church for the religious ceremony.  Following the church service, everyone goes to a restaurant where they dance and eat the night away.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Casa Soare (Sunshine House)

The quilt project is now over and the grand total is.....100!
Here are the final 36.

The last of the quilts found a good home at a facility for abandoned and orphaned children with special needs.  The Arad district missionaries helped in the give away. 
The Right Stuff!
Sora Cook, Elder Taylor, Sora Smith and Elder Myers
Carrying the quilts into Casa Soare.
This sweet girl is sniffing the quilts.
The children were allowed to choose their own quilts.
Their smiles say it all.
They wanted us to see the quilts on their beds.
When I went to sit on the couch with one of the children who cannot walk, this little guy jumped onto my lap and called me "mama."  I felt like a grandmother again for a few minutes.
To all of you who helped in any way with this quilt project, a huge thank you!  Your generosity has touched many lives.