April 5, 2015

First Impressions

Clock Tower in the Citadel - Sighisoara, Romania

I've had this blog post open for about a week now. I have a lot to say, but I'm still getting the hang of this whole blogging thing. As many people know, sharing about my personal life is not one of my favorite things. I consider myself to be a pretty private person so updating a blog regularly is a new challenge for me. However, I hope to post at least once a week. We shall see...

Lindsey and I enjoying afternoon coffee at Dorothy and Roberta's home in the citadel.
I have been in Romania for a little over 2 weeks. To sum it up...So far so good! I was very tempted to end the blog post like that, but I'm not THAT mean! Things really have been going well though. My host family is fabulous. The family I'm staying with has 6 daughters! Only one still lives in the home so I kind of have a little sister here in Romania. I've been very blessed to overlap with an Olivet social work student (Lindsey) who is also staying with this host family. She has been a tremendous help during my transition into a new country, host family, language, etc! She actually leaves this week so it'll be another time of transition, but it'll be good.

Kids' Club...singing and dancing

Teen program...game time!

The organization I'm volunteering with, Veritas, is also fabulous. Apparently, I'm a fan of the word fabulous today. As you read in my support letter, among other places/conversations, Veritas offers social services, educational programs, and community outreach. I've been working mostly with the social services portion, which includes programs for preschool, kids, teens, special needs, elderly, and domestic violence. I've been spending the most time with the kids program, which is broken up into younger (Kind-4th) and older (5th-8th) kids. It's kind of like what we would consider an after school program with fun, games, homework help, food, and so much more. Aside from helping with the regular kids program, I've been working with the social worker on a big brother/big sister type of project. There's a group of high school students who volunteer with Veritas...some of them have been volunteering for awhile and others are new. They have each been paired with one of the older kids (5th-8th) as a mentor. It's been great getting to observe the bonding between the pairs, and working with the high school students on understanding the role of a mentor. I'm excited to continue with the project! I've spent a few days with the teen program as well, which has been great. They have lessons, social activities, English classes, etc. The two leaders of that group, like all of the Veritas staff, have amazing hearts and really love the teens in the program. It's always great to work alongside people who truly care for the ones they serve.

Language practice
I'm utilizing the educational programs, as I've been taking Romanian language classes. I'm slowly, but surely picking up some Romanian. I can count with confidence...everything else is a work in progress! There are also some programs for teens within the educational programs. One is called It Takes Courage, which teaches teens about the importance of having good character. There's also a Ceai & Chat program, which is a regularly scheduled social event full of fun! I've been able to participate in Ceai & Chat a little bit, and hopefully I'll become more involved with It Takes Courage over the next few weeks.

As far as the community outreach programs, I've utilized the International Cafe a few times...aka COFFEE. It's the cutest environment, and I foresee many afternoons spent reading and sitting both inside and outside. They also sell handmade crafts and offer tours in the summer months.

For more info on Veritas...click here.

I'll also be working with the church, of course, but I don't know my role in that area just yet. I'm still figuring out what my normal routine will be (even with Veritas), but I'll keep you posted! I anticipate upcoming blog posts about the beautiful scenery, Monday Night Suppers, etc! 

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