Yes, I’m in Romania now. My world tour has come to a pause in this beautiful country full of flavor. By the time I arrived here my language also was flavorful. No, not the distasteful kind but one of a muddle of languages – English, American Sign Language, Spanish, Tagalog, Filipino Sign Language, Finnish, Finnish Sign Language, maybe some International Sign Language, and starting to learn Romanian. At the start, to say “Thank you!” I said “Salamat po….danke…..kiitos….*signed thank you*…gracias….mercí…..emmmm, mulțumesc!” Thankfully, my brain has settled into just English, Spanish, and Romanian. 🙂
I spent the first two weeks in learning survival travel in my new home. After buying a map, I learned the tram routes and can figure out which line goes where. I’ve also enjoyed long walks to the stores and learning the city on foot. Oh, the diversity of the architecture!
The day after arriving, I joined one of my mentors in daily hour-long Romanian lessons with Ada, a Romanian colleague. A lot of my time was spent listening to the previous lessons recorded by my mentor and documenting them.
Other time was spent in playing Dominion after lunch for down time and learning administration tasks. Add into that daily living – I forgot that going to the store takes longer overseas. One walks to the market and goes to the different stands. Or walks further to go to the store where you browse each aisle because you don’t yet know the language to read the aisle signs or food labels.
My last week before my mentors leave for the US for one month is spent with Ada in her home town. What a wonderful experience. Hearing Romanian daily and actively listening to understand, I’ve started to get better at understanding. Spanish is helping me understand how verbs are conjugated (something foreigners apparently don’t understand quickly) and the order of sentence structure. I’ve been sitting with Ada each day as she sells cactus at the Botanical Garden and am starting to pick up topics of conversation. So exciting! Plus, it’s fun to watch Ada puff up with pride and excitement as I start understanding. 🙂
I will say my mind has turned to mush a couple of times and I am quite tired. Haha! During one church service, while Ada was translating, I started to feel myself nod off. So tiring listening to English AND Romanian at the same time to try to learn more of the language.
Now that I returned to Oradea I will be on my own for a month. Thankfully, I’ve made one friend at church and the Romanian directors of the Org have invited me to visit as well as will try to find me language helpers.
So, you may still be asking why this trip? Why not straight to Africa? Well, I can now see how God has allowed me various opportunities to be a part of different Deaf cultures and see how sign languages are different. And in learning Romanian and understanding Romanian culture I will hopefully be able to better relate to my Romanian teammates in Africa. God is good, and life is good!