Mostly just thoughts simmering, these days. There's so much to process, so much that's being observed and sifted through and it's hard to step into in a way that doesn't portray it as miscellany. But that's how things seem to be stringing together lately, and so I'm writing about puzzle pieces, praying about them, waiting for the picture to be completed.
I realized while writing that last sentence that there's probably no better way to describe this process of language learning. And it is one tremendous process. The Romanian language is beautiful and complicated, and every time I feel like I'm starting to get a good grip it manages to wriggle out of my hands. But it's exhilarating--if often frustrating and demanding of patience--to run after to it, to wrestle with it, to slowly begin to master bits and pieces. And to know people a little more in their language, to have a conversation with a student and hear straight from her heart and understand. The truth is that I don't expect this language to ever be anything other than wily and I think if I speak it the rest of my life it'll still be that way, but that part is fun, and I do hope that if I communicate anything it's how amazing it is to be doing all of this.
This Saturday I did indeed play volleyball with some people from OSCEB and I would like to say that currently both arms from the elbows down look like beat-up Russian butcher arms, like hams. No, that's gross, too explicit, too masculine. And I hope you made some kind of face when you read it. But they are black and blue and swollen--that's another constant since I've been here, covered in bruises, heh. We played for four hours, longer for the others as I got lost and meandered my way through two gigantic parks in the sunshine until I found them. There's something to physical activity when your brain is tired, though. I understand you when you tell me mai in spate or (ne??) schimbam and even your mischief about smecherie and I can respond in a language that isn't English or Romanian but the one going on in our heads. (With that I'm treading on some shifting ground--I've been reading _The Language Instinct_ and it's got some interesting things to say about all that.) Anyway, it's more manageable, it's a good balance to the intricacies of Romanian. And hey, it was awesome when our team won about five times in a row with nearly all the girls, holler.
The relational side of all this has been incredibly blessed as well. Getting to know my roommate and old friends here more, being a part of a small group. Something I've been thinking about the last few weeks is vulnerability. I ended up skyping for three hours with my lovely Colombian roommate in the States and talked about the sort of things that so easily pull my focus from God, that make me ''prone to wander,'' and here I find the inclination more than usual, as expected. I am foremost thankful for a friend that God is still using some 5,000 miles away.
The thought returns here, though, because my life is surely in this place. And these people that I'm beginning to know: is it too soon to be open? How open can I be? Normally, in the States anyway, I'd jump right in, always more likely to err on the over-share, and if you're reading this you probably already know that. Buuh. But there's a sense of the need to appear righteous, holy. While I've been told this was something to expect in the communities of which I am a part here, I realized while praying that maybe it's me as well. I'll just say now that I don't know enough about the culture to be making any sweeping generalizations, but even if it has some validity, and it seems to have some, it makes no difference if I'm holding back as well. If I am afraid of looking unqualified, of being 'too sinful' to do this job.
Let's save the suspense and cut straight to it: I am. As surely as anyone I know, even the most 'righteous.' "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Tim. 1:15-17) So I will reach my hand toward yours (I will try!) and I hope you will take mine, and the good news is that it doesn't end here. The old has gone, the new has come! And we are daily being made new--so when I find myself looking backward, distracted, maybe instead of pretending, I can say, look! And we will call each other again and again to God in love. It's why I'm here. And fear has nothing to do with it.
I'm not sure where this falls within the realm of cultural adjustment, except that there are different pressures here than in Wilmington, but I am thankful to say that that process is on the whole going smoothly, going well. And for that I thank you for your prayers! Will soon be joining some evangelistic Bible studies with some of the other leaders and students, about which I am very excited. Can't wait to update. And if by some miracle you made it all the way this far, thanks for reading. :)
Also, look what opportunities await me--thank you, Google, ever astute: