Dear Family and Friends,
Greetings from Oradea! It has been a rainy, dark and cold Saturday, thus I chose to spend the entire day inside. Yesterday I went to Fundatia CASA (the Romanian foundation I have partnered with since 1999) to meet with Dora and discuss my schedule for next week. I commented to her that the apartment I am staying in was quite cold. She asked me what number I had the settings on, to which I responded "what numbers?". Apparently the government placed new meters in all apartments, allowing people to control how much heat they get. Major progress here! So with this new knowledge, I came home and promptly adjusted the numbers, but still no heat. Hopefully I can have one of my friends come over later tomorrow and see what needs to be done...I also am unable to use my laptop or Skype at this time, so please pray that a solution will be found. Until then, Dora has graciously invited me to use her computer, which is set up with Skype.
As for my travels, I arrived safely Thursday morning at 3:30 a.m. Despite a 1 1/2 hour delay in Heathrow (making it a 6 1/2 hour layover) the journey was quite uneventful. My dear friends Lisa and Kayla Smith drove me to the airport and helped with all my baggage. I was a bit concerned that one of my suitcases would be over the limit (23 kg is allowed but British Airways is accepting one bag at 32 kg until November 2008), but thankfully it was at 30.6 kg (abut 68 lbs) and the other weighed 22.6 kg (50 lbs). This extra weight allowed me to bring Easter dresses that I bought for Casandra (Halie's little girl) and Hana (Monika's daughter) as well as the beautiful dress my mom bought for Denisa. Nelu and Mihai, 2 of the workers from Fundatia CASA met me at the airport. The drive from Budapest to Oradea was rather eventful as Nelu was stopped and received a ticket from the Hungarian police!
The day I arrived was the first day of Easter celebration for Hungarians Christians living in Romania. Romanians follow the Orthodox calendar and don't celebrate Easter until the end of April. What an experience to celebrate Easter twice! My friend Monika is ethnically Hungarian and attends a Hungarian Baptist church here, so she asked me to come to church with her for the services. Thursday's service was in remembrance of the Last Supper, with the focus of teaching on the Gethsemane (Mathew 26: 36- 46) and taking the Lord's Supper. I again went to church on Friday as it was "Nagy Penteken" (Good Friday). This service focused on John 19 and the fulfillment of Scriptures. During dinner with Monika and her family, we discussed some other Hungarian Easter traditions, like eating ham with horseradish, girls coloring eggs (typically red) to give to the boys on Monday (who will come to their house to recite poems and spray them with perfume). Hana also modeled her dress for me, she is quite the little princess. Tomorrow I will celebrate Hungarian Easter with Monika in the morning and then with Denisa's family (also Hungarian) in the afternoon. I am sure I will write another update in a few days as I will want to share pictures of Hana and Denisa in their Easter dresses!