This was my first Christmas in Romania and God gave me a special time with a Romanian family. It’s always difficult to be away from your family during the holidays (especially Christmas time) so when one of my students (Naty) from my older children’s class asked me if I would be interested in spending Christmas with her family I was delighted to when she asked me! It was very nice that her parents invited me to spend Christmas with them and be a part of their Christmas celebration.
On Monday December 24, Naty and her Dad picked me up at my apartment at 3:00pm (right on the dot as I said I could come around 3pm!). When I arrived at their house I met her sister, her mom, her uncle and her grandma (her uncle and her grandma also live with them too). Naty and her sister waited for me to decorate the Christmas tree so right when we arrived we decorated it. In Romania they decorate the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and then leave it up a bit longer in January.
The rest of the day on Christmas Eve it was good. Naty showed me some of her karate pictures and videos, we watched a movie together and I joined them in a couple of their outings. We went to Naty’s dad’s accountant house for carol singing and enjoy some treats. There they wanted me to try this hard Romanian alcoholic liquor called tuica. They poured a half of a small glass for me. I tried one tiny sip and it was so strong that I almost gagged! The rest of the time with the family that was the joke along them, asking me if I wanted tuica! After that interesting visit we went to Naty’s other grandparents (her mom’s parents). I enjoyed that visit, especially seeing one of their cats! Oh, in Romania they go carol singing to different people’s houses (usually they go to people they already know) on Christmas Eve all evening. We came back to their house to enjoy a delicious dinner and watch the English school fall graduation that Naty’s dad filmed and then went to bed (I slept in the girls room).
I had a good day with Naty’s family on Christmas Day. I stayed with them until 8:30pm so I ended up spending pretty much the whole day with them. I joined in with them on their meals and their gift exchange. They gave me a nice simple gift of a couple of fruit, chocolate and perfume. That was nice of them. I also gave the family gifts as well because I wanted to thank them for having me spend Christmas with them. I gave Naty a Canadian beach towel. I gave her sister a couple of colouring books and her parents a candle with a wreath display. They liked their gifts. I was glad.
I not only got to experience my first Christmas in Romania with a Romanian family but I also got a great opportunity to practice my Romanian! Naty wanted to go out with her friend for a couple of hours so I ended up spending some time with her parents. We played UNO together while they were out (I brought the game, introduced it to them and they loved it!) and talked while we played. I told them a little more about myself and my previous experience in Romania. I have to admit I felt nervous when I spoke in Romanian but God gave me the courage to communicate with them during the time I was there.
Overall, I had a really great time with them. I’m so grateful that I got to spend it with Naty and her family because I love teaching her and she is starting to open up to me more.
In the evening I called Rochester, New York where my relatives live on my Mom’s side of the family. I called my grandma’s house because everyone was over there for Christmas. There must have been at least 15 people over there! It was nice to talk to them and wish them Merry Christmas!
What really surprised me was I didn’t really feel homesick at Christmas (I was quite homesick when I was in Korea for Christmas)! God is so good and He is helping me feel more at home here more and more.
I know I’m writing this blog after Christmas but I still would like to say Merry Christmas or in Romanian Craciun Fericit!! I hope you had a blessed Christmas as you celebrated the birth of our Savior Jesus with your family!