Saturday, August 13, 2011

Final Post

This will be my last post. I've been thinking for a long time about what to do with this blog, because I am no longer teaching in Romania. I wanted to keep writing but I didn't think it was appropriate to keep using the same "venue," of sorts.

For a long time this summer, I've been stuck in the middle. Stuck between a land I miss and a home I love, stuck between jobs, stuck without direction. And last week it all came together. And after some thought, I realized that I can finally let go of the last part of Romania I was clinging to: this blog.

So friends, visit me and my new home and my new job at this address:

I'll be moving to Chicago shortly and starting a job with a social-service agency in Uptown. I'm going to be living in Hyde Park (land that I love) and working on building a life and making a difference in the lives of 20 little friends, their families, and the rest of the population served by the agency. I'm so excited to begin this next chapter.

Unlike every other period of time in my life, there is no prescribed end date. There is no graduation or contract termination date. I don't have a set destination. I do expect to grow and change, and I'm hoping my new blog will chronicle that journey. Thank you for your love, your support, and your comments. It has meant so much to me. I would love to "see" everyone again as life moves on here!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


There are good people in the world. People who are life-giving and restorative and affirming. There are good people in my world.

So why am I struggling with so much?

Do you ever get the feeling that you've done something so terrible that life is (not)working exactly the way you deserve?

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I am currently sitting in an airport, a location I didn't think I would find myself in for quite some time. Alas, here I am- headed to Connecticut for a job interview (!) and a fantastic weekend with great friends.

I'm bored, which is something I almost never experience. This trip will add three more airports to my list. And because I like lists, I will now commence listing all the airports I've experienced. Yeah, fun post for me... not so much for you.

Detroit, Michigan
Las Vegas, Nevada
Denver, Colorado
Durango, Colorado
Albuquerque, New Mexico (it took me about 60 seconds to spell that...)
Tampa, Florida
Chicago Midway, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago O'Hare, Chicago, Illinois
Baltimore, Maryland
Indianapolis, Indiana
Charlotte, North Carolina
Atlanta, Georgia
Marquette, Michigan
Toledo, Ohio
Dusseldorf, Germany
Budapest, Hungary
Frankfurt, Germany
Florence, Italy
Rome, Italy
Athens, Greece
Bratislava, Slovakia
Vienna, Austria
Zurich, Switzerland
Paris, France
Bucharest, Romania
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dublin, Ireland
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I'll be adding Hartford CT and Washington DC to this list by Monday.

Dude, I love flying. AND I love even numbers. AND I love the five pattern. An even number of airports with the five pattern (30)... this is clearly a sign.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Low

You know you've hit a new low when the first six hours of your day looks like this:

Wake up when father comes home on lunch break and tells you that you will be joining him on a trip to return recyclable cans and bottles.

Sleep a little longer.

Wake up a little later with an insane craving for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Nearly collapse when there is no butter.

Make Macaroni and Cheese anyway with cream cheese.

Eat (almost) entire box of Macaroni and Cheese- save the three remaining bites in a small container so you don't feel like a total pig.

Learn about the special surprise after returning bottles and cans.

Return bottles and cans.

Look at scooters and motorcycles at Dexters, the special surprise.

Realize that the special surprise was the best part of the day. And I don't even like motorcycles or scooters.

In other news, I didn't get the job in Camden. Life is just painful right now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chutes and Ladders

I will work to find blessings in every troubling situation I have found or do find myself in.

I nearly lost my position in Romania, and had to work rather hard to get it back. This could be considered a problem, and it was certainly an emotionally charged and difficult situation. The blessing? I found out that I can stand up for myself when the situation calls for it, and it is not just the needs of others that I can care for.

I broke my ankle in Romania, and spent the next 10 days in almost constant agonizing pain, all while working a full time plus schedule. The blessing? I had people to help me in Romania, and I have a family with health insurance. I am covered under my father's policy, and I was able to see an orthopedic specialist. I am able to recover under the professional care of a physical therapist, and all of this comes at little or no cost to me.

I lost my summer position in Connecticut, the job I have most looked forward to of any in my life. The blessing? I can fully recover from my ankle injury, I can live at home and spend time where I grew up, and I can enjoy my family. I didn't have the stress of moving just 6 days after getting back to the States, and it allows me more time to look for a position in the fall.

I moved home from Romania. I know many of you will see this as a blessing, but it is a difficult situation right now. I miss my adopted home, and I don't have another place to really belong yet. The "reverse-culture shock" is hitting harder than I expected it to, especially when I let myself think about it. The blessing? I had a chance to live for nearly 10 months in an incredible place, experiencing things I will remember for a lifetime. I am so lucky to have had that opportunity.

I lost the use of my car, due to a minor accident. It wasn't really his fault and anyone could have made that mistake, but it's frustrating regardless. The blessing? I don't have a summer job and I don't really need a car. Also, my brother's "fleet" of vehicles means that if I really need to get somewhere, I can.

I don't have a job for the fall. The blessing? Update to come... we hope.

Life is Cold

I would say that I'm experiencing some pretty severe mood swings lately, but that isn't a great analogy. Neither is that of a rollercoaster- it is not nearly as unpredictable as a thrill ride. Rather, it is a lot like a bungee jump with an initial fall and slow bounces, decreasing to a constant state. Except that the eventual constant state involves hanging upside down, and bungee jumping is an adventure sport I swore I'd never try.

I know that I shouldn't feel so incredibly discouraged. I know that I have an incredible store of blessings and experiences and opportunities and supportive people to call on. I know (well, I believe) that these things are happening with purpose and that there is a massive lesson I've just not learned yet... but I'm struggling. I'm struggling to recover from a place that drained me emotionally, and a place I still miss immensely. I'm struggling to find a job and turn off the negative thoughts that nearly had me applying at IHOP. I'm struggling to find physical healing for my ankle. I'm struggling to stay emotionally stable and healthy, to remain connected and engaged, to get out of bed in the morning. I'm struggling to express appropriate feelings towards people who want to help me, people who are trying to love me, and even people who do things that annoy me. I'm struggling.

In the heat of everything yesterday (temperature and emotionally), my mom and I decided that life is cold.

And the cup isn't half full anymore- but at least it is only three-quarters empty. I need someone to fill me up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This Post is For Dan

Stop being worried about coming home. You have your incredible girlfriend and at least 90% of your efforts can be concentrated on helping her adjust to life in the States.

That being said, you should know that I've said "mulţumesc" in at least 10 different situations. My family is really tired of me asking "ce" when I cannot hear them, and I had a dream in Romanian the other night.

Get ready for the ridiculous amount of entertainment options, and be prepared to find very few of them interesting. The amount of English sinage is probably going to overwhelm you. You'll feel a little bit like Jim Carrey in "Bruce Almighty" when he can hear all the prayers- suddenly everything you hear is comprehensible.

Prepare yourself for getting upset at the grocery store when you spend $20.00 and they try to send you out the door with 8 bags. Try to remember that non-Romanian stores do not accept Romanian currency of any kind, and you'll feel like an idiot when you do it for the third time. You might forget that you can call and text people now (btw... will your number be the same?) Also, they have ice in America and they'll give you water that doesn't come in a bottle without going three rounds with the wait staff.

That's all the trivial stuff. I'll write the next part as if you didn't have your own Romanian throwback. You'll be sad. Depressed even. Everything at home looks good to you, but all in a Romanian light. You'll struggle with comparing everything to what you experienced there, what it's like there, what you saw there. You'll want to see everyone you can, and no one at all. You'll experience an insane desire to connect with people and a deep disappointment when you realize NO ONE knows what you are dealing with. They'll pretend to care while you pretend that you aren't thinking about the life you just left. You'll both try hard and fail. You'll scheme about going back even though you know you won't. You'll feel both alone and too close to everyone at the same time. If you are me, you'll cry when you see some of your best friends for the first time. You'll be happy and sad and confused and inexplicably angry at times. And you'll be tired.

And then you'll call me. Because I'm in the middle of it too, and it's a lonely place.