Over the River, and Through the Wood, to Gypsy Homes We Go…
Hello blog-reading people of the world,
So, foremost in my mind, the brownies I made for last district meeting turned out GREAT. The senior missionary couple also turned-up unexpectedly (they were to be in Bucuresti, but couldn’t get down ’til later due to driving conditions, I think), so they were included, too. Now to make (from scratch, as always) something a little bit more complex for Christmas morning (where we will be at the home of the senior missionary couple) *COUGH*Apple Pie*COUGH* (shh…).
We went to Bran Castle last week. It was awesome to see another European castle, but I must say…the English translation for their exhibits on vampires (and, indeed, the perspective on the subject matter of said translation)…wow, um, well, let me quote a few lines from one of the displays, “These creatures are considered to be immortal. Nevertheless, in reality they can be destroyed by subjecting them to…” and, “They continue to fascinate and be the subject of books or films, even though they are in fact chimeras of humans who have always feared monsters”…yeah…stuff like that…they do realize they’re not real…right?
This week we also went to Sacele, twice. Sacele is a village outside of Brasov. The first visit was Monday night. The man we were visiting met us at the bus stop and walked us to his house. Contrary to the Gypsy stereotype as propagated in our culture, there does exist more than one culture among people of this ethnicity. As previously indicated, I have encountered someone who fit the negative stereotype quite well. However, in Sacele, the people, while of the same ethnic origin, are of a different subculture. They’re the type of people who have a very, very strong, traditional family culture (and are all Pentecostal). The man we visited Monday was of the opinion that “we’re all brothers”, particularly as the people there give instantaneous respect to those not of the Orthodox faith (such are labeled “pocait”, which means “repented” #Subtlebacklashagainstthemajority), particularly to religious officials such as ourselves. We were running a bit late (we had gotten off at the wrong stop, and the visit lasted a while), but, although we said we needed to go, they protested “but we brought meat”, and we were pressured into staying for a family meal. The father called one of his friends who was a taxi-driver to get us home.
We went back again Wednesday night. As my companion put it, going to Sacele is like “going to an older part of the world”. We hadn’t gone too deep outside of the main town on Monday. The man we were to visit Wednesday lived farther out, in a wooden-shack-commune sort of area nestled in a mini-valley between a couple of hills. The air was very foggy that night. After we got off the bus, a woman walking the same way as we were, started to talk to us as we walked. She got us to come with her to the household of one of the more influential men in the commune. We again got fed, and after some discussion about ourselves (and a look at a children’s church service they were having in a building in the backyard), we were finally escorted (because, you know, we were there to get a few men to escort us, as it’s dangerous to walk around at night alone, right?) to the man’s house we had initially come to visit. As we walked through the area (up a small path on one of the ledges of the mini-valley to a higher clearing right near the hills), I got a great view of the group of the houses-with-wood-fueled-smokestacks we were walking towards from across a flat clearing, with the V of the hills and the few stars of the now-clear sky up above making a storybook backdrop. UGH, I JUST WANTED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF IT SO BADDDD! Maybe next time, when there aren’t so many witnesses around… Anyway, the man wasn’t home (down at his father’s, I think), but the influential man I previously mentioned made a great potential investigator. Oh, and as we passed by someone who my companion had met before, who mentioned something about the Book of Mormon, we also placed about three copies (all we had on us) that night, if my memory serves me correctly.
This week we also had an activity where we were outside the church for three hours offering hot chocolate and church tours. As part of this fun experience, I encountered a man who, when I approached, denied with “danke, danke schoen”. KEEPING THE GERMAN MINORITY ALIVE! 😀
Other than that, hmm…oh, yeah, IT’S TWO DAYS ‘TIL CHRISTMAS!!! WHAT! Doesn’t feel like it…not that we don’t have decorations up or anything, but, I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel like it should be Christmas this week.
Wishing you all a wonderfully merry Christmas!