left in a ditch

READER WARNING

Monday around 10:15 am I took some trash out to the dumpsters.  I saw a group of people standing on the sidewalk.  This was unusual.  Then I saw what they were staring at: a man sleeping in small ditch.  I almost tripped over him.  I asked one of the cleaning women what was going on.  She said the man was dead.  Someone had checked his pulse and there wasn’t one.  The ambulance had been called. But the caller was told there was no ambulance available.  At 11:30 am when I left to go to school, the ambulance had finally arrived, well over an hour after the call was made.

I don’t know what this man’s name was.  He appeared to be homeless, but he probably had a family somewhere.  The only people who cared about his death were those who found them in their back yard.

The whole situation made me sad. I don’t have anything eloquent to say, but I just felt compelled to share this.  Its not funny or cute, but its sad.  I pray that his family was notified.  But I do wonder…why did he die at my building?  What was God’s purpose….I’ll just have to wait and see…..

Toothbrushes, anyone?

At Christmas, I received a ton of toothbrushes  and toothpaste from the good folks at FBBC in New Paris, PA.  Most of the toothbrushes and all the toothpaste were given out at Christmas.  More toothbrushes were given at Easter.  But I still had a number of brushes left.  What to do with them??  The toothbrushes inspired me to do a language lesson on teeth.  The kids in kindergarten learned words like tooth, teeth, mouth, lips, tongue, toothbrush, toothpaste and dentist.  Then the kids each got to pick out their own toothbrush and we learned how to brush our teeth the correct way.  And we even learned the toothbrushing song: (to the tune of Row, Row, Row your Boat) Brush, Brush, Brush your teeth, each and everyday. Brush, Brush, Brush, Brush, Brush your teeth today. Go on, you know you want to sing it…..

When was the last time you got to stick your tongue out at your teacher and not get in trouble?

Getting a new toothbrush

kindergartener pick out their toothbrushes

THANK YOU!

** Many thanks to Rebecca for taking all these pictures!

A cold war left over??

I find this to be the most interesting, if not creepiest, sights on the train from Suceava to Bucharest.  I hadn’t ever gotten a picture of it, but Rebecca did earlier this month and sent me the pictures.  Every unexpectedly, after fields and small villages, appears this field of tanks and anti-aircraft guns.  The cannons are position as if they are ready to attack.  I don’t know what they are doing there or why.  Are these tanks left over from the Cold War?  Military surplus? Or is this just a well-organized armored vehicle graveyard? Whatever it is, I can’t help but stare and wonder each time I see it.  

Fields of Tanks

A closer look

Hair

I have cut my hair. And unlike, my friend, who thought it was a good idea to get her hair cut in China, I did not end up with a mullet.   “But why?”  you ask, did I cut my hair.  It was so long and culturally perfect for Romania. 

Well, when the girls come over for sleep overs, they bring unwanted guests and usually we kill them or the girls take them home with them. But not this last time, the unwanted guests stayed.  That’s right, I had lice!   

My lovely unwelcomed house guest.

I discovered this lovely louse when I was getting the gray out of my hair (I’m too young for gray) and the louse didn’t like it.  I noticed a piece of lint on my forehead, which turned out to be a louse!  Not good. Well, since my hair was wet, I had to wait until the next day to use the lice shampoo.  There were no eggs in my hair.  Yippy.  I did laundry and was fine…. well, no so much.  Sunday, I noticed nits in my hair. So it was back to the lice shampoo and then nit-picking.  yuck!  And more laundry. 

Have you ever used lice shampoo?  It kills your hair.  

It is egg season here in Romania.  All the chicken are laying eggs like crazy. And folks in the village are sick of eggs, so they give me some.  One woman had 80 some eggs on her counter, so she gave me 16!  What am I going to do with all these eggs????  Well, while talking to my dear friend, Rebecca via Skype, we discovered an excellent use for the eggs. 

Egg Treatment for Hair

 Things You’ll Need:

  • 1-2 Eggs
  • A bowl
  • Fork or Whisk
  1. Step 1 Prepare the egg. Beat the raw egg in a small bowl. If you have long hair, (not  me..had to chop mine off)  you will need two eggs.
  2. Step 2 Give the egg time to work. Place the raw egg on your hair and allow it to sit for a five to ten minutes.
  3. Step 3 Rinse the egg from your hair. Make sure the water is as cool as you can make it without being uncomfortable. Warm water will cook the egg. Cooked egg isn’t fun to pick out of your hair.  WHAT??!!!  Cooked egg in my hair?
  4. Step 4 Shampoo again with your normal hair shampoo and dry as usual. You will be amazed at the extra body and volume the egg gives your hair.

This looks like the perfect solution to my damaged hair due to lice shampoo and the abundance of eggs problem.  That’s 2 birds with one stone!  YES!  I haven’t tried the egg conditioner yet, but if enough people dare me, I will. And I’ll even post pictures!

A Picture from Easter

For Easter I was with friends in a nearby village.  One of my friends had a friend visiting from Hong Kong.  The lovely Karen, from Hong Kong, just emailed me this picture and I thought I would share!

Easter with a Romanian Family

Two sleep overs

This week, being a vacation week for the kids, I had 2 sleep overs.  One with 4 of the little girls and one with 4 teen girls.  The little girls went to the park next to the Suceava castle and the big girls opted for the mall and dinner at the food court.  I’ll admit, I enjoy having the older girls over, they are so much fun!

Playground time before the sleep over

The girls with the World Largest Traditional Easter Egg.

The girls in front of the Castle.

The teen girls rest after an afternoon at the mall.

Glorious Day

The plan was to spend the day cleaning the building we use for Sunday School.  But it was so cold and after an hour my fingers were frozen.  I left and stopped at the grocery store.  I have a cold; it started with pine allergies and turned into a cold. I’m not a happy camper. I just wanted to grab a few necessities and go home, make a cup of tea, and read a book. I hate colds. It’s cold out and its supposed to be spring. But then, what do I see as I go to dairy section…it’s a sign of hope, comfort…and it wasn’t there last week.  This symbol of home, family…and it’s from Turkey.

And the label comes in 8 different languages

Easter in Bucovina

 

Friday night, I went to an evening service at my church.  It was lovely.  Across the street is an old Orthodox Church.  Outside of it were 2 charter buses and a courtyard full of people.  The bells were ringing and loud speakers broadcasted the chants of the Orthodox priests.  I live between another Orthodox Church and a monastery.  Those bells were ringing too and the chants were also broadcasted.  I can’t help but think …is this what it sounds like on the street for a call to pray in Islamic communities?  Regardless, the night air mixed with bells and chants was hauntingly beautiful. 

Saturday night, the church again were full.  At midnight, while in bed, I heard the bells ring at the churches.  What a wonderful call. 

Sunday morning, I went to church and it was great!  The children sang and recited verses;  its universal…kids are way too cute! The choir sang three songs.  A few families invited me to their homes for dinner and one family almost kidnapped me off the street, until I promised them I had a place to go for Easter dinner.  I went to my friend’s home on the farm.  We ate soup, traditional sarmale (cabbage rolls) and roasted porc, potato salad, bread, and a lovely cake with sour cherries.  We had homemade juice to drink. 

The weather report had said there would be rain and possibly snow for Easter, but fortunately the weather forecast here is just a reliable as in the US and it was bright and sunny all day!  

The following is an article my friend found about more Easter traditions in Romania. Enjoy! 

Romanian History & Traditions 

Easter is the most important celebration of the Romanian people and it is preceded by numerous preparations and rituals. 

It’s a must for the people to have a clean house and have all the ritual foods ready. This is why the cleaning starts on Great Thursday. Men, who are usually working in the field or at the forest, will remain home starting with this day and will take out the thrash, fix the fence, cut wood, bring water, butcher the lambs. Women are the ones that paint and decorate the eggs, do the laundry and generally clean the house. 

Because it’s a good thing to have a new piece of clothing on the Easter, girls and young wives start to sew shirts for them and also for their parents, brothers, husbands or children, about two weeks in advance. 

The eggs are painted starting with Thursday. Initially the only accepted color was red, but in time other colors were also applied – yellow, green, blue and even black. In the villages the paint is still obtained from plants. 

The eggs are usually first painted yellow, because the other colors will look better when applied over it. Blue painted eggs are an exception. 

In Banat, the first painted egg is called a „try”. In the Easter morning it’s shared between the children residing in that house. The traditional colors are yellow, red, green and blue.The black eggs remind us of the Jesus’ sufferings on the cross. 

 The most interesting traditional eggs are the decorated eggs. Special instruments are used for decorating them.

The most used decorative motifs for these eggs are: the lost path (on which the souls of the dead walk toward the judgment), the cross, the fir or oak leaf. In Walachia the saw and the plough are also drawn and in Moldavia the lightning and the fork. Various plants, animals and kinds of crosses are also drawn.

 

According to the Romanian tradition, if on Saturday before the Easter you place an egg (on which you have drawn something every day, beginning with the middle of the Fast) on a garbage dump, you’ll see an animal (usually a dog) trying to take that egg. You shouldn’t let it take it, as it will return for it and grant you any wish you have.

“Pasca”, a special Easter cake, is baked on Great Thursday, but especially on Saturday, so it wouldn’t alter until Easter. It has a round shape (reminding little Jesus’ diapers) or a rectangular one (the shape of His grave). In some regions “pasca” is also baked on St. George Day. 

A legend from Bucovina goes that the “pasca” has been done from the times when Jesus was traveling to the world together with his apostles. They remained a night at a peasant house and when they left, he put food in their bags. The apostles asked Jesus when the Easter is and He replied that the Easter would be when they would find corn bread in their bags. Looking in the bags, they noticed the peasant had given them exactly corn bread, so that they knew it was Easter time. 

The shells of the eggs used for the “pasca” are thrown in a river. This action has two explanations. It is believed that the hens are protected this way of the hawks. The major explanation is, however, the ancient belief that the shells are taken by the river to the country of the Good People, announcing them the Easter has came. 

The cakes (called “cozonaci”) have a round or rectangular long shape, symbolizing Jesus’ grave. 

The traditional Easter lamb also symbolizes Jesus. In Banat region, the remains of the sacrificed lamb are buried under an apple or a pear tree, in order that the family should be healthy. 

Saturday night, when all the cleaning and preparations in the house are done, the steak, the pies and the cakes are put on the table, in the “clean room”. 

Before going to the church, people wash themselves in a bowl with water, where red painted eggs and silver and golden coins were also put. They believe that this way they will be as glowing and healthy as the eggs and they will be clean and will have more money, due to the silver and golden coins. 

After they clean and dress the new clothes, the people take a bowl with “pasca”, eggs and steak and go to the church, where the aliments will be sanctified. Only the ill old men and little children remain at home, as it is said that who can go to the church on Easter night, but he doesn’t do it, will get ill. 

A fire is lighted near the church and it will be kept for all the three Easter days. In some regions, when the roosters announce the midnight, the man who watches the fire shoots with his rifle, calling the people to the church. The bells are also ringed at midnight. 

People hold lighted candles during the religious mass and only put them out when they return home, after they enter the house and make crosses. These Easter candles are kept for the times of danger, when they will have a protective function. 

At home, people first taste the anaphora and then sit to the table. They first eat some of the sanctified aliments and only then the rest. In some regions, rabbit or fish meat is first eaten, believing that these animals will confer to the people some of their agility. The shepherds and the other persons who are away from home on Easter day eat willow or apple tree buds instead of anaphora. 

There’s the custom of knocking the eggs. It is believed that those who knock their eggs will see each other on the other world, after death. In the first day of Easter, eggs are only knocked with the top. On Monday they can be knocked top to the bottom and on the next days they can be knocked any way. The first ones to knock their eggs are the parents, one to the other, then the children to the parents and then the other relatives and friends. According to the tradition, the one whose egg cracks first is weaker and he will die quicker. He must give his egg to the winner; otherwise he will eat its egg rotten on the other world. 

Eggs are knocked until the third Easter day, until the “Ispas” or until the “Great Sunday”. 

The most beautiful painted eggs are emptied of their content and used as decorations, being put on a rope and then hanged near the icons or in other places. 

It is supposed that a child born on Easter, at the time when bells ring, will be lucky all his life. 

The man that dies on the Easter day or in the next week is blessed, his soul heading straight to heaven, as the skies are believed to be opened at this time. 

On the Easter day one must not sleep, because it is said that he will be sleepy all year long. Also touching salt directly is not recommended, a belief stating that the hands of the one who does it will transpire during the summer. 

It is said that three candles burn in the sky during the three days of the Easter. 

In some regions (Bucovina, Transylvania), there is a tradition called “the wetting”. On Monday morning, the boys take a bucket of water and go to the houses of the unmarried girls. If they found them sleeping, the boys throw water on them. As it is believed that those girls will marry soon, they reward the boys who had wetted them by giving them the most beautiful decorated eggs and “pasca” or cake. In some places, the boys catch the girls when they go out from the house and take them to the fountain or to the river, where they wet them, even throwing them in the water. 

According to one of the legends, once upon a time a Christian girl was heading toward the market, carrying a basket of eggs, in order to sell them. On her way she met a pagan girl who wanted to buy her eggs, but lacked the appropriate money. The girl asked her to accompany her home, thus being able to pay. On their way the Christian girl tried to convert the pagan to her religion, but she resisted. “I will believe in Christ only if these eggs here will turn red.” To their amazement, that very thing happened and the girls fainted in fear. Some nearby boys noticed them and tried to revive them, splashing the girls with water. Upon their awakening, the girls offered the red eggs to the boys, as a thank you gift. 

On Monday and Tuesday the married couple go to their relatives, bringing them “pasca”, announcing them Christ’s revival. Usually, the younger people go to the older ones.