Wednesday, January 31, 2007


woo hoo!!
thanks, God!
not much, but still ..
it's snow.
and a sunny morning.
what more could one ask?!

classical music

last weekend i went to the philharmonic with friends. it was almost two hours of music, with a 10 minute intermission. a full orchestra (i think), with a french horn soloist for one piece. how marvelous. i have lots of friends and acquaintances from college (and other places) who play instruments or sing beautifully, so when i go to hear music like this, it often makes me miss those friends. and it also makes me want to play my own violin .. (we'll see about that .. )

so the crazy thing about classical music in romania is the price. my ticket cost:
- less than it would cost to go to the movies on a weekend here
- the same as a set of 10 bus tickets
- about the same as a novel
- slightly more than 2 liters of milk
- slightly more than 500 grams of nutella

and yet .. most romanians that i know cannot afford to go often or at all. one time i asked a friend who was rather low on funds, and her first response was 'how much does it cost? i still need to eat.' that's not something i have to think about. i have enough money to enjoy beautiful or fun things now and again. not everyday, but the material differences between the romanians i'm beginning to know and myself is often overwhelming. no matter what, though, i savored the music and my soul was refreshed.

Monday, January 22, 2007


so, i saw this idea on a friend's blog recently and liked it. the idea is this: getting an idea of who reads my blog. i have some general ideas (from some comments, stats, and mentions in emails or the like) .. but would enjoy knowing for sure. just cuz. no good reason, really. i like sharing pieces of my thoughts .. but it would be fun to know who is reading my thoughts (and thinking about them too perhaps). so .. if you would add a comment to this post, that'd be cool. could just be your name. or something specific so i'll know who you are if you don't want to write your name. or a funny memory we share. or some of the questions you're asking these days. thanks, friends.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

bus rules

riding on a bus in romania is an experience. so, i'll prepare you. (for any visitors i might be having, you know. or if somebody just happens to be in romania and wants to ride a bus).

3 sets of doors (all on the same side, of course!)
24 seats (really. i counted)
wide aisles
lots of standing room in the middle
poles run along above aisles for handholds
often full (sometimes very full..)

you must have a ticket that you put into a machine so it is marked when you get on the bus. you can also buy a pass for a certain period of time, like 2 weeks or a month. you can also buy booklets of 10 tickets. or you can buy a ticket from the driver when you get on the bus. if you get on the bus at the middle door and the bus is so full you cannot get to the driver, you send up the necessary money. it gets passed through many hands and eventually your ticket comes back, and usually someone has put it into the machine so it is already marked. no other place have i seen someone hand over money to an unknown person .. but i haven't seen any bad results.

a month or so ago, a few buses started to have televisions at the front. these play just commercials for various businesses in the city. and there are maybe 7 ads? so if you're on the bus for more than 10 minutes, you see and hear them multiple times. the most interesting for me is one for a football (soccer) team, and the music is the same as a worship song i know (here are the lyrics if anybody is interested). when i hear it, i sing along silently with the real words that praise God. too bad they're singin' the wrong ones!

if an older woman gets on the bus, she deserves a seat. if one is not free, usually someone will stand up to give her one. this happens with older men, but mostly if they look frail or demand it. young children also often get seats given up for them. sometimes a mother with a young child will be given a seat and will take it and put the kid on her lap. i suspect this mostly depends on how tired the mother is.

many times during the day (and not always the same ones), the bus is full. this means all the seats are taken, and people are standing so the aisles are full, and sometimes when the bus stops at a station, it's a challenge for people there to push their way onto the bus. in this crowd of people, it's important to keep your bag in front of you where you can see it and possibly feel it. pickpockets might it too tempted otherwise.

in terms of positioning yourself, a seat is a good option, although one might be obliged to give it up for someone who needs it more leaving you in an awkward position. i personally prefer to enter in the middle of the bus and go to the opposite side, in the standing space. there are two corners and some nice windows or railings to lean against. this way at least one part of me is safe from being touched. and touching will happen on a full bus. not sexual touching, but what, i suppose, is necessary. let's just say that for the twenty-five minutes it takes to ride from the office to home, personal space doesn't exist.

when you need to get out of the bus, it's best to start moving toward an exit a few moments before the bus stops at your station. on a full bus, this moving toward the door often requires almost switching places with people who will not be exiting the bus just yet. no speaking is necessary, although it is somewhat polite. sometimes this also requires gently (or not so gently) pushing one's way out onto the street. if you happen to be near the door and not exiting, beware -- people might be pushing to get around from a couple directions. in some cases, it's best to get out and then quickly get back in once the outflowing traffic has ceased. if you happen to be claustrophobic, there are a few options .. waiting an hour until less people are traveling, walking (not a brilliant idea if you're alone and it's dark), or taking a taxi (which isn't too expensive). there's also always the option to just stay home ....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

no snow!

snow. winter. cold weather. fur hats. warm black coats. all things which romania is known for. the clothing i see everyday. the winter? not so much. it's been sort of cold here, but i'm fine with a long-sleeve shirt under a jacket. haven't needed my long underwear yet. (which i do have! in case i do happen to need it some day ..) so this is me complaining. it will be short. i promise.

the temperature outside this afternoon is in the low 50s. which is not so much winter, as early autumn. whenever i talk to my parents they make references to below-freezing temperatures and snow. which makes me jealous. i mean it's natural that the rocky mountains should have snow and cold weather. but i'd like some too! last year i lived in LA, and had a sad winter. (in terms of weather. it gets 'cool' there, but not cold like i enjoy.) friends told me it would be better this year, because romania gets really cold and snowy. i looked forward expectantly. but .. nothin' yet. ah well. just get to keep waiting. somehow that doesn't surprise me. waiting. hmmm...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

i like books!

so .. i read a lot. i like books. i learn from them. not just facts, but emotionally -- stories are one way that i understand and comprehend life. so it's fun to read .. but also good for me. really. it's true.

and i keep a record of what books i've read, some of the things they made me question, a vague plot, and the number of pages. the books i've recently read are posted over on the right, and if you click on them you can also view a variety of others, if you happen to be interested. but the main idea i wanted to share was just how many pages i read in 2006. and the number of books. ready?

59 books
17,422 pages

and .. this is a fair bit less than last year. (believe it or not!) anyway, the range of books is rather wide -- young adult, nonfiction, fiction, Christian nonfiction, classics, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, humor. mostly stories are what interest me, in almost any variety. an intriguing story with good questions, enjoyable writing, something worth saying, and characters that feel real in some sense. mmm .. that's worth savoring.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


my Christmas was restful. refreshing. humorous. real. enjoyable.

i got to be myself again. under stress humans change. it's a proven fact. so i got to have a week with little stress and little responsibility and familiarity -- and it gave me a chance to remember. like the fact that i can be funny. (it's hard to be humorous in another culture.) that i enjoy and know how to have deep conversations. that i can throw a frisbee pretty far. that kids playground equipment in a park isn't just for kids. that i can grasp a whole sermon and pay attention the whole time. that americans (and my family) show love in ways that make sense and feel right. that marshmallows with hot chocolate is tasty. that being dependent is a hard challenge -- but a worthwhile one, both personally and spiritually.

rest is good. we need it. work and play. not just work. not just play. seriousness and humor. balance of things which 'shouldn't' go together. after a week which was so soothing and comfortable, it was hard to want to return here. to this space which is not soothing or comfortable. at least not yet. but i'm here. and have energy to continue being here. being present here. seeking to remember who i am and also to learn who i am -- and to be aware that God is constant and here and knows both who i am and who i am becoming.

Monday, January 01, 2007

(some) quotes i like!

  • There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. -- Marianne Williamson
  • The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you can never have. -- Soren Kierkegaard
  • To love a person means to see him as God intended him to be. -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • I want to learn to live in the now. I want to breathe my way into it and hang out there more and more and experience life in all its richness and realness. But I want to do it later, like maybe sometime early next week. Right now I want to rush. -- Anne Lamott
  • The maturing of a woman who has continued to grow is a beautiful thing to behold. -- Naomi Wolf
  • It is so easy to convince yourself that you are the one who needs all the attention. But once you can see the other concretely in his or her life situation, you can step back a bit from yourself and understand that, in a true friendship, two people can make a dance. -- Henri Nouwen
  • Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same. -- Gunter Grass
  • You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. -- Robin Williams
  • Missions then is less about the transportation of God from one place to another and more about identification of a God who is already there. It is almost as if being a good missionary means having really good eyesight. Or maybe it means teaching people to use their eyes to see things that have always been there: they just didn't realize it. You see God where others don't. And then you point Him out. -- Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis)
  • When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. That's basically a Namer's job. Maybe you're supposed to make earthlings feel more human. -- Proginoskes (in A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle)
  • If scarcity makes things more precious, what does it mean to choose the spare world over one in which we are sated with abundance? -- Kathleen Norris (The Cloister Walk)
  • Why do we keep hiding our deepest feelings from each other? We suffer much, but we also have great gifts of healing for each other. The mystery is that by hiding our pain we also hide our ability to heal. -- Henri Nouwen
  • Gently, Teacher explained the difference between a lie and a story. A lie was something you told because you were mean or a coward. A story was something you made up out of something that might have happened. Only you didn't tell it like it was; you told it like you thought it should have been. -- Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
  • Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth. -- J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King)
  • God is not only the God of the sufferers but the God who suffers. The pain and fallenness of humanity have entered into his heart. Through the prism of my tears I have seen a suffering God. It is said of God that no one can behold his face and life. I always thought this meant that no one could see his splendor and live. A friend said that perhaps it meant that no one could see his sorrow and live. Or perhaps his sorrow is splendor. -- Nicholas Walterstorff (Lament for a Son)
  • The real monastic walks through life with a barefooted soul, alert, aware, grateful, and only partially at home. -- Joan Chittister (Wisdom Distilled from the Daily)
  • The next day he [Ender] passed Alai in the corridor, and they greeted each other, touched hands, talked, but they both knew that there was a wall now. It might be breached, that wall, sometime in the future, but for now the only real conversation between them was the roots that had already grown low and deep, under the wall, where they could not be broken. -- Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game)
  • When you start on a long journey, trees are trees, water is water, and mountains are mountains. After you have gone some distance, trees are no longer trees, water no longer water, mountains no longer mountains. But after you have traveled a great distance, trees are once again trees, water is once again water, and mountains are once again mountains. -- Zen teaching
since my sister is cool -- she created a program that will randomly select one of these quotes each time my blog is viewed. so i got to pick a few quotes that i really value (for one reason or another) and then get to share them. i'm excited about this. thanks, larq!