Shoveling and Sorcova
This week was pretty awesome!
It snowed quite hard at the beginning of last week, so we went a-shoveling. We focused on the neighborhood around where we live. On Tuesday we helped a man (two doors down) by clearing a space on the sidewalk for him to park his car. We also cleared a path for him to drive there, since his car was parked in a snow-filled lot behind a fence bordering the sidewalk.
Also on Tuesday we waited quite a while on a stone bridge near the church called “podul de piatra” (“the rock bridge”) for a man who never showed up. It was really cold and I should’ve been wearing more layers; my winter jacket wasn’t enough. But I definitely have been doing better at assessing the elements since, and it made it more satisfying when we repeated the experience the next day (I win this round, winter!). Using the situation to our benefit, my ever-innovative companion began writing “suntmormon.ro” (the Church’s Mission-run Romanian website) in the snow on and around the bridge. It was really cool, and because there was so much writing (which lasted), a lot of people saw it.
On Thursday night we went to the steps and lawn next to Palas Mall and did the same thing, with great effect. We were thinking, “We really need a snow-writing stick”, but there was none to be found…until we happened upon a perfectly-sized piece of wood lying in the snow on the edge of some steps! We’re pretty sure it wasn’t there by accident. There were a lot of people around (being New Year’s Day the outdoor ice rink and American fast food chains were about all that were open), so we got a lot of publicity.
Going back to New Year’s Eve morning, we did some more shoveling. In Romania there is a strong tradition of caroling, for which the carolers get money and small gifts. There is an even stronger tradition, it would seem (though I can’t recall seeing more than maybe one group of people doing it in Brasov) of youth dressing up in costumes on New Year’s Eve and going around to people’s houses with drums chanting (about the New Year) and dancing to entertain the visited. The closest thing I could compare it to would be a football team doing huddle-cheers and chants in Mardi Gras-style costumes as a form of Trick-or-Treating, so yeah, hard to describe. It was really big in our area of town.
So we went shoveling down our street and were working on getting a car out of the snow when a man came out of the nearest house and asked us why we were shoveling snow back in front of his door (we weren’t trying to do so). There was also someone tapping on the window of the house from inside and yelling something that seemed to be along the same lines. While we were explaining ourselves, and getting instruction to put the snow across the street, the rest of the household emerged, and suddenly we were surrounded with a crowd of people in extravagant costumes. They were pretty rowdy and had some fun with our shovels. A few of them took the shovels and showed off to their brothers how well they could shovel the snow from in front of the car and put it across the street. While all this was happening, my companion was chatting one-by-one with a few of the calmer members of the family who spoke to us in English. We even got to witness them performing for their next door neighbors while we shoveled (we might be in the background of a YouTube video now, as one of the neighbors was recording it on a smartphone).
We also taught a few lessons this week and now have a progressing investigator who sounds so American I don’t understand how he can be from Romania. Oh, and I made soft pumpkin cookies using a can of Libby’s pumpkin I got from another member of the district for our Christmas Secret Santa Exchange.
La multi ani!