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: Kristin: We're going back to Section Spew.

20 emails and only four of them are even worth reading. Today I read the fourth Harry Potter book, which Roberta was so kind as to give to Lacra who doesn't have time to read it this week. I have lots of complaints, but it gave me something to do while my roommates bonded.

: Today was the director's birthday and we brought her flowers and sang to her in English. She and doamna doctor and Alis (who is probably also a doamna doctor) are back from Hungary and the invited us to go see the program they went to see, except that involves leaving the country which our visas technically don't allow us to do, although we can get around it, and we're all willing to, to go to Hungary and to see the program they saw.

I got a letter from Elder Tenney today. Even though you can't see it, I'm sure the look on my face says it all.

Roberta is coming to visit us at work tomorrow. We are also going up to the University (of Iasi) to talk to a psychology class about our work. Roberta wants to get students here involved in our program so there is some carry-over between semesters and because we won't always be here. She wants them to come work along side us. In the hallway. There isn't room for that, but maybe she hasn't tried to sit on the floor there for six hours a day yet.

Primavara Fericita! I got five Martisoare, from Lacra, Doina (a lady at work), the non-stop, Melanie and Nicol (a student we know). And I got some hyacinths from Stephanie and Kristen. Hai sa mergem acasa, noapta buna! Actually, o zi buna, because for most of ya'll out there, it's 1130 AM. =)

Kristin: I wish we could take the tram through the McDonald's drive-thru.

: Researching Retinal Detachment. Writing a 2 1/2 week late email to my professors. oops. We're supposed to email them every week. We're supposed to do a lot of things. Like stay in the country. Like write papers. Roberta came over to our house today, while Kristen and I were at work, even though we told her we were going to go to work after the University (which went really well, by the way; I got up and spoke in front of a class full of Romanians (Lacra translated). It was a psychology class on children with special needs, something I wish I had taken, or could take.) I would feel bad, but I don't because I would rather do my work than have it evaluated. I'd rather see improvements in my kids than my grade. Besides, the credits I actually need are pass/fail. So thubba-ti-ti-ti.

Elder Sommerfeldt called last night and started talking to me in Romanian. (Stephanie later asked why I didn't hang up and I said "because I could understand him.") We had a whole conversation in Romanian, he said he was impressed with my speaking. His is way better, but he pointed out that he's been here for a year and a half. He was asking Kristen to speak at the baptism tonight, in case anyone was wondering why the missionaries call us all the time. We give them food and help them out of jams, that's why.

Kristen:Psst... Lacra! You have a glitter moustache!

: Mergem la Brasov! Yay! Avem nevoie de-o pauza foarte mare si lang. Mergem cu trenul la 1219 dupa-amiaza. O sa stam acolo patru zile. Sper ca o sa skiam pentru ca nu am skiat niciodata. O sa ma imbrac cu "tennis shoes" la biserica dominica. O sa ne distram foarte minunat! (We're going to Brasov. yay! We need a very big and long break. We are going by train at 1219 this afternoon. We will stay there for four days. I hope we will go skiing because I have never skied. I will wear tennis shoes to church on Sunday. We will have ourselves wonderful fun!)

You didn't think I knew that much Romanian, did you? Well I do. I am really excited to go. It was so nice to wander around the city today just running errands and not really worrying about anything. Even though I woke up the same time as if we had actually gone to work (heh). I'm in a good mood because I got lots of emails and I am getting a break from work.

Yesterday we visited another orphanage, for kids 10-17. It was so nice! Steve complained that it was like a prison because of the rules they had, but it was nicer than any other place I've been here, except for church. Lots of light, and plants and room. There are ten people in a room and they have cupboards they can lock and they can cook in the kitchen if they want to, and siblings live together, although boys and girls sleep in separate rooms still. Just cause Steve's parents let him run around wild. And he can't stand to be in any of the places we work.

I can hardly believe, sometimes, the ignorance of some of the people here regarding the only aspect of their country I really know. Well, regular people aren't allowed to just walk into orphanages. And most of the aspects of the orphanages and the hospitals which make us sick aren't part of the institution- they're part of the culture. When the workers hit the kids and stuff, or treat them meanly, or don't (can't) see the good we're doing, it only looks cruel to us. They don't think they're doing anything wrong because they don't know any other way. For those of us working at Section 2 we have the excellent advantage of staff who can see that we love the kids and who have noticed their improvements as well.

: Brasov is really nice. The train ride was long and fairly boring. The hotel is a bit scary although nicer than anticipated. It's also $10 per person per night and comes with and actual real breakfast (eggs, eggs, or eggs). We went to the children's hospital today and shopping. I spent really a lot of money. We also took a teleferic (cable car) up the mountain. Took lots of pictures. Visited the Black Church, the largest in Eastern Europe or something like that. Bought peanut butter. It's really nice not to be working and in Iasi. Iasi is dirtierm poorer, boringer than here. Of course, Brasov is a touristy town (it's a ski resort). We saw part of the residential area while on the bus, and that looks more like Iasi, but there is way more traffic and the taxi/car ratio is smaller.

Tomorrow we are going for a drive to visit two other nearby towns. We will tour some castles (really big cool ones!) and buy lots of traditional souvenirs and gifts and things. Sunday we are going to part of church and then spending the rest of the day on the train. Monday we are going back to work. I miss my kids, of course, but I am really enjoying my break.

: We all had a great time on our "o pauza" in Brasov. The only bad thing is that now we all need an o pauza from our o pauza, because it was so busy. We made a discotec in our train compartment on the way back up. (ingredients: Two Kristens, one Lacra, a Susie and a Lisa. Starve and bore thoroughly). We are back at work now and having lots of fun doing that. We took kids outside today, they were so cute! The sun is so good for them, and they can explore and play with kids from other filters. Two of my kids are in the hospital for infectious diseases (there must be thousands of hospitals in Iasi). Lacra got really upset when I called and "nonchalantly" asked where it was so I could visit them. She says our vaccinations (and good hygiene) won't completely protect us against some strains of Hepatitis the US government appears to be unaware of. Because unless I turn into a vampire, CDC assures me I am pretty dang safe. I might just go anyway.

: Ah, the life of the rebel intern. Lacra's mad because Kristen and I went to a hospital she said she told us not to go to (that's not exactly what she said). Two of my kids are sick and they need me (if we weren't visiting them, they'd have no toys, water, clothes, or diapers) and we know it's safe. So thibit. Poor kids. Poor Lacra. We feel bad that's she's mad, but we disagree with her. And those kids really need us there. One good thing; we can take pictures in the hospital, and those are the two kids I have terrible pictures of. Well, we're also getting to know some nice ladies in the room with the boys, and having a cultural experience, and severely bonding with some severely bored kids.

Romania seems to have a hospital for everything. We must pass four hospitals on the way to this one from the tram stop. And I can name six more off the top of my head. Today I got a letter from my grandparents and a card from Shannon. It made my day.

The weather's really nice here. We've been taking some of our kids outside. I took out my blind girl today. She didn't know quite what to do, and kept making sure I was still there, but I think tomorrow she will be more curious. The workers take out big groups of kids to run around too. Sun is good for the kids! And non-institutionalized air!

: We're all mad because Lacra made up super hard homework (she was obviously mad at us when she wrote it) and some of us spent two hours doing it and then we didn't have language because she's sick. grr.

Kristen and I went to the hospital (Sf. Maria, the normal children's hospital) to see her baby and to visit some of the orphans on the seventh floor. We snuck some pictures too. There was this really cute girl in there Kristen played catch with, while I held the baby. Tonight, more Section 2, lots and lots of infectious diseases hospital. I got more clothes for my five year old, hopefully they will fit this time.

: Yay, my kids have finally eaten some food, although that means I have to buy more diapers for them and that we had to clean up messes. We brought them some de-fatted yogurt and some rice with grease in it. We got to visit them twice because we didn't have to go la serviciu today. We also went to the Children's Hospital where I held the tiniest baby ever (five months). So stick skinny, and wet completely through her swaddle. The nurse put clothes on her instead of wrapping her in diapers when she changed her. There was noone in her box, or even in the rest of the filter. How lonely! Well, there were only like three other babies on the whole side of the floor, but still. The Children's Hospital really is more miserable than Spitalul Boli Infectioase. The floor is peeling apart. Actually, I wiped bubbles off the other floor today and it was pretty dirty. At least we see them mopping in the Children's Hospital.

: I don't think I've yet commented on the plethera of old people in Romania. I have several theories on it. 1- old people in America are all in retirement communities or nursing homes or something. 2- old people here have to work so they're outside a lot more 3- I'm outside a lot more 4- tramvaiuri and walking is how everyone gets around, so you see everyone going everywhere, as opposed to everyone being in their car. 5- I live in Provo and rarely see anyone over the age of 25. 6- people live longer here.

I think the old people in America are just hiding. Maybe they all live in Florida. The missionaries are coming over to dinner tomorrow.

: Today is seven days my kids have been in the hospital. Hopefully they will go home tomorrow. I have spent too much money buying those boys diapers. They are back to their usual selves. The five-year-old screamed when we came in today. That's typical. The little one whined really a lot. Oh well. A doctor showed up as we were getting ready to leave. We heard the nurse explaining to him we were from the center and we bring Pampers. That appeared to be a good enough reason for him. The Portar didn't ask us any questions either, like on Saturday and Sunday. We're a little scared now. Well, at least we understood what the guy on Sunday was saying.

They wouldn't let us into the Children's Hospital today, Pampers or no, because of a flu epidemic. The signs have been up for four days now, and no one stopped us before. The security guard was probably just bored. If it was up to the nurses we would have been treated like queens, considering how many diapers we had bought to bring today. Today was "change the whole sixth floor" day. But they wouldn't let us in.

The Elders came over to dinner yesterday. We made strawberry shortcake for dessert. We figured out how to beat 11 egg whites by hand, but it took us three hours to get it right. On my turn, I finally got it going, so the cake turned out ok. We seriously spent 3 1/2 hours beating egg whites. And we used something called "Bicarbonat de Amoniu" instead of yeast in the rolls, but the dough didn't rise. They ended up frying it, but it tasted and smelled like ammonia. We don't know what it was, but we know it was a food product because it's packaging was identical to the baking soda, and it said "pentru prajituri" on it (for non-specific baked sweet things). mmm, prajituras. It really means "Pastries!!!"

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