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: Exciting things in my life... We finally got ahold of the medical records for our kids. All of mine are between 2 y. 7 m. and 5 y. 4 m. Today I started volunteering at Centru Maternas which is a place for young mothers who have nowhere else to go to help them get on their feet. A lot of the girls have classes at these certain times so some of us can come and help with the babies. It's fun to work with babies after playing with older kids all day.

Tomorrow we are going on a 10-12 hour trip to visit some monasteries. It's been really warm here and the sun has shown itself for almost two weeks. Ok lots more exciting stuff has happened that that. My little girl (not the one who leaves me with bruises) has started babbling to me. My little violent girl is still violent. They sent us five new kids from Section 1, which is ridiculous because Section 4 is HUGE and we have no room for them. My baby wouldn't walk for me today or yesterday. I was sick all weekend and Monday and Tuesday so I didn't go to work. (as opposed to being sick the past three days and going to work anyway).

In Iasi, if you run out in front of a car, they will stop for you. Semi-trucks (which are only allowed to drive on the street we live on) are a different story. And trams, although a tram stopped for us today. But mostly, even if they come really close, the cars will stop. The problem with this is that if you run out in front of a car in Provo, you get hit. Since we can't cross the street without running out in front of a car here, we're going to get used to it and then all get hit by cars when we get back to Provo. That's what worries me.

BYU paid us back a bunch of money they shouldn't have made us pay in the first place and they paid it back in LEI. So now I have 7 million lei lying around my room again, losing value as we speak. Dumping it into our student accounts is the least they could have done. Where did they get an idea like giving it to us in lei?

Last night the sister missionaries from Bacao stayed in Tatarasi where I was waiting for Kristen to come home from Spitalul and we had nice Americans-in-Romania bonding time. It was good to hear that people think they're crazy too (for coming here). Yesterday I had a woman laugh when I told her I loved being here. Today, this same woman laughed at me when I commented to a baby (in Romanian) that she couldn't sit up by herself. It odd for them I guess that people would come here to help, bother to learn the language, and enjoy doing all of the above.

Well this all sounds like random complaints but really I'm still having a great time. It's nice to be volunteering at the mother's home because then I have something to do besides language and three hours at Section 2. Next week Lacramoiara is getting us the social work records of our kids (what institutions they've been in, what are their families like, etc) as well as asking permission for us to start working in the afternoons and take pictures.

: The other day, my youngest little boy was not only wearing the orange overalls, but the Barbie sweater too! Today Violent Girl was wearing some weird shirt that looked like it had directions for putting together a motorcycle on it. My English is deteriorating and I'm actually getting used to eating bread cheese yogurt and juice for eight meals a day. Just kidding, we eat lots of animal crackers and chio chips cu smantana si ceapa and ciocolata... si sometimes daca we're lucky, we make dinner although I can think of one roommate who would yell at me if she saw I put "we" there.

: I've started thinking in Romanian, which doesn't explain why church is still so hard to understand. Elder Hawkins taught Sunday School this week and I could actually understand most of what he said. I think I really surprised him when I answered a question though. Last night was his birthday and we called him and sang. Actually they called us, but we still sang. I just got back from a baptism, most of which I didn't understand. I think we were all too tired from work to put for the required listening effort. One of the elders was trying to figure out why we were always so tired. Heh. They get home and go to bed and we get home and write for another three hours.

Lacra has been sick for two days, but she is supposedly coming to Section 2 tomorrow and maybe eventually someday we can take pictures of our cutie pie kids.

: To anyone who's asked if I've been peed on again: First of all, I wasn't actually peed on the first time, I was just holding a baby who had soaked through the two cloth "diapers" she was wearing (they put the kids in towel-like diapers (or Pampers or plastic bags or plastic pants or just clothes)). I actually did get peed on though. In the past two weeks my three-year-old girl has peed on me twice and once on the floor. She just sat on me and peed. It was pretty funny, at least the second time it was. By that point I was already soaking wet so I just played with her anyway. Kristen didn't think it was so funny when the girl just peed on the floor right in front of her, but that was pretty funny too.

This probably all sounds very disgusting to people who aren't working in a Romanian institution, but really, I'm getting used to it. Kristen says not to tell anymore "getting used to it" examples, but I've got them.

Yesterday we had to jump off of a moving tram. It started moving and we weren't off of it so we had to jump. It was a cultural experience. Today we went to Little Texas and we all had two desserts. It was very yummy. We took some cute pictures too and soon I will actually get to see them. We are going dancing on Friday night. Kristen and I are leaving if it sucks. We are leaving at the time I normally go to bed. Steve tried to get us to go tonight and last night. He doesn't realize that we have better things to do (like get up and go to Section 2).

: Last night we went to this Irish restaurant called "Ginger Ale". It was really yummy. We saw some Americans there, the only real Americans we've seen here besides the missionaries. They were checking out a project their church has here. This morning we went to the Turkish Bazar and I bought clothes for my baby (as in the one I don't have yet). Then we went to the church and fingerpainted. The paint smelled like the cadaver lab and the Elders came in eating McDonald's in front of us, but it was really fun. My (huge) picture is coming home with me.

I went to Section 2 in the evening for the first time yesterday. It was really really good, except that Dacia is pretty scary at night. There were way fewer workers and the kids were calmer. We just sat and played in the hall. Plus maybe now I will actually get enough hours for my internship. 2 1/2 a day wasn't going to cut it. I am really excited to spend more time with my kids even though it is exhausting.

: Yay! Lacra came to work today and had a nice long chat with the Directoare (who totally loves us) and we get to go to work on Saturday and take as many pictures as we want!! Isn't that awesome! We're going to bring like three rolls of film each and take pictures pictures pictures. She said we can even take them in the playroom and doing whatever we want, because the Child Protection Agency spies don't come around on Saturdays. We are so excited. Speaking of pictures, I finally took mine to get developed today but I can't go get them cause I'd have to walk home by myself and it's dark. Yay!

: Well I'm either sick again or still, which sucks the same as it has for the past three weeks. I was gone ALL DAY yesterday with seven hours of work and language at the other apartment and then we went to see Harry Potter. With Romanian subtitles. It was pretty cool, especially to watch it after I've read the book and can actually read most of the subtitles.

Tonight we have another branch activity, and I think Angela talked Sora Daniela out of asking one of the elders to give a chastity talk. I hope. I might not go, I might just stay and work at Section 2. All of our kids are sick so we spent lots of time in the playroom. Well I'm off to give out Barbie Valentines. This holiday is so un-fake here, but also much less omnipresent.

: Today we got up and went to Section 2 like a normal day except it was Saturday and we got to take pictures, which are two pretty abnormal things about us going to Section 2. Lacra came and talked to Doamna Doctor, who said she didn't care anyway. She likes us, especially now that we come in the evenings. She knows we really care about the kids. So we spent 3 hours taking pictures and filming our kids. It was so much fun. We even took pictures in the playrooms and the cribrooms. The workers in our filtrul helped us try and make the kids smile and were generally pretty helpful about it. As long as they don't tell Inspector Child-Protection-Agency-Spy.

My kids are so cute! We took about 12 rolls of film in to be developed. We took some black-and-white photos too, but we can't get those developed here. So cute! Lisa's kid who can talk and has finally learned all of our names- we got the cutest pictures of him "da-m pup"ing (giving us kisses). I took some of them throwing fits and bawling in the playroom too. General "life in a casa de copii" pictures. I'm really excited to get them back! We were a little sad about the clothes they were wearing. None of my kids wore particularly cute outfits, but they also weren't wearing silly clothes like the orange overalls or the Barbie sweater. And most of them had snot all over their faces. Figures.

: Today was one of those days that make me blank. Because we expected things to be so bad here, all the good things made us so excited. But in the past few days I've been noticing things that are more like what I expected working in a Romanian institution to be like. Since my little gypsy baby is still sick, I asked if I could just take him into the cribroom to play with him. So I spent and hour in the cribroom this week. There are nine cribs and ten kids. Today there were two kids in there, I think the workers were just too lazy to deal with them. One of them is seven and was actually acting like he'd been institutionalized his whole life, like in the films and it was scary. I also saw a couple of the workers being mean to the kids. One lady was being impatient with the kid I was holding and then apologized profusely when she accidentally hit me with a rag. I was really mad because I cared way more about her hurting my kid than having a rag touch me, or being spit up on. Well, we have to work with these people (most of them are super nice all the time and they all love the kids) so I am trying to forget about all the bad stuff that happens. We all left work traumatized tonight. There was just a lot of stuff going on.

Yesterday, Doina made me and Kristen dinner. She made us go into the physical therapy room and practically served us. The food was all really good (luckily, because we wouldn't have been able to refuse anything). She is the nicest lady! We made her chocolate chip cookies today. The workers (not just the ones in our filtru) are really starting to like us. Doamna Doctor and the directoare and even the cleaning lady (who doesn't like us because we have muddy shoes) are nice to us. The doctor and the director were both really impressed that we come in the evenings, and she also knew that we had come on Saturday. She said we were "conscientious."

Today Lacra corrected my English. Actually, in all fairness, I corrected her English too (she said eligible and meant legible). She took me to the doctor and to the farmacia. It was really interesting. The doctor was this older woman with purple hair who looked at me and said "Greu. Foarte greu." (very difficult) when Lacra told her I worked at the centru de plasament. She also told me to walk around barefoot when I get home from work, "like at home in California in the sand." That's Lacra's translation of course, but we learned how to say "sand" last week, so it must be pretty close.

I had two people kiss me today, Section 2 workers though, not scary street people like those who try and kiss Emily. The tram-ticket-seller-lady and I had an entire conversation in Romanian. She talked and I said "da" a lot. Those are most of my conversations in Romanian. Occasionally there are some "I don't speak Romanian"s in there. I also talked with Doina and Lucian a couple times. It's really fun to be able to talk to people. I'm sick of talking to the same people all the time.

We had the missionaries over for dinner on Sunday. It was pretty interesting. They're not allowed to eat at the members' homes, but for some reason, we're exceptions. They probably know we're not going to serve them cow brains. We made a TON of really super yummy food and ate it all and goofed off for a couple hours. We're so excited for them to come over again, because we never ate so well here. And, like I said, we're sick of talking to the same people all the time. I'm glad we can finally socialize with the workers.

: Quote of the Day: Elder: You have to understand, I'm not used to having conversations in English. Kristin: You'd better get used to it because when you're mission's over you're going to have to talk in English.

This is by far my most expensive emailing venture. I've just been sitting around reading old emails (really OLD) and now I'm about to fall asleep. I still have a ton of stuff to do tonight. Like write in my journals. Like write letters (that's what I was up late last night doing). Like clean my room. Like read scriptures. I could be up all night doing that stuff, but I'll probably go to bed in two hours (that's 2330 and that's really late). Pa, pe timpul viitoare! Pofta buna si distractie placute! Va iubesc tare mult! pa pa prietenii mei!

: I can't believe it's Thursday. already. Quote of the Day: Stephanie: Hai sa run! ok that's not even funny if you know Romanian, but we thought it was funny. Today at work there were two ladies of some non-Romanian nationality who spoke English and talked to us. They were impressed that we knew Romanian. They took some of our kids in the physical therapy room for them. I had to bring my little girl in there because she wouldn't go to the psychologist and I just put her down on the floor and she had eight people staring at her and she was probably very scared. She was wearing a pioneer dress, but I probably shouldn't have said that in front of anyone because "Pioneers" have a different connotation here (little communist scouts).

Kristen and I went to McDonald's again last night. Tonight maybe I'll actually make dinner. Depends on if we leave Section 2 feeling like crap again. Stinking workers. Roberta Magarrell is coming to visit us on the first of March (which is also the first day of Spring and a big holiday here). She is our internship advisor. She wants to spend individual time with all of us, which means she's coming to work, and she's going to take us all out to dinner and we're going to eat tons and tons, on BYU of course.

I'm going home in two months from tomorrow (59 days). Time is going by so fast! It's all a big blur. Every day mushes into all the other ones, except sometimes we do things out of the ordinary like buy pastries or go to movies. mmmm pastries... as a wise girl once said, we're "sacrificing ourselves to the pastry gods to make good pillows for our children." Va pup!

: Kristen and I didn't go to McDonald's last night. We went to Little Texas instead. Yeah, I know we're supposed to "avoid obvious American establishments" but we were hungry! Today at work we switched kids around. We just ended up playing with everyone else's kids. It was pretty fun. Kristen and I also have gotten a few of our kids to play "Ring Around the Rosie" and "London Bridge" with us. One of them has even figured out that when we yell "Cazut!" you're supposed to fall. And he didn't eat any playdough today.

The directoare told Lacra today how much she loves us again(that sentence sounds funny in English). She and the doctor are going to visit a special needs facility in Hungary next week, for an "expertise exchange" or something like that. We're excited that they want to be able to help the kids more. It's so cool when we see the workers randomly playing with the kids.

Today my little girl ran to me instead of the psychologist and she wouldn't talk to her either (ok she doesn't talk to anyone, but still). Even though I was happy she is attached to me (Little Miss Attachment Disorder of Section 2 even), I felt really bad for the worker.

Quote of the Day: Kristin: Top-ing is hard when you're top-ing for two. ("top" (pronounced "tsop") is the sound a frog makes when he hops.)

: Today was a nice day of firsts. My first time buying coffee. My first time "paying" in coffee. My first (and second) time in a Romanian hospital as a patient. My first (and second and third) time getting my head x-rayed. My first (and second) time being introduced to someone, and actually having to say "Imi pare bine". My first time seeing someone insert food directly into his stomach with a funnel. My first time truly understanding how the Egyptians pulled out people's brains through their noses. My curiosity about the Romanian health system has been completely satisfied. Emily is getting a blood test done tomorrow. I'd rather have things stuck up my nose than in my veins.

The radio just said "Salt Lake City" and Kristen and I looked at each other. It's the first time I've heard a single thing about the Olympics here. At least I assume it was about the Olympics. Hey they just said it again! I was actually listening this time, but those are the only words I've understood at all. We went to see "A Beautiful Mind" which wasn't that great, and Jamie and I were pretty confused and scared together. We couldn't understand the English, it wasn't very loud and the accents were awful, and we didn't understand the subtitles either. And it was kinda scary and kinda weird.

My little gypsy boy can almost walk by himself! It's going to happen just anyday. After him there's just one more kid who can't walk. Well one more baby, there are three more who will probably never walk. I haven't written a thing in either of my journals today which will make tomorrow really busy. I had to dry my journal on the radiator last night. Drying my journal isn't that unusual but I've never had to do it on the radiator before.

Quotes for today: Stephanie: Inteleg putin Romaneste (I only understand a little Romanian). TakeNet guy: That was English. ... Susie: Is this supposed to be coming out my nose? Kristen: Did you inhale it?

Oh yeah, I wanted to distinguish between KristEn and KristIn. I live with KristEn. We work in the same filter at Section 2 with KristIn. Jamie and Lisa work there too, but in a different filter and they don't live with us, they live with Angela and Emily (who work at Section 1) and KristIn. KristEn and I live with Stephanie and Melanie (who also work at Section 1). Now you know.

: Quote of the Day: Susie: I think she (Kristin's little nose-picker) gets a significant amount of her nourishment from boogers. Kristin: I wouldn't say a significant amount. Maybe 25%. Susie: That's a pretty significant amount of nourishment to be getting from boogers.

I don't have too much to say. My head has been feeling better since I started all these medicines Lacra's friend perscribed me. It's really hot today. I wasn't wearing my coat, something that causes random old ladies to come up to us and say "Frig! I-e frig!" The lady who x-rayed me at the second hospital yesterday was pretty upset with me when Lacra told her we didn't believe in the "curant." Romanians think babies will catch their death if a door is open and there is a breeze between the doors or something. I don't really get how it works, but obviously we don't believe in it. We also sometimes get concerned looks at work when we wear sandals. Actually, we wear sandals everyday, but don't our feet get cold in socks and sandals and a stinking hot building? No.

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