|Homework time at Kids Club|
You want to take a wild guess as to what I've been telling myself every single day since September 14th..."Casey! You NEED to update your blog!". I constantly think, "oh this is something I should blog about…my family and friends would enjoy hearing about this…I’m taking this picture for the sole purpose of putting it on my blog” and then…crickets. I might have mentioned this before, and many of you know this about me, but I'm a fairly private person. I have always had a small circle of people who I share almost everything with, but outside of those people, there wasn’t much sharing…in person, on the phone, via social media, etc. So obviously, this whole blogging thing (and even posting on Facebook) is a huge adjustment. I don’t want this to be an excuse, but I want to be honest with you. The silence has absolutely nothing to do with not wanting to share with you all. If anything, I have SO much that I do want to share with you that it becomes overwhelming. I’m still trying to figure out a way to break things down and share smaller segments. Anyways….enough about that. Let’s dive right in.
Recently, someone who thought I was in college (typical…and actually, college is a compliment since people usually think I’m 18), asked what I see myself doing once I finish college. I explained that I received my undergrad degree 5.5 years ago (yikes!)…and received my graduate degree after that. I shared my brief experience as a foster care case manager, as well as my 2.5 years as a school social worker. Then, I paused.
I went on to say that I’m doing what I think I always wanted to do…without really knowing it was what I wanted to do. Everything kind of makes sense now. (Cue the tears as I write this…ugh.) I truly love Romania and Veritas and the kids I work with and the culture and so many other things. Sorry for that run-on sentence, but it was necessary. A college friend just left yesterday after visiting for two weeks, which was incredible…and something that will get it’s own blog post very soon. During the first week she was here, she tagged along to my “normal” week. She was able to see the ins and outs of Veritas, which I was beyond proud to share with her. The second week, we traveled to Southern Romania to see the Black Sea…again, more on that later. The point of telling you this is that while I was gone during those few days, I so deeply missed the kids that I work with. I also missed my coworkers and my routine at Veritas, but the kids…I really, really missed the kids.
Kids Club, the program that I work with the most, has gone through some major transitions as it started up this fall. The social worker, who had been there for 12 years (I think), left to start something new in a nearby village. The social assistant, who had worked with the program for about a year, also left. Thankfully, a new social worker, Alina, started right away in September, and she’s done a great job of dealing with the transition! However, Kids Club is the type of program that really needs two workers…who speak fluent Romanian. Without trying to sound prideful, it was great that I returned when I did and was able to help guide Kids Club along at the beginning. Ironically enough, I had the most experience at that time…craziness! But we really needed a second person to partner with Alina. We prayed that God would send the right person to join Kids Club (and the Veritas team)…and I can definitely say that He answered. A few weeks into September, Kinga joined us…and she is fabulous.
Why did I just tell you all of that…because the beginning of Kids Club was HARD. Getting kids into (or even back into) a routine is hard, and we had to do it with two new staff members, new kids in the program (yay!), new schedule, etc. There were days when I had to leave the Kids Club area and go to the bathroom to shed a few tears because it was HARD. Are you getting the fact that it was hard?? Good, because it was. Part of the difficulty for me still revolves around the language. I can understand a good amount of Romanian, but I feel like a broken record in saying that speaking Romanian is still a challenge for me. Obviously, that can make some interactions with kids quite difficult. Discipline was a challenge because I wanted to explain to them why I was disciplining them (in a loving way), but I only knew how to say somewhat negative commands like “no…behave…etc”. Even giving positive encouragement was a challenge because I wanted to say more than “good job…you’re listening well…etc”. I wanted to elaborate.
Now why did I just tell you all of that…because even though it was HARD…I love those kids. Oh man, I love them. When they’re happy or excited or naughty or defiant, I love them. The sweet little faces that sometimes mask the difficult situations they deal with at home…or even don’t mask at all…I want to show Jesus to them. I want them to see that they have someone who will always be there for them in those difficult situations. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it. Ugh the tears again…
Not being at Kids Club last week, and this week (more on that later), has been tough. It’s like another form of being homesick. I’m homesick for the sweet little smiles that greet me in the afternoons. I’m homesick for the little voices that say “Bună ziua…Ce faci Casey?”. I’m homesick for the little hands that grab mine as we walk to lunch. I’m homesick for the little eyes that look up at me with a question when we’re working on homework. I’m homesick for the same little eyes that beam with pride when they excitedly show me the craft they’re working on. I’m enjoying the present right now, but I’m also really looking forward to the future…and being reunited with my kids.