5 years ago, after spending a whole winter in Romania

When life is a blur, go on a journey and you’ll gain perspective

We just got back in sunny California, after almost three months of wandering around on the other side of the world. It was hard and it was beautiful. I wouldn’t change these months for anything in the world. I had forgotten how it is to embrace my discomfort, how to forget about myself and serve and love others… just for the joy of it. I love my people. I love the friends I have in Romania. I love what they teach me unknowingly.

The girls showed me again how to see life for what it is, ugly and beautiful, with a pinch of irony, not analyzing at every step what went well, what went wrong, how can we improve. Life is a dance that needs structure and technique, but when the music is on and the lights are on the dance floor, you just flow into the rhythm of it all. Admit when it’s hard but don’t dwell on pity. Love and forgive, and in uncertainty inspire peace in others. I just hope and pray that I won’t forget all this too soon.

One amazing thing that I learned on this journey was not to stress for a few good long weeks. I don’t do a better job by stressing. I still care about things even when I decide not to worry sick. (Please scold me if when you ask how am I doing I answer that I’m stressed.)I don’t know when or if I stopped being myself, but I remembered why my friendships back home are so true and so fulfilling. We welcomed disagreement and difference of opinions among ourselves. We reassured ourselves of our love and friendship, but we stayed true to our beliefs and inner voice. We abandoned ourselves to God, and trusted Him. We listened to others and we all had a voice. When we were a mess, we cried together, shaking of the dust afterwards and moving on. I learned again that friends are not burdens, but they are welcomed and loved with joy and selflessly.

Irony towards life, towards the hard things in life lift up the spirit. But so often I see irony directed towards people… and that’s sad.

I wanted to go to Romania this winter to see my baby nephew Luca and to spend a lot of time with my parents… aaand to play in the snow. And so I did. My parents comforted us, spoiled us, loved us like only parents know how to. And I know we brought them joy through our presence in their home. My mom and I talked so much about everything, big things and little things… and it was nice to have time to spend on small talk. And she never complained about how hard life was or is… and the power of example is the ultimate gift from her to me. Also, it was amazing to see my dad doing what he knows best how to do. It has been 7 years since I left my parents’ home for good, first to go to University and then when I got married. I just felt and realized how safe my dad has made me feel in my childhood and adolescence. I took it for granted, and he offered it freely, not even knowing how amazing he is.

One may feel odd asking for a particular proof of sacrificial love, and it didn’t cross my mind to ask for one, but Conrad’s coming to Romania to spend so much time with my family reinforced his dedication to loving me unconditionally. In the States I have been doing my very best in working hard, not complaining about stuff, adapting to his family and culture, being his best friend… the challenge for him was to spend a very cold winter in a foreign country, and adapt to not complaining, communicating with my family, trying to see our marriage from the other side too. And he is very willing to learn.

I have lots of thoughts going through my head, renewed perspectives and attitude towards life. Live on purpose, live joyously, live freely and courageously, so help me God!