Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The City Life - Green Market Style

I have been a country girl all my life!  I like small town living.... crowds of people, long lines, and large numbers of cars overwhelm me and as my niece used to say - they nervous me!  So with that being said, living in the city has it's challenges or should I say I have my challenges as I learn "city life", however there are some things about city living that are definately a plus!  The one that I want to tell you about today is The Green Market.

This is why it is called the Green Market

2 Lg Bags of apples $1.75
Flower shop
On almost every corner or intersection you will find little market areas.  We have one that is about 100 yards (91 meters for our Romanian friends that are reading) from our house.  It has 4-5 small
fruit and vegetable stands, a few pastry and bread stands, two small convenient stores (very small), a flower stand, meat stand, cheese stand, and a few places you can get hot food (mostly bread based things).

There are also some things I have never seen before in my life.... an egg machine... seriously - you put in your coins and down comes a pack of 10 eggs.  I haven't tried it yet but it was pretty cool to see.  And it was right next to the goat milk machine..... and around the corner from the cow milk machine.  It's so cool!  Put in coins get some goat milk!  I haven't tried any of the machines yet, but I am just so excited they are there..... can you imagine seeing that at the corner in Richfield?

The Egg Machine! I have to try it at least once!

Goat Milk dispenser - 5 Lei = $1.25

I must say that this is definitely something I am going to miss terribly when we return to rural Pennsylvania living.  Thankfully in the summers there is a fruit and veggie stand that I can walk to, though it is much smaller, I am grateful that it is there.  

The other very cool thing that I am celebrating is that today while Joel was gone with Daniel, Ella and I walked to the market all by ourselves, I used some Romanian words that I know to help me, and we didn't take the stroller.... that may not be a big deal for some but for me.... it was the first time that I have walked anywhere in our neighborhood without having to have something to hold on to..... that is something to celebrate.  I must say that for long walks especially in the heat I will have to pull out my handy cane or the stroller to be my walker, but today on this cool brisk day I can celebrate walking!  What a gift we so often take for granted!

Pomegranites - I wish I had gotten one - they haven't been available since I took the picture.  2.63 per kg

Our latest purchase yesterday!  They are huge and sweet!  Ella was very happy! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

A BUNCH OF STUFF: There's a New Game In Town

Here is a link to my (Joel) blog about going to an American Football game in Timisaora, Romania.

A BUNCH OF STUFF: There's a New Game In Town: I had a great time today!  I was able to attend an American Football game here in Timisoara.  The 89ers played Bucharest.  I knew going in...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Romanian Easter #5 - The Easter March

Much like the "church" in the United States, the church in Romania does not always agree on things. The Orthodox have their beliefs and traditions, the Catholics theirs, the Pentacostals, and the Evangelicals.... they are all different as they are here.  They don't really ever do things together as a whole.....However several years ago the head priest of the Orthodox church had an idea to work with all the other pastors in the city to have a day of reconciliation.... a day to celebrate what they shared in common.... that was the resurrection of Jesus.

So each year, hundreds of people gather at the steps of the Orthodox church in the center of town for a time of prayer, scripture, music, and a march at the beginning and it ends with a time of music and preaching by the different churches in the Rose Park.  We had the privilege of going to be a part of this event (Ella and Jana, as Joel was with Daniel at a evangelistic crusade).  Though I was not able to understand what was going on, it was so neat to be a part of this celebration, and I was very excited that when the band played, they played Agnus Day, by Michael W. Smith (I get pretty excited when I know songs here, because I can sing them in English).

The March has begun

You can see their signs Hristos A Inviat (Christ is Risen)

After our time at the March,we enjoyed a little time in the down town area, it was filled with people enjoying the holiday as well as the weather..... and for Ella - she loved the birds, the fountain, and the ice cream.

Spring is here, the flowers are beautiful!

Wishing she could jump into the fish fountain

She thinks she is one of them :)

Talking to her pigeon friends, and giving them some bird seeds, she gets her love for birds from her Papa Snyder

Enjoying some raspberry ice cream, thanks Alexia!

Mariana and Alexia - pretending to enjoy their pineapple lemonade 

That face shows her true feelings, bitter not very good!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Romanian Easter #4 - Hristos A Inviat!

He is Risen - He is Risen indeed!  

Easter Morning is a day of Celebration!  I must admit I was a little tired that morning after staying up the night before to watch the celebration at midnight out our window.... But Ella did not seem tired. We didn't even mention an Easter basket or anything I was still sleeping when all of a sudden I heard... it this for me?  Is this a basket for me... I had hidden it under the desk - I had no idea she would find it while I was still sleeping!  She was excited about the Kinder Eggs (they are chocolate eggs that have little toys inside.... she had gotten her first one from her daddy when we were in Hungary!)

How did she find that??? 
Her Kinder Egg Bunny (Aunt Andrea will be happy to know she got a PEZ too!)

Her pretty Easter hairdo! 
All Dressed and ready for Church
That morning at home we were singing all our songs that we think about for Easter, knowing we probably wouldn't be singing them at church that morning.... Christ the Lord is Risen Today (my favorite) Up from the Grave He Arose (Joel's Favorite) Celebrate Jesus Celebrate (Ella's Favorite), though they didn't sing any of our favorites in the morning - they did Ella's favorite in the evening, and they sang it in English one time (I'd like to think it was just for us).  Joel was able to get a video:

After church we headed to the Cocar's for Easter lunch.... let's just say we ate very well, we had pork and lamb, soup, potatoes, rice, vegetables, and stuffed cabbage.  Of course Ella just kept asking the whole time if we would have an egg hunt.... we assured her she would have one as soon as we were done eating.  They don't have egg hunts in Romania (or in France as Alexia told us).  So it was not only fun for Ella, the others loved her excitement as well.  Here are a few pictures from lunch and the egg hunt.

The Easter Table
Jumping on the dots while waiting for Lunch

I found one!

Ella and Oma (Mariana's Mom)

 Hard to handle.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Romanian Easter #3 - Celebration

One of the things that we have done a lot of over the past few weeks that we have been in Romania is observation.  There are so many things that you don't realize that you do differently than others around you.  Being in Romania has been fascinating as we observe how the people here interact with one another, how they eat, how they shop, how they play, and even how they dress.  Along with observing all those things in the main culture here, we have also spent a lot of time observing the culture of the church and the spiritual culture of the people in and outside of the church.

Today I want to take a little time to share some observations....and they are just that observations.... these are things we watched and have asked questions about but things we don't fully understand but hope to understand more as we spend more time with the people and ask more questions.  The people here have been so gracious in answering our questions, and we are thankful for that because it is how we learn.

Our apartment or flat is located just down the street from a large Eastern Orthodox Church.  Before coming to Romania, I knew very little (okay let's be honest I had heard the name but knew nothing else!) about that church.  Here is Romania that is the most common church affiliation for most of the people.  Most of the time when we are talking and asking about church, people will say they go to the church on our street.  The very first observation is that their Easter is not the same time as Easter for us as Americans which seem to follow the Roman Catholic Church Easter schedule (not sure really how they figure it all out, but I do know that the Catholics here celebrate it the same time as the US so that is how I came to that conclusion).  One thing I did notice outside of each church is a place to light candles, it seemed similar to what I have observed in many Catholic churches.

Downtown Timisoara
The church close to our apartment

The church seems very least on the outside.... every Eastern Orthodox church that we have seen so far, is beautiful in architecture, large with a very formal appearance.  Here are a few churches that we have seen in Timisoara.

The church at night
The other things we have noticed are their traditions that specifically take place around Easter (though I think it would be neat to be here at Christmas time to observe their traditions then as well). The first thing we noticed the week before Easter was a beating sound.... not like drums but like a loud clicking noise... (not sure how to describe it).  For the first few days in the week before Easter... it seemed very random, but mostly in the evening.  From Thursday on in the week it was happening more and more.... Friday and Saturday is seemed almost constant throughout the day.   Joel asked a man at the park about it and he took him down to show him.  He tried to explain to Joel, however his English wasn't the best, so we are still a little unclear exactly what they are doing.  One of our friends here in the US said that it was a call to worship type thing and that it would stop once Easter had arrived.  Here is a video that Joel took when he went to watch with the man.

The other thing we were told that happens is on the evening before Easter at midnight when the pounding ends, the bells will begin to ring and people will come to Celebrate by lighting candles and marching down the street as they sing and the priest does a chant.  Joel was going to go down and watch but fell asleep, I didn't want to go by myself (though I think I would have been safe, I can't really walk that far without assistance) So I did what every nosey American would have done and I opened my window and leaned out and watched as over 1,000 people walked towards the church starting at 11pm.... grandparents, parents, children, all ages..... then at midnight the bells began to ring.... it was one of the most majestic things I have experienced!  They didn't just ring for a few minutes... they rang for 45 minutes straight (I feel bad for the bell ringer, I bet his arms were tired after that!)  I couldn't go to sleep I just stood in the window and watched (and tried to take some pictures, the pictures aren't great... but I wanted to at least try)  As the bells rang, many people took their candles and walked home, while many others stayed and sang and then marched down the street singing.  At the end the priest was speaking from the steps and by 1:30 am the service ended.  Below are the pictures and the video I took from our window.
In this picture is you look at the red spots below those are people standing with their candles

People walking home with their candles

They bells have been ringing more over the last few days but that seems common because they continue their Easter celebration into the following week.  Our friend Alexia has to visit an Orthodox church service while we are here, so I think we may try to go with her to help us better understand the culture of the church here.

Seeing them celebrate the Resurrection was so awesome, but more than that, it was a bit convicting... how much time do we celebrate that Jesus did something no one else can do or will ever do.... he conquered Death!  He rose from the dead, so that I can have life through a relationship with Him.... I need to celebrate more!  I need to make Easter linger longer.... daily in my life!  How about you? Is your celebration of Jesus continuing?  Have you taken time daily to thank Him for what He did for you?  Every time I hear those bells I am reminded of His Victory!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Romanian Easter #2 - Preparation

As we were preparing for our trip to Romania, we tried to take some time to look up different traditions and cultural information about the country.  One of the traditions that I was fascinated with was the tradition of egg painting.  We read about egg painting and also about their traditions of painting their eggs red to represent the blood of Christ.  After coming here I learned that this is an old art of painting and very few people today still share this art and many of those who do live in the villages away from Timisoara.  Though I wasn't able to actually see any of the traditional eggs being painted, my new friend Alexia found this video for me to see how they do their eggs.  It is facinating!

As we were packing I was trying to think about special things that I wanted to do with Ella while we were here.... one was decorating eggs, since that is a family tradition we do each year the weekend of Easter (which by the way Snyder family - we really missed the fun and of course the snacks).  Below are a few pictures from our decorating time at our apartment.

Rubber bands make great lines on your eggs

We also had the fun of helping Mariana and Alexia color the eggs for Easter dinner.  They do things a little bit differently from how we do.... first they like their eggs soft boiled - so they can only be put in for 6 mins (we do ours 12) and they color them right from the hot water into the hot dye.... I did however convince them to let me cool off a few so I could actually decorate them... since I really wanted to try to do one that at least looked Romanian :)  A few things I noticed..... their egg dyes are so much darker and stronger than ours.... I am definately going to try to stock up and bring some home to use next year.  They use brown eggs as we do sometimes as well so that helps the color over here but sometimes at home it makes them more difficult to color.  You can see from the colors above and the colors below the difference.  Also their other secret to great looking eggs... they rub them with oil when they are finished.

Learning the Romanian way

Joel was testing out one of the soft boiled eggs.

Vibrant Colors

Ella got a little bored with egg decorating, so she took Elliot the pug dog for a ride

Ella was making lots of swirls

Ella's swirl egg is the purple one in the second row

Here is my Romanian style egg that was done with an egg decorating crayon (basically just a wax crayon..... I must say I was pretty proud of myself.

So excited with how it turned out... can't bear to think someone might eat it.

This was definately a fun time and a tradition that is shared between our cultures... however I did learn from Alexia, the other missionary serving here from France, that they do not color eggs in France.  And that concludes another egg decorating adventure.