November 4, 2016

Currently: Romanian Edition Part VI

Hello all! I'm writing this to you after an unusually low-key Friday. These Currently posts are my favorite because I like to think that they help give you a sneak peek into my "normal", every day life. Enjoy!

Reading: Sadly, I have not been reading as much as I would like to be these days. However, the book that I'm slowly working my way through is Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. I'm really enjoying the way that Lysa takes her personal stories (specifically, her personal rejections) and turns them into something her readers can learn from. It's quite lovely, and a good example of how powerful our personal stories can be.

I'm also trying to read more in Romanian, which is how I justified buying myself a magazine the other day. It's kind of fun because 1. I love magazines and 2. I'm learning all kinds of new vocabulary that I'll probably rarely use. Either way, it's a fun way to change things up in Romanian!

Eating: Sunflower seeds!!! Even before coming to Romania, I LOVED sunflower seeds. The David seeds are my favorite, in case you were wondering. I tend to eat sunflower seeds until my mouth is raw from all of the salt. THAT'S how much I love sunflower seeds. Upon arriving in Romania, I quickly learned that they also love sunflower seeds. Romania is one of the world's largest sunflower seed exporters, and sunflower seed oil is used a lot in cooking here. Two fun facts for you. Anyways, after a few failed attempts at finding good seeds, a friend told me which brand to buy (Nutline) and I've never looked back! I thought about posting a photo of the bowl of shells sitting next to me, but I figured that's taking things a bit too far. You're welcome.

Thinking about: I've been thinking a lot about the fact that in March, I will have been living in Romania for 2 years, which completely blows my mind. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but I can't help it. When I first came to Romania, I had no idea how long #CBtakesRomania would last. I always felt that it was not a short term thing, but obviously I didn't know how it would all work out. I also didn't know how it could possibly be a long-term thing, mostly related to the financial side of things. But here I am, marveling at the fact that God has provided for me for 598 days...and counting. Now, let me be real for a second too though. I have difficult days and weeks, and sometimes I wonder how He can possibly continue to provide for me (again, financially), but I have to trust that since I continue to feel called, He will continue to provide. 

Listening: I almost said nothing because I was thinking specifically about music. I've been in a bit of a music funk lately, as I've gotten a bit bored with I'm open to any and all suggestions. 

However, I have to sneak Gilmore Girls into this post somehow so here it is. I tend to have GG playing in the background when I'm at home working on various tasks on my computer. Whether I'm sending emails to social work students who are coming in January through the Romanian Studies Program or looking up ideas for Kids' Club or blogging, GG is always on in the background. Half of the time, I catch myself with the Netflix tab open...sitting and staring at the screen, quoting every word. Even though I've seen each episode over and over (and over) again, I can't help but get sucked into the lives of "those adorable Gilmore girls"!

Watching: I thought I was going to have to give the same answer that I always give, but I am actually (and currently) watching the 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series Parade live feed in Chicago!!!! I am so thankful for the internet during weeks like this one. The day after Game 7, I woke up to post after post after post on Facebook, which I usually HATE! I constantly say that I wish there was a way to hide all sports related posts, BUT on that particular morning, I could not have enjoyed those posts more. 

I love how this win means so much for every Cubs fan. Growing up, I watched games with my dad and/or listened to him hoot and holler at the TV while playing in another room. As I got older, we started going to games at Wrigley each summer. Sappy moment alert...I'm not the biggest sports fan, but I love how sports can bring people together. Whenever I'm at a game, or watching one on TV, I always think about the fact that some of the people would probably not get along under normal circumstances. But there we are, together, putting aside our differences, gathering for one cause, and Hi-5ing each other along the way. It's so lovely.

Loving: Tuesdays and Wednesdays. These are the two days of my week that I still reserve for Kids' Club. I don't lead as many activities as I did in the past, but I'm still very much apart of the program. And while I love the program and being with the staff and ALL of the kids, there is one extra special part of my Tuesdays and Wednesdays. After the lesson/activity of the day, I spend some time with one of the boys in the program. He is 11 years old, and just the sweetest thing ever. For whatever reason, God placed him on my heart very early on and for that, I am so thankful. We do homework together, he teases me when I mispronounce Romanian words, we play games, I show him pictures of my family and friends, we talk about school, etc. I could go on and on about how special this boy is and the fun that we have, but I think you get the point. 

About to get real honest again for a moment, which seems to be my new thing lately. Also, about to cry, which is not a new thing :) Sometimes, I have moments when I feel like I'm not doing enough here in Romania. I feel like you all continue to support and encourage me, and I'm not doing as much as I should be. It's very easy for me to get caught in the comparison trap sometimes. I hear about things that other volunteers or missionary-types are doing, both here in Romania and around the world, and I feel like a failure. 

BUT, then an amazing friend texts me (in a conversation about the 11 year old boy I just mentioned) and says, "You're making such a positive impact on his life...all of the little things add up", which brings me back to reality. She's right! All of the little things do add up, which is something that I've always been a firm believer in, but sometimes forget. The "big things" aren't bad, but they're just not really my style. As an introvert, I've always been more of a behind the scenes kind of person, and I have to remind myself that those people are needed just as much as the front, center stage type of people. 

So while I may not have these riveting, emotion invoking stories to tell you about what I'm doing in Romania, I can tell you about the little things that I am doing and how I've seen positive change because of those little things. Whether it's teaching a lesson on empathy that teenagers continue to talk about almost a year later PLUS seeing a few of them truly implementing empathy in their every day lives...or watching that 11 year old boy develop friendships, which were very rare last year...or seeing a coworker feel and act more empowered after an encouraging conversation...I know that I am making a difference. Even more than that, in those moments, I am humbled by the fact that I'm not really doing anything, but rather, God is doing these things through me. Maybe that was just a little pep talk that I needed to give myself after a challenging week, but I hope you can appreciate it as well. 

All of that to say...Do the little things. They add up.

I first saw the "Currently" feature on Sometimes Sweet, which is one my absolute favorite blogs. Just giving credit where credit is due. 

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