Friday, October 31, 2008


Some of you know that one of my awesome callings out here is Activities Coordinator and so I got to plan the Halloween this party for the Branch and it turned out so awesome!! I was stressed all week and not sure what everyone expected but like every other activity the people here just make it what it is which is always a good time and a party! We had pumpkins to carve, apples to bob, people to wrap in toilet paper, face painting, food to eat and memories to be made and they were! It was a wonderful time and I am glad that I get to be a part of this branch. Oh, and a heads up, I will be in Budapest for the next week so my blog will be pretty bare until I get back but when I do I am sure I will have a lot to say! Oh, and I got my wallet back with everything in it, besides the money of course, but everything else and it is a huge relief...I got my identity back!!!!

Branch President and Elder Hardman with the pumpkins

YAY!!! I discovered I am no good at this, but if we had an eating contest I so would have won

Team Epic carving a pumpkin!

Check out those saweet boots!! I was a cowgirl....I know not very original but I do not have much to work with

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tram Ride

Every other day out here I take the tram at least twice a day and sometimes that turns out to be around 10-12 tram rides a week, give or take. I feel like this is the time when I really witness the culture and how things are done with the people. I have seen all kinds of people on these trips but today something really hit me.

I was with Rhett and this guy got on the tram and was looking pretty homeless and drunk. My first feeling was just sympathy for this man and the hard life he must lead. Then, he sat down across from us, and mind you this is at 8:30 in the morning, and pulled out his 2 liter bottle of beer and started to drink it. As I watched, smelled and observed the beer starting to run down his neck a lot of things came to my mind all at once. Again, sympathy that this man turns to beer in hopes that he will feel better. The next immediate feeling was the gratitude that I have for being raised in a home and environment where drinking is discouraged. I am so glad that I do not have the dependency on beer or any kind of alcohol, and since alcoholism runs so strongly in the family blood it would probably be a bad idea. Last, is my feeling of gratitude that I did not grow up in a home where either of my parents would return drunk or start off their mornings that way. I am just so grateful for our healthy lifestyle and because of this I know that my family has been blessed with more laughter, smiles and love in our home and relationships. So, thank you to Mom and Dad and to their parents who raised them just as well as they have raised me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cookies. McDonald's and Memories!!

The last week and a half has been very interesting. I spent 3 days of it cleaning and ironing everything I own to make sure I won't get scabies again. As of now I still have the bumps from where the scabies are but underneath are dead bugs...gross! I was not allowed to go to work for 4 days which was killer. I was so bored! In that time I got a lot of schoolwork done and caught up on all my t.v. series that I have been missing:) I also learned something that service really does bring something to special into your life that can not even really be described in words. In those 4 days that I was not allowed to go work I found reasons to be depressed, and thus an excuse to eat a lot, and was not even sure why. I found myself thinking about home way too much. On saturday I decided to go to the hospital and play with some of the kids there that don't have families. It was amazing how just three hours of serving others brought to me so much joy and happiness that I was on a high the rest of the day and into Sunday. I cannot imagine the withdrawals I will be going through when I come home. I even got a lil taste of what it is going to be like when these kids are not a part of my life anymore and man I am going to miss them.

Oh, and I made some really good friends with this one room in the Hospital. A boy named Paradu is from the orphanage for the older kids and had to have half of his leg amputated (the only thing I could understand when I asked why was something about bad blood). Anyway, he is a cute kid and there are about 8 other boys in that room and they are an interesting crowd. For an 1 1/2 I play card games, color, throw balls around and try to talk to them in Romanian. Today, however, they asked me to teach them English, that was fun.

On Sunday I got to teach primary! Sister Doina's family came and right after Sacrament Meeting her two kids, Pati and Stefan, ran up and gave me a huge hug. It was the funnest two hours ever! We sang songs, played Bula Bula, hang man, read stories from the Book of Mormon, colored and played with cars. Pretty much out here I just get to be a kid again and it is so much fun! I love having an imagination again and just loving everything about life. For my second calling I have been preparing and getting ready for the Branch Halloween Party this friday. I am excited for it and I hope it will be really successful.

At Dancu today I saw a lot of progress with the kids. We are working a lot with them on their counting and hand eye coordination and it has been great. I will fill you in more when I need to write another novel cuz I think this one is long enough!

Closest I can get to a good burger...and after 10 years of refusing to eat here the whole living in a 2nd world country made me give in!

Mom!! Thank you for the cookies! Look at that says it all!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Pet

I did the treatment so the scabies should be gone in a couple of days. It is weird to think I have dead bugs under my skin. On a better note I wanted to share with you all a pet of ours. We have not come up with a name for her yet but there is an owl that sits outside of our kitchen window across the way and is so purty! If you have any suggestions let me know!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Alas, I have unfortunately been blessed with the experience of having scabies! For those of you who do not know what it is let's start with a picture:
So, all over the inside of my body I have these lil bugs crawling around and living off of my skin. It sounds really gross and if you want to know more you can go to It looks gross and sounds pretty gross but really all I can see are small mosquito bites all over my body, but they don't go away without a special medicine and they spread pretty quick. The itch like crazy too. I have had some nights when I woke up because my body was so itchy that it could not be ignored. This is because, according to my good friend wikipedia, nightime is when these bugs surface.......yeah gotta love the experiences I am having here.

I am not allowed to go to the orphanage until I do the special treatment because it can spread pretty easily. Today I have been home washing all of my clothes, sheets, pillows, towels and anything else that has touched my body and then I have to iron everything inside and out to make sure all the scabies that could still be living in them are dead. That is about it, I think after this I have experienced everything I possibly could over here....throwing up all night, awful cold that lingered for about a week, my wallet got stolen and now scabies.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Kids

I got a couple of pictures of some of the kids that I work with every week at the orphanage and wanted to share them with you....keep in mind these are only 3 of the man that I am with but I love them all and wish I had pictures of them all.

This is Claudia, just so cute! I spend 3 mornings a week with her.
This is Ghiorcel, he has autism and the best laugh/smile ever! He is in the same apartment as Claudia and so I see him 3 times a week too. There is one other girl, Mihaela, in this apartment but I was not able to get a picture of her.
RADU!!! He is in isolation in the orphanage and I only get to see him twice a week. This is an old picture so he is a lot bigger now but still in pretty bad condition. He loves to laugh and babble!
You may remember Pamela, well she was in the hospital, was sent home and now is back. I have been trying to get more details on her but no one seems to know. I am not sure if she is an orphan or if her mom just cannot afford to be with her in the hospital. All the same it has been bittersweet having her back. Yesterday we took a 1 hour nap together and spent the last hour playing.
This is Alexandra. Rachel and I painted her nails pink yesterday and she was so excited! She is a cutie and a lot of fun to play with. She loves having pretend phone calls and showing us her x-rays of her leg.
This is just a small introduction..there are plenty more and I could talk about them all for hours on end but I will save that for when I come home!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sfanta Parascheva Festival/Iasi Days

As most of you know from my last post on Gypsies my wallet was gyped as was my Saturday night which was suppose to be my night out in the town to enjoy the festival, shop and try some authentic foods was stolen as well. I got lucky that I am here with amazing people who all pitched in to give me some money so that I could get my whole Festival day experience in! So, yesterday was the day for me to make up for lost time. I am going to start by putting up pictures of all the food that I consumed yesterday, and for those of you that have weak stomachs you may not want to look because you will be so disgusted with everything that I ate! But here goes....

It all started here...look at all that meat!! Oh, and as a disclaimer the day before I barely ate anything to get ready for this day of bingeing and I only had a yogurt for breakfast.
Not just 1 but 2 plates of food!! One was a chicken Kebab with fries, the other Oaie (lamb) with an order of fries....and a water to wash it all down!
This is how crowded Iasi is during the Festival, especially on the last night with the concert
Gogosi (donuts) with chocolate and rasberry sauce...and I got the smaller portion to save some room for everything else.
Kurtos....Amazing!!!! My favorite dessert out here as of NOW! It is bread cooked over coals and it is hollow in the middle but you can get all different kinds...cinnamon, chocolate, coconut, nuts etc but they are all covered in sugar and deliciousness and are best warm right off the grill thing!
Some of my friends out here squished at the concert!
The Cotton Candy Man and I
Swedish Singer
Ribs, Huge Sausage, Bread and Mustard
CHURROS!! The closest to mexican I will ever get out here! Comes with chocolate sauce and a sweet tomato sauce. Oh, and let's not forget the 2 cokes I had to keep me going.
Fireworks...This was the best firework show I have ever been to!! It was incredible!

I do believe that that is all..or I sure hope so cuz it was a lot. The best part about the whole "food" experience is that at the end of the day I was not sick at all and did not have to drink a whole bottle of tums like I was expecting.

Monday, October 13, 2008


The word "gyped' originated from the bad reputation of the gypsies, or some may say good reputation depending on where their morals lie. One of the few countries that gypsies originate from is being lucky me I got to experience not only being "gyped" but being "gyped" by the founders of the word. Sadly, I had all my money in my wallet that they stole because that day I took almost all the money out of my account due to an amazing exchange rate that everyone was afraid we would not see again out here with our economy slowly drowning. Anyways, I got to experience being robbed for the first time, and I even saw the girls and should have just grabbed them but something held me back like fear or shock...but my Dad being the awesome man he is made me feel better when he said "you just made their week and now they will be able to eat for the next 2 months; so really, you did something Christlike without even knowing." But the joke is on him because now he needs to give me money:) On the bright side I got to ride in a police van with like 5 other cops and talk to a detective lady who specializes in the gypsy theft.

This is the scene of the crime...darn gypsies...jk I am not racist just a lil mad
On a good note Saturday we took a trip up into the mountains to see the beautiful!!! And it was refreshing to get out of the city and go somewhere quiet and serene. These are only a few pictures.

And we stopped at a mini zoo/bison reserve....I don't know about you but that fence does not look like it would hold these fellas in if they really got mad.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This One Goes Out To The Woman Who Gave Birth To Me!

Mom, I told you I would save the best for you and here it is:

It may not look like much but these meal for less the $4 can fill you up for at least 3 hours and it is filled with deliciousness!! (Chicken or beef, fries, ketchup, mayo, lettuce, cucumbers on warm pita bread! and some other stuff that I am not sure what it is)

So I
An awesome
Oh so fun
Madre whom I
Adore and love!
Drum Roll Please......TA DA!! I almost bought the whole platter in Honor of you Mom but I figured you would have told me otherwise so I took a picture instead. I get my sweet tooth from Dad but I get my good taste in desserts from you...and Dad (just in case he reads this:)
I love you Mom and Dad and thank you both for all that you have done and continue to do for me!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just An Update...

I am just going to post some pictures and captions to give you a lil update on this week...I am too tired to actually write something deep, thoughtful or witty:)

Gelato just never gets old...especially when it is only 90 cents a scoop!

Rhett and I bought two different fruits at the Piata (market) that we have never seen or had before....this one is called Gutui and don't ask me what it is because even after eating it we could not figure it out. It was like a mix between an apple and pear, but too hard to really eat and it gave my mouth a lil numb at first.
This is a smochime....and I had no idea what it was but it was very delicious and then Rhett being the educated guy he is told me it was a fig, so it was not as exotic as I thought.
This is what the weather has been like most of my time here. We has sun and blue skies for a few days last week but it left as quickly as it came. Sad day. But it can make for a pretty picture.

While most of you back home were eating brunch between general conference sessions Rachel, Alicia and I were at the Romanian Music Awards!! It was so rad! I was way crowded and they set it up in front of the Palace of Culture, which I thought was appropriate. I got to see N.O.H.A perform, which is the only Romanian band that I am slightly familiar with. It was amazing and so fun. As you can see I am in my scrubs because at the time I thought I was just going to be sleeping between sessions but they talked me out of it. I ride on the tram at least 12 times a week to get to and from work and we see this sign everytime and it just gave me a chuckle...I mean come on No Smoking, so lame!
This is Lori, a boy at the hospital that has the most adorable laugh and loves to play the "unde" game with me and the balloon.
That is lil chubby baby!
So, as you can see I am still just enjoying my time here and trying to make the most out of it and try new things. It has been a lot of fun and if you want to see anymore pictures I have a lot on my facebook.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Last night was different from most. I went with the Sister Missionaries to Sister Doina's a little history on her, she is a single mother of three and a member. Her youngest is 8 months old and was premature. This pregnancy was a difficult one and ever since her daughter has had a lot of health problems due to being premature, and they do not have the money for the surgeries. So, you can imagine that is has been difficult for her and her children to make it to church. I went with the Sisters because I am in charge of Primary and they are hoping that they kids will encourage their mom to go more if they know me and like me. Well, it seemed to work. We had a great dinner with them, played lots of games, Paty (9 year old daughter) loved playing with my hair, and then Doina (the mom) shared her testimony with me and her conversion story. It was so sweet and the spirit was so strong that I could not help but get chocked up and just have a huge burst of gratitude for this church and my testimony! They said they were going to come to church today but this morning there was a huge thunder storm and so much rain that by the time I got to church it was as if I just got out of a pool, but anyways, the storm prevented a lot of members from making it today. I will just pray for good weather next Sunday so that they will make it.

Last night I also got my first proposal from one of Doina's neighbors. She came over to bring dessert and saw me and right away told me how beautiful I was, told me I was a diamond and perfect....I won't lie I was feeling pretty good at this point! Then she went home and came back with pictures of her son who is in Italy becoming a chef and kept calling me "nora" which is daughter-in-law. Then she stayed for an hour just trying to convince me to stay in Romania and marry her son, it was very entertaining. Mom and Dad I might just come home with a Romanian, Italian chef for a husband:)

Oh and Katie, a girl in our group who I totally love and have become really great friends with, is experiencing a lot of health problems right now. She apparently has two blood clots in her left leg and they are trying to get her to Vienna to stabilize it but it looks like she is going to have to go back to the States to get the treatment she really needs. I am going to miss her so so much and please remember her in your prayers.

One more Doina's she asked me to say the prayer at dinner and I said it in ROMANIAN!!! It was the best feeling ever and I really hope that I can just keep practicing and improving on my language skills.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sick Day

There are so many ironies in life and one for me is that yesterday I was going to write a post about how I have not been sick at all since being in Romania and how I pride myself with the strong stomach I have.....well around 10:00 last night I started to not feel so hot so I postponed the post. It was a good thing too because last night and this morning the toilet and I became very close friends! So, next time I think about what I am going to write on my post it is going to be how I have never had a million dollars before in my bank account and see what happens:)

But on a nice note here is a pretty picture of the church across the street from my apartment!