It was a very emotional morning leaving Buchuresti. I was sent off with a 400 RON fine from customs because I didn’t have a visa, but I was relieved to make it to my flight on time. I boarded the plane with a big sigh and eyes welling up with tears, overwhelmed by the fact that I was actually leaving Romania. One of the questions from the customs officer dealing with me was “when will you be returning to Romania?” I said “I don’t know,” to which he responded, “You never plan on coming back?” I regretted whatever I had implied but I really don’t know if I will be back in Romania. The more I meditated on it, the more I realized I grew closer to the other eight girls I was studying with rather than the Romanian people or Romanian culture. Romania came alive when I experienced it with the NWC girls, my sisters, and when they were suddenly gone Romania was not the same sparkling, novel land of the unknown that it was with them around.
I am almost convinced that making a fool of yourself is a requirement if you really want to make the most of what life gives you in each new day, and NWC girls, this is one of the many things you taught me. However, I’m still working on the making a fool of myself part. Ice skating in Ciesmigiu, aka Lovers, Park was an example in itself: Kadie was eager to learn some tricks like learning to skate backwards or even the basics of learning to stop, and as a result, or maybe just because of her overflowing enthusiasm, she wiped out twice, once on her back and once a complete face plant. I, on the other hand, was hesitant to try any new moves on the rink because I risked making a fool of myself and falling. Who had more fun? Kadie did for sure. She relinquished any inhibitions and had a lovely time, I think, even if part of it was laughing at herself laid out on the ice. She said she would have felt better if I had fallen, and I think I would have felt better too if I had fallen. I will continue to be inspired by these girls, even in their absence. I don't think I've felt so loved as I did by them.
I'm only in my first day back home and nothing significant has happened yet. I haven't seen any friends yet, only my parents and the Burmese student who is staying with us. My parents and I talked a lot on the drive home from the airport but nothing too deep. I was amazed at the variety of foods in the kitchen- the "Country Style" eggnog, the chocolate-covered pretzels, real lettuce, and my favorite chai tea- it was pure bliss at breakfast time. I've found it a bit depressing being back home where it's a bit lonely, and I don't feel motivated to go out and get into American life again. I find myself analyzing my thoughts and actions to see whether I've really changed at all, trying to measure how in Romania I was. However, I know this is stupid because I'm not going to see the changes manifested right before my eyes, but the changes are internal and will gradually manifest themselves in relationships over time. I want my friends and people at church to see that Romania changed me. I desperately want to hold on to everything that happened to me in Romania and I don't want to move on yet, although I know it's inevitable.
Here's to my eight sisters at NWC. You girls taught me how to love deeper and that life is better when you can make a fool of yourself, among many other lessons. Va iubesc mult!