If you ever wondered what jumping into a whole new culture and language is like, let me describe it to you in one short story:
First let me say that I've been learning a ton of Romanian, and it's really difficult but coming along quite quickly (and everyone has had lots of encouraging things to say about it!). That said, I'm still really limited in what I can say. So all the last two weeks at the ski camp I've felt a lot like a little baby who can't say much or understand much.
That in mind, on the first day of skiing when we left the slope, I had boots with me to change into while waiting for another bus to come get us. Now apparently I do not take ski boots off quickly enough, because one of our instructors and someone I work with in OSCER decided that it needed to be done for me. So they grabbed my boots, and here we are on an icy sidewalk on the side of a mountain in Romania and I'm getting dragged across the ice by my feet. Haha, whoops!
I can hardly communicate, people are dressing and undressing me! It's like being a baby all over again. It's been wonderful, though, and very challenging.
Something I realized a few days into the first camp: I was getting frustrated because in small group discussions I couldn't really contribute the way I normally would, couldn't have in-depth conversations. And it occurred to me how much I rely on that, how much I have in the past. It made me think of that quote by Francis Chan about trying to be the Holy Spirit to people. But of course I can contribute (ba da!). And perhaps more so than on my own: I've been praying for people like crazy these last weeks because there's really not much that I'd normally do that I can do yet, and it's been wonderful to see how God answers prayer, how he moves. And of course it's one of the most important things I can be doing. Thankful and certainly humbled.
So, more stories to come. And hopefully soon.