Christmas break in Canada

The English school I teach at in Romania had a three week break for the holidays so I decided that I was going to go home to Canada for Christmas this year since last year I spent it in Romania. My time in Canada was extremely busy but it was also a great time spent with my family and friends!
 
On Tuesday December 16, I flew out from the Cluj-Napoca airport in Romania at 9:25 in the morning and I arrived in Toronto at 3:10pm local time. My trip home was an exhausting day because I had to be ready to go to the airport much more earlier then I originally expected to leave. Kevin my director needed his car in the morning so we had to leave at 4:30am. Luckily I also went to the airport with another girl so I was able to hang out with her for a bit at the airport before I checked in. My first flight was from Cluj-Napoca to Vienna which was with the Tarom Romanian airline and that flight was a short one (almost 2 hours). I was a bit concerned with my connection in Vienna because I had only like 15 minutes to get to my next flight but everything was fine and I got to my gate just in time for boarding! My second flight from Vienna to Toronto was with Austrian airline and it was a longer one (9 1/2 hours) and by the time I got to Toronto I was very glad to get off the plane! When I arrived in Toronto I was very glad to see my Dad there waiting for me.
 
Oh, I had an interesting experience when I went through customs. I filled out the customs form like I usually do when I fly back to Canada. The lady at the booth told me I could have filled it out was a visitor because the last time I had been in Canada was in May and this trip I was only going to be in Canada for 3 weeks. I told her that I am a Canadian citizen and she told me that doesn’t matter because I’m only visiting for a short trip for the holidays and then going back to Romania. I was like okay I didn’t know I could do that. After that I thought how strange that I’m being considered a visitor now to my home country!
 
The three weeks I was home (December 16, ’08 to January 8, ’09) was extremely busy but it was a great time to be home for the holidays. The day I flew home the young adults group at my home church had their Christmas party the same day and I really wanted to go because I haven’t seen them in a long time and I knew my time at home would be very limited to see everyone. I decided to go even though I knew I would be very tired from travelling all day. I pretty much arrived home, said hi to my Mom and my cats and then went to the Christmas party! I am glad I went. Then my friend Anna and her husband Will  had their Christmas party the same week on the Thursday (December 18). I also went to that too. I enjoyed my time there as well.
 
While I was home my family did some travelling to see our relatives for Christmas. The first weekend I was home (December 20 – 21) we were in Waterloo for my Dad’s side of the family gathering. On December 24, we went to Rochester, New York to spend time with my relatives on my Mom’s side of the family for a few days. It was such a blessing to see my relatives on both sides of the family. I value that time so much especially now that I’m living in Romania and just go home for short visits.
 
On Saturday December 27, my family and I went to Pennsylvania for a few days to go to a Christmas play in Lancaster. My parents and all my relatives on my Dad’s side of the family were there last summer in July for another play called "In the Beginning" and they really enjoyed it so they wanted to go back when I was home to see the Christmas performance called "The Miracle of Christmas". The theatre is called Sight and Sound and they produce a variety of different performances throughout the year to a Christian theme and all of their performances they present the gospel at the end. I must admit I am not the theatre type person but I was glued to stage the entire time! It was incredible! The performance was an hour and a half long. The stage was unique in itself and I never seen anything like it because the stage was not only in front of you but it was also to the right and left of you as well. They even had live animals throughout the show which made the performance come to life even more. They had horses, camels, sheep, a donkey and other animals. The costumes and the props were great. Oh and the angels were above you as they acted during the show! It was definitely a treat to go and see the show. If you ever get a chance to go see any of the shows I highly recommend it! The website is: http://www.sight-sound.com/WebSiteSS/
 
My New Year’s Eve was a little different as we (my parents and I) went to an Oshawa General Motors centre. They wanted to get out of the house but I wanted to laid back and stay home. I decided to go with them anyway because they wanted to spend time with me. At the auditorium they had a bunch of different events going on and concerts but I was not highly impressed and I was a bit bored with the evening. It turned out my parents were bored too so right after we shouted "Happy New Year" we left and returned home to enjoy a movie and then go to bed.
 
My New Year’s Day was a wonderful family day as we also celebrated our Christmas that day. My immediate family (my parents, my brother and I) always have our own celebration for Christmas which I always enjoy that time together. We all slept in late, then we enjoyed a nice big breakfast, exchanged and unwrapped our gifts and then later that day we had a nice dinner. It was a great time to be together and celebrate Christmas! Oh and I got a new laptop too which was such a wonderful gift because my old one died last summer.
 
On Saturday January 3, my family and I hosted a dessert and games evening for our neighbours and some of my supporters. We had a nice turn out considering it was during the holidays! It was a great time to see everyone and spend time together. At the end of the evening a couple of my supporters prayed for me before they left which was so encouraging to me for them to do that.
 
On Sunday January 4, it was my last Sunday home and it was also my only Sunday at my home church since I was travelling the other two weekends. I am so thankful that I was able to be at my home church at least once during my time at home because they are my sending church and I feel that it is very important for me to re-connect with them when I am home. It was a great service and it was wonderful to see everyone there! I also had an unexpected surprise that Sunday as my Pastor asked me to go up to the front after the announcements. He asked me to share a couple of prayer requests with the church of what they could be praying for as I return to Romania (I asked prayer for the new school term and also for the children at Rozmarin) and then after I shared my Pastor prayed for me. After the service I told my Pastor that I didn’t expect that and he told me "well you are a missionary now and when you are home you always need to be prepared at anytime". I’m actually glad he did it even though I wasn’t prepared for it because it shows how my home church (Christian Life Centre) really comes behind me and stands with me in what God has called me to do here in Romania.
 
Besides all of the Christmas parties and family gatherings I also had a lot of other things that I needed to do while I was home. I had to get a new passport since my old one will be expiring this year. I was able to get it in two weeks! I discovered I had a problem with my OHIP card since I had been in and out of the country so much over the last few years. I was able to get it resolved before I left. I also had an issue with my financial support as well but thankfully that was also resolved before I returned to Romania too which was a huge relief to me! I don’t know why but so many times I worry about things whether they be little or big issues. I have to stop worrying because over the last month I have seen God answer so many prayers! God sees every need and I am constantly being reminded by Him that it doesn’t even matter if they are little or big things because He cares for us so much and we are His children.
 
I want to thank everyone who has been lifting me up through your prayers and encouragement. You mean so much to me beyond what I could put into words! When I was in Canada I heard very often from people that they now see me as established and settled into where God has called me to be. Each time I heard those words my spirit was lifted and it reminded me over and over again that I am right where I am suppose to be! I also give God praise for placing me in such an amazing home church in Canada. I had a meeting with my Pastor the day before I flew back to Romania and as I shared my concerns in my heart he just looked at me and encouraged me and supported me. At the end of the meeting he prayed for me. I was so touched by his caring heart and I feel so blessed to be a part of this church.
 
There’s thing I forgot to write about…I just loved spending time with my family’s cats so much! Their names are Libby and Grace and they will be three years old in May 2009. I haven’t actually spent that much time with them since my parents got them when they were kittens because I have been away so much in the last few years but when I do go home it is such a treat for me to see them! As you can tell I am definitely a cat person. I actually really like to get a kitten here in Romania. Having a cat here would be such a special treat for me and I hope one day real soon that would become a reality 🙂
 
My trip back to Romania went very well unlike what happened to me when I flew back in May (I forgot my laptop with my airline ticket at home plus when I got to the airport the flight was overbooked and I didn’t have a seat, so it was quite stressful that day and I’m so thankful everything turned out alright!). I flew back on Thursday January 8, and I think it was one of the most relaxing trips to the airport I have had in a long time! My brother Jonathan drove my Mom and I to the airport and then my Dad met us there since he was already in Toronto for work. We made excellent time with the traffic to the airport and the check in went very smooth which I just praise God for because usually it’s very stressful and I even had extra room for the weight in one of my bags so I was able to put more things in it!
 
I spent a bit of time with my parents before I went through customs which was nice. Before we said our good-byes my parents prayed for me which was so nice. Saying good-bye was hard. I have said good-bye so many times before but I still find it difficult to do. I am thankful though that we can keep in touch through the internet every week while I’m away. My next trip back to Romania this summer my parents will be coming back with me which will be great to have them here for a week and I’m so looking forward to it because I have been praying for this for a long time!
 
I had three flights on my trip back to Romania. My first flight was with Air Canada and it was from Toronto to Frankfurt which was around an eight hours. It was a nice plane. I enjoyed our own personal screens which was nice especially for a long flight. I was concerned about my connection in Frankurt because I had a very tight connection for my next flight to Vienna so I spoke to the people in Toronto who took your boarding passes before you get on the plane about my concern and they were able to get me a closer seat to the front of the plane! What a blessing from God!! I did make my second flight just in time for the boarding time. My second flight was from Frankfurt to Vienna with Austrian airline which was only an hour and a half. My connection in Vienna was no problem. Then my third flight was from Vienna to Cluj-Napoca with Tarom Romanian airline which was just under two hours. When I arrived in Romania I had no problem at the customs and both of my bags were there too! After travelling all those hours I finally arrived back in Romania! (I left Toronto on Thursday January 8 at 5:30pm and arrived in Romania on Friday January 9 at 1:50pm).  Two of my Romanian friends were there to pick me up when I arrived. It was nice to see them again!
 
It is so good to be back in Romania but I do want to say I do miss everyone already back at home. I am very thankful for the time I had at home and for all of God’s blessings He did while I was at home! Now I must get to bed as it’s after midnight here 🙂
    
 

About Andrea

I am from Whitby, Ontario. I have lived in Romania for 9 years as a missionary but I am currently in Canada on a sabbatical break at this time. I have also lived in South Korea for a year and I have also been to Russia, Uganda, Albania and the Czech Republic on short-term mission trips. In 2012, God also gave me an amazing opportunity to go to Mozambique for the Harvest Mission School with Iris Ministries as well. I love children, reaching out to people who are in need and vulnerable, I have a passion to fight against the injustice issue of human trafficking and to simply share the love of Jesus wherever I go. I also love cats too and I have a cat of my own named Minnie!
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