Last week sucked. Let's just be honest. There's something depressing about this place--I don't notice it all the time, but there is a real heaviness here. And plus, I miss my family, I miss my friends. It's all just sort of hit at once.
So sometime last week, feeling miserable and feeling generally sorry for myself, I prayed about playing. About the sorts of shenanigans we took part in as students and how depressing it is to never (should say not often, I suppose) be able to just delight in--in what, life? I don't know. Talking about having fun and playing and being thankful for being alive. Not that they don't do that here. Ah, it's coming out all wrong! Anyway, I prayed about all this and it probably made about this much sense. Luckily God understands me better than I do.
The first part of one of the weirdest answers to prayer here:
We were at a short student conference this weekend and the first night we were playing games. Then we played a new one and, let me tell you, it was a blast. You tie two people's legs together like a three-legged race and they have to run across the room together but only one of them can take the object they're racing toward and that person has to somehow get it back to the other side of the room without the other person getting it from them. Somebody volunteered Horace. For all who don't know, Horace is my stuffed dinosaur. Don't judge. He's a good pillow (and a good dinosaur).
Well, it took about two minutes into the first race and... Horace got his leg ripped clean off. Truth: I never thought I would be happy to see my poor dinosaur dismembered, but I laughed so hard I ended sprawled out on the floor for five minutes. And felt so much better. Currently Horace is being operated on and the hope is that he'll have four functioning legs soon. Here's a picture post-amputation:
And since we're on the topic of shenanigans (some of them part of this answered prayer in that, weird as they were, it just cheered me up; others... well, just weird):
A couple of guys stole my rings Saturday afternoon and sometime later that night I noticed one of them was wearing all three and just generally fidgeting with them. Right after I decided I was going to snatch them back from him, he dropped one on accident. Before anyone could do anything, our general secretary had his foot out of his papuci, grabbed the ring with his bare foot, picked it up and put it on the table. With his foot. Just like that. Almost died.
About an hour later I got locked in the bathroom for twenty-some minutes while the people outside tried to break me out and I hung out the window thinking about how I could get to the next window over (the boys' bathroom) without falling to my death. In the end they rescued me. About five minutes later another girl got stuck.
Then today after the retreat was over we went to the center of Sibiu to walk around and see everything. With us was a first-year student who speaks English so well that when we switch from Romanian I completely forget that I'm not talking to a Romanian. No accent at all. It's crazy. And he just learned from cartoons. Anyway, knowing we'd probably run into some foreigners in Sibiu, I told him that if we found any Americans, I bet the two of us could go talk to them and they'd have no idea he wasn't American. Right off the bat I heard a guy speaking English and went up to him and talked for about ten minutes. Turns out he was from North Carolina too! And I called it--he had no idea at all that my friend wasn't American.
And then the just plain weird. Santa Claus was hanging out downtown and as we walked by, our gensec asked him if he stomach was real and, I kid you not, he said, it doesn't matter what's in your stomach, it's what's below it! Dirty old man winked and everything. Half of us stood there gaping while the rest ducked behind kiosks stifling maybe-I-shouldn't-be-laughing-at-this-but-I-can't-help-it laughter. And then he said something I almost wish I could write just because you would not believe it at all, but it's sort of x-rated, we'll say. Santa is a seriously creepy dude. Kind of horrifying that kids were taking pictures with him.
It was a good weekend, though, in general. Still dealing with some things that are really frustrating, but God kept reminding me how much he loves us, how much he gave for us all, how much bigger that is than anything else. How he runs after us even when we're least lovable. So grateful. And put back on my heels. His love really just changes everything. Thankful for that now.
And just because, here's a picture from Sibiu today: