Saturday, October 18, 2008

"i'd like to thank..."

'i'm winning, i'm winning!' (recognize the quote? anyone?)

i (and another woman who was given this award by amy) "write thought-provoking posts that challenge me to reassess my own understanding of my world, my faith, and my relationships. Thank you, ladies. You inspire me."

that's enough to make anybody smile!

and not i'm supposed to give it to someone else, i think. there are a number of blogs that i follow .. but one i've been enjoying recently is sarah she's a friend who happens to be living in india at the moment. so there are some interesting cultural insights and comments, as well as thoughts that i identify with easily because i'm also living in another culture.

Friday, October 10, 2008

some reasons i know i'm back in romania..

-- sometimes i turn on the hot water and it just isn't there. guess i'll shower tomorrow..

-- regardless of how cold or wet it is, there are always people out walking

-- my brain is overwhelmed often with a language i didn't know two words in a few years ago

-- cars and people don't get as much space here .. small streets have cars parked, cars coming down them, and pedestrians on one or both sides. people are still safe .. but i must be very attentive as i cross the street

-- seeing men 'using the facilities' on the edges of public space has again become a common occurrence

-- i spend at least half an hour each day walking. the average is probably closer to an hour per day. and that's considered fairly normal :)

-- trams and buses are again easily accessible and useful modes of transportation

-- the market full of fresh produce is just about ten minutes from my place. on foot. and it's open every day!

-- it is the season to prepare for winter, so the smell of roasting red peppers (that will be frozen and eaten when fresh produce isn't so accessible) is everywhere. it's a wonderful smell .. and a good reminder that the seasons are changing

Sunday, October 05, 2008

am urcat ceahlaul!

last friday afternoon i received a phone call from a friend. asking if i wanted to climb a mountain the next day. with some people from church. i thought about it for a few seconds and said 'yes'. and then i discovered that we were leaving at 5am saturday morning. aka very early!

i slept over at my friends' place (to make sure that i actually woke up that early!) and we were indeed leaving shortly after 5. there were 8 of us total. and the drive took about 3 hours (since mountains aren't exactly close to the city where we live). we arrived (after a stop for some breakfast and hot coffee!) and were on our way shortly before 9am. it was chilly, so all of us were in some sort of coat (and some in winter hats, too!) .. but with the exertion of climbing a mountain we quickly warmed up. it was wonderful to be outdoors without out a cement building in sight!

sometimes when i've gone hiking in the past, those who are more fit are way ahead and get frustrated at those who are slower. that didn't happen this time. those who were ahead just waited periodically. and even though i was slower i didn't get left behind. somebody was always close enough to help if need be and to encourage too :) i felt very cared for .. part of the reason i really enjoy the church i get to be part of. by the time we neared the top, it was so foggy that we couldn't see more than 100 feet (that's my guess, at least). but we were easily able to stay on the path and arrive to the chalet at the top where we got some wonderfully warm tea! from there we walked the ridge up to another peak that is pretty abrupt. when we got there, it was so foggy that we could have been anywhere. it was just the eight of us, the rocks that we stood on, some monument-type thing that was on the top of the peak, and fog. surreal.

beauty is something that God uses to speak to me and bless me. (as is true for many of us, if we stop to acknowledge it, i suspect.) near the top of the mountain, somehow the wind and cold temperatures and humidity had combined to make beautiful ice sculptures. the tall grasses and pine trees and various flowers had icicles. that were horizontal. all in one direction. something i'd never seen before and not thought particularly plausible. but there it was. gorgeous and stunning and other-worldly.

with all the fog, we didn't have much of a view. but after we had enjoyed our warm tea and came back outside into the 'brisk cold' .. we had a view. the fog had cleared away in one direction, so we could see a nearby lake and the surrounding mountains. it was astounding! fog on three sides with a clear view in one direction. after a few minutes (maybe ten?) the fog rolled back in and it was just us, the crazy horizontal icicles, rocks, a few green plants, and two dogs who hang around the chalet at the top of the mountain and decided to accompany us to the other peak. pretty amazing. and such a picture of how life can be with God .. sometimes we get a glimpse of where we are, where we have come from, what we have done .. and other times we simply keep walking and moving forward on the few feet of path that we can see. trusting that Somebody knows what's ahead.

oh yeah. the title of the post. it's romanian for 'i climbed ceahlaul!' aka the name of the mountain. sounds sorta like chay-ah-low-ool. sorta :) hope to post picture soon. sorry i can't today.