Friday 12 July 2013

Working and Playing

Over the last few days Jerry has been working in the wood shop with Eric building platforms to extend the ropes course. He also spent some time cleaning the shop, sweeping out the sawdust into piles and collecting it for PDF's sewage treatment system. Fixing the mountain bikes and replacing their tires has also been part of his job.

Whenever Miriam is napping I've been helping out with some of the housekeeping in the main building doing things like cleaning bathrooms, sweeping floors, sorting garbage (yes, they sort their garbage here *after* it's in the trash can...anything plastic like bags or wrappers, anything paper like Kleenex or regular paper, plastic bottles, cardboard, food waste, and everything else - definitely not my favourite job), and putting fresh sheets on beds. They haven't asked me to do the dishes yet, so I'm happy about that!

Other than helping out a little with the housework, I've been spending most of my time playing with Miriam and the other children of the staff here. Florin, one of the staff who is in charge of the Micii Exploratori programs (summer camps for kids and a kids club that runs throughout the year) brought his family to stay here this week while he runs the camp even though they normally live in Brasov. His wife Dana doesn't speak any English but she and I get by with a little translation from people passing by and hand gestures! Their son David is about one year older than Miriam, so they play well together. They've gone home for this next week because they aren't involved in the Max Bike camp but they'll be back for Tinerii Exploratori (the teenage camp) the week after next. 

Miriam really enjoys playing with all the other kids here and watching them play. She really loves this little red bobby car they have here and tries to climb onto it all by herself. She never seems to get tired of Jerry pulling her around on it:

Miriam loves to play with her quiet book from Grandma. We've been pulling it out every morning to play with before her nap. The other little children here love it too and always gather around us to play with the pages. We've especially been using the counting page to practice our numbers in English and Romanian:

We have met some Romanian people that we really enjoy spending time with. Christine, David, Katelyn and Andrea, children participating at the camp this week, always rush to sit at our table during mealtime. Katelyn and Andrea are obsessed with Miriam and always want to sit next to her high chair at meals and hold her. Only Christine and David speak some English so it's always a fun game to try to understand each other and communicate clearly.  Fortunately most of the older kids and teenagers speak more English, so a lot of the volunteer leaders for the camp can understand us. Miriam and I have spent some time with one of the kitchen volunteers named Deborah. She's 16 and is such a sweet girl and she speaks English very well. She and I bonded over garbage duty the other day and now she often spends time with Miriam and me when she is free. She will be a participant in the Max Bike program this week and will also stay at the centre to volunteer in the kitchen again with following week during the teen camp. She is excited that Miriam will be spending her first birthday here in Romania.

Here are some pictures of Christine, David and Katelyn:

We also visited Dennis and Dagmar's apartment to have tea with them one afternoon. They are a German/Austrian couple living and working here. They have a 6 month old daughter named Emilie who Miriam also enjoys playing with. Unfortunately, Miriam had her first encounter with a wasp when we were at their apartment - it was definitely the largest wasp Jerry and I have ever seen. It was on the floor and Miriam reached out to grab it and it bit her finger pretty badly. She was quite unhappy after that as I'm sure you can imagine. She is fine though, and just has a very swollen finger and hand! There are no screens on the windows or doors here as is common for most parts of Europe, so flies and wasps can get into the house more easily than at home.

We a learning that generally, Romanians live very differently than the western world and have some cultural values that are different from ours and so there are many challenges for westerners living here. Materially, it is possible to buy here just about anything you can get in Western Europe but building real relationships here can be difficult. We are glad to be learning some of these things.

The children's camp ended today and the Max Bike camp has begun. Since this camp is much smaller it is nice to be able to eat in the dining hall instead of in the large dining tent outside which felt a lot like camping! For a couple of days we went to bed very hungry because we didn't understand the structure of the meals here. Lunch and dinner begin with a broth soup, usually with vegetables and sometimes with noodles or small dumplings of some kind. After this it is common to wait for awhile and then the main meal is served, usually pasta with a sauce or some kind of meat over pasta. At the beginning we assumed the meal was finished after the soup and bread. Eating with the camp kids was very chaotic and disorganized and of course we couldn't understand any of the instructions that were given because they were in Romanian. We have since learned to stay at the table and enjoy the rest of the meal!

Jerry leaves on the first bike trip this afternoon. I'm planning to drive to R√Ęsnov to pick up some more baby food and baby wipes once Miriam wakes up from her nap. Jerry will probably write a post later on in the week about his experiences with the bike camp.

If you want to check out the centre's website for more pictures and some more information about the programs and staff, feel free to visit You may have to click on the British flag in the top right corner of the home site in order to view the page in English, although the information about programming is mainly in Romanian.

Our apologies if our writing is starting to sound strange. We've been speaking a fair bit of German and speaking English to many people who speak German and so our English grammar has begun to deteriorate a little bit. Jerry and I have both noticed each other starting to speak English with German grammar and sentence structure! Hopefully we'll easily slip back into our Canadian dialect when we get home.


  1. It's amazing to read about your adventures, so many thoughts and feelings are definitely felt; amazement, exuberance, wonder, my own timidness at your own incredible strength, and most definitely Jealousy.

    I can't wait to hear your stories in person to try and live them better through you. It is so good to see you are all getting along and adapting so well there. I will continue to pray for the three of you and this major step and adventure in your life, that clarity and vision be brought into your journey throughout life.

    1. Thanks Ryan! Hope the house is ok and that you're having a good summer!