-Arriving in Alexandria
-Meeting Mission President!
We learned a song from Sora Gorzo this week that we keep singing over and over because it is so funny. In Romanian it's actually pretty and simple, but when we translated it and sang it in English, we couldn't stop laughing.
It's good, it's good, it's very good.
Say that when things get hard.
It's good, it's good, it's very good.
Don't ask me anymore.
Good stuff. So today we got to spend time with Robbie's other Romanian family, Familia Matei in Alexandria (a city a couple hours outside of Buc). They are a middle-aged couple, Marian (the husband) and Anca (the wife) and they have a 17-year old daughter Andrada. If Sora Gorzo is Robbie's Romanian grandma, Anca gets the award for his Romanian mom. He actually still calls her "Mami." It's pretty adorable.
Cool story: Robbie was the very first missionary to serve in this city, meaning he opened it for all the missionaries that would come after. This family, Familia Matei, were the only members and had been members for years but had to travel really far (to Buc on the bus) to get to church. Some interest in the church led our mission president to put one set of missionaries there to see how they would do. Their first sacrament meeting was in the Matei's kitchen with just that family and the missionaries. But then Robbie and his companion did so well that Pres. Ashby kept missionaries there and now they have a branch! So this city is really close to his heart, especially since it's where he ended his mission. And since he worked so closely with Familia Matei, they came to be his family. And they are so so great.
So this morning, we took an early bus from Buc to Alexandria, but I guess there was a miscommunication because they didn't know what time we were coming and they were at their house "la tara" (out in the countryside). We waited a few hours for them to finish their stuff and come get us while Robbie showed me around this town he loved so much. It was so fun seeing him get excited about a staircase where he had a discussion or a super sketchy restaurant where someone told him they wanted to be baptized. We even went and looked at where the building is that the church rents now, and CHA-CHING, the mission president happened to be there doing interviews!! And he even sat and talked with us for awhile about how the mission is doing and everything. It was so great! We could not have planned that better! We also got to meet the two missionaries serving in Alexandria now, and one of them has only been out three weeks. In Romania, we call that a boboc or "little duckling." That was a really powerful and sweet conversation for me because he asked us about the language and how easily it came and everything (you could tell he's been frustrated). It totally took me back to when I was in his shoes and I was positive that I would never learn to understand people. I would always think to myself, "I know that they say everyone learns it eventually, they just need time. But what if I am the exception?! What if I am the only missionary who never gets it?!" Haha, those were the days. But it is really amazing looking back now, how the Lord totally kept his promise. He fills the mouths of those who try to do His work.
I wish so bad that "current me" could go back in time and tell "boboaca me" (female little duckling) that I don't need to worry. God will help me. He won't leave me alone if I'm trying to do what he wants me to. So that's what I tried to tell this sweet boboc Elder. He'll get it, he's just got to believe and do his part.
So eventually, Familia Matei came and oh-my-goodness! The happiness as they hugged their dear Robbie was so clear on their faces. And the first thing they said to me was, "We are so happy you speak Romanian!!" Hahaha, they wanted to really grill this girl that married their "son" and didn't want a language barrier to get in the way. Haha, but really they were so loving and genuinely excited to meet me and made me feel so good from the minute I met them.
They took us out to their place la tara and we met their sweetest dogs with the funniest names. Lord was HUGE and so sweet, and the puppy's name was Rookie and he just spent all day jumping all over Lord and trying to eat him. Their names were so apropes and Rookie doesn't even have the same meaning to them as it does to us!
On a more personal level, I was simultaneously so overcome with joy at watching these cute guys play and also terrified. Dogs in Romania always mean one thing for certain: fleas. Most people don't worry about that, because most people don't ever get bitten by fleas. But as previously stated, I had a bad experience...or ten. So as cute as they were, I never let myself touch them. And I'm still 98% sure that I will get fleas anyway. Cross your fingers! If nothing else, it made us SO excited to get a dog ourselves sometime (hopefully soon!)
They made us this amazing Romanian meal, and divided the portions in true Romanian style. I kid you not when I say that Robbie and I were each given at least 1/3 of the egg casserole, leaving only 1/3 left for all three of them to share. My plate was a mountain of eggs and sausage. But despite our many protests that they gave us WAY too much, they insisted that they had all they wanted and we needed to eat all of this. Romanians are generous, way too generous. We tried (and the food was actually incredibly delicious so we got close) but alas we could not finish and the leftovers went to the dogs.
These people are so nice that after lunch, we tried to help them clean up and Marian, the husband, refused to let us, saying we needed to go rest. We tried insisting, but he was better at being stubborn so I finally said, "Well thank you so much. It was delicious." To which he replied, "No, no! We thank you!" Like we were doing him some favor by eating their food and sleeping in their bed. Oh yeah, we are sleeping in their bed. They are going to the loveseat-sized couches to give us the master bedroom (which is the only room in the whole place). What?! I tried to fight that one too, but Robbie finally just told me, "It's no use. Just accept it, because they will never let up." These people are amazing. It just reminds me so much of the mission and how kind and generous complete strangers were to us. I just love Romania and feel like there is so much I still need to learn from them. 18 months wasn't enough for me to get it all. I need more time!
After our nap, whaddaya know, it was time to eat again! They did a BBQ for dinner. But this was like, a MAN barbeque. Caveman style. Marian spent about an hour making this crazy high bonfire to get good coals. Then he got this old metal grill, propped up on rocks and piled on every kind of meat and veggies you can imagine. It was an amazing thing to behold.
What a night. What a family.